I absolutely love blogging. I mean absolutely everything about the blogging community. I’ve made so many friends in this short period of time and am amazed how bloggers are ready to help each other. It’s not a competition, but rather a collaboration to make a difference in as many lives as we possibly can.
So today I’m giving back to you, my fellow bloggers and want-to-be bloggers, by giving you the must-have blogging resources that I can’t live without.
This post contains affiliate links.
I want to start off by telling you two things that I think are critically important when you have a blog.
- Choose two bloggers and follow them. Seriously! There is an abundance of blogging information available out there and most, if not, are great resources. However, trying to follow too many people will begin to overwhelm you. Your inbox will be filled with an insane amount of mail to sort through and all with similar information. So find two bloggers who you resonate with, who are getting the results that you would like to see and follow them. This is huge in helping you to stay focused.
- Know your avatar. I mean every single detail. Write down everything you can about your reader. What is his or her name? What are their likes and dislikes? What is their age, where do they like to vacation? The more specific you can be, the better you will be able to serve your readers. The saying holds true
When you try to write to everyone, you write to no one.
So spend time getting to know you’re reader inside and out and then write every blog post directly to them.
So let’s move on….
Must-have blogging resources
The following resources are what I currently use in the day to day running of Footprints of Inspiration.
- Trello – This is a free editorial calendar app that you can get right on your computer and I absolutely love it! You can easily move things around, make any necessary changes, and see it all at a glance in one location.
- PicMonkey – There are a lot of photo editing sites available. Personally, I find PicMonkey to be cheap and easy to use for someone who doesn’t know a lot about editing. (like me!) They do have a free version as well, so you can start there and upgrade when you’re ready.
- MileIQ App – If you have to go out and purchase supplies or make deliveries for your blog, I highly recommend this app. After you’ve made a drive, it’ll automatically pop-up on your phone to prompt you to classify each drive. It keeps track of your mileage so you don’t have to even think about it, and it makes tax time a whole lot easier. This is a free app up to a certain amount of drives in the month and then you can upgrade to the premium if need be. Thus far, I’ve been able to use the free version.
- Quicken – I know a lot of people use Quickbooks, but truthfully, I find it difficult and not very user-friendly. I don’t know a lot about computers, but I can usually figure out new software fairly easily. I just couldn’t figure out Quickbooks and I’ve found Quicken to be far easier to navigate. You definitely want to keep track of your expenses for tax time, so make sure you’re using something right from the beginning.
- Grammarly – This is a must-have app that you can add right to your computer. It checks your spelling and grammar for every site you are typing in. It’s genius and it’s free! (There is a paid version, but I haven’t purchased that yet.)
- Email service for newsletters – Up until recently, I’d been using MailChimp (the free version) for all my newsletters, however, I just made the switch to ConvertKit. I loved MailChimp. It’s easy to use and free (up to a certain number of subscribers), but here is why I changed: MailChimp does not allow you to do any affiliate marketing. Let’s face it, most of us are blogging as a business, so when I discovered this, I didn’t hesitate to switch. ConvertKit is pricey. Truthfully, I don’t think it’s as user-friendly as MailChimp, however, it has some killer features that I really love and I’m excited to expand my newsletter options for my readers. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but if you’re just starting out and you’re still in the growth stage of your blog, I highly recommend MailChimp because it’s cheap and easy.
- The Ultimate Blog Planner by Designer Blogs Studio – This is my second year using this planner and I absolutely love it! It has everything you need and more to help you keep track of all the necessary aspects of your blog. Once you download the planner, choose the pages you want, print them off and then head to your favorite office supply store to have it bound for less than $10. And the best part? The basic edition is free!
Must-have blogging classes
The following classes are what I have and am currently going through. I have taken many other classes (some of them free) but these are the ones that have taught me the most and made a big difference in my blog.
- IMark Interactive Free WordPress Course – Grayson is a master IT guy and I can’t recommend this free course enough. He teaches you the ins and outs of WordPress and helps you navigate your way around where you will be spending most of your time as a blogger.
- The Core Affiliate Strategy by Rosemarie Groner – If you’re wanting to monetize your blog, I can’t recommend this workbook enough. Rosemarie is a genius at affiliate marketing and walks you through how to be successful with this monetizing strategy. (I highly recommend taking Elite Blog Academy first so you start with a good foundation before monetizing.)
- Sky Rocket by Learn to Blog Hangouts – When you mention SEO, most bloggers roll their eyes and sigh. But this course is amazing for helping you navigate your way through this challenging part of blogging. This is a workbook format and Crystal and Kelli know their stuff! (Again, I highly recommend you begin with Elite Blog Academy and then move on to these other classes.)
Website services that I use
- Siteground – Once you set up your WordPress site, you need to be hosted. I’ve used SiteGround from the beginning (by recommendation from my IT guy, Grayson) and could not be happier with them. Thus far, I’ve had no problem with my site and their customer service is incredible. I’ve contacted them numerous times through phone calls, email and immediate chat and they have been quick to respond each and every time and make sure that I understand what I am doing before we disconnect our conversation.
- NameCheap – Again, as a recommendation from Grayson, I didn’t purchase my domain name from the same place as hosting for security reasons. Therefore, I chose NameCheap and they’ve been great as well. The domain name was cheap (no pun intended!) and truthfully, I haven’t had to contact them since purchasing it.
- I-Mark Interactive – Grayson Bell is who I use to help maintain my site. He’ll take care of all the backend technical stuff so that you can focus on doing what you do best….blogging! You won’t have to worry about back-ups, updates, or any other techie mumbo jumbo. He’ll have you covered!
- Restored 316 – I love, love, love Restored 316 themes! They are absolutely gorgeous and have incredible support for all their themes. Honestly, I could easily be a theme junkie and would probably have almost every one of them, if I could. But, if you’re like me and can’t afford to be a theme junkie, they have this brilliant quiz to help you figure out which one is right for you! Just click below!
So there you have it….my must-have blogging resources.
If you’ve been on the fence about starting a blog, you’re ready to go but just don’t know where to begin or you’ve been blogging for awhile but not seeing any growth or making the money you would like to be making, I highly recommend these resources to you.
If you have any questions and/or need help getting started, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help!
Do you have a blogging resource that you love? Tell me, tell me! I’d love to try it out! Just leave me a comment below!
Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter below to get more tips and strategies for propelling your blog to the next level!
Until next time, my friend…..
Special Note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change.
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Learning how to put our complete trust in God isn’t easy. We say we trust God, but what we really mean is that we trust Him for what we want, when we want it. At Footprints of Inspiration we uncover who you are and why you were created; how to walk in healing through forgiveness; and how to go before the Lord with confidence. Through this journey, you’ll discover that it truly is possible to experience peace, even in the hardest times in your life.
Tammy Rotzoll is the founder and owner of Footprints of Inspiration and podcast host at A Faithful God Podcast (which can be found on your favorite podcast player). She lives in Virginia with her husband and together they’re learning how to navigate their fun, new adventure as empty nesters.
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