Want in on my go-to blogging tools?
If you’re building your own blogging business, you don’t wanna miss these. From photo editing, to email providers, to media kit templates, I’ve got you covered.
*Disclosure: Affiliate Links have been used on this page. I only ever recommend tools and products I actually use and love. Promise.
HOSTING & WEB PLATFORMS
WordPress – Use WordPress to create a beautiful and easy to manage site.
BlueHost – For the most reasonably priced hosting service around, you can’t beat BlueHost. Perfect if you are just starting your blog, or plan to keep it as a hobby. Eventually when your page views get high, you may need to consider switching hosts to handle the larger volume. Although I had good experience with BlueHost when I used them, I have heard a few stories from bloggers who haven’t loved the customer service. Click here for my step-by-step tutorial on setting up Bluehost.
SiteGround – Great service, amazing customer service, awesome speed! This is a host you’ll be able to stick with for a good long while, while your blog grows in traffic. Nothing but rave reviews on these guys – I personally have my sites hosted by them. Click here for my step-by-step tutorial on setting up with Siteground.
You need a gorgeous theme to give your blog a “look”. You don’t need to have your site custom designed when there are such amazing premade themes out there! These are my fave theme shops:
- Restored 316* (especially looooooove these! and their customer support is fabulous)
- Eclair Designs*
- Dinosaur Stew*
- 17th Avenue
- Lovely Confetti
* –> shops I have personally purchased from
GRAPHICS & FONTS
Creative Market – My absolute go-to spot for graphics and fonts. Be warned… if you’re anything like me, you are going to spend way too much time checking out all the amazing stuff people are selling over there! From graphic vectors to fonts to stock photos to backgrounds, you can find a ton of great stuff on Creative Market.
Canva – An amazing free photo editing tool. I can spend hours on Canva creating and creating – I love it. They make it easy with templates that are already sized for various purposes, like instagram, pinterest, eBook covers, etc. And using their ready-to-customize layout ideas make you look like a profesh graphic designer.
PicMonkey – I have the Royale version of PicMonkey (about $40 per year) and use this tool a ton. Even though I pay for Adobe Illustrator and also use Canva, I find PicMonkey really easy to edit photos and create graphics.
Haute Chocolate – Subscription based stock photography service. Really beautiful quality photos for those who have an ongoing need for lots of stock photos (particularly with an office/workplace theme).
KateMax Shop – Great prices per stock photo. A feminine look. Lots of flat lays, ones ready for screen overlays, and art prints. Some beautiful interiors shots too!
Stocksy – Amazing selection of royalty free stock photos! You can find just about anything and everything.
ConvertKit – This is the email system I use. It has amaaaaazing functionality for getting a lot more out of your list. You can tag your audience so that you know who is interest in what, create automatic sequences or sales funnels, create opt-in boxes and landing pages, has an RSS option, and so much more. You definitely get a lot for the reasonable price. Oh and it only counts subscribers ONCE (even if they opt in for more than one thing on your site), so you don’t ever double-pay.
MailChimp – If you don’t have a budget for an email service provider when you are first starting out, then you can get going with MailChimp for free. Once you start to really grow your list, I recommend moving over to ConvertKit for the added functionality, but MailChimp is still a great way to get started!
LIST BUILDING TOOLS:
LeadPages – You can build the most amazing landing pages and pop-up’s with LeadPages. They have like the industry gold star – they know exactly what sort of designs convert well, and it’s really easy to create something that looks amazing in no time at all. If you want to create multiple opt-in’s, have landing pages for courses/products/etc, host webinars, and so much more, then they are your go-to software. I went from sitting around 250 emails on my list to over 1500 within a few months after getting started with LeadPages.
SumoMe – I use several of the free options that SumoMe offers, like their header bar, pop up and social sharing buttons. They are amazing tools to helping to encourage people to sign up to your email list and really work! Super easy to setup, you can customize the look, and they integrate with just about every mail service provider.
ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM:
Teachable – I’ll admit that I haven’t actually used a different platform so I don’t have too much to compare it to, but Teachable is an amazing software for delivering online courses. It is crazy easy to navigate and setup, and they handle all the payment processing and back-end stuff really seamlessly. I have enjoyed it both as an online course provider AND as a student (I’ve taken lots of courses from other folks who have used Teachable!).
FAVE BIZ COURSES AND EBOOKS:
Pinfinite Growth – Learn to explode your followers and blog traffic using Pinterest! I took this course and had my first 100,000 blog visitor months once I implemented all of Melyssa’s strategies. My Pinterest now runs on auto-pilot and continues to grow and bring in traffic daily.
Mariah Coz – I have taken multiple courses of hers, including ‘Launch Your Signature Course’ (LYSC), ‘F*** Yeah Funnels’ and a few others that I got as “freebies” when I purchased LYSC. I really enjoy her straight-forward style, and the girl is COMPREHENSIVE. You get a lot for your money when you buy one of her courses. She covers every single base with her videos.
Etsy – This is the best spot to get started with an online shop. It is so quick and easy to launch, they handle all back-end logistics and transactions, and there is a lot of built-in traffic since Etsy is the #1 online handmade marketplace. Use this link to get your first 40 listings FREE!
WooCommerce – If you are running a wordpress website (particularly if using a theme that is designed to integrate WooCommerce), then using this plugin to start selling items on your own site might be just what you need. Especially good if you’re selling multiple products and want that “shop” look.
GumRoad – If you are selling digital products, GumRoad is perfect for processing transactions. The fees are reasonable and it’s super easy to get setup.
MEDIA KIT TEMPLATES:
You need to have a stellar media kit to use as your sales tool when you reach out to brands. Instead of fumbling around trying to make one look good on your own (particularly if you don’t have great software like InDesign), use a template! They are so easy, don’t require special software, and usually cost less than $20. These are my faves:
- Blogger Kit Co – use coupon code GEMMA10 for 10% off!
- Graphicadi – use coupon code THESWEETESTDIGS for 10% off!
- Twelve Skip
- Chic Templates
- The Shine Design Studio
SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULERS:
Boardbooster – I basically want to marry Boardbooster. It has meant that I can be a super active Pinner and continue to grow my following at a good pace and drive traffic back to my blog, but only spend about an hour a week on it. Such a major win! I wrote a super comprehensive tutorial here about how to get your Boardbooster all setup so that it runs on autopilot.
Want to create YOUR profitable blog?
We’ve gone over the tools you need here, but if you want to start a profitable blogging biz, I have a FREE email course that will walk you through so much more.
It’s jammed with useful info on thinking through your niche and target market and how to monetize successfully so that you can turn your blog into a full time biz.
And the best part? It’s FREE!!! Seriously, nothing to lose here.
Create a Profitable Blog: FREE eCourse
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