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.
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
If you want a site that looks more like a Squarespace site, use the Make theme from Theme Foundry (it’s what I use for this site!). Shannon Mattern from WP+BFF has an amazing, free 5 day course on how to set it up!
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.
PHOTO & GRAPHIC DESIGN:
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.
Unsplash – Another incredible selection of royalty-free photos you can use. Gorgeous, gorgeous photography!
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.
How to Grow your Email List [free course!]
Want to know how to grow your email list AND how to build "funnels" or email sequences that work on autopilot? Get in on this free email course and I'll show you how!
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!
ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM:
Teachery – If you are thinking of creating an online course, I LOVE Teachery. It’s not as well-known as some of the others out there, but the creator Jason Zook is a really cool dude and one thing I like best about his software is that you can pay a one-time fee if you want to. There are monthly plans, but if you are committed to selling online courses for the long-haul, paying a one time fee is going to save you SO much money. Teachery is crazy easy to navigate and setup, and they handle all the payment processing and back-end stuff really seamlessly.
LEARNING & EDUCATION:
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. If you are interested in creating and selling digital products, Mariah is your girl.
Melyssa Griffin, Pinfinite Growth – Learn to explode your followers and blog traffic using Pinterest! I took Melyssa’s course and had my first 100,000 blog visitor months once I implemented all of her strategies. My Pinterest now runs on auto-pilot and continues to grow and bring in traffic daily. You can watch a free webinar from her here!
BookBoss – Abby Lawson is a super successful blogger in the home decor and organization niche. Part of her monetization strategy has been to create and sell eBooks, and she has done really well with them! If you have ever thought of writing and selling your own eBook, I can absolutely recommend Abby’s course (which I have taken). It’s very comprehensive and helpful, with Abby taking you from start to finish.
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.
Want to Launch a Shop?
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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.
Create a Profitable Blog: FREE eCourse
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