I have been blogging for a long time – and over the years I have tried a ton of blogging tools.
I think I was looking for the secret weapon that would make my traffic explode overnight.
Well, I have come to realize that the secret weapon is ME.
The amount of work that I put in directly correlates with the results that I get out.
That being said – there are certain things that you do need to build a successful blog.
Here are some of the resources that I use.
Every blog needs a host and mine is Big Scoots.
Love love love! I can't say enough good things.
I have a managed WordPress hosting plan and the price I pay is worth every penny.
In the past I tried shared hosting on other hosts and I wasted so much TIME trying to figure out things like cpanel and databases and whatnot.
I am not a technical person and I would rather have people with experience handle all of that for me.
That being said, Big Scoots also does offered shared hosting plans at a fraction of the cost of managed hosting.
So the good news is – if you can't swing the price of managed WordPress hosting, you can still use Big Scoots!
WordPress has come a LONG way since the old days. It is user friendly and so easy to learn.
But you do need a solid theme to keep it running smoothly.
When it comes to WordPress plugins – less is more. Try to only install ones that you are going to use.
But here are a few that add functionality to my blog that I can't do without.
- ConvertBox – this is the plugin and service that I use to place email sign up boxes on my site. It is a fantastic service and they are currently running a lifetime subscription offer.
- Pretty Links – this is a plugin that you can use to create clean redirection links for your affiliate links. The biggest advantage is that if your affiliate partner changes their link structure – you can just change the target of your Pretty Link and you are good to go.
- RewardStyle Widget – to use this you must be a member of RewardStyle. If you need an invite use my contact form to reach out to me.
- WP Rocket – I use this plugin for caching and helping to optimize my site speed.
Photos and Photo Editing
Images are a big part of blogging. You need services and equipment to take and edit your photos.
Here are some of the things that I use.
- Canva or PicMonkey – (or both!) Each has great photo editing and graphic creation features
- Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 II or my iPhone camera – you just need something that takes good pictures
- a set of box lights and/or a ring light – this will brighten up your photos especially if you don't have a lot of natural light
- GlideGear Table Top Stand – I use this contraption to take flatlay images of products that I feature on my blog
These days I try to use a lot of my own photography on my blog.
But when time is tight or for a post where my own photos don't make sense, then I use one of two stock photo services.
- Haute Stock is my favorite for feminine stock photography. The pictures are gorgeous and there is always new content.
- Deposit Photos is another great place to get a variety of stock photos. Sometimes they have a deal on AppSumo so it's good to check there too.
- MailerLite – I have found MailerLite to be a very robust email platform that is reasonably priced and has many integrations. You can read my Mailerlite review here.
- ConvertKit – in the past I have used ConvertKit and many bloggers do like it.
Social Media Schedulers
The only social media scheduler that I use at this time is Social Bee.
I own more blogging courses than I can possibly mention – but these are the few that have really made an impact on my blogging.
- Stupid Simple SEO – hands down this course has helped me grow my search engine rankings
- Blog By Number – a great and affordable course for all beginner bloggers
- Printables By Number – if you plan to offer printables on your site – this shows you how to make them quickly and easily
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – learn how to use affiliate marketing to monetize your blog
- Course By Number – learn how to create courses to monetize your blog
Other Blogging Tools
TextExpander – this is an app that creates keyboard shortcuts on your computer for lines of repetitive text and even long snippets that you use over and over again.
It saves me so much time! I really could not do without it.
You can read my TextExpander Review here.
I am pleased to be able to offer my readers a TextExpander coupon for 20 percent off – simply click here.