As a blogger, you’ll know just how much goes into the every day processes of running a blog. There’s the ideas, writing, photography, graphic design, editing, web development, social media, marketing, networking and sometimes even store-operations! So much to do! And so many non-bloggers think it’s easy…
I can only imagine how great it would have been to find a big resource list like this back when I started blogging. There are tonnes of incredible websites out there just sitting around waiting for you to utilise, to make the whole process of blogging, designing and creating so much more efficient. So here I have for you a wonderful big list of resources for bloggers!
I’ve been searching around for a while now, adding to this list as well as finding the best things inside some of these websites, so you can really make the most of them. Hope it helps you out!
GOOD FOR: Buying domains (eg. www.yoursite.com)
I’ve been using this website for so long now. If anyone asks me where they should buy their domain name from, I recommend GoDaddy, every single time. I find them to be so affordable and easy to use. Their customer service is top quality as well. There have been a couple of occasions during the past few years where I’ve needed their help and when calling them up, I barely have to be put on hold before being able to speak with someone. They have 24/7 support, they’re friendly, ready to help and know exactly what they’re doing.
Buying domains is like buying real estate – the longer you hold onto a good one the more it increases in value. Whenever I think up a good domain name, I buy it, just for that reason. You can re-sell your domains on GoDaddy as well, they just earn a percentage of your sale. I currently own 8 domains, and manage 1 email account and 1 website for someone with them and everything runs smoothly.
GOOD FOR: WordPress hosting
When I finally decided to move Blog Pixie from Blogger to WordPress, one of the biggest decisions for me was which hosting company to go with (the website that holds all your files, posts, images, etc. and makes them appear online). It’s the purchase that costs the most when starting a self-hosted WordPress blog, as most often you have to pay 12 months in advance to start a hosting plan (or that’s the most affordable way to do it). I read a tonne of reviews and finally settled on the GoGeek plan with Siteground. The Siteground customer service person who helped with all the questions I had about it got me all set up. They installed WordPress for me, set up my temporary URL so I could organise the new site while the Blogger one kept running. They were also there on live chat whenever I needed to ask random WordPress questions. It’s actually been a breeze so I’m really happy I decided to go with this company.
GOOD FOR: WordPress hosting
Bluehost is another web hosting company, great for those starting out on WordPress. It was the one I was intending to go with all along, however when I compared the plans between Bluehost and Siteground, Bluehost turned out to be more expensive for the type of plan I required. The low price offer they put forwards to you is great, and all hosting companies do it (even Siteground), however you always have to check how much it’s going to cost when that special deal is up in a year and your plan renews at the normal price. As Blog Pixie is ever growing though, I decided to go with Siteground as it sounded more reliable for the size of my blog and it had quite good reviews. Bluehost is the hosting company recommended by WordPress, so it’s personal preference as to which one you want to go with.
GOOD FOR: Landing/Selling page
I used Instapage as my selling page when I first launched my eBook and I LOVED how easy it was to put together. Took so much stress away from the whole eBook selling process. When you create an account with Instapage, it has an easy to use drag-and-drop builder for your one-page website design. You can easily add text, photos, link buttons and videos. It also creates a mobile-responsive version of your website design at the same time (highly necessary!). I simply added all my photos and text, added a few buttons that said “buy now” and linked them to the checkout link you get from Sendowl if you host your products there. You could literally put a page together in 15 minutes, link it up to a domain name you’ve purchased elsewhere and your new site is live!
GOOD FOR: Running an online course
If you’ve ever wanted to teach a subject and have the ability to drive traffic to your course, this is a great platform to run it with. Teachable enables you to run your ‘online school’ with a website builder to create it and an easy-to-edit online course system. You can allow students to enter your course for free, or you can have them pay and Teachable will take a small percentage from each sale.
GOOD FOR: Fonts, templates, design tools
I feel like I spend most of my money on this website! There’s just so many good things to buy for the creation of your blog and the graphics to go with it. Creative Market is where I found one of my favourite font creators and all sorts of different graphics and brushes that I use on a daily basis! You can find blog themes, stock photography, media kit templates and so much more.
I have my own shop on Creative Market if you want to visit! I’m constantly coming up with new products to add with lots of ideas in the works, so follow my store if you’re interested in hearing when new things arrive.
GOOD FOR: Logo design or blog post images
If you find Photoshop too complicated to understand and you’re looking for a design program that’s quick and easy to use, PicMonkey is for you. The free plan on this website will get you the very basic features – editing, touch ups and fonts. The Royal plan gives you access to more advanced tools with templates, better fonts and the ability to go back and edit your projects after you’ve saved them.
GOOD FOR: Graphic design and editing photos
If you have the time and patience, Photoshop is so worth learning how to use! I always have it open on my computer and I use it for everything including my blog post graphics, logos, side bar graphics, photo editing and the creation of my yearly blog Media Kit. It is quite costly to subscribe to, however if you’re using it on a daily basis and you are creating graphics that contribute to the success of your blog, then it’s worth every dollar.
GOOD FOR: Fonts
If you’re just starting to play around with new fonts, this is a great site to download them for free. You can find lots of fonts that are free for personal use, meaning you can use them in projects that aren’t to be sold. There are also Demo fonts which enable you to download them for free, test them out and then if you want to use them in a personal or commercial project, you can purchase the font. Just check beside each font what it says in regards to how you can use it, or read through the little document that comes in each download folder.
GOOD FOR: Creating blog graphics
Just like PicMonkey, Canva takes the stress out of trying to learn Photoshop. If you want a program where you can create pinnable blog post graphics, social media graphics and anything else where images and text are combined, Canva is super easy to use. They even have great templates to use if you’re stuck on where to begin.
GOOD FOR: Editing and creating graphics
I was so happy when I found this website, as it’s so similar to Photoshop! I know a lot of people can’t afford to purchase Photoshop or pay the subscription fee, so this is such a good alternative and it’s free to use. You can create a new document at any size you like, add text, add layers and lots more.
GOOD FOR: Growing your Pinterest
My favourite social media platform right now is Pinterest. I have two accounts, one for Flip And Style and one for Blog Pixie. I tend to add to the Flip And Style one a whole lot more as it’s packed with inspiration for every day life. I recently signed up to BoardBooster with the free trial to see if I could grow my followers on my Flip And Style account and woah. It started increasing way more by the day.
The way it works is you select which boards you’d like to focus on, you add them to the scheduler page on BoardBooster and they will add Secret Boards (which only you can see) to your Pinterest profile. When you add images to those Secret Boards on Pinterest, BoardBooster will work across the time frame you’ve selected to push those pins into your real Pinterest boards. Who needs to sit on Pinterest all day when you’ve got a virtual assistant to do it for you!
GOOD FOR: Scheduling social media posts
This social media scheduler is best for those who love Facebook and Twitter. I personally like to manually post in real time for both of those platforms, so I don’t make use of Buffer. However, if you’re really trying to get your posts on both FB and Twitter seen at different time zones, this is great platform to keep on top of it all in the one place. It does include Instagram but unfortunately can only send you reminders for it, rather than push posts in full to the platform.
GOOD FOR: Copy and paste Emojis
Whenever I’m posting to Twitter or Facebook I love to use Emojis. They add a touch of personality and interest to whatever you have to say, and are just fun in general. This site has every possible emoji you can scroll through. If you’re at your computer and want to add something to a social media platform that doesn’t have the option to select an Emoji, you can simply copy and paste one in from this site.
GOOD FOR: Selling eBooks!
This is the platform I use to sell the Blog Pretty eBook and I really have only good things to say about it! It was easy to set up my product to sell, to grab the selling button URL for the button on my sales page, to track sales and to run my Affiliate program. I haven’t had an ounce of trouble and I plan to stick with Sendowl for all upcoming eBooks too!
GOOD FOR: Running an online store
Shopify is one of the most successful e-commerce platforms online. They provide you with a shopfront which you can customise by choosing a theme (much like blog themes) and link up to a domain you’ve bought (or just use the default URL they provide to you). It’s easy to add your products, track your sales and do everything required to run an online business. I have used it before, and I loved it!
GOOD FOR: Running a small online store
I started an Etsy shop towards the end of last year and the process to set up took half an hour at most. It’s where I sell my Blogger themes, and it didn’t take long for my listings to get quite high in search results and gain visibility. This would be the perfect selling platform to use if you’re crafty or great at designing downloads or digital items. I love it for the reason that so many people go there to search for the types of items I sell, so it’s a great way to have your products shown to so many customers that you may not have found otherwise.
GOOD FOR: Anything money related
I’ve been using Paypal since I was about 11 years old. Not only do I purchase online using Paypal, I receive blog payments, send invoices and I also use it as the payment gateway for my shop. I have a business account, which allows me to do this. It’s the most trustworthy money-related platform to use, and a great business tool to manage your finances as you’re able to keep track of income and expenses for your blog.
GOOD FOR: Running a blog shop
You will see the new Blog Pixie site now has a shop – I have used WooCommerce to put that together. WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that you install to your blog. You add your products, choose your payment gateway and sell everything through your WordPress blog! It’s a great way to keep track of everything in the one place.
GOOD FOR: Add a designer theme to your Blogger blog
I have a selection of feminine, minimalist templates for Blogger blogs. They all come with an easy-to-follow instruction manual, however if you need help, I will install it for you and create your header image for free 🙂
GOOD FOR: Incredible interactive WordPress Themes using the Genesis Framework
As you will see, Blog Pixie has a whole new look and that was created with the help of a new theme from Hello You Designs. As soon as I found Jennifer’s themes, I was sold. It took me quite a while to decide which one to go with, but eventually I decided on the Hello Maker theme. I love how interactive they are and I followed Jennifer’s installation instructions to set it all up myself. I could change the colours, add my own images, sort out all my own pages and everything else. It has been a big process – I definitely wouldn’t say it’s been fast and easy (compared to Blogger). The end result though is amazing and I love it.
GOOD FOR: WordPress Themes
There are so many amazing WordPress themes throughout Etsy and if you have a good look through you’ll see there’s quite a few super-affordable ones too! Most Etsy sellers have their own websites separate to Etsy, however you can definitely trust the process of buying your theme through this platform. I sell my Blogger themes through Etsy every day and the customers I’ve had find it easy to download their purchase and contact me if they need help.
GOOD FOR: Feminine WordPress Themes using the Genesis Framework
Another great site to find your perfect WordPress theme. The themes on this site are beautiful, clean and would make anyone’s blog look wonderful. I believe most of the themes on this site require you to purchase the Genesis Framework (see below)
GOOD FOR: Advanced WordPress themes
You may have seen blog themes for WordPress that say they require the Genesis Framework. Genesis is the framework or structure of your blog which allows you to put a wonderful theme on top of it. It enables you to have a WordPress theme that is interactive and interesting, while keeping the back end of your blog up-to-date. Most of the WordPress themes I’ve been interested in are child themes, requiring you to own the Genesis Framework as well to be able to apply it to your blog. What’s great is once you’ve purchased Genesis, it’s yours to use with as many blogs as you like. You just have to install Genesis to your WordPress blog, then install a child theme (like the one I’ve got from Hello You Designs) and everything is good to go.
GOOD FOR: Sending large files
Don’t you hate it when you go to send a document or photo to someone via email and it tells you the file size is too large? With WeTransfer you can send files up to 2GB in size (20GB with the Plus plan) for free. I used this website like crazy during the creation of my eBook, as with all the graphics included it was a big file to send. My email provider just couldn’t do the job!
GOOD FOR: Making to-do lists
This app has become so helpful lately! I have it on both my computer and phone, and as I have an account it syncs my lists up to both. You can create categorised lists with points to check off, and as you check an item off the list it makes a cute “ding!” sound and disappears. I love to use this for blog post ideas, tasks and instagram post ideas.
GOOD FOR: Sending mailing list emails
This website is great for those who are just starting out with their blog mailing list. It’s super easy to create great looking emails. You can have lists for different groups of people and select who you want to send particular emails to. You can also track who opens the email, who unsubscribes and who clicks on the links inside your email.
GOOD FOR: Gaining mailing list subscribers
I haven’t used Convertkit yet but I’m thinking of getting it soon! If you’ve been onto blogs that offer something for free if you sign up to their mailing list, they’re most likely using Convertkit. It’s not easy to collect email addresses, so offering an incentive for signing up and having it sent off immediately to every new subscriber is a great way to draw people in.
GOOD FOR: Tracking your blog’s statistics
I have been using Statcounter for a lonnnng time. I find it so much easier to understand than Google Analytics. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely use GA. However, I like to use Statcounter as well for those times when I quickly want to check where my traffic is coming from, what they’re clicking on and look at clearer graphs of my blog traffic by month and year. I sometimes feel as though GA is like a maze to get through. For Statcounter to work, you just need to create an account, add the code they provide somewhere on your blog (I put mine in a HTML widget in the footer) and it will start tracking away.
GOOD FOR: Beginner – Intermediate bloggers
This, my friends, is my very own eBook! I put my heart and soul (and lots of time!) into this project and I couldn’t be more proud of it. It’s packed full of my best advice, tips and tricks for turning your blog into a beautiful business and running it in the best way possible. It also includes my personal blogging story and experiences I’ve had along the way. I fill you in on how to improve the appearance of your blog, how to create better blog posts, how to market your blog, make money as a blogger and so much more! If you want to take your hobby blog to the next level, it’s worth a read.