The following is a list of the key blogging resources that we personally use or have used and that we recommend for those of you who are new to blogging and who are looking to build a blog that you can monetise over time.
Note: Some of the links included below are affiliate links (this costs you nothing at all extra. We may though receive a small commission of any sales from the seller).
Website Development & Blogging Tools
ConvertKit: Developing an email list from the beginning is vital if you plan to make money from blogging and the best platform for doing this is via ConvertKit. ConvertKit is designed by bloggers for bloggers and, compared to other mail list products, we find that it saves bloggers a huge amount of time, because of the ease with which you can create forms, email sequences and so on.
Bluehost: For hosting & a Free domain, a company we have often used are Bluehost. We love this website and blog hosting provider for three main reasons. Bluehost i) Is a cheap hosting company but who provide hosting for thousands of bloggers and thus are developed to provide and support small business owners and bloggers. ii) Bluehost offers a free domain and, importantly, make connecting the domain and hosting really very easy (see our guide on starting your own blog here). iii) Bluehost, from our own experience, offer very good support and are quick to respond. Overall Bluehost is a great affordable option for hosting your website.
ThemeForest: Buying a pre-made template is by far the easiest way to ensure that you have a high-quality WordPress template that also shows correctly on mobile devices (mobile phones, Kindles and iPads etc). The site we most often use is ThemeForest. ThemeForest offers a wide variety of templates that suit a range of niches, whether you require a photography, property, travel or lifestyle site, to give some examples. There are some great templates available at decent prices and support is an optional add-on.
Elegant Themes: One other option (and particularly if you like the design of this site) is to take a look at Elegant Themes. Elegant Themes are the makers of one of the most popular frameworks in the world that bloggers and website owners use for their site aka the DIVI theme (which this site is designed with). The Divi theme enables you to design highly customisable site/s using building blocks to place whatever you want, where you want, on your site.
Logitech C920 HD Webcam: This is a webcam that is extremely good because it is portable (fantastic if you want to make YouTube and training videos on the go) and the quality is outstanding. This camera sits on the top of your laptop (very easy to set-up) and you get HD quality recordings that you would expect to pay a significant amount more money for. I absolutely love it. It also provides a wide-angle picture and it is also easy to travel with. Buy the Logitech C920 HD webcam here.
Social Warfare Pro Plugin: This we consider one of the very best plugins for trying to get social media shares. It comes as a free version or Pro paid version and, on this site, we use the pro version. One of the great benefits is the way in which you can control how your images are pinned on Pinterest and on other platforms (such as Facebook and Twitter) by including your own custom descriptions with each key image. Well worth the very low annual price. Find it here!
Rode Video Mic – We wasted a lot of time fiddling around with microphones (we like to learn things the hard way here 🙂 ) and we realised, after trying 7 different microphones, that the Rode on camera video mic is so highly rated by other bloggers for good reason. We use a Canon 70D camera and this microphone importantly enables you to change the settings to +20dB) to make the audio hiss-free (a common problem with Canon cameras). Whether you use Canon or not, this is one of the best mics on the market and it is also very portable. It is not the cheapest microphone but, if you want to ensure great quality audio and avoid the audio problems many vloggers experience, this is the answer – the Rode Video Mic Pro.
Geo-Screen – You might not need this yourself but this tool is something that we have found very useful on a number of occasions. The Geo-screen screenshot tool takes a snapshot of your site in locations worldwide, so that you can double check how your site looks and loads in locations such as Hong Kong, Berlin, NYC, Sydney and Delhi. If you want to have a clear idea of how your site is cache free, Geo Screenshot is really useful.
Tailwind – this is a massive time-saver for those of you who have discovered Pinterest and the huge levels of traffic that Pinterest can drive to your site. Tailwind (and also BoardBooster) makes it super-easy for you to schedule pins and to monitor the statistics. Pinning often is important for Pinterest success and Tailwind makes regular pinning much easier for you to manage.
Backup Buddy – If you do not already have a process set up for doing automatic backups of your website, we cannot emphasise strongly enough how important this is. What if your site were hacked and you lose the only copy of your site that you have – that you have worked on for weeks, months or even years. Whatever tool you use, do make sure you have at least weekly backups of your site (monthly if you only make changes monthly). The tool we use for all of our sites is BackupBuddy.
FOTOR – Wondering how people make all of these nice amazing images that you see on the likes of Pinterest and that are posted on other social media platforms? The answer is on sites such as FOTOR where there are numerous pre-made templates that are sized optimally for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Designs also include cards, leaflets, book covers and so on. Fotor is a fantastic blogging resource for creating great graphics in very little time! Buy FOTOR here.
Blogging on the Go
Our original reason for becoming bloggers was so that we could travel more. We are now able to work as we travel and these resources we have found to be useful when travelling.
Newer Flash (for a camera) – Having a YouTube video channel can be a great way to further push sales on your site, because it enables your readers to put a face to the words on your site and helps to build trust. The one problem when travelling and blogging though is having equipment that travels.
Furthermore, aside from audio, lighting is one of the key issues with video making. This Newer Flash is really inexpensive and yet does a brilliant job of providing enough light (in most indoor conditions) to make it easy for you to make videos from anywhere, including from a hotel room. You can find the Newer Flash here.
Airbnb we have found to be a fantastic way to combine blogging and travelling mainly because you can rent a whole apartment or villa that comes with internet and decent working space. One trick I have learned also is that, if you rent a place for a whole month, then you will often see a 20% or 25% discount kick-in. Many owners set a significant discount for a full 30-day rental! This makes working from Hawaii for one month really quite affordable! This link gives you £25 (around $38) off your first trip.
DropBox – Whether you are blogging as you travel or simply want to easily be able to jump between locations in your city or house, Dropbox is the solution we use for storing and backing up all our files (although we also backup with an external drive). Dropbox business solution is really affordable and a service we would struggle without. Get Dropbox here.
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