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Blog Resources for getting started with your Own Blog
As Grace and I put together the framework for our new blog about Aging and More, we have leveraged a great deal of information from the web. There are so many incredibly helpful blog resources available for starting your own blog. And so we thought that we’d share the blog resources that we’ve found along our journey into blogging, with the hope that you might also find some of them useful.
If you are just starting a blog of your own, drop us note and let us know what you are up to! We’d love to learn along the way with you! If you’ve found other blog resources that you think we might like to know about, or if you have your own content or course that we could learn from – let us know!
Getting Started with Blogging
In fact, before you start, I’d recommend you take a read of the State of Blogging Industry – 2017 Report put out by ConvertKit. It contains some very interesting information that you might find valuable, in advance of getting started with a blog of your own.
Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook – How I turned my hobby blog into a six-figure income in just two years – by Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and her Blog is our number one go-to reference for getting starting with blogging. We picked up Abby’s course shortly after she launched it a few years back and were so impressed with her thoroughness in teaching us how to build a successful blog! She has continued to update and enhance the content since then. We think that any journey into blogging should consider Abby as a source of inspiration and learning!
CreativeLive, is a super resource with so many online teaching videos. If you catch their live broadcasts, you can learn for free! If you want to revisit the content, you can purchase the courses! We have watched so many courses over the past few years! Photography, branding, marketing, lettering. Lots of different topics! Something for everyone!
There are a number of web-hosting services available and for a wide range of pricing. We personally have opted to go with the services available through Dot5Hosting because they allow us a lot of flexibility for growth of our online presence. Any of the following though are well-rated and well-reviewed by many others. It comes down to personal preference really. Take a look into the options and find one that suits your own needs.
Dot5Hosting is the hosting service that we’ve chosen to use for Aging and More. Its monthly fees are reasonable and their service has been, thus far, excellent!
BlueHost is another fantastic hosting service that is very highly recommended and most affordable. It came in a close second for our hosting, and so I feel that it is worth mentioning here, in the event that it better suits your needs than our top choice of Dot5Hosting!
GoDaddy is a very familiar name in the services of domain registration and hosting, that you could consider if the above options are not quite what you are looking for.
Responsive WordPress Themes
In the end, we settled on Soledad and made our purchase through ThemeForest which is part of Envato, which is where I purchased themes in the past for other web projects that I have been involved with. Soledad is the #1 Best Selling Blog & Magazine WordPress Theme of this year! And let me say – it has be a pleasure to work with. Super easy. Great instructions. Wonderful support! Worth every penny!
Creative Market is an email list worth subscribing to! They deliver 6 FREE design elements (photo, font, templates, etc) each and every Monday in a Happy Monday email that we look forward to! The quality of their products and their pricing makes adding great design content a no-brainer! Check out their WordPress Templates! Some lovely options available!
Once you’ve got your Responsive WordPress Theme set-up with your web host, there is no limit to the number of plugins that you can access to further enhance the functionality of your WordPress theme. Here are a few of the ones that we’ve installed and are using. And a few more that are on our development wish list!
MailChimp for WP
ConvertKit – what a powerhouse!! But it isn’t for everyone! Check out this blog post: 5 Reasons you Should NOT Switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit to decide if it is right for you!
Yoast SEO is a Search Engine Optimization plugin that you should absolutely not go without! They have so many features that you’ll need! Everything from XML Sitemaps to Google Search Console and Webmaster connections! They have a premium viersion: Yoast SEO Premium that is well worth considering!
Affiliate Marketing for many is the secret sauce that turns their hobby blog into an income generator.
We do not even pretend to have this figured out yet, but are super stoked to have crossed paths with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. She has put together a comprehensive course to introduce you to the business-size of blogging and affiliate marketing. I debated making this purchase for a long time, as I do consider my technology skills to be fairly advanced, and just wasn’t sure that investing in another course was what I needed to do. But man! Am I ever glad that we decided to gain access to Michelle’s knowledge and teaching through her course. Super star! High on our recommendation list of blog resources for bloggers of any experience level!
Social Media Engagement / Management
Jenna Kutcher’s The Instagram Lab Course is the tops! She has put together one amazing interactive course on leveraging Instagram to reach your tribe of ideal readers. She reminds us that quality, not quantity is the key! Check out what else she has to say! Well worth the investment!
Board Booster is new resource that we are going to give a go. We’ve heard amazing things about how it works and so far we have no reason to double the rave reviews! I suspect that Board Booster is going to be a part of our Pinterest strategy! Give it a try!
Hootsuite is one of many social media schedulers. I love that I can work from my laptop or desktop to schedule everything and then run the actual Instagram posting from my smartphone. There is something so much nicer about working from my computer – I feel more organized! Then the reminders come out to my phone and I just paste in the content!
Tailwind – another Pinterest strategy essential in my opinion. It is super for prescheduling content – and it will even pin at optimal content contributing times throughout the day!
Iconosquare is a powerful Instagram analyzer that I’ve used in the past and will be looking to hook up to our @agingandmore Instagram Account in the coming months!
CoSchedule Plug-in – this is one that is one my list of development wishes. I’ve not installed it yet, but it will just be a matter of time until I get it plugged-in and working to keep us organized and on track! I might even be able to drop some of our other resources in favour of this one, once I have it mastered!
Email List Building
I’m just compling our list of favourites and will update when I’ve finished my learning and assessment!
Branding / Design Elements / Photography
CreativeLive has some great courses on branding and photography! Try to catch the free live broadcasts – and you can learn a lot for little!
Pixabay.com – Photos that are available for commercial use without attribution requirements – and free! Wonderful site! And if you create an account, you won’t have to enter the CAPTCHA code on every photo downloaded. And if you are feeling like sharing the love, you can buy the creator of your image a coffee!
Spectacular stock images are abundantly available on Shutterstock! Shutterstock does charge, but there are great monthly packages that make their quality images really quite affordable and when you see the selection I’ll bet your search for the perfect image will be nearly complete!
I’m going to mention Creative Market again because it is worth mentioning! And if you haven’t signed up to get their weekly email with FREE goods, get on it! Totally worth getting an email delivered to you every Monday! One of my favourite blog resources, to be sure!
Webinars / Online Courses
Teachable – WOW! What else is there to say! If and when the day comes that we offer online consulting or teaching, we’ll be using Teachable, I’m sure! Teachable believes that anything is teachable! And they help you do in a simple and stylish way! As I write this, Teachable is hosting their 4th Grow your Following Summit. It is cram-packed full of amazing teaching that we are eating up this week!
Trello – if you have not been introduced to Trello before, allow me the pleasure! I don’t know how I ever managed before Trello! We’ll I do know – and it involved a whole lot of post-it notes and Moleskin notebooks! Trello is an incredible blog resource, believe it or not. You can create lists and tasks and reorder them, schedule them, code them, assign them – just about anything! Grace and I use it for brainstorming and planning our blog posts and managing the writing and posting process. We power-up to include a calendar, which make scheduling our work, outside of WordPress super easy. And it is sync-able to all our mobile devices, so there is no need for post-it notes or notebooks. When a thought strikes, it can be captured in a place that we’ll be able to action, as appropriate! We LOVE it and don’t know how we ever managed without it!
Evernote is a program that I have been using for years – syncs from my phone, laptop, tablet – keeps me organized to the 9’s! There is a basic-free version or a Plus or a Premium version that is what I’m using. Love it! If you want to check it out for free, I’d be happy to send you a link. Drop me a note and ask me for an “Evernote Referral”
Moleskin are one of those kinds of notebooks that you just always want to have with you. They even make Evernote Smart products that let you write in your notebook and then capture your work into your Evernote App – now how organized and efficient is that! So even though I see us moving a lot of our general organization to Trello in the coming months, I’ll always have a Moleskin near at hand!
These are products and blog resources that we have been exploring and giving a try. We offer no guarantee of success. But we’re muddling along ourselves and happy to share our imperfect journey with you! If you have blog resources that you’ve found to be helpful, or even offer your own product or teaching that you think we might benefit from – drop us a line!