*Note: some links may contain affiliate links (meaning if you end up purchasing something when you click on the link then I may get a commission on it, with no extra cost to you, of course). For more information on what this means, visit my disclosure page.
The Best Blogging Resources That Will Actually Move Your Blog Forward!
Thinking about starting a blog, but don’t know where to start?
Or, maybe you have a blog but feel stuck in your place and feel like you’ll never get your blog to grow, it just won’t budge!
Trust me, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
There is so much information out there on blogging:
What’s working for one person.
What worked back in 2016.
Viral pins that give other bloggers what seems to be overnight success, and then they try to teach you how they did it. But, in all honesty, they have no idea themselves. Maybe they had had great keywords and actually knew what they were doing…..or, it got picked up by a much more successful blogger and was shared with thousands of more readers because of that.
I’ve been working my way through blogging ecourses and ebooks for the past two years. They, in general, have a lot more useful information in them than any blog post will. That’s why people pay for them.
And, some are great and moved the needle forward for me, whereas others (that I won’t mention) did nothing for my blog, even when completely implemented!
In this post you’ll find:
- the best tools to help you start and grow your blog
- Ebooks and Courses to help you gain traffic through Pinterest or SEO (google traffic)
- the best company ever that you need to be aware of when their Blogging Bundle is on sale
- resources to help you make sure your blog is legal
- and more to come!!
This is not an exhaustive list of resources, and as I learn more and more about blogging through amazing ebooks and courses, this post will be updated to reflect them. So, make sure you bookmark this, or pin the image below to your blogging related board on Pinterest, to make sure you can refer back to it!
How to Start a Blog: Step by Step for Beginners
5 Things You Must Have to Start Your Own Blog
How to Create Beautiful Pins for Pinterest on Canva!
The Best Tools to Start Your Blog
To start your blog, there will be a few things you absolutely need.
I actually wrote a full post on exactly what you need and why here, but for a basic overview…
You will need:
- A hosting company (this is like paying rent for your space on the internet)
- A platform to work on your blog (this is like the physical home that you’re paying rent for)
- A theme (this determines what your blog looks like, it can be free or you can pay for one)
- A tool to create graphics for your blog and social media
- And, social media accounts (so you’ll be able to grow your blog using different platforms)
I have used two hosting companies since I started blogging.
And, I will put my two cents in here, because this is my blog and I don’t want you to suffer and stress like I did.
I started with Bluehost (<– notice, no affiliate link). This hosting company was recommended by a much more successful blogger that I trusted, so I thought it’d be all good.
Read about my experience with Bluehost here, and why I DO NOT recommend them!
So, do yourself a favor, and don’t go with Bluehost.
The second hosting company I tried, and am still with is Siteground (<– notice, affiliate link, this company is great)!!
Siteground has amazing customer service. It’s like they actually care! Which is very rare to find in customer service representatives nowadays.
Their prices are comparable to Bluehost, but much better quality hosting. Since I switched to them, I haven’t had a single instance where my site was down! Plus, they make it super simple to upgrade your plan when your blog traffic increases and you outgrow the plan you’re on.
I started with their lowest plan, and after taking this course, I had to upgrade to their GrowBig plan because my traffic kept increasing!
So, if you’re not getting at least over 100K pageviews, or probably even sessions, a month; I’d highly recommend Siteground!
If you are getting plenty of traffic, too much for Siteground to handle; I’ve heard that BigScoots is great, though, I’ve never used them myself.
There are two major platforms to use for blogging that have pretty much become the standard.
They are WordPress.org and squarespace.
My preference has always been wordpress.org because there’s a lot more you can customize with it. Many, many successful bloggers, like those who you see pushing out income reports of $10K+ months, use wordpress.org. Plus, Siteground has a plan specifically for this platform, so it just makes sense.
Since it’s so popular, there’s plenty of sources to get help with it if you ever feel lost! (Like Youtube, Google, and this amazing and FREE course.)
Many bloggers will tell you that one theme is way better than another and have a strong preference. Honestly, this one is up to you and how you want your site to look.
I started with a free theme and then moved to one that was paid after about 10 months of blogging. It was actually a bonus in The Genius Bloggers Toolkit, so the theme felt free to me, but has the quality of a paid theme. The theme I have right now is Isabelle from Bluchic. There’s a very good chance I’ll change themes again along my blogging journey.
And, if you really want, you could have a completely customized theme.
If you ever find a site that you love the theme (look) of, most blogs will show at the bottom of the site where the theme is from.
Photo Editor or Graphics Editor
There are many different ways to make photos or graphics for your blog or to post on social media.
There’s paid and free options, photo editing, or simple graphic design editors. What you use may be based on preference, or on what you can afford.
If you haven’t been able to tell already, I’m a bit frugal when it comes to blogging (or any type of) expenses. So, I use the free version of canva to create graphics for my blog, my pins, and other social media graphics.
If for any reason I need something more extensive to edit a photo, such as making the background transparent (like for logos), I’ll use GIMP; also a free program.
Social Media Accounts
These are obviously, and luckily, free, even for business accounts.
There are four main social media platforms you’ll want to grab your blogs name for right away, and those are:
- Pinterest (go here to create business account)
- A Facebook Page
- Twitter (go here to create business account)
- and, if you’re big on video, you’ll want Youtube, as well
And, because you’ll ask if you are just starting out, it’s really up to you whether you switch your personal account to a business account, or start fresh with a new account. You’ll most likely want to just start new accounts that are business accounts, that’s what I did. Though, I only had a Pinterest account, with like 7 followers on it, before I started blogging. So, your situation may be slightly different!
You will need a business account, though. If you don’t have a business account then you won’t have access to useful analytics. And those analytics can help you and your blog grow!
The Best Tools to Grow Your Blog
So, you know I’m not big on spending money, so there won’t be too many tools in this section, and what is in this section will either save you money, sanity, or time, in the long run (or short term)!
I could not blog and stay consistent on Pinterest without Tailwind. No question about it!
My first year of blogging, I did not have Tailwind; I pinned manually.
It sucked, it took so much time. I tried different systems, ones I read about or tried creating myself. The best I got was spending 30-60 minutes a day pinning on Pinterest. Now, that may not seem like a long time, but when you’re a mom and have limited time during the day to work on your blog in the first place; it’s a lot of time. And, that’s not even including the time it took to create the pins, that’s just pinning time!
Now, I schedule pins for new posts as soon as I finish the post, and spend maybe an hour or two a week, or every other week, filling up the rest of my pinning schedule on Tailwind.
Total sanity (and time) saver!!
If you want to try it out, you can get a free month of it here!
Email Service Provider
Bloggers need an email service provider to grow their email list, grow their blog, and not get in any huge legal trouble. It’s just how it is, and there are some email providers that are better than others.
The great thing about the list you grow, is it’s yours. You control how often you speak to the people on your list and what they see from you (as long as they open up your emails).
The best email service provider out there, that is simple to use and has great customer service, is Convertkit.
The only reason you shouldn’t use Convertkit is if you can’t afford it, whether paying annually or monthly.
Convertkit is usually offering a free trial of some length at all times, in case you want to try it out before paying for it; check it out here!
If your concern is price, the next best email service provider, that’s free to start out, would be Mailerlite. This is the email service provider I currently use. It’s free up to 1,000 email subscribers. Once I hit that number, I’ll be moving my list over to Convertkit since they have a better deliverability rate, which means a better open rate, too!
As a disclaimer, Mailerlite did have some issues being marked as spam last year, which I believe has affected how well they actually deliver the emails, and have them not end up in subscribers spam folders. Many bloggers, including myself, saw a decrease in open rates after their issue, and it hasn’t gone back up much since then. I’d still recommend them over Mailchimp, though, which was the first email provider I had.
Since it’s free up to 1000 subscribers, there isn’t much risk, go ahead and check it out here.
The Best Ebooks to Grow Your Blog
Ebooks are a great way to learn and grow your blog, especially if reading is how you absorb information the best, like I do!
You can go at your own pace, don’t have to worry about waking up little ones by watching, or listening, to a video, and can read just about anywhere if you download the ebooks on your phone. I have my google drive synced to my phone, so I always have all my ebooks with me!
Another great thing about ebooks is the price, at least compared to the same information that’s put into an ecourse. The downside is that there are a lot of ebooks out there promising more than they actually deliver; whether the author had a lucky break and thinks what they did will lead to everyone having success or they’re just trying to sell more copies to make money. But, there are some out there that will lead you to either success, at least if you do the work and apply what you learn from them.
The books below have helped my traffic, and understanding of Pinterest, improve; along with helping me never feel stuck on what I should write about next. No writers block here!
Written by the PotPieGirl, aka Jennifer from potpiegirl.com (and other blogs)
This Ebook is about Pinterest and how to gain traffic using what Pinterest gives us to work with. There’s a lot in this ebook about how to create personal board titles. Along with where to find examples to get on Pinterests radar and to have pins start showing up more in search results and other places on Pinterest to be found and get shown to Pinterest users. She also teaches in the ebook, where to pin your pins first, along with a lot more!
Jennifer also has a knack for finding unique strategies, or ways of doing things, that other bloggers hadn’t even thought of before. I had read multiple other ebooks and ecourse on Pinterest before reading this ebook, and I kept having aha moments while reading it!
The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Sells and Hooks
Written by Meera Kothand from http://www.meerakothand.com
This Ebook will ensure you always have something to write about!
Many bloggers, after a little while, will not know what to write about. They may have had a long list of ideas for posts when just starting out, and then that list dwindles down to almost nothing. After reading this ebook (which is super cheap and sold on Amazon) you will not have that problem. It is packed full of action items and bonus worksheets to help you process the information and apply it to your own blog!
I read this book as soon as I got in (in The Genius Bloggers Toolkit) and I have so many post ideas; I don’t know how I’ll ever get to them all! And, the ideas just keep flowing, and flowing, and flowing; I would have to stop the flow of ideas and write at least one post a day for the next year to get through all my post ideas now. (OK, that may be an exaggeration, but you get the point!)
Written/Created by Carly from mommyonpurpose.com
Carly knows her stuff when it comes to Pinterest! There is no denying that. Though, the timing of me getting this ebook and starting to deep dive into learning everything I could about Pinterest started around the same time. So, a lot of what I know about Pinterest and how it works is due this ebook!
She does take the manual pinning approach for Pinterest. Which in all honesty, is what you should do when you are first starting out on Pinterest; so you can pay attention and learn how it works on the platform itself, instead of just learning how a scheduler works. However, you can use a scheduler with her strategies and still get a ton out of this resource!
The best part is, it was updated this past year because of updates that were done on Pinterest over last summer!
She actually turned it into an ecourse, and now it’s even more amazing! You can see, hear, and read what she’s talking about, instead of just reading. Which makes it excellent for all types of learners, not just those who learn best through reading.
Resources that the creator keeps updating are always the best type of resources to get, at least in my opinion!
Go check out this amazing resource here.
The Best Courses to Grow Your Blog
Holiday Season Blog Bootcamp
Created by Caroline from CarolineVencil.com
This is by far, one of the best courses/bootcamps I’ve signed up for! If you click here and scroll down, you’ll even be able to see my testimonial! And, it says it doubled my page views, but it really helped me at least triple them! The course/bootcamp was a month long, started the last week of July, and within the second week of August you can see the first spike in traffic! I can’t guarantee results like these for everyone who enrolls in the course. You have to do the work and implement everything for the course to work for you.
It is also super affordable! Caroline is a finance/budget blogger when not writing about blogging; maybe that’s why she made it super affordable, that even beginning bloggers barely making any money yet can actually afford it. I’m not 100% sure, but that’s my guess.
Check out the sales page here! It was meant to be taken in the late summer to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, but in all honesty, you can get a lot out of it anytime of the year.
Ready Set Blog for Traffic
Created by Elna, from twinsmommy.com (plus many more!)
This course covers a lot! From Pinterest to SEO, and strategies for both! She goes in detail in some of the lessons to teach you how to design pins, even if you’re not great at graphics! Elna starts the course out with some basics, like how to gain domain authority (for SEO) with guest posts, and then goes much more in depth to get google traffic and traffic from Pinterest. She even shows exactly how she was able to grow her blogs by 40K pageviews a month!
I’ve gone through the course twice so far; once when I first got it and had no idea what I was doing yet, then again after she updated it in 2018. I got a lot more out of it the second time around, probably because I actually implemented some of what I learned. She also recently notified her Facebook Group (which I’m in) that she is working on updating the course again, and she wanted our feedback for what to put in it! As soon as she is done with the update I will be going through this course again, and this time I will spend the time to implement everything I learn.
You can check out this course further here!
*I’m also currently going through EBA and DTC. EBA feels more like an outline, or one path for blogging, a ton of encouragement to help you feel like you’ll be successful eventually, no matter what (it may just years to get there). DTC is more for people who want the actual strategies that will help them become successful; there is no fluff and the instructor is willing to simply tell it how it is.
The Best Company to Know About to Get the Best Deal Ever on Blogging Resources
This company is amazing!
And, I’m not just saying that because I’m an affiliate for them!
What they do is bundle together a ton of amazing digital products created by successful bloggers and sell the bundle for super cheap! There’s usually some pretty great bonuses, too! The bonuses are from bigger companies; some are digital and some are physical products where all you have to pay for is shipping.
(Don’t worry, all of the bloggers who have products in these bundles gave permission and had to submit their product to be looked at and tested by the company before being chosen.)
They have many different bundle sales through out the year. The best one for bloggers is called The Genius Bloggers Toolkit!
The products in this bundle change every year, but it only goes on sale once a year, so go here to sign up to be notified when it goes on sale. You don’t want to miss it! (Sometimes there will be a flash sale, too! Super important to get on their email list to know when and if that happens!)
Some of their bundles will be available longer than just a few days or a week, but won’t be as cheap as they were during their dedicated sales period.
Other bundles they have for bloggers (and others who are interested in the topics) are the Ultimate Productivity Bundle (just came out this year) and the Photography Super Bundle!
Ultimate Bundles offer bundled sales on other topics as well, such as in the health and wellness, homemaking, and more niches!
If you would like to be an affiliate and promote their amazing bundles when they go on sale, go sign up here!
Don’t worry if the first couple of sales you make are to family and friends, either (that’s what happened for me- they just have such great deals, I couldn’t resist telling everyone I knew!).
The Best Place to Learn and Get Resources to Help Your Blog Be Legal
I know, I know, no one wants to think of the boring legal stuff when it comes to blogging.
Like I said, it’s generally boring, can seem super complicated, and how do you even know what you need for your blog to be legal, anyways?
I’m no lawyer, so I’m not going to tell you what you need on your blog for it to be legal, but….
I’ll point you in the right direction to find the information you need!
Luckily, there are bloggers who blog about the legal side of blogging!
Some are even actual lawyers or attorneys who blog on the side, or have switched from their law career to a life of blogging about the legal side of blogging!
They have created:
- courses, in case you’re truly lost and need a step by step guide
- ebooks, if you absorb legal info better through reading about it
- templates, to make things super easy for you
- and more!
One such blog with many resources on the legal side of blogging is Jade & Oak!
Jade & Oak
This blog is run by Jackie, you can learn more about her here.
But, what she does is provides information to growing bloggers who may not be able to afford hire a lawyer to do all the legal stuff for them. Some of the resources she offers are free, and some are paid.
I’ve actually used 2 of her paid resources, and they were packed full of information!
Her course Blog and Be Legal is amazing, especially if you’re a new blogger or don’t know much about the legal side of blogging.
Even after researching and trying to find and piece together everything I could about what I needed to blog legally; this course brought up even more important points to consider, and implement, to make sure your blog is legal!
Go ahead and check it out here! (It even includes bonus templates for the Terms and Conditions, Copyright, and Disclaimer statements that you need to have on your blog!)
The other resource I have from Jackie is her ebook The Bloggers Handbook for Keeping it Legal. This ebook discusses legal issues like protecting your own content, partnerships with other bloggers (so you don’t get gypped), give aways, taxes (yuck), and more! It’s even been updated to include GDPR info! (If you don’t know what GDPR is and have an email list with anyone from the EU on it; you better go find out now!)
There’s A LOT of Blogging Resources Out There!
There is so much information on blogging and becoming successful with a blog; it can at the very least make your head spin.
You could spend months, or even years, trying to learn all you possibly can about blogging, and there’ll still be more to learn!
Honestly, the best way to learn, and learn what actually works is to go and start your blog, use the tools above you think will be most useful for you and the lifestyle you want (I couldn’t do this without Tailwind- get your first month free here), start with one ebook or course, and then start implementing everything it tells you to do.
You’re not going to be successful overnight.
You probably won’t even start making money for, at least, a couple of months. And, if it takes longer than that to even make $10; know that it’s to be expected and that blogging is a long term game, not a quick win.
Many of the bloggers who created the courses and ebooks above; it took them a few years to become as successful as they are! Luckily, we can learn from how they found success, so maybe it won’t take us as long.
I made the mistake of not investing much in blogging education for my entire first year in blogging; I bought the Genius Bloggers Toolkit…..nine or ten months after I started blogging. But, I went about those resources the wrong way. I tried to get through the resources as quickly as possible.
Don’t make the same mistakes I made!
Invest in your blogging education, take your time, and apply everything you learn before you move onto anything else. Many strategies you’ll learn above will take at least a few weeks to help you start growing, if not longer.
Give it time, apply what you learn, and simply trust the process; know that the money you’re spending is an investment that will continue to grow, and grow!
If you have a favorite resource not included in the list above; be sure to leave a comment of what it is and how it helped you!
Be sure to share this with others and pin to Pinterest so you can always find it to refer back to!