THE TOOLBOX: TOOLS, LINKS, AND RESOURCES TO GROW YOUR BLOG
There are lots and lots of blogging tools to help you create an awesome blog! I’ve compiled a list of the many tools, links, and resources that I have used and would recommend. I stand behind them 100%! I'll add more as time goes on, and I try new things. My hope is this list will help you on your journey to making your dream come true of helping others through blogging and creativity.
BLOG HOSTING AND WEBSITES
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool. It's a powerful blogging and website content management system (or CMS). You will need a web host first (I recommend Bluehost), then you simply download and install WordPress. It's completely customizable and easy for beginners.
Bluehost. As stated above, you need a web host in order to download WordPress. I've used Bluehost in the past and loved it! It's incredibly user friendly (especially for beginners), economical for all you get (free domain name, email, hosting), and their customer services is THE best (24/7). They're having a sale right now $3.49/mo. Click here to find out more.
SquareSpace. It’s an all-in-one hosting and content management solution. You can even get your domain name through them so there's nothing at all to set up. It's easy to learn. But is not as customizable as the WordPress/Bluehost combo.
Shopify. I used Shopify at my previous job for their greenery sale they had once a year and for an online jewelry store. I did a lot of research on different e-commerce solutions, and Shopify turned out to be the best option, hands down! It’s extremely easy to use and has an easy and attractive buying experience for your customers. You can:
- Try Shopify for Free
- Create your online store in just 60 seconds
- Sell on Pinterest with Shopify
ConvertKit is an email service created just for bloggers. The owner is a professional blogger who also creates and sells his own products. SO, you know it is powerful.
ConvertKit is different than most other email services in that it gathers subscribers and also markets to them. You can create custom opt-in incentives to match the content, you don't get charged for duplicate subscribers, you can compare the success or failure of various forms you use, and there's so much more. It's well worth every penny!
Next to hosting (such as Bluehost) and your content management system (like Wordpress), your first money as a blogger should be spent on a ConvertKit account. Building your email list and marketing to them effectively is one of the most important things you need to do.
MailChimp. They have a free account for up to 2,000 subscribers. This is a great place to begin if you are just starting out and don't have the cash to use ConvertKit. Check out this article: 5 Reasons You Should NOT Switch From MailChimp To ConvertKit for more details.
Tailwind is one of the best Pinterest marketing and analytics platforms around. It's used by over 35,000of the world’s leading brands, and they are still growing. If you are planning to use Pinterest to market your business or service, then you need to check it out. Plans begin at only $9.95/month.
BACKUP AND ONLINE STORAGE
Dropbox. Dropbox is great for uploading files so you can have access to them wherever you are and can share with others. Storage of your work is important and uploading to the cloud is the best way to do it.
Audible. Reading and constant learning increases your brainpower. If you're having a hard time finding time to sit down and read, consider audible.
You can listen to books instead of or in addition to reading them. I LOVE Audible for myself because I can listen to the book while riding my bike. And think of all the other times you could be listening to the book: cleaning the house, commute to work, waiting in the carpool line, while watching the kids at the pool, etc...
Audible has a 30 day trial period where you get one book free. Cancel before your trial ends and you are not charged a dime. After 30 days, it's $14.95 a month for one book per month (which is about the price of a physical book anyway) and 30% off an additional books you purchase. You can cancel anytime and still keep all your books. Click here for more info and to make sure the pricing is still the same.
So, I don't have this camera. But I've done enough research to know I want it! If you have it, please let me know how you like it!
IMAGES AND PHOTO EDITING
Creative Market. Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. You can find photos, graphics, templates, WordPress themes, fonts and lots of other creative designs.
Pixaby. All images and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0. You may download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free for anything you like, even in commercial applications. Attribution is not required.
PicMonkey. PicMonkey is a helpful photo editing site that I used as my primary photo editing program. It's really easy and the results are top notch professional looking. It's extremely affordable too ($4.99 or $39.99 per year). Check to make sure that pricing is still correct.
Evernote. This is great for gathering and organizing interesting things you find from the web . You can organize notes, articles, documents, ideas, etc. It comes with an app for your phone so when you're out and about and get a great idea - quickly type in a note or speak into the microphone to dictate notes.
It comes with a free version, but you can't store too much. The paid versions are only $34.99/1GB per year and $69.99/10GB per year.
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