Interested in blogging, or been blogging for a while and want to shake things up? Here’s a list of my recommended blogging tools.
Blogging is an amazing journey. I’ve found my true passion with My Sweet Home Life.
But blogging isn’t easy. It certainly isn’t as easy as many people would have you believe – you know those ones saying how they earned $10,000 a month in their third month of blogging, working only 10 hours a week? Yeah right, as we say in New Zealand!
A regular income from a blog takes a LONG time for most. There is so much to learn.
But that depth and breadth of what you have to learn is also what makes it so interesting!
If you have a love of words, a love of people and a love of learning, I am sure you will love blogging as well.
I don’t teach blogging. My passion doesn’t lie there. But in the two years I’ve been blogging, I have signed up for services, taken courses and joined groups that have helped me on my blogging journey.
If you’re considering starting a blog or wondering what products other bloggers use and recommend, check out my list below.
Some of these products are more suitable for intermediate bloggers or those not worried about investing money in their blog prior to earning an income from it.
Note that I’ve attached affiliate links here for your convenience. This means if you click on a link and purchase an item, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Click here for my full disclosure policy.
The first you need to do is to actually get a site. You need a self-hosted site – not wordpress.com or blogger for example. This is because you don’t own the site in that instance and it is WAY harder to make money from it down the track. So start off right with a wordpress.org site.
Bluehost is a great host for beginning bloggers because it is super cheap to start. Over 90% of blogs don’t last a year and that’s why a cheap investment is the way to go until you are sure this is for you.
There’s often great deals to be had, usually a free domain name when you sign up, and what’s more, if you have Ebates, you get $10 off! (If you don’t have Ebates, you can sign up here, and you also get $10 credited to your account just for signing up!)
Before you click on the link, however, you need to make sure you have some ideas for a blog name.
A couple of considerations here: .com is still best.
Don’t name your site a .net or other version of another domain. You could get done for copyright infringement.
Don’t go for cutesy spelling. People will make mistakes when they type in your blog name.
Do go for something simple and easy to remember that reflects what your blog is about.
Sign up for Bluehost today.
If you’ve been blogging for a while and want to change hosts, then I recommend Lyrical Host.
Lyrical Host has fast servers, amazing support, reasonable prices (especially when you get past the intro offer cheap hosts like Bluehost and Siteground have) and importantly for me, is run by a woman (this blog supports female run businesses where possible).
Their customer base is goal-driven, intelligent women who want to make this world a better place through their corner of the internet.
Sound like you?
They’ll migrate your site for free – and I can attest they worked through the night to get mine done with no issues whatsoever. They’ll install Google analytics, Facebook pixels and help with a huge range of technical issues beyond that of your usual host.
Each month, some of your hosting spend goes directly to non-profits and charitable
causes all over the world. Some of the causes they support include children’s education in Mozambique and mental health help for people across Africa and Asia.
Could there be any more to love?
Actually there is – a 10% discount on your first purchase.
Sign up here and enter the discount code SWEETHOMELIFE for 10% off.
Once you have your domain name and your host, you’re going to need a theme.
I had no idea what I was doing when I first started and bought a theme from Mojo Marketplace. That was such a mistake – I got hardly any support and a few months down the line, the developer disappeared and not long later my theme started causing issues because it wasn’t updated.
I recommend the Studiopress Genesis Framework (which is a parent theme). The Genesis framework is structured in such a way to support you with SEO (which you will come to care about!).
Then I recommend Restored 316 for your child theme. If a parent theme is a body, the child theme is the clothing!
Restored 316 themes are beautiful. The support documentation is awesome (I was able to set up the site myself using their documentation no problem) and they are so ridiculously helpful. There is also a Facebook group you can join where you can get help from others on customization.
Don’t believe people who say you need a custom design for your blog immediately. It actually takes time to even learn what you want.
Since you can customize the newer Restored 316 themes with ease, I can’t see myself ever not using them. I’m currently using the Refined Theme.
This quiz from Restored 316 will tell you which of their themes is best for you.
If you need more help with all the above, try this free course from Problogger.
I started off with Mailchimp because it was free. I used to dread writing my newsletter every week, it was that clunky and painful.
I signed up briefly with Drip and I couldn’t understand a thing.
Even when I wasn’t making enough money to pay for it, I decided to switch to Convertkit.
Convertkit is super easy to use, has awesome functionality, excellent support, and does awesome challenges, such as a free 30 day Product Creation Masterclass.
Once you get into affiliate marketing, I recommend Shareasale as your first affiliate network. There are so many awesome companies they work with, including Wayfair, Erin Condren, Craftsy and more. They are also reasonably easy to get accepted into when you are a new-ish blogger.
You will also want to sign up with Amazon. Please bear in mind you need to make three sales within a short period of time, so wait until you have enough traffic that this is likely to happen.
I would focus my efforts on building traffic and move on to affiliate marketing when I was at 10,000 page views a month, though this does depend on the niche of your blog.
GAME CHANGING COURSES AND RESOURCES
Pot Pie Girl’s products have been game changers for me.
Please note that the ones I am recommending are NOT for beginners.
Pin Signals is a must read for anyone trying to get traffic on Pinterest.
In addition, I have found 10 step blog post SEO improvement to be super helpful in improving my rankings in Google.
Just prepare yourself for a lot of marketing emails.
Phew – it’s a big list!
If you have any questions about any of the products or services mentioned here, please get in touch through my contact page.
In the meantime, happy blogging!