This list contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
I know starting up a new blog can be overwhelming. Trust me! During the process of starting up a new blog you find so much information out there, and it’s hard to decide which ones are going to work for you and which ones aren’t. Here are some of my favorite resources and links so far, and I hope they will help you find your way!
Content Management and Themes
WordPress.org – This piece of software is called a Content Management System and is a self-hosted site. After doing A TON of research on where I wanted to start my blog, I am so glad I ended up here. It allows you to make changes to your site without having to know a ton of code. I know it is tempting to just start with a free option, but in my opinion wordpress.org is totally worth it.
Genesis Framework – Genesis Framework is what is considered a parent theme. It was explained to me like this, Genesis is like the car, and the theme that you purchase (which will be called a child theme) is like the paint that makes it all pretty. This is what drives your site and gives you a rock solid code base.
Pretty Darn Cute Designs – Lindsey designs these beautiful child themes that work with the Genesis Framework. I am currently using her theme Modern Blogger Pro! I don’t know about you, but I think it looks super cute and feminine. All of her themes are beautiful and well coded.
Restored 316 Designs – This is another site that has beautiful child themes. I have a second site that I use one of Lauren’s themes on. Not only are the really beautiful and well coded, she also gives great install instructions.
Bluehost – This is my current hosting company. I was told this was a great place to start if you are a beginner blogger. I have had no issues so far with them and they seem to have quick turnaround with their support.
E-Books, E-Courses, and Online Training
Building a Framework – This is a must in my opinion for anyone starting out. Abby Lawson over at Just A Girl and Her Blog really breaks it down step by step how to start, grow, and monetize your blog. She took her blog to 6 figures in two years, and walks through every step of how she got there.
What the Tech – I felt really overwhelmed with all of the WordPress options and editing of my site, and Lesley really helped me understand my site. Everything from working in WordPress, using my c-panel, backing up my site, and more. Everyone should know how their site works!
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers: The Fundamentals – Tasha does a great job in this course helping you understand the ins and outs of Affiliate Marketing. I love her strategies. She makes it easy!
Akismet – This protects your blog from all that nasty comment spam.
Yoast SEO – This plug-in allows you to help your site and posts become more searchable and rank higher for google searches.
Genesis eNews Extended – This plug-in is made to help you make beautiful newsletter sign-up boxes for your site that match your Genesis child theme.
Wordfence – This is a plug-in that keeps your site secure. Some hosting companies have their own and won’t let you use this plug-in so make sure to check with your hosting company with questions.
Genesis Simple Hooks – this plug-in allows me to add code to various sections of my blog without messing up anything. This is the plug-in I used to copy the code for my Google Analytics.
Restored 316 Business Planner – I bought Lauren’s planner when just starting my blog so I would start off organized and not fall behind. Such an awesome planner! Lauren took into account everything I needed to keep track of for my blog. She even has digital files that accompany the planner and videos for how she most effectively uses her planner.
Evernote – This is perfect to organize notes, articles, ideas, and brain dumps. This can store all that information into one place. You can capture things from the web and organize them, and can also access all of your information in their phone app.
Google Drive – The perfect place to store all of your digital analytics, post plans, and editorial calendar. This would also be perfect if you worked with a team. You can easily share all of your docs with each other and all work on one document at the same time.
Trello – Trello is a project management and organizing app. You can store all your projects here along with files, ideas, schedules, and tasks. They make project management fun!
Feedly – RSS aggregator that helps me keep up with my favorite blogs. I never have to miss one and can find it all in one place.
Dashlane – This was recommended by someone and I am so glad they did. I am horrible with passwords, and Dashlane makes everything so secure and I don’t worry. They were even recommended by the Wall Street Journal.
Boardbooster – This is a pin scheduling tool for bloggers. If you haven’t already heard you will, that Pinterest is where it is at in the blogging world. Boardbooster allow you to schedule new pins to be distributed to your boards during ideal hours. It also saves time by repinning pins to other boards for you.
Tailwind – Tailwind is another pin scheduling service that keeps your content circulating on Pinterest. This saves you from having to do it yourself.
MailChimp – MailChimp is an email marketing service that is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
ConvertKit – ConvertKit gives you more automation services that MailChimp, but it is a paid service. A great place to move to once you feel like you have “outgrown” MailChimp.
Shoot Fly Shoot – About 2 years ago I wanted to learn how to shoot in manual mode. I saw this course recommended on a blog and gave it a try. I am so glad I did, the guys at Shoot Fly Shoot walk you through everything you need to know about taking the perfect photo. They also have great courses on photo editing with Photoshop and Lightroom.
Canon Rebel T3i – This is a the perfect starter DSLR. It is affordable and easy to use. I have been a Canon girl for years!
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Lens – This is a fixed length lens, so it won’t zoom. If you had to choose to purchase just one other lens other than the ones that came with your kit, I would choose this one. This is the one I use most often and it gives me beautiful shots.
Promaster Professional XC525 Tripod – There is no way I would be able to take a great shot without a tripod. This tripod has been so sturdy and well worth the price.
Cowboy Studio Photography Triple Lighting Kit – This is a great lighting kit to help kill the harsh yellow light when you are snapping photos at night.
Jo Totes Camera Bag – I got one of these bags right after I got my camera. Not only is it sturdy, but it is also super stylish and has tons of compartments for my gear.
Here are some great helpful blog posts with photography tutorials that I found helpful:
My Top 5 Interior Photography Tips for Bloggers by Abby at Just a Girl and Her Blog
IHeart Blogging Series: Photography Tips by Jen at IHeart Organizing
Adobe Creative Cloud – Once I learned how to use Photoshop, I can’t live without it. It can be very intimidating for the new user but I suggest taking a course or looking for tutorials online. I also have LightRoom, but I am just now starting to dab into what it can do.
Canva – Canva is a great tool that allows to you create your own graphics. Their free version has a ton of great options and tools.
PicMonkey – If you aren’t comfortable using PhotoShop, PicMonkey allows you to do beautiful photo editing for free.
Disclosurepolicy.org – Learn why you need to have a disclosure policy and how to write one.
BloggyLaw – Tons of great resources on how to stay legal in the blogging world.
Are You Disclosing Properly? – This is a great article by Amy Lynn Andrews with great examples of how to properly disclose your affiliate links. I am so glad I saw this recommended on another persons site because I learned a lot.
I hope this helps! I will keep this updated so check back often for any updates.
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