I’m not one for keeping secrets… well not the kind that can help others anyway. I’m always being asked where I find my theme’s, who my favourite bloggers are, what blogging courses I recommend or what the latest eBook I’m reading is.
So I’m sharing with you my Ultimate Blogging Resource List. Make sure you keep checking back because I will be updating this each time I find something else that’s amazing.
There are some affiliate links in here which means that if you do decide to purchase something I may receive a small commission to keep my coffee addiction going. Or cupcakes. Probably not enough for both…
This is one mega list!! You can simply bookmark this page and you’ll be able to keep up with all of my latest resources each time you check back in.
Blog Hosting and Design
Genesis Framework – Small confession… I’ve never used WordPress without the Genesis Framework. So technically my ‘comparison’ is a little biased however, what I can tell you is that the thought of trying to navigate a theme without Genesis scares the beejeebus out of me. I purchased it when I moved over to WordPress because it was constantly being recommended by the big blogging guru’s . This Framework means that I can edit so much in my theme without having to touch a line of code. Ah-may-zing.
StudioPress – A natural progression from the above mentioned Genesis Framework, StudioPress have the themes that sit perfectly within the Framework. I’ve used the Lifestyle Pro, Altitude Pro, Parallax Pro and Foodie Pro (current) themes and they are all fantastic. Incredibly responsive and versatile – you should really check them out for yourself.
Restored 316 Designs – A beautiful set of theme’s also build for the Genesis Framework – these theme’s are gorgeous and so feminine. It is amazing how much customising you can do to these themes, and so easily… but the best thing is that you don’t even need to. They are so beautiful just the way they are.
Creative Market – This is honestly one of my favourite (and most visited) websites ever. As soon as I type ‘c’ into my browser the whole website name pops up. It’s like Safari is willing me to spend more time there… Creative Market is your one stop shop for everything design. Including gorgeous themes like this one and this one… and this one… see why I spend so much time there??
WooCommerce – This eCommerce plugin can be as simple or as powerful as you need it to be. I had previously purchased an eCommerce plugin that I didn’t like from the moment I started using it – it was so difficult to set up and so so ugly. And then an awesome friend recommended WooCommerce and I was in love. Simple, fast to set up and it works.
Easy Google Fonts Plugin – This plugin allows you to use whatever fonts you’d like from Google’s Fonts within your theme. There’s a ton of plugins that do this – however this one doesn’t require editing any code and it’s really easy to use.
Design Your Own Blog – Marrianne at Design Your Own Blog is a genius when it comes to blog design. Her site is packed full of useful information and she even has a Facebook group filled with such lovely people who are willing to answer any design questions you have.
GoDaddy (Domain and Hosting) – I had my hosting with GoDaddy for around 18 and to be honest, I never had an issue with them. I only ever noticed one episode of down time and it was fixed pretty quickly. I use their dedicated WordPress hosting and any time I’ve asked them questions or needed help with something they have been able to do it all right away. They also have amazing sale’s on – I purchased my initial domain and hosting for the year for just $12.
SiteGround (Hosting) – Once I started looking into site speed a little more, it was clear that GoDaddy just wasn’t fast enough for the amount of graphics I was using and for my site’s content. I searched around and found SiteGround who were fantastic. They did the whole changeover of hosts for me (I don’t know anything about that…) and were always so helpful. Their pricing is quite competitive and since switching over my site is not only much, much faster, but my readers are staying longer on my site and looking at more pages!! Win!!
Organisation and Systems
MailChimp – I had done a lot of comparing between MailChimp and MadMimi – from what I can tell they are much the same with MailChimp coming in at a little bit easier to use. While they do have a free option, if you’re wanting to run an email course or mailing series, upgrading to your account to include automation is a worthwhile investment. Your email list is always worth investing in.
ConvertKit – I decided to make the switch from MailChimp to ConvertKit and it has been amazing. ConvertKit was designed by Nathan Barry for bloggers and my absolute favourite feature is the ability to have multiple opt-ins running on your site at anytime. You can have a free download opt-in, a content upgrade opt-in, a course opt-in and a newsletter opt-in all on the one page if you want with the ability to segment and tag your subscribers. It’s amazing.
Buffer – One of my latest loves is Buffer. I’m loving being able to automate areas of my business and Buffer helps with this so much. I particularly use it for Twitter – being able to schedule re-tweets or schedule tweets of blog posts as I’m reading them is brilliant. And you can schedule Facebook and Twitter in the one screen – no need to do them separately. They offer a free trial but I signed up within 24 hours of the trial… it’s that good.
CoSchedule – This is another tool that helps save me a ton of time! While I use Buffer to automate the sharing of other people’s content, I use CoSchedule to automate the sharing of my own content. Whenever you write and publish a post, you can set a sequence of social media shares right then and there. I usually automate at least 4 Twitter and 2 Facebook shares when I publish a post. You can then also go through you calendar and add in additional shares too.
And… on a side note – they are in the process of adding in a Pinterest sharing function… Winning!!
BoardBooster – My number 1 most favourite automation tool ever. Pinterest referrals make up over half of my website traffic. That is huge – and so much of that is attributed to the awesomeness that is BoardBooster. I love it so much I wrote a whole chapter about how to set it up in my eBook. It is that good. They too have a free trial, but I promise you, once you’ve started you’ll be hooked and wonder how on earth you ever did Pinterest without it.
Apple Pages – I create so much in Apple Pages but I had no idea just how awesome was until I watched this workshop by Regina. She was talking about how she uses it to create all of her worksheets and eBooks… so I gave it a go with mine and I loved it. Now all of my worksheets and eBooks are created using Apple Pages and it is also my go to for basic word processing.
Evernote – I’m an incredibly forgetful person, and I also have amazing ideas at the most inconvenient of times… enter Evernote. I know of people who use Evernote as their entire planner for everything but I simply use it for the notes. The reason I love it so much is because it automatically syncs from my phone to my laptop which means any notes or ideas I’ve jotted down while out and about are already waiting for me on my laptop when I get home. I love it for blog post ideas as I can simply copy from Evernote and paste into my editorial calendar.
Gmail – Did you know that you can have an email address with your own domain through Gmail? Neither did I. But I do now. I love how simple Gmail is to use so this was the perfect option. You have to call the guys at Google to set it up – but they are so nice and super helpful and within about 20 minutes I had everything up and running. Because krystal@ looks so much nicer than [email protected].
Canva – When I started out blogging Canva was my go to place. Even now that I use Photoshop, I still go to Canva when I am designing a social media banner or advertisement. They have tons of templates to choose from, you can either use the free ones or pay a small fee for premium and they also have some really nice stock photos to use too. They get extra brownie points because they are an Australian company too.
Canva For Work – Like Canva… but more awesome-er (yes that’s a word). Canva For Work allows you to set your branding and create a ton of different products that are all cohesive and on point. Want to put together a letterhead in a pinch? Done. Business Cards? Too easy. It’s only around $10 per month and will save so much time fiddling with logo’s and colour schemes.
Adobe Photoshop – Now a lot of people will argue that InDesign or Illustrator is a million times better but… I know how to use Photoshop so I’m not going to spend hours learning another platform to achieve quite the same results as I’m getting now. That being said – Photoshop fits my needs… it many not fit the needs of a designer. For years Photoshop was reserved for the professionals because of its hefty price tag however Adobe now offer a $10/month subscription meaning it’s super affordable. Not for the faint hearted but definitely worth the time and investment.
Creative Market – So I raved on before about how awesome Creative Market is for website themes but…. they are also ah-may-zing for anything to do with graphics and design. I’ve purchased tons of fonts, mega bundles that have heaps of different design elements and I even purchased a mock up template for my eBook covers. If you subscribe they also send out 6 free items every Monday – and they aren’t dodgy free items either. They’ve even sent out themes before.
Launch: Jeff Walker – If you ever sell anything ever of yours ever then you need this book. As I was reading through this the first time (I’ve read it a few times now) I just kept having these amazing ‘ah ha’ moments. It all seems so obvious now.
Virtual Freedom: Chris Ducker – Do you ever feel like you need to do everything all the time for your business? Have trouble letting go because your business is ‘your baby’? This book will change how you look at your business and productivity. Chris talks about the benefits of outsourcing to a Virtual team of employees to help improve your business
UnMarketing: Scott Stratten – You know how you get that feeling that you’re being sold to? Cold calls, dodgy emails. Maybe you even feel like you’re overselling in your own business. Well unMarketing is a whole new look at how we sell.
Content Machine: Dan Norris – I was lucky enough to hear Dan talk at the ProBlogger conference earlier this year and I love his whole take on content marketing. Dan talks about how he grew his business to a 7 figure income through content marketing and spending less than $200 on advertising. Very interesting read.
ProBlogger – Secrets For Blogging Your Way To A Six Figure Income: Chris Garrett & Darren Rowse – This book covers it all from setting up a blog to monetising it. This is another one of those books that I read over and over (I seem to have a few of those) and every time I do, there’s something different that jumps out at me. It’s such a great reference for any stage of your blogging career.
Email Marketing Blueprint: Steve Scott – We all know ‘the money is in the list’ and this eBook is an essential guide as to how to keep an engaged and interested list. It’s a quick read with a lot of ‘ah ha’ moments and is definitely something you’ll want to keep referring to.
How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul: Ruth Soukup – I literally cannot tell you the number of times I have read this eBook. If there was ever a time when I wasn’t sure what to do next with my blog, I’d head to this eBook and just start reading again. If you’re not willing to invest in the Elite Blogger’s Academy course just yet then this should definitely be your first reference.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Brene Brown – I was completely mesmerised by Brene when I watched her Ted Talk about vulnerability. This is a brilliant book for those who are in business because we so often struggle with the idea of our own self worth. It’s difficult putting yourself out there and this book will help you find your worthiness.
Pinning For Traffic: Krystal Abbott (that’s me!!) – I couldn’t possibly put this list together without adding in my own eBook. With over 100 pages and a ton of worksheets and checklists, you’ll be able to drive massive amounts of traffic to your blog from Pinterest without needing to have a huge following. That’s right. I share all of my secrets of how to leverage group boards and how to automate your account so you’re always pinning – without having to actually always be pinning.
The Knowtbook – Rather than penning down everything Amy knew about blogging she decided to share her Knowtbook – which is much the same with one incredible key difference. Because it is electronic and hosted through Workflowy, it is constantly being updated by Amy herself. Which means you not only have access to all of her notes she has made over the years, but you will continue to have access to any new notes she makes. And she talks about everything – from set up to monetisation, from social media to blogger ettiequte – it’s all there.