The Ultimate Blogging Resource Guide
Tried and tested resources to help you start, grow and monetize your blog.
When you're starting your blog, it's easy to skip over some of the basics. But hosting is one thing you should get right from the very start.
I started out with a budget host and had nothing but troubles. Funny thing was - moving to SiteGround was actually CHEAPER!
Seriously, the best hosting around and the most amazing support ever.
I absolutely LOVE X Theme. I searched for years to find a theme that would allow me to do everything I wanted to do, and then I found X.
I'm not overly tech savvy, so the inbuilt drag and drop builder made things a million times easier. Plus it comes with a whole bunch of amazing plugins that will rock your world and save you so much money in the long run.
Worth every cent.
If you're wanting a theme that is a little bit more 'out of the box' feminine, you can't go past the Restored 316 Designs themes. They are run on the super robust Genesis Framework and are simply gorgeous, every single time.
I don't know anyone who has ever said a bad word about these themes. They are easy to use, have tons of features and also come with amazing support.
Growing Your Audience
This eBook, Strategies Worth Sharing, is one I purchased a while ago, read through and never really looked at again. You know the deal.
But then when I launched my second website and brand I knew Facebook was going to play a major part in my marketing strategy so I went back and read it.
This book, coupled with some lovely advice from a friend, took my brand new page from 0 followers to over 7000 followers in just over a month.
So much real, practical advice that makes you go 'of course!' and strategies that really do work.
It's no surprise that I love Pinterest, it honestly is my number one go to resource for everything. Pinterest has the potential to drive massive traffic to your site and I spent over a year developing the strategies shared in this eBook.
It shows you the exact steps I took to take my account to over 3.6 million monthly reach. But it's not something that I've just struck luck with.
I've been able to replicate these results time and time again. Another account had a reach of 120,000 after just 8 weeks, with over 600 daily clicks back to the website. In 8 weeks!!
These aren't just the strategies I use for my own accounts, I use them for my clients too and the results are amazing.
Pinterest Affiliate Sales
I have always been in love with Pinterest for its ability to drive massive amounts of traffic to a website. But I never really explored using it for affiliate sales.
For a long time affiliate links weren't allowed on Pinterest, so when they decided to let them back in I thought I should really look into using it.
I didn't want to spend the time experimenting and working it all out for myself, so I went to someone with the know how and found this resource by Elise at House of Brazen.
Love the eBook, super straightforward and has awesome ability to help you earn even more in affiliate sales!
eCommerce & Sales
Shopify is your all in one, one stop shop when it comes to creating an online eCommerce store.
If selling products is your number one goal, then Shopify is by far the way to go.
It is incredibly easy to set up a gorgeous looking store and comes with all the bells and whistles you need to get things going in no time.
Sales & Downloads
I spent a lot of time researching platforms I could use to sell my eBooks and Gumroad won hands down each and every time.
The simplicity was a massive winner for me. All I had to do was upload my pdf, fill in some details and I was ready to start selling. I didn't even have a sales page when I first launched my eBook and just used the Gumroad page. So easy
WooCommerce is a great free platform to use for onsite sales, especially if you're trying to keep your expenses to an absolute minimum and only have very basic requirements.
You can continue to build on with premium extensions and create very comprehensive sales platforms right on your own website.
Email and Lead Acquisition
ActiveCampaign is the email service provider I use and absolutely love. It is so powerful it's kind of hard to even explain.
With AC I can set up super detailed email sequences with various triggers based on user actions and can even track what pages my subscribers have been to on my site.
It integrates with just about everything and starts at just $9 a month. It can be as complex or as simple as you need it to be and I swear by it.
Where ConvertKit really stands above all else is in its stripped down simplicity while still being able to run detailed tagging and sales funnels in order to target your audience.
I used ConvertKit for a long time and only switched to ActiveCampaign because I was running over 50 different automation funnels and needed the complex interweaving that ActiveCampaign offered.
One of the things I love about ConvertKit is how easy it is to set up to capture leads. Literally a few minutes and you're good to go!
Pop Up and Leads
Previously known as ConvertPlug and not actually affiliated with ConvertKit, ConvertPlus is one of the most comprehensive pop up and lead capture plugins I have ever used.
If you purchase the X Theme, this plugin is included for free and that's where I first came across it. Since then it has replaced and far surpassed all other lead capture plugins and software I've used including Sumo, OptinMonser and Popup Ally (I've tried just about every plugin out there... this is the best).
You can create all kinds of popups with all kinds of triggers, a bar at the top of the screen, an optin at the bottom of your pages and even a full page takeover welcome mat. So much fun!
Organisation and Automations
G Suite - Emails, Docs & Storage
The thought of trying to run my business and website without G Suite actually gives me palpitations. It does so much for me.
I use Gmail to host my business emails (ones attached to my URL's), Docs to work on any of my content and share content with contributors and others, Spreadsheets to keep track of everything from my content calendar through to my budgets and Drive to store everything from website backups through to photos.
It is possibly the biggest functional tool for my business.
If I had to name one tool that made the biggest difference to the growth of my business, BoardBooster would be that tool.
I'm not usually a big advocate for social media automation tools, in fact, I have cut every other scheduling tool out of my arsenal... except BoardBooster.
Early in 2017 I became really sick and ended up having around 10 weeks away from my business. Thanks to BoardBooster my website traffic kept coming in, my business kept growing and as such it kept turning over an income - without me having to do anything because I had already set it all up.
Evernote is like my brain dump tool and note filing system all in one.
I love that it syncs between my phone and my computer so when I'm out and about and have an idea or see something that strikes inspiration I can quickly capture it and come back to it on my laptop later.
I was forever having amazing ideas and forgetting them until I started using Evernote.
I also use it to store bits of website code I use regularly or URL's I need to reference often because the search function allows me to find them super quickly. Love it.
I have been using stock photography to enhance my site and my social media for years, but when Oh Tilly started in 2016 I knew I'd found something super special.
Unlike most stock photography sites, Tilly actually takes suggestions and requests for galleries - then creates them! I asked her for images with more white space and ta da... it was done. Then I asked for more with white edges and focus on the central item and guess what? That was done too!
She is simply incredible and her skills and talent from 13+ years as a professional wedding and portrait photographer shine through in her images. So much love.
Haute Chocolate Styled Stock Library was the first individual stock photo subscription I ever signed up to and quickly went ahead and purchased a whole year subscription.
Rachel is always releasing gorgeous galleries and her latest ones have included a lot more lifestyle images - I'm in love!
While her images are super popular and you'll see them everywhere on Pinterest, she also shoots them in such high resolution that you can zoom in and crop them down so they don't look like everyone else's version of using the same pic.
Warning: Once you start searching on Creative Market, it's difficult to stop!
Creative Market is my go to place for everything design. I've purchased everything from premium fonts to WordPress themes, photoshop elements to KeyNote presentations. It's all there!
They also run Bundle offeres too where you get a ton of value for a super low price (like $19 or $29). These usually include a heap of premium fonts, a theme or two, accents, photoshop actions, stock photos and so much more.
While there are some fantastic beginner alternatives out there, I still come back to Photoshop every time because I love it and find it so darn powerful to use. That being said, I've been using it for over 10 years now and started before places like YouTube even showed tutorials.
If you've got a knack for learning new programs or if design sites like Canva aren't quite meeting your needs, then Photoshop may be the way to go.
I wouldn't recommend it if all you're going to use it for is a few Pinterest and social media images.
Canva has evolved considerably over the years and there are so many things you can do with this epic little platform.
Besides having a soft spot for it because it's an Australian company, Canva is used by many to create everything from simple social media graphics through to full blown gorgeous recipe books and everything in between.
Easy to use drag and drop features and a whole heap of pre-made templates means it's easy for anyone to create something amazing in just a few minutes.