Blog Resources

I have been using WordPress blogs personally for about 10 years and setting them up for clients in my marketing business for about 5 years. This page contains all my favorite resources for blogging and social media that I use in relation to this blog, and I update it regularly. I hope you find these sources as helpful as I do! For a more complete list, you can visit my marketing blog resource list HERE.

(This page contains affiliate links. For my full policy, go HERE)

Blogging

BlueHost – Can’t say enough nice things about my hosting company! BlueHost features fantastic customer service and super-easy WordPress installation.



Angie Makes – I purchased the Meadowbrook theme for this blog from Angie Makes, and couldn’t be happier with the theme and the customer service. AngieMakes specializes in feminine style blogs,  but they are very customizable. Best experience ever with a premium theme! If you’re frustrated using a free theme and trying to figure everything out yourself, it’s nice to have an extensive knowledge base to refer to and fast support when you need it.

Writing tools – want to improve the quality of your blog posts? Run your post through Hemingway and install the Grammarly extension. You will be amazed at the mistakes you will catch.

WP Beginner – Awesome free resource for all things WordPress with easy to follow video tutorials. When I’m stuck on something, WP Beginner is the first place I check.

ProBlogger – Blogging veteran Darren Rowse is a fantasic resource for anything relating to blogging

Melyssa Griffin – I just recently discovered this “go-to hub for creatives who want to improve their lives, their blogs and their budding businesses.” Chock full of great info.

By Regina  – Outstanding resource for “anyone who wants to profit from their knowledge + passions in a purposeful and authentic way”.

Olyvia – Savvy customers service, marketing and PR advice that gets you noticed

Blog Clarity – Another new blogging find for me, packed with good stuff with an emphasis on marketing your blog

Building a Framework – eBook by Abby Lawson of Just a Girl & Her Blog. I bought this after using WordPress for almost 10 years and still found tons of useful information. Particularly useful if you share Abby’s niche, but easy to adapt ideas to almost anything.

Building a Framework

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – if you’re interested in diving into affiliate marketing, definitely check out this eBook by Tasha at Designers Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body. Again, geared towards lifestyle and DIY bloggers, but adaptable. Easy to understand guide to monetizing your blog.

Affiliate marketing for bloggers

Standing Out: Building Your Blog, Growing Your Brand & Profiting From Your Passion – eBook by Jenna LaFever at Rain on a Tin Roof.  Worried that you can’t be successful because your niche isn’t mainstream? Don’t be. Grab Jenna’s eBook and find out how to let your freak flag fly.

Standing out by Jenna LaFever

How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul – eBook by Ruth at Living Well Spending Less. Another great resource if you want to monetize your blog. Ruth also offers a twice a year course, the “Elite Blogging Academy” that comes very highly recommended.

How I made 40k My first Year of Blogging – eBook by Chelsea Lords. Tons of great tips for building a successful, income generating blog.

How I made 40k My First Year Blogging

Ubersuggest – Are you stumped for keywords for your blog posts? Check out this awesome free tool

Plugins – Free:

You can make your blog do just about anything you want with the right plug in, and I’m always excited when I discover a new one that solves some issue I’ve been having  These are the plugins I use on this blog.

Shareaholic – Adds icons to easily share your content across social media channels, including the vertical bar I have on the left side of my blog posts.

Page Link Manager – allows you to control which pages appear in your main navigation menu. Handier than you might think.

All in One Favicon – easily adds a favicon to your site. Adding a favicon used to be a multi-step process, now you can simply upload a png image.

Anti-Spam – eliminates comment spam with no captcha

Embed PDF – allows you to embed PDF documents

Envira Gallery Lite – Easy way to add multiple photos and galleries to your posts. See it in action HERE, I’ve made the party button images into clickable links.

Insert Headers and Footers – allows you to easily add code to your headers and footer (like Google Analytics)

Google XML Sitemap – generates a sitemap which allows search engines to better index your blog

Comment Email reply – when a reader comments on your post and you respond, this plugin sends it via email so that your commenter actually sees it. I comment regularly on other blogs, but I rarely see the responses because I don’t usually go back to check and see if there is one. Problem solved!

Tiny MCE Advanced – enables advanced features of the WordPress editor

WordPress Editorial calendar – map out your posts and stay organized. Getting on a regular schedule with blog posts has been a game changer for me.

Contact Form 7 – if you need a simple, easy to use contact form, Contact Form 7 is the classic choice.

Yet Another related posts plug in – keep your readers on your site longer by showing a thumbnail of related posts they might be interested in

Yoast SEO – Optimizes your site AND helps you write better content. I recently made the switch from All in One SEO.

WP Ultimate Recipe (for food bloggers) – free and premium version. Easy to use, great looking recipe cards that are SEO and mobile friendly with a clean print option and adjustable serving option. The premium version offers a template editor, the option for readers to rate your recipe, nutritional info and the ability to make a recipe grid on a page with multiple recipes. I like it a lot, so I upgraded to the premium version. You can see it in action by clicking on any of the recipes HERE.

Plugins – Premium:

Gravity Forms – if you need custom contact or registration forms, Gravity forms are THE way to go. You can set up all kinds of forms and surveys and you’ll even get stats. There are also really helpful add-ons, including one that allows you to take payments online via PayPal, and it’s super simple to set up.

Backup Buddy -Perform regular back ups of your entire site. Also handy for “cloning” a site, which is helpful if you need to move a site new to a new host, for example.

Image Editing

PicMonkey (free and premium version) – fun and easy to use. Crop, resize, add text and special effects

Images

If you use images in your blog posts and social media updates, make sure you have the right to use them!

Read more on this topic HERE.

PAID: I like Shutterstock and Thinkstock – both are about $10 per image with excellent search filters, lightboxes and endless options

FREEPixabay, Foodies Feed, Cupcake, Death to the StockPhoto, Free Nature Stock. For a more extensive list, check out this post from Canva – 73 Best Sites to Find Awesome Free Images or this one from Olyvia – 47 of the Best, Most Beautiful Websites for Free Stock Photos

Social Media

Edgar – Edgar is an amazing tool – it catalogs your posts in a library and schedules them out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The biggest advantage is that you get to reuse your evergreen content.

Boardbooster – Fabulous tool for scheduling pins to Pinterest, recycling old pins and pinning to group boards. You can read more about my experience with Boardbooster HERE. 

Social Media Examiner – One of the best resources around for all things social media

Social Media Gurus you should follow: Amy PorterfieldMari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, Andrea Vahl, Jeff Bullas, Heidi Cohen, David Meerman Scott

Books

I have a bookcase full of business and social media books….these are the titles I reread regularly:

Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff

The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Fun Is Good: How to Create Joy and Passion in your Workplace and Career

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Anything by Seth Godin:

All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works–and Why Authen ticity Is the Best Marketing of All
Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable–Includes new bonus chapter

For more great info on blogging and social media, follow my Pinterest Board:
Blogging & Social Media Resources

Blog Posts