Whether you are a beginning blogger or have been blogging for years there is always something new to learn. It all can become a little overwhelming but having the right tools can make all the difference. This page is always being updated with blogging tools and resources to help any blogger and especially busy mom bloggers do it all with ease.
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How To Start A Blog
When I first started blogging I thought I could figure out the process on my own by searching the internet for answers to my questions. I probably could have eventually figured it out…maybe.
Suzi breaks down the process of starting a blog into easy-to-accomplish tasks and encourages you throughout the process. You can buy the book alone or the e-course which comes with video tutorials. I’m so glad I purchased the e-course. It really helped me to watch Suzi explain and show over video some of the more technical tasks. As a mom herself, Suzi gets the challenges that mom bloggers face when beginning their blogs.
Intermediate Blogging Courses – Grow Your Blog
As my blog gains some traction and starts making money I intend to invest back into my blog by purchasing the following courses. These are courses that I hear successful bloggers mention often and are at the top of my list to purchase in the near future:
- Suzi at Start A Mom Blog has numerous other courses for intermediate bloggers. People especially rave about her course Post By Number which is only $9!
- Elite Blog Academy 3.0 course and book How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) by Ruth Soukup at Elite Blog Academy and Living Well Spending Less. The Elite Blog Academy course only opens twice a year so I recommend getting on the wait list you can be notified when enrollment opens.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle at Making Sense of Cents.
- Pinteresting Strategies by Carly at Mommy On Purpose. If you’re looking to up your Pinterest game and drive traffic to your blog from Pinterest, this is THE course to take.
Choosing A Web Host Provider
- I currently use Lyrical Host and I am in love! There are so many things to love about Lyrical Host, but most of all I appreciate how down-to-earth and hands-on the founders are. You will find the two founders of the company regularly chatting in blogging support groups, personally answering questions, and solving tech issues. I also really like that you have the option to pay month by month rather than for a whole year up front. If you’re on a strict budget like me, this is a huge plus! Use my code SAVVY10 to get 10% off your purchase. Here are even more things to like about Lyrical Host:
- SiteGround is the web host I used for my first year of blogging and I had no issues with my website being down and their 24/7 live chat customer service was excellent. The support at SiteGround helped me quickly resolve problems and questions related to the technical/hosting side of running a website – even at 1:00 am once. If you’re just dipping your toes into blogging for the first time, it’s hard to beat their introductory rate.
Places To Find Feminine WordPress Themes
When it comes to choosing a theme (design) for your blog, there are a number of free themes to be found at wordpress.org.
I considered several free themes before deciding to purchase one. I knew that I wanted to grow this blog as a business and so it made sense to me to just start out with a paid theme rather than starting with a free one, going to the work of setting that up, and then having to redo it all again when I was ready to move to paid theme.
If you choose a paid theme, it’s a one-time cost and any reputable design company will provide ongoing updates and support for your chosen theme. That is not the case for free themes. Support for a free theme may be minimal and because of that your website may be left vulnerable. If you plan to be serious about blogging I recommend using a paid theme from the beginning.
- Restored 316: This blog uses their Refined theme. They have a number of other gorgeous, well-designed themes, but what I like best about my theme is the support that comes with it. The support at Restored 316 has helped me quickly and graciously on a number of occasions when I’ve run into issues related to theme function (and most of the time it was because I didn’t understand something or had a plugin conflict).
- Lovely Confetti also specializes in building pretty themes.
- Creative Market has a collection of feminine themes by different designers.
Not sure where to start in picking a theme? No worries! Check out this free quiz to help you sort it out: Which theme is best for your website? Quiz
Finding Free Stock Photos
The following stock photography sources offer quality images that are free for personal and commercial use without attribution (although it’s a nice gesture to mention the author):
- Pexels has a huge selection of free, no-attribute high quality stock photos, including lots of flat lay photography.
- Styled Stock focuses on creating feminine stock images.
- Pixabay has stock photos (they seem to have more landscapes than flat lays) as well as illustrations and vectors.
- Unsplash: their tagline is “beautiful free photos” and I’ve found that to be true!
Paid High-Quality Stock Photography/Image Sources
- TwigyPosts: This website uses a number of lovely stock photos by Jana at TwigyPosts.
Powered by Creative Market
- Haute Stock is a membership site where you get instant access to all the photos in their library once you purchase a membership. Sign up for their email list and get access to free photos every month!
- Ivory Mix has photo bundles for purchase and a membership option.
- Creative Market is a huge resource for all things visual-related: photos, fonts, vectors, and other graphics, many of which you can purchase individually. Sign up for a Creative Market (free) account and get 6 FREE downloadable items every week!
Powered by Creative Market
Choosing An Email Marketing Service
Having and growing an email list is crucial for your blogging business. Here are some of the top email marketing providers to consider:
- MailerLite is FREE up to 1000 subscribers. Mailerlite is what I use with my blog and I really love how easy it is to use their site. You can easily design customized pop-ups, embedded subscribe forms, landing pages, and automated workflows for emailing your subscribers.
- Convertkit: I hear great things about Convertkit and many bloggers love their services. Their pricing starts at $29/month for up to 1000 subscribers.
- Mailchimp is another popular email marketing service. They do have a free plan which includes up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
Creating Images & Graphics For Social Media
Creating enticing images and graphics for social media platforms such as Pinterest will help set your blog apart and make it look professional, and it’s easy with PicMonkey. In PicMonkey you can access pre-made templates or create your own. Add text, layers, borders, overlays, you name it. Super user-friendly and I love that you can save your creations with layers and go back and edit them/change them/reuse them later.
Affiliate Networks & Programs To Join
Ultimate Bundles is a great affiliate program to join for bloggers in who write in lifestyle, budgeting, or blogging niches. Ultimate Bundles puts together “bundles” of courses related to a specific topic which you can promote on your blog and earn a commission when someone purchases through your link.
ShareASale has a huge network of affiliates along with a very user-friendly affiliate dashboard. They make it easy to get links and banners to add your your website so you can start monetizing your blog from the get-go.
How to Keep Your Blog Legal
By far, one of the most unique and helpful niche blogs I’ve come across is Jade & Oak. The site author, Jackie, writes on different aspects of keeping your blog on the legal side – which is very important, especially if you are looking to make money from your blog.
The article Get Your Biz and Blog Legal – Frequently Asked Questions is a great place to start.
It’s hard to be a mom blogger (or any blogger, really)! We have three boys who absolutely light up my life, but who also make it very difficult to find time for blogging. Here are a few resources that help me do the best I can with the time I have:
- The Missing Letter is an automation tool I use to help me keep up with my social media accounts – because it’s pretty much impossible to do it all without a little help! You can link one social account and create 2 new campaigns/month for free OR for $15/month you can link 4 social accounts and create 4 new campaigns. Get 50% off your first 3 months here.
- Grammarly is a website where you can check your written text for errors and polish your writing using given suggestions for improvement (for free!). Don’t spend hours agonizing over your text, wondering if you missed a mistake. Just upload your post to the website or get their add-on extension for Chrome. Such a time saver!
- Evernote: I love, love, love this free app! I seem to get the best ideas for this blog at the worst possible times – like when I’m driving or playing with my kids or trying to make dinner. With Evernote, I can quickly jot down my ideas (of course not while I’m driving, but as soon as I get where I’m going!) and keep going about my day. You can create different notebooks to keep blogging notes separate from non-blogging notes, create checklists, set reminders, add tags, and share notes with other Evernote users and non-users through a link. It’s pretty great! I actually do most of my post drafting within Evernote – because I seem to do my best thinking/writing when I’m not in front of my computer, ha! I think I have the writing form of stage-fright or something like that.