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Blogging can get overwhelming. Period. Don’t fret! There are a lot of great resources out there that can help you with your blogging journey, but you just have to know where to look. I have put together this list of the best blogging resources for the online entrepreneur.
The purpose of this list is to not give you all the answers, but I wanted to give you a starting off point. There are a lot of great tools and resources out there and I wanted to compile this list for your reference so you can start to navigate through the blogging world and and all the intricacies it has to offer.
Best Blogging Resources for Setting Up Your Website
Before we get any further, make sure you download my How To Start A Blog checklist. This checklist consists of 100+ steps you should take before you launch your blog. It is a handy resource when going to set up your blog.
Make sure your Pin it and SAVE this post for later if you don’t have time now.
Here are some quick links to help you navigate all these awesome blogging resources. You can jump ahead to the topics that interest you the most.
- Choosing a name for your blog
- Choosing a hosting provider
- Choosing a WordPress theme
- Choosing fonts for your brand
- Choosing brand colors
- Styled Stock Photography
- Creating images
- Creating video content
- Keyword Research
- Writing Post Titles
- Drafting blog post
- Setting up email list
- Social Media Schedulers
- Productivity tools
- Make money with your blog
- Website performance
Choosing a name for your blog
Once you have a topic in mind for your blog you will want to brainstorm ideas for your blog’s name. Bustaname allows you to insert different words you may want to use and it will generate different word combinations. If there are certain word combinations you don’t want combined, you have the ability to specify them to a group and it will populate a list of possible domains that are available based on your terms. Wordoid is word generator tool that can help create unique words for your brand. Namemesh is another tool you can check out to help with the naming process of your blog.
Once you have a domain name in mind use Namecheck to not only check the availability of the domain name, but also check to see whether the social media accounts are available.
Purchasing Your Domain Name
You can either purchase your domain name through your hosting provider or you can purchase it separately. If you want to purchase it separately then check out Namecheap as an option.
If you ever want to know who owns a website then you can use ICANN WHOIS domain registry to find out who owns a domain. It is a good idea to purchase privacy protection through your hosting provider otherwise your personal information will be listed on the domain registry.
Related: How to choose the best domain name for your blog
Choosing A Hosting Provider
I recommend self-hosting your website using WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that is the dashboard through which you create the content for your website. With self-hosting you purchase hosting and your host will house and store all the files related to your website. Many hosting providers have an easy WordPress install so you do not have to download the free WordPress software yourself.
If you are unsure if WordPress is the right option for you consider setting up a local server on your computer using MAMP. This software will allow you to set up WordPress on your computer so you can get use to WordPress before investing in any hosting costs. With this option you can’t actually go live with your blog until you purchase hosting. You can check out my tutorial on how to set up a local server on your computer.
I highly recommend SiteGround as a hosting company. I personally use SiteGround and have had a great experience with them. They offer different options depending on your hosting needs. I use the GrowBig plan to be able to host multiple website and for their premium support features. Check out my tutorial on How To Start A Blog With SiteGround.
Bluehost is another hosting option that is popular among bloggers. They usually have great starting discounts that are similar to SiteGround.
WP Engine is another hosting option. Prices generally run higher for WP Engine, but I have only heard good things about them. They also offer a risk free 60-day money back guarantee.
I do want to mention Squarespace, which is an alternative choice to WordPress. I haven’t used it personally, but some say it can be little easier to learn for the complete beginner. WordPress sometimes has a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get familiar with it there is a lot of functionality available from themes and plugins. Squarespace has a drag and drop interface for content creation and overall has fewer options than WordPress. There are available templates that you can customize with the editor, but you are limited with the customization options. Pricing overall runs higher than what you can get with the startup plans with SiteGround or Bluehost for hosting.
Choosing A Theme for Your Website
With the WordPress software you will choose a theme, which is the overall design and layout of your website. I personally use the Victoria theme by Bluchic.
Below is a list of places you can find feminine WordPress themes.
|Pretty Darn Cute Designs||Sugar and Code|
|Lovely Confetti||Boutique Web Design Studio|
|A Prettier Web||Restored 316|
|Hello You Designs||Angie Makes|
Additional place to find WordPress themes:
- Themeforest from Envanto Market
- Creative Market
- Studiopress (home of the Genesis Framework)
- Thrive Themes (drag and drop builder)
- Elegant themes (Divi- drag and drop builder)
Related: How to Choose and Install A Theme in WordPress like a Pro
Choosing Brand Elements
Choosing Fonts for Your Brand
You will want to choose 2-3 fonts for your brand that you will use on your blog graphics and across your social media platforms.
Have you ever come across a font that you love, but you didn’t know what it is called? Whatfontis and What The Font are tools you can use to help identify an unknown font. WordMark.it is an online tool that allows you to type a word or phrase and it will show you this phrase in all of the fonts on your computer. Check out Font Pair and it will show you common google font pairing that work well together.
Font Squirrel is a good place to get free for commercial use fonts. Check out Creative Market, HungryJpeg and Font bundles to purchase fonts. Make sure you get on their email list because they will usually offer a freebie weekly.
Choosing Colors For Your Brand
Colors can evoke certain feelings and emotions and will affect how your audience perceives your brand. Choosing the right colors for you brand is important. Every color has an associated hex code. A hex code is a numerical string of 6 numbers that represent a color. You can use the Image Color Picker tool to help identify the hex code of a color from an image. Computer Hope provides you a list with color codes and names of many of the common colors. Color-Hex can be a good resource to learn about different color properties.
The CSS Drive Image to Color Palette Tool allows you to upload an image or use a URL and it will generate a color palette based on that image. This is perfect if you have an image that you love and want to use as inspiration for your brand.
Paletton and Adobe Color CC have a typical color wheel where you can explore color relationships like complementary, triad and different shades of colors.
Design Seeds has created some color palettes inspired from photographs and nature that you can check out.
Don’t reinvent the wheel! Check out these 150 blogging resources for online entrepreneurs!
Styled Stock Photography
Having good high quality photos on your website is important to help your blog look professional. I am a fan of stock photo membership sites. I personally use Haute Stock for my photos. Here is a list of places you can find feminine styled stock photography.
|Ivory Mix||Plush Content Co|
|Color U Bold||Fempreneur Styled Stock|
|Styled Stock Society||Twigy Post Photograpy|
|Kate Max Stock|
You can also check out this Flay Lay Scene Creator that provides versatility of creating different flat lay scenes.
My favorite tool for creating social media content and blog graphics is Adobe Photoshop CC. A similar web based tool is Photopea that has the feel of Photoshop, but is free. Canva is another great free tool that you can use to create images for your blog. Check out these social media templates from Bluchic. Using a template for your social media graphics can help speed up the process and increase your productivity. If you want to be able to use your own fonts with Canva then you will need to upgrade to the paid version Canva For Work. PicMonkey is similar to Canva and is another option for image creation.
If you need to get rid of the background from an option then this clipping magic tool can get the job done.
Placeit will allow you to create mockups for commercial use using their images. The smaller image size is free, but if you need a more high resolution photo then there is an associated fee.
You can take a screenshot of your full website using this Full Page Screen Capture chrome extension browser.
PDF Escape is a basic online PDF editor that you can use if you need to create a freebie content upgrade.
Before uploading your images to your website make sure that you have created them in the size you want displayed. Also use a tool like tinyjpg to optimize your image and reduce the file size. Using a plugin like EWWW Optimizer or WP Smush can help optimize your images in WordPress.
If you are looking to hire a freelancer to help create blog graphics then check out Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer.
Creating Video Content
Use GIF Maker or Gifs to create gif video files that you can use on your blog or with social media. Recordit is a way to create easy screen recording to share. If you have an audio clip you can use Wavv.co to turn it into a video.
If you need to find music that you can use for your videos check out Audio Jungle, Premium Beats, and Epidemic Sound.
One obvious place to host your video is YouTube, but Wistia is another option.
If you need to reduce the file size of your video use Handbrake to compress it down.
Creating Blog Content
Choose good keywords to help your content get found
One of the first steps you should take when creating a blog post is to do some keyword research. Using good keywords that people are actually searching for is essential to help your content be found in search engines like Google and Pinterest. There are a number of tools you can use to help with your keyword research.
Keywords Everywhere is a browser extension that you can get for Chrome or Firefox. This extension makes it quick and easy to get information about search volume and competition level for keywords. It is a great free tool when it comes to keyword research. When you perform a search in the google search bar it will show you the monthly search volume, CPC (cost per click) and competition level right below the search box.
The Google Keyword Planner allows you to see average monthly search volume, competition level and cost per click for relevant keywords.
Google Trends is another awesome free tool by Google. It will also offer you data on search volume, but you can use it to compare keywords and see what keywords are trending up.
Buzzsumo can be used as a keyword research tool. You can search for a keyword/topic and it will show you the most shared content related to that topic. It only offers a limited number of free searches per day. The plans starting at $79/month are definitely for the more experienced user.
The free KWFinder account allows for 3 keyword lookups within a 24 hour period and you are limited to 50 keyword suggestions per search.
SERPstash has features including keyword research, competitor research and website audit.
Writing Post Titles
Once you have a keyword in mind you will want to come up with a good catchy headline. The Portent Content Idea Generator has you enter a subject and it will generate a title for you. You can use this tool to brainstorm possible posts based on it’s suggestions. It’s actually kind of fun to see what it will come up with. Title Generator is another website you can play around with to see what kind of suggestions it comes up with. I find that these tools don’t necessarily create a perfect title for me, but from the suggestions given it helps to inspire new blog posts. Tweak your biz title generator is another option that will get you thinking about different types of headlines.
Once you have a title in mind use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to give it a rating. I generally aim for around 70 using this tool.
Grammarly is an online tool that will help improve your writing. You can install an extension in your browser and it will identify any errors and give you a suggestion on how to fix it. It can work with typing an email, posting to social media or writing a post. Also, you can upload a document directly and it will provide suggestions to correct any errors.
Hemingway Editor is a proofreading app that you can use to improve your writing. You can use it for free on the web, but can purchase a $19.99 desktop version, which integrates with WordPress.
Wordable is an easy way to connect Google Drive and WordPress. One frustration I often have is when I draft my blog post in a Word document and then copy and paste it into WordPress I always have to fix how it looks because when I move it into WordPress it always adds extra spaces and then I have to select the various headings. With Wordable you can create your document in Google drive and use the built in headings within google docs. Wordable integrates with Google docs and WordPress. You will export it through Wordable and it will show up with the relevant formatting in your WordPress dashboard. There is a free option available for this tool.
Rev is a service where you can send them a video or audio file and then will transcribe it to text. You could draft your post in audio/video format and they can transcribe it to text for you.
Setting up your email list
You will hear the phrase “the money is in the list” because an email list tend to convert potential customers at a better rate than say social media does. Growing an email list is important for any blogger looking to make an income online. You will need an Email Service Provider. Mailerlite and Mailchimp offer free starting plans and they both have automation capabilities. ConvertKit is really popular among bloggers. In has been built “for bloggers by bloggers”. I think part of its popularity is because it has a good affiliate program.
I have also used ActiveCampaign which is a more robust program that has tagging capabilities. Tagging allows you to send more targeted campaigns based on a subscriber’s interest or how they have interacted with your campaigns. You can start off with their lite plan for $9 for up to 500 subscribers.
Here is a list of the different email service providers out there. Explore your options and find the one that meets your needs.
|Constant Contact||Mad Mimi|
In order to send commercial emails and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act you need to have a physical address listed in your emails. If you do not have a physical address for your business then I recommend getting a P.O. Box or you can use a virtual mailbox service. Definitely do not use your home address to maintain your privacy and safety.
To help with the deliverability of your emails you will need to create a domain email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). This can be set up with your domain provider. If you love using google and want to use your domain address with gmail you can sign up for G Suite for business.
Create a free custom email signature to make your email more professional when responding to potential clients using Wise Stamp.
If you are having a sale on a product or there is a deadline for an offer then consider using Motionmail app to create a countdown timer that you can include in your emails.
Growing your email list
Using a freebie lead magnet (aka opt-in incentive or content upgrade) is a great way to get email subscribers. Offer great content for free in exchange for an email address. Leadpages is a paid tool that allows you to create beautiful landing pages and uses leadboxes to help with the signup process. Mailmunch is another free option that allows you to create opt in forms for your website. Additional features include exit-intent pop up, timed pop up, slide box and floating bar.
Social Media Scheduler
There is no way that you can be on all social platforms all the time. Using a social media scheduler helps you maintain a social presence, without it being a time suck.
Facebook and Twitter Scheduler
Buffer, Hootsuite, and Statusbrew are good scheduling tools for starting out. They offer limited free plans. Recurpost is another option that offers a free plan however it also has an additional feature where you can recycle evergreen posts. That way you can set it up and it will continue to recycle through your posts unless you change it. It is ok to recycle posts because not everyone of your audience will see your post the first time.
Additional paid scheduler options include Post Planner, Smarter Queue, CoSchedule, and Meet Edgar.
Most social media schedulers have their own link shorteners, but if you ever want to create your own short link then check out Bit.ly.
Some of the options above do offer support for Instagram, but there are a few schedulers that are Instagram specific. Instagram is a special platform because in there terms and conditions it does not allow for a third party platform to directly post for you. This means that with a scheduling tool you can only plan out and set a schedule and then scheduler tool will send you a reminder to manually post. I like Planoly because it provides a visual feed similarly to how your post will appear on Instagram allowing you see how it will appear in your Instagram feed. Other options include Schedugram, Buffer, Tailwind, and Later.
Another tool to check out to use with your Instagram account is Linktree. Instagram only allows for one link in your profile. Linktree creates a link menu where you can choose to add multiple links. One link can be to your services or products and another can be to your latest blog post.
I like to use Tailwind for my Pinterest scheduling. It has some cool features like board lists and Tailwind Tribes that help make scheduling and finding content easier. Additional options include Boardbooster and Buffer.
You want to make sure you include Pinterest Group Boards as part of your Pinterest strategy. Check out PinGroupie to help you find some group board. (Note: PinGroupie has not been updated in some time and so doesn’t necessarily represent the current status of boards, but it can still be a good tool to research group boards)
Asana and Trello are both task manager tools that you can use to help assign due dates among team members or use it as a soloprenuer and break down tasks into manageable components.
If you work with a team then Last Pass is a good option for managing passwords. If you need to easily share your screen with your team then check out Cloud App, Team Viewer App, Zoom or Loom.
IFTTT and Zapier are integration tools that allow you to connect two different platforms. One integration I like to use with IFTTT is for social media scheduling. I schedule my Twitter posts using Google Calendar. I set my social schedule up in Google Calendar and IFTTT will post it to Twitter. In Google calendar you have to option to repeat events monthly, which creates a free option for evergreen posts.
Good places to store your content is Dropbox or Google Drive.
If you need a tool for online scheduling check out Schedulicity or Calendly.
Make money with your blog
In order to make money online you want to set up multiple income streams for your blog. Consider the following options when monetizing your blog.
Affiliate marketing involves promoting another company’s product with your individual affiliate link. If someone purchases through your link then you will receive a commission.
Popular affiliate programs include:
- Flex Offers
- Brand Cycle
- CJ Affiliate
- Amazon Associates
- Affiliate Programs of other bloggers
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing here are some courses you should consider.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. When it comes to affiliate marketing Michelle is a pro! This is a great overview course of affiliate marketing that gives you actionable tips for you to start earning your first affiliate sale. An added bonus is it comes with a private Facebook group that is active and helpful. It is my favorite Facebook group.
Also Anna from The She Approach has a nice affiliate marketing course.
Related: How to start affiliate marketing for beginners
Sponsorships involve working directly with brands and promoting their products on your blog. You can receive compensation either in product or payment.
One way to find sponsorship opportunities is by working with an influencer network. Here is a list of blog networks you can look into:
- Social Fabric
- Massive Sway
- The Blogger Network
- Acorn Influence
- Weave Made Media
- Social Stars
- The SITS Girls – The Sway
- Clever Girls
When create a sponsored post or you are using affiliate links you always need to have a disclosure. Check out the FTC Endorsement Guidelines to learn more.
If you want to know how much to charge for sponsorship opportunities then create a profile at Social Blue Book and it will recommend a price point based on your traffic and social media reach.
Using ads on your website is another way to monetize your blog. Generally the more page views you get the more potential for income from ads.
Ad networks to consider include:
Selling Digital Products
Create a digital informational product in the form of an ebook. Sendowl and Gumroad are platforms you can use to sell your digital products.
Online courses are a great way to monetize your blog. You put all the work up front and then you can continue to sell your course long afterwards. There is no associated cost of materials or need for physical inventory. Teachable, Thinktific, Udemy, Ruzuku, and Course Craft, are all options for hosting your online course. You could also host your own course using WordPress plugins like AccessAlly.
If you are looking for more advanced tools to sell your products consider Deadline Funnel or Thrive Ultimatum to set up evergreen sales funnels for your blog. They provide an individualized sales experience and countdown timer per customer.
Make sure you create a Google Analytics and Google Search Console account and add the necessary code to your website. These are both free tools by Google. Google Analytics gives you information about where you traffic is coming from and Google Search Console can give you information about what search terms people are using to find your website.
Website Speed: You can use resources like Webpage test, Pingdom and Google Page Speed Insights to let you know about the speed performance of your website. Good site speed is an important factor for rankings.
You can use Domain Authority Checker, GT Metrix, and Website Grader to give you more information about the health of your website.
Peek User Testing is a service where you can have someone rate the user experience of your website to see if there are any areas you need to improve.
Creating a Survey
Often times it is a good idea to ask your audience what type of content they are interested in. You can use Typeform or SurveyMonkey to create a survey for your audience to learn more about their pain points.
Using a Giveaway
Rafflecopter is a tool you can use to run a giveaway for your blog.
I hope that you have found this post helpful. There are a lot of great blogging resources out there for the online entrepreneur. Make sure you take a moment to download my How To Start A Blog checklist. This checklist list 100+ steps you should take before launching your blog.
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