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Last Updated: 12/12/2017
For those of you bloggers out there, you probably already have a good idea about what it takes to get your blog up and running and all of the resources you can use to help accelerate growth or even just to get started!
Here’s a list of the resources that we’ve used to start this blogging adventure! We will update this post as we find some amazing new tools and document what works well for us and what doesn’t! We promise full transparency — the good, the bad, and the ugly! We are by no means experts on this yet, but we are absolutely determined to succeed for all of the right reasons.
We did some research and we have some past experience with Host Gator and GoDaddy, so we chose to use BlueHost for this endeavor based on the following:
- Reviews – majority of the blogs we’ve been following for several years use BlueHost, there are also quite a few blogs that have launched in the last year (and are making upwards of $12k/month currently) that utilize BlueHost for it’s hosting services. We only found 1 negative review and we will absolutely be providing our own review of this service once Travis starts digging into the development of the site some more.
- Affiliate program – BlueHost was among the top affiliates listed from more than 75% of the bloggers I researched that launched within the last year. This means that it’s a great opportunity to earn some affiliate income right from the very start. This was the deciding factor for us when it came down to picking our Hosting Service (I know it isn’t totally related, but we aren’t going to advertise a product that we don’t use).
- Recommended by WordPress
- You can also get a pretty sweet discount on web hosting if you do the following:
- Begin the hosting sign up process
- Chose a domain
- Fill in the information and start looking at some plans
- Look at the options and then linger on the page for just a little bit and then hit the back button (or at least move toward the back button) on your browser.
- You’ll be given an option for a lower monthly fee.
- We paid only $56 for a year of hosting after the promotion option!
It’s only been a week since we started writing and pulling the site together (after months of researching and business planning!! — I tend to go a little overboard here so I can be realistic about my expectations), but we are fans of BlueHost so far!
For some more tips on getting started with BlueHost, you can check out our Getting Started With BlueHost post!
Creating Blog Graphics (or Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook graphics!!)
This is the first time that I’ve used Canva and it’s freakin awesome! It’s super simple to use and you can upload your own photos to create some amazing headers for your blog, instagram, Facebook, or whatever for that matter!! I will absolutely continue to use Canva for the long-term. I have Adobe Photoshop and I’ve used it a ton in the past, but Canva takes the stress out of learning Photoshop for those who do not know it or don’t have it. There are even some great templates to get started with as well as some awesome free stock photos!
Totally love this site and the pictures on it! They allow you to download different sizes and have a wide range of photos to chose from that span every category you can think of.
Another great collection of awesome stock photos from great photographers. The site uploads ten images every 10 days and the images are free of copyright and you can use them however you want. This site has great landscape photos as well!!
Another great tool that I’m super excited about! I’ve signed up for it, but I’ve only scheduled two pins so far and joined one “Tailwind Tribe”. From what I’ve read, bloggers list Tailwind as the number 1 reason why their blogs take off and many regret not using it from day 1! I started using it today, day 6, so I’m a little behind already!!!
3 Days of using Tailwind and I joined 5 MAJOR Tribes and have impressions in the 6 digits!! That’s freakin incredible if you ask me!!! I’m super thrilled about the results so far and I HIGHLY recommend this to new bloggers just getting started with building some traffic momentum.
Here are some resources that we’ve gathered, but haven’t tested out just yet:
Graphics, Fonts, Etc
- Instapage – Instapage is good for developing Landing/Selling pages for offering ebooks, printables, and more to your followers.
- Picmonkey – We’ve used Picmonkey for other things in our past experience, but Picmonkey is great for logo design and blog post images. Picmonkey has a paid plan as well that offers some more advanced tools with templates and fonts as well
- Dafont – Has great reviews for being an awesome site to download free fonts for personal use. If you chose to use the fonts for commercial use (like a blog you are being paid for!!), then you do have to purchase the font, which is totally fine with us if we love it!
- Pixlr – Good for editing and creating graphics! Similar to photoshop, this is a free tool to use to create new documents, add layers and more!
- Boardbooster: I’m pretty excited to get started using Boardbooster. My blog research shows that nearly every blog that has seen success over the last year or two gets over 50% of their traffic from Pinterest. Boardbooster has a free trial that a ton of bloggers recommend getting started with to see how much the platform increases your traffic in a short time.
- Basically, the way it works is you chose the boards that you’d like to focus on and add them into the scheduler page on Boardbooster. Boardbooster creates secret boards (these are the ones that only you can see) on your Pinterest profile and then you add images to those boards on Pinterest. Boardbooster works during the timeframe that you select to push those pins (that you pinned into your secret boards) into your real Pinterest boards. It’s like having an assistant working just on Pinterest each day! And I thought that teaching my 9-year old to do this would be a great idea!!!
- Mailerlite: I’ve signed up for this awesome and highly recommended email subscription service, but we haven’t used it yet. All of our research shows us that we need to start here and then upgrade to ConvertKit once we’ve established a great following!
- BlueHost: Again, great affiliate program and great hosting! You can make $65 for every person you refer to BlueHost who signs up for their awesome hosting (see above for my review so far!)
- Amazon Affiliates
- Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial – I absolutely love having Amazon Prime and I use it on a daily basis for streaming kid show (and sometimes shows that Travis and I want to watch if we can ever get the kids to sleep!) and I also use it to make those last minute purchases that will arrive with 2-day Free shipping! You can’t beat that. Also, when you refer someone to Amazon Prime and they sign up for the free trial, you make what is called a “bounty” or referral fee. Sweet deal right!? I’m already going to talk about the awesomeness that is Amazon Prime, so I’m pretty excited to be able to share it and earn some money back too!
- Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Wedding Registry – I just love Amazon’s registry programs, so I’m absolutely sharing these with our audience too!
- Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry – The baby Welcome box for Amazon is the best registry gift I’ve seen (and after 4 kiddos and signing up for registries everywhere, I am the one to know!). I’ll get a review of the amazing stuff I received from just signing up for a Baby Registry on Amazon in just a few days!
- ShopStyle Collective: ShopStyle Collective is pretty neat. You can make some awesome product showcases (like the ones I have on our Holiday Gift Guide for Stranger Things Fans and more! I’m excited to explore what else I can do with ShopStyle Collective and allow users to “shop our closets” and check out our recommendations for a huge variety of things!
- ShareASale: I am just getting started with this affiliate program. I’ve applied to work with several of the 500+ companies that ShareASale has listed. Learn how you can increase your sales, develop your brand, and generate interest in your site.
- SendOwl: Great tool for selling ebooks, but also for affiliate sales driving! I’m part of two affiliate programs in addition to SendOwl’s program. The two affiliate programs are awesome blogging resources that can absolutely set you up for success with Pinterest strategies and Affiliate marketing.