In the beginning, all you need to blog is some sort of computing device and a story to tell. There comes a time, though, when you look to work more effectively and efficiently while making progress towards your blogging goals.
Several of the links listed are affiliate links – all to products or programs that I have personally tried and believe in.
I’ve made my way through several blogging platforms over the years. I started with Xanga, moved to Blogger back in its early days, gave WordPress.com a try before going to back to Blogger. Eventually, though, it became clear that if I was going to make the leap to being a professional blogger WordPress.org was a must. And it is for you, too. Most ad networks and many brands prefer the tools available on self-hosted WordPress sites. While it does require more of an investment, it is a necessary one for your growth.
Bluehost – I register my domains with Bluehost and originally hosted my sites with them. I had a solid experience but eventually switched to the more personal customer service available with New Blog Hosting. David Allen, the owner of New Blog Hosting, is a wonderful resource for the technologically challenged blogger. I have sent many of my personal clients and members of my influencer groups to him with wonderful results!
My recommendation is to register your domain with one company and host your site with New Blog Hosting. Still not convinced you need to be self-hosted? Here’s how to decide.
I am a huge fan of the Genesis framework and use it on all of my sites. It provides tremendous flexibility and power, especially when paired with a child theme suited to your needs. My first choice for child themes goes to Restored316Designs.
When it comes to custom branding & design, you can’t get any better than Kaye Putnam – check our her brandality quiz for an incredible head start on your branding.
Scheduling Software & Apps
In today’s digital landscape your visuals are key. I create many of my own images with a Canon 5d Mark iii, Canon 50mm 1.8 lens and a tripod.
For stock images, I recommend:
123rf.com (my favorite paid stock site)
Balancing Family & Blog
The Day Designer is my go-to planner. I’m not a naturally efficient person – I am way too easily sent down a rabbit hole, especially when it comes to creative efforts. I am also *slightly* (can you hear my husband trying not to laugh?) obsessed with planners, calendars and similar office supplies. I have tried every internet based planner software I could find, but I keep coming back to something I can hold my hand. And I’ve found something that works for me. For 2015, I went with Whitney English’s The Day Designer and it is AH-MAZING! I bought 2016’s as soon as it went on pre-sale. Beautiful, substantial and well organized, The Day Designer allows me to keep my to do list, my schedule, dinner plans, notes, and a reminder to be grateful on one page. Perhaps my favorite aspect, though, is the space at the time set aside for my top three “must-dos” to help keep me focused. Whenever I’m at a switching point and turning to a new activity, referring back to my planner/to do list reminds me of those three things that need to get done FIRST. Knowing what needs to get done and getting it done on time plus knowing what can wait is absolutely essential for making more time for the things I WANT to be doing.
Disclosure, copyright and terms are all vitally important to get right from the get go. Rachel Brenke’s BlogLegally is the best place to find the information you need.