The Most Fabulous Resources for Your New Blog
So, you've started a blog. Or you're thinking of starting a blog. But, there is so much to think about!
The list goes on!
Well, I am here to take a little bit of the information overload off of your hands. Today, I am sharing my favorite resources I used (and still use) when I started my blog. Some of them you may have heard before, but I think there will be a few new ones for you, too!
I've tried to put the list in “chronological” order, so to speak. My domain name search and hosting recommendations are first, for example, because you have to figure that out before you can build your blog.
Let's get started!
Lean Domain Search – I used this website when I was coming up with my domain name. It can be exhausting to keep trying new domain names and keep having them come up as taken. This tool takes the words you enter and gives you any available domain names using those words. It also adds common website words onto the beginning and end of your words to provide new suggestions.
Siteground – I initially started out using Bluehost, but switched to SiteGround after about 6 months. I had to contact Bluehost about a few problems I was having and they were…..so……..slow to respond. I have been pleased with SiteGround from the beginning. They migrated my site for me for free and have answered every question I have ever had promptly and without making me feel like it was a dumb question. I also find their member dashboard easy to use and navigate, so that is another plus.
WordPress – I actually started in Blogger, but switched to WordPress.org pretty quickly. I really like the freedom it gives me to customize my blog as far as design and adding plugins, etc.
Tailwind – I love Tailwind. It is an automatic scheduler for Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to market your blog, but it can be hard to find the time to always be pinning your material. So, Tailwind is great for people who blog, but are also busy with kids and family and, well, Life. Or just have better things to do than sit and pin all day. Tailwind is pretty easy to understand and get started. Also, for between $10 – $15 per month, it is very reasonable for the amount of work it does for you. Plus, the analytics are awesome! One of my favorite aspects of Tailwind are the Tribes. They are basically like Pinterest group boards. You pin your content to the Tribe, then other members can pin your content to their group boards. It allows my content to reach others that I normally wouldn’t. Currently, about 40% of my traffic comes from Tailwind Tribes, so definitely worth the investment.
Social Warfare – If you want people to share your blog posts, then you have to make it easier for your readers to do just that. Have you ever been to a blog and wanted to Pin the post or share it and couldn’t find the social share buttons?! So frustrating. Social warfare is a plugin for WordPress that makes it super (super!) easy to share and have others share you content in the way you want them to. Social Warfare offers the options for multiple places for your social sharing buttons (plus share counts) and it lets you specify certain images to be shared on different platforms for the post. So, a reader clicks on some random photo of your post to share it….Social Warfare will still share the image that you specified to be shared. No more gross pictures on Pinterest! Yay!
Yoast – Yoast is a plugin that I use to optimized my content for SEO (search engine optimization). This is so important when trying to get Google love for your blog. The free version allows you to choose one keyword per blog post, while the paid version allows multiple keywords for each post. Yoast will then analyze your blog post and give you advice on how you can improve the SEO for that post. The advice is super simple to understand and correct. I like that Yoast helps me remember to focus on keyword placement as I am writing a blog post, instead of just writing willy nilly. It also lets you customize the snippets for each blog post that appear in search results.
Headers and Footers – I love this plugin. It’s nothing fancy, but it is so helpful. When you are starting a blog, you often have to validate your website for things like installing Google Analytics or applying for rich pins on Pinterest. This makes it very easy to paste the appropriate code into the correct place of your html without actually having to access your website files and risk messing anything up! A must have for any “non-techy”!
MailerLite – This is the email marketing service I use to collect email address and email my list. I started with Mailchimp, but found it difficult to use and navigate. MailerLite is much easier and their dashboard is very intuitive. It is free until your list hits 1,000 subscribers, so if you don't want to shell out the money for Convertkit, MailerLite is a good choice. MailerLite offers automation, scheduling emails for sending at a later time, sending based on time zones, and linking to Google analytics. It's a great service.
The Society of Women Winning Online – This is a membership site specifically for women (obviously). It is run by Jen Snyder and I cannot say enough good things about it. I am a member and this community of women is just awesome. Awesome. Jen is amazing at getting you to stay focused and make progress on your blog. Renee Shupe offers tech support that is beyond amazing. And the other women are so wonderful, too! The Society is a great place to get feedback on ideas and products you are creating for you blog. Really, everything. If you are a blogger and you are a woman, then you need to be in The Society. end of story.
I hope you found this list helpful. I remember how overwhelming and confusing it can be when you are first diving into the blogging world. The resources I've listed here and super helpful, so be sure to check them out!
Did I miss one? Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list and I plan to update it as I find more “can't live without” resources. If you know one, leave it in the comments and I will check it out!
Be sure to Pin this post for later!