Blogging Resources

round brian forbesIf you want to use the same products and systems that I use on Let’s Make a Blog and my other sites, take a look at these great resources for new bloggers:

(Some of these are affiliate links, and at no cost to you, I may receive a commission for sending customers to these specific services. However, I use all the same stuff on my blogs, and I never recommend anything I don’t like.)

Hosting and Domain Names

Sign Up for SiteGround Hosting and use the same hosting ans Domain Registration service that I use. Having used other services before, I definitely love SiteGround and it’s the only company that I recommend.

This is a great host for beginners though it can stick with you no matter how large you grow. Their customer service is awesome, they are among the lowest in price, and they are also one of the fastest.

It’s a big win and a no-brainer for you. Don’t even waste time looking anywhere else.

Keyword Research

Get a Free 7 Day Trial of SEM Rush and test drive the best keyword research program available. This will keep you loaded with great keywords and topics to write about.

I have a private list of over ten thousand great keywords that I was able to generate for one of my sites in less than an hour. I’ll never run out of topics now.

Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension. This is an add-on for the Google Chrome Browser that is called an Extension. There are many of these, and they add additional functions to your internet browser.

As of right now, this is a free extension for Chrome that gives you lots of keyword data on Google, Amazon, YouTube, Etsy, and More.

WordPress Themes

The only WordPress Theme I Use is GeneratePress, which is the best you can buy. It’s very light, fast, and gives you the flexibility you need to build your blog. It’s also very easy to use and customize, which is great for beginners especially.

As you grow, you can delve deeper into the theme and build your site as big and as detailed as you like without ever having to leave their core structure. They made a huge difference for all of my sites.

Email Lists and Newsletters

Mailer Lite is the service that I use for all of my email newsletters, and they have a great free version to get you started. Their software lets you create amazing looking emails, and without any technical skill.

They also have a set it and forget it option where you can create an RSS email that automatically sends out your newest posts on a certain schedule. Basically you write, and the email automatically sends out your new stuff to your list.

It’s great for new bloggers, because when you put your emails on auto pilot, you have one less thing to worry about.

Also, the prices are outstanding when your list finally grows big enough for a paid plan. I made the switch from another program because Mailer Lite was a tiny fraction of the price I would have been paying. It’s a super deal.

Affiliate Programs for Bloggers

Amazon Associates is the best affiliate program for new bloggers. They have an easy application process, a high acceptance rate, and they even approve newer blogs trying to become established.

The really big win with Amazon is that they are a trusted source. When you recommend Amazon, you are sending your customers to a place that is reliable and that has a long track record of outstanding service.

I use Amazon Associates for all of my sites. Since I recommend a lot of different products, it’s really easy to be able to link to them from one source, and post Amazon product images on my site for my customers to see.

Images and Graphics

Adobe Spark is my absolute favorite blog post image design program, and they have a free version that does nearly everything the paid version does, only with a very tiny watermark at the bottom of each image.

If you want to create professional looking featured images, overlay text on an image, and make your post images super clickable and shareable, then you need Adobe Spark.

Pixlr Photo Editor Online is a nice, free photo editor that you can use to reduce your image sizes, edit your photos, and make them ready to post on your blog. It has a lot of the functionality of Photoshop, but completely free.

The other nice thing is that since it’s an online program, you don’t need to download anything and you can access it from any computer online.

Pinterest Pinning Software

Tailwind is an online tool that allows you to bulk schedule pins on Pinterest. Since Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for new and established blogs, it makes sense that you post to their platform.

Especially if you are in the hobby, craft, or how-to niches, you can share your content with people that love to see it, love to click, and can provide you with some early and lifelong traffic.

Pinterest allows you to link your content back to your site, which lets their users read your posts. This is a huge win, because there are hundreds of millions of people that use Pinterest every month.

Self Publishing Resources

Kindle Direct Publishing is the biggest source for publishing paperback books and e-books. The self publishing process is very easy, and you can have a live book on Amazon that earns you commission every time it sells.

Every blogger should have a book about their topic. You are already a writer. A book is just a little longer. If you are ready to take the leap, Amazon can help you publish for free, and they will list you book for sale on too.

Word Processing Programs and Dictation

Apache Open Office is a suite of office style programs that is completely free, and you can download them to your computer. They have a word processor that is very good, and you can write your posts before you copy/paste them into WordPress.

This is an alternative to Word, which is a paid program with a monthly fee. If you are looking to go the free route, then Open Office Writer is definitely for you.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is the best way to get into dictation using your computer. If you want to accelerate your writing and more than double your output, you need to start dictating.

Thankfully, Dragon makes the process simple, and once you get a little practice, you’ll wonder how you ever manager to write everything by hand.

Computers and Tablets

HP Laptops are what I use when I edit and create posts in WordPress. They are inexpensive, light weight, and have more than enough power to run an online business.

Don’t feel like you need to spend a ton of money on a laptop. You don’t. For $300 to $400 you can buy a laptop that has plenty of speed, and can run the programs you need to run your business.

Apple iPads are great for taking your work with you, and this means more writing on the go. I use my iPad all the time, and it’s great for writing with a Bluetooth Keyboard as well as dictation with the Pages app.

Site Speed and Health Check

GT Metrix is a free program that will scan your site and give you suggestions on how to make improvements. However, if you are new to blogging, this can be a little overwhelming.

Don’t let it bother you though. Over time, you will learn how to work on many of these different aspects of your site, and the terms will become easier to understand.

The service can help reveal areas where your site can be improved, and that’s always a good thing.