As this blog is all about your blogging hustle, it would be rather useful if there was a list you could go to of lots of jolly useful blogging stuff. So here is a list, please bookmark it as it will be constantly updated, of the bloggy stuff I use or fellow bloggers recommend.
There are some affiliate links on this page which mean if you go on to purchase something after clicking my link to that site, I get a small commission. Not Mercedes car size more like enough for a coffee. Cheers x
As I will be updating this regularly I will leave the date here ….last update – 14 Dec 2017
Pretty Things Like Themes
Genesis Framework- Genesis from StudioPress is recommended by a lot of people. It’s there go to framework because it’s well coded and well supported. It’s inexpensive with endless possibilities.
Restored 316 Designs – Beautiful themes built on the Genesis Framework. These gorgeous feminine themes are beautiful if you leave them as they are straight out of the box or if you can tinker and make them unique.You do need to have the Genesis Framework installed first for these to work as they are child themes.
Elegant Themes – I think Elegant Themes was the first themes I bought when I wanted to get serious about blogging. The beauty with Elegant Themes is that you pay one price each year and can use every single theme that they have if you want to. Their two latest themes Divi and Extra are the most intuitive themes out there. If you want to make your theme really unique but not touch the code they are the ones to go for.
Pretty Darn Cute – As they say, it does what it says on the tin. Pretty darn cute WordPress themes that are on Genesis framework. Want something girly then check them out.
Collecting Emails Etc
MailChimp – Collect emails, send newsletters and email your readers latest posts and more. Mailchimp is good when you are starting out as they have a free version as you find your feet. You can then upgrade to their paid versions as your email list number grows.
ConvertKit – Quite a lot of bloggers move to ConvertKit as it has the feature to allow you to run multiple opt-ins running on your blog at a time. When you first set out you might think this isn’t something you need but it is definitely something you will at some point want to do.
Buffer – At some point, you will want to automate some of the smaller stuff to give you more time. Buffer has a free version that will help you ease into the whole thing gently.
CoSchedule – I have only recently found CoSchedule. It’s amazing. If you can only afford one expense I would really recommend you try CoShedule. It helps you share your content and makes the whole thing really easy. After I have written a post it helps you schedule it straight away. Then again for the next day, week and month. You can also set any date you want too. The calendar makes it really easy to see what’s being shared when and where. You can share to Twitter and Facebook but also Pinterest.
BoardBooster – Another new find for me and another must especially if you want to conquer Pinterest. In short, it helps you by slowly sharing lots of pins you have already selected. So instead of having to remember to pin pins each day I can set it at the beginning of the week and leave it to it. The really good feature that I haven’t seen elsewhere is that you can set it to ‘Loop’ a board/s. So if you have a board that has lots of pins but not all the pins have reins or even got noticed you can set Boardbooster to take old pins and repin them. Then a few days later it checks which has the least repins ( you control all the numbers etc) and deletes the least popular one.
Tailwind – Tailwind is another program that pins Pinterest pins for you. Does give better analytics than Pinterest itself but doesn’t have the looping feature of Boardbooster. You can get $15 free using this link Tailwind Free $15
Paypal – Probably the most widely used tool for online sales and integrates with so many selling tools like Woocommerce, Gumroad, and many many others.
Woocommerce – if you want to sell actual items or digital items, Woocommerce will get you up and running.
Gumroad – I’ve newly discovered Gumroad and loving its ease of use. You can sell digital and physical goods through Gumroad. It also has a very good affiliate program built in, so if you want others to sell your goods your good to go.
Teachable – there is a big trend at the moment to teach online. Teachable has various packages available so depending on what you want to teach and how complex it is, there will be a package that fits.
Asana – Starts from FREE is you have a team less than 15 people. Use it on your desktop/laptop and iPhone or Android.
If on Mac use Self Control app, Pc users try StayFocused. They are both clever little apps that you can either block access to pre-set sites or block for a set amount of time. So basically doesn’t let you on social media sites when you’re supposed to be knuckling down to some work.
Grammarly – Although Word has spell check and grammar check you can always step it up a notch if you’re not confident with your spelling and grammar.
Coschedule’s Headline Analyser – Pop in your blog post title and it tells you if its a gooden or a dud.
Canva – Not everyone can afford Photoshop or like me understand it. That’s where Canva saves the day. You don’t have to remember the sizes of everything either as they have loads of templates all perfectly sized for Pinterest Pins, Instagram Posts and just about anything else you would want. When you get really series you can step up to the paid version and store things like branding.
PicMonkey – Just open in your browser, drag and drop your photo and edit it. Easy as that. Of course, there is the free version but there is also the paid version where you get access to more filters etc.
Free Stock Photo Sites
Just a little note before you go diving into stock photos – the images on free photo sites are usually licensed under Creative Commons. This means that you can modify, copy and distribute the work ( even for commercial purposes) without having to ask for permission. But you can not sell them. Some sites will ask fro attribution of some sort. It’s best to check with each site before you go wading in.
Unsplash – 10 free photos are posted every 10 days.
DesignerPics – Lots of great photos.
New Old Stock – Vintage photos from public archives.
Snapwire Snaps – 7 free photos every 7 days.
SEO & Keyword Research
Semrush – if you want to research your competitors, research words and generally lots of other SEO things then Semrush is the tool.
Long Tail Pro – useful if you want to find long tail keywords.
Ubersuggest – finds lots of keyword suggestions for a keyword.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – THE plugin for SEO on your blog. I use this on all my blogs.
Jolly Useful Stuff
Evernote – Jolly useful as you can add the app to your phone and your computer. Then as your out and about and inspiration hits you, jot it down, snap it or whatever into your Evernote and Ta-da when you’re at the computer it’s there too. Use to keep notes, post ideas must do’s etc
Google Analytics – you may only be getting one visitor a day but you need to know where that visitor is coming from. What search terms they used to get to you and what pages they visited. You won’t always have just Great Aunt Flo as your only fan and as it can only track visitors from when it’s been installed, install it at the beginning.
Statcounter – If the thought of adding Google Analytics makes your knees wobble there is an easier and simpler option in Statcounter. The reports are a lot simpler and less information but if all you want to know is how many visitors your site has had with a few more details than this one is much simpler.
FileZilla = 100% and the only FTP client you will need.
DropBox – free but you can pay for more space if needed. A place to put things that you will want to access from different devices. Saves so much time as I use to email myself all the time. Talk about confusing.
Info When You Need It
Melyssa Griffin – was Nectar Collective – this girl seriously rocks. She doesn’t just know her stuff she lives and breathes it. What she gives away in freebies other people are charging big bucks for. Plus she has some very useful courses ….bit further down.
byRegina – another lady that knows her stuff. Her freebie courses well worth checking out.
A Beautiful Mess – first of their website is to die for. It’s full of gorgeousness and once you’ve got to know Elsie and Emma look at their blogging courses in their shop. They cover photography and Instagram as well as blogging. They quite often have a half price event which makes their already unbelievable priced courses even better.
Courses and Classes
( I only recommend courses I have actually done myself)
**New course on the scene** Rock Your Pinterest – New course on the scene by Sadie is a course on how to get your Pinterest working for you. But there is a huge difference in this course. Well, two things actually. The first main one is even though its full of info it free. Yes totally free. The other difference with this course is that the support is second to none. Sadie is always there to answer questions and help you out but she always goes one step further.
Now it’s no secret that some of these courses have an affiliate program which means I get payment for all those who sign up from my link. Rock Your Pinterest doesn’t have an affiliate program but I am so confident that it’s the best course that I totally recommend you do this free course over a paid course.
Pinfinite Growth – It’s all about Pinterest and so much more. Prepare to have your little socks blown off if you take the plunge. This isn’t just for blogging newbies either. I have learned so much from it and that’s 10 years into blogging !!
List Surge – Also by Melyssa. Again I have done this course and its full of ideas on how to increase your email list with lots of bonuses too.
Social Media Superhero Course – If you want to get to grips with your social media AND want to test out Melyssa’s teaching style then give this course a try and its super cheap and jam packed with info. You also get to see if you like the style of how Melyssa teaches.
Building A Framework – Learn from Abby and her husband Donny all the things they have down to make their blog a business.
Rockin’ Virtual Assistants Training & Development – is a course for those who are wanting to start a career or side career as a Virtual Assistant. The difference between Sadie and Christine’s course is that not only its a lot more affordable than some but it’s their Facebook group that is more than just a group. It is a go to place when you don’t know how to do something or need support or encouragement. They really care about their students and this is what makes it such an awesome course. And yes it is a course I have done.
Content Brew – Build a content strategy to grow your online presence
Media Kit Smash – Create a media kit that actually appeals to brands
Favorite Finds of Fonts and Images
Creative Market – High quality and very good pricing. You can get fonts, images, logos, icons, textures, backgrounds and lots more. A big plus is they send out weekly freebies.
The Hungry Jpeg – do the most amazing deals. But you need to check regularly as they deals are time sensitive.
Plugins ( WordPress )
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin – a very handy plugin that tells you if your keyword is in all the right places and how readable your post is.
Pretty Link Lite – if you do any sort of affiliate marketing this plugin will help you keep track of how many times a link was clicked etc.
How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul: Ruth Soukup – I have this on my kindle and I think its the ebook I read the most. Ruth talks to you like your sat on the of a with her. Read, learn and apply. Repeat.
Email Marketing BluePrint:Steve Scott – this ebook, as with all of Steve’s ebooks, is just so easy to read. Another firm favorite in my kindle and I think I have all his ebooks. Not often I can say that about a writer.