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This is an update of an older post. I still loved everything from the original but it was 8 months ago and I’ve learned more since then.
I’ve been blogging now for over two years and while my blog isn’t huge I’m proud of the growth I’ve made in the time I’ve been blogging. I have tried many things to improve my blog and my blogging skills and I want to share with you a list of favorites. Now upfront all of these cost money but I believe that it’s investing in my business and by building my blog and brand I will make the money back down the road. I will also be putting together a list of the tools and resources I’ve found that don’t cost money in the future. Some are affiliate links and some aren’t but everything I write about in this post I personally use or have used and love. I wouldn’t share something with you and tell you it’s awesome unless I knew for sure that it was.
I love Melissa over at Blog Clarity. I have learned so much from her website about blogging and she is an expert at blog design. I believe strongly in education and if I’m going to be a great blogger than I want to learn as much as possible. So when this content Brew course was offered I took it. Through the course you learn how to set up an editorial calendar and how to come up with lots of great ideas for blog post ideas. Also it cover how to use Social media more effectively and other blogging tips. You also get access to this course forever and there are printables you can download on to your computer to reference when you need them.
Moving to wordpress
When I started blogging I was over at blogger, which is a good place to start. It got my feet wet as a blogger till I had built up some posts and some followers. Through research and talking with more experienced bloggers I realized I needed to move to WordPress. That in WordPress I would have more freedom and control over my blog because I’d be self-hosted. I was about a year into blogging when I made the move I think. I am not tech savvy and while there are those people who could move their blogs on their own I knew I could not so I went in search of where I could have someone do it for me. I went with Blogelina because I felt like it was a reasonable price to pay to save me lots of stress, time and headaches. I was very happy with how fast and easy she made everything and whenever I had a question Tanya,who runs the site, was quick to message me back and help me out.
I use Picmonkey all the time to edit and create photos. I just don’t want to spend the money on Photoshop and it’s really complicated. Using Picmonkey is just fine for my needs, since I’m not much of a photographer. You can use the site for free but I use the Royale package which costs $5 a month. You get a lot more with the upgraded plans, including a ton of extra fonts and overlays for your photos. As much as I use it I get my $5 worth. I also have added Canva to the list of things I use for photos. I probably spend $10 every few months. You pay $1 for each of there pictures that aren’t free. There are so many things free though, so I make a ton of stuff and probably buy 4 or 5 in a month.
Passionfruit is what I use to put sponsors on my blog. It is amazing in that it does all the work for you. You set up your account with what ad spaces you want. It gives you the code to ad to your blog. People pay through the site and then you get paid into your Paypal account. I wouldn’t know how to have sponsors on my blog without it. Now it’s even better because it tells you how many times an ad was clicked on the site. So I know how well my ad is doing on other blogs, I pay for and how well the sponsors on my blog are doing. It costs $9 a month for the account but I know bloggers who had ad space on their blogs before Passionfruit and say it was so much work to do that I happily will pay them a small fee to take that work off of me.
5.I also took this Media Kit course from Blog Clarity, the great thing about Blog Clarity courses is that you have access to the content for a year and you get handouts you can save to your computer. I made my media kit when I took the class in March but my blog has grown and changed so much and I’m glad I have access for a year.
6. I also loved this course. I love courses, it’s one of my favorite ways to learn. You get 22 lessons about how to grow your blog into a business and I learned so much from this course. You also get to join a Google + group of other students. This course goes over SEO, starting a series, keywords, headlines that get attention and so much more.
7. Blog Consulting
I also loved having a few blog consulting sessions with a blogger I really respected. I felt she really gave me great ideas and helped me grow a lot. It’s why I started offering my 30 minute free sessions to let you try it out with me. Just click the tab in my menu bar. I feel like I now know enough to help a lot of bloggers. So if you want some blog consulting sign up for a free call to see if we are a good match.
8. This book by Abby Lawson.
I have a lot of blogging books, too many blogging books but this book is one of the best and an absolute favorite. I learned so much. If you are going to buy a blogging book this is a great choice.
Trust me I’ve spent money on things I wish I hadn’t when it comes to blogging. Things that I felt weren’t worth it or didn’t work for me. That’s why I put together this post to give you some pointers and some recommendations based on what I’ve tried and what’s worked and been worth it.