There is no way my blog would be where it is today if I hadn’t spent time and money investing in my blogging education when I first started out. In fact, I KNOW I would be nowhere as a blogger without a few of these resources under my belt.
But there are so many resources out there, all claiming to be the best!! I wish I had a list of tried and true resources that actually WORK. Lucky for you, I decided to pay it forward and make one.
From ebooks to ecourses, training modules to blogging conferences, it’s hard to know what will meet your needs exactly and give you the best results at the fastest rate. Some trainings only apply to specific niches, while others apply to all.
There are several resources that I recommend again and again to bloggers who are looking for the right resources. They apply to all bloggers in any niche, and in any season of blogging. They are great for newbie bloggers, but they will also give tons of value to a more advanced blogger as well.
This book, written by Ruth Soukup from Living Well Spending Less, offers a step by step guide for growing your blog. She highlights the importance of a well designed site, SEO, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media, as well as gives tips for growing traffic and building true community. You can buy this book right here on Amazon for about 15 bucks.
This is an ebook written by Abby Lawson, another blogging guru. It is a little pricier, at about $35 dollars, but I promise it will be the best $35 you will ever spend when you are just starting out on your blog. She covers everything in this blog – from how to pick a name and decide what to write about, to setting up a beautiful website, to networking with other bloggers. She also has a chapter on each social media outlet, explaining how important each one is and how to create an effective strategy that will work for you. And she gives tips on creating the perfect pinnable image, walking you step by step on how she does it from start to finish. If you can only buy one of these resources right now, BUY THIS ONE!! You can buy it right here.
3 – Genesis parent theme by StudioPress Themes for WordPress
I talked briefly in another post about the importance of having a beautiful theme. If your site isn’t attractive and easy to navigate, a new reader probably won’t be coming back. You need to make sure that at a glance your theme is bright and welcoming. Also, make sure it clearly has the name, purpose, and categories of your blog front and center. A great way to make sure you are on the right path is to have a friend glance at your homepage for three seconds and ask them what they know about your blog after just those three seconds. They should know right away what they will be learning or reading about when they come back to your site. A good theme makes this easy! Every good theme has both a parent theme and a child theme. The parent theme provides the framework, the basic structure of the site. I have always used the Genesis parent theme from StudioPress Themes for WordPress and LOVE it. It was super easy to set up, and there are soooo many options of child themes to choose from. Speaking of child themes….
4 – Restored 316 child themes
Restored 316 child themes are beautiful and colorful and bright and have just the right amount of white space. Think of it like this – a parent theme such as Genesis is like the walls of your house, or the foundation your blog is built on. A child theme is the paint and wallpaper and curtains that make it look pretty. The child theme is how you add your colors and designs and pretty fonts. While the child theme is what makes it beautiful, a parent theme is the supporting structure making all that pretty decorating possible. You can’t have one without the other. But once they are installed, that’s the last you think of parent themes and child themes. It’s one and done. Then you make it all pretty and personalized. Also, the customer support for the Restored 316 themes are amazing and have always been so helpful anytime I find myself stuck on something. (Which has only happened twice btw, since their online tutorials cover everything and are so amazing!) Click here to check out all of the beautiful options that Restored 316 offers.
5 – Boardbooster
This is a pin scheduling service that will save you hours and hours of pinning time each month. You can set up campaigns to pin content to group boards, so you free up your time to pin new content to your personal boards. You can read this post here for a more detailed description of how I started Boardbooster and watched my traffic jump 400% in one month! Some plans are only $5 a month, while other are $10 or $20. I love that it can grow as your blog grows. If you are interested in trying it out, click here to start a trial. The first 100 pins are completely free. They won’t even ask for your card information. When your 100 pins are up, they nicely email you saying “hey, your free pins are up. If you’re interested in paying monthly, then…” You seriously have nothing to lose.
6 – Canva or Picmonkey
Every blogger will tell you, in order to succeed you need beautiful images. Canva is an amazing resource that will help with photo editing and adding text to pictures. This is especially important if you are on Pinterest. There is a short learning curve to become familiar with all of the settings, but anytime I had a question, I googled it. Seriously, you can find out anything you need to know on YouTube and that also applies to Canva! I would recommend starting small with just social media images or blog images, before you venture into the abyss of creating worksheets and printables. If you want to poke around a little bit, click here to go their site. A quick note: There is a small monthly fee if you want access to some of their paid services. But there is also a ton you can do for free! The majority of the things I’ve ever used on Canva have been free.
7 – An email provider
Every blogger will tell you, start building your email list. And almost every blogger will admit their biggest regret is not starting their list sooner when another blogger recommended it to them. Learn from our mistakes and take our advice. I’m begging you! If you are relatively new to blogging, MailChimp is a great service to use. It is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and looks very professional. They are who I started out with and I genuinely have zero complaints. Again, there are tons of blog posts and Youtube videos that can help with any questions you might have. I always started by searching on Pinterest, and if my question wasn’t answered I would google it until I found a good YouTube video. If you are more of an established blogger and you have a bigger list, ConvertKit is THE best email provider out there! Their plans do have a monthly fee but you cannot beat their customer service or the flexibility and customization this service will give in your email campaigns.
8 – Pin in 21 course
This was the first blogging course I ever took, and it is the ONE AND ONLY Pinterest course I’ve ever needed to take. There are a lot more out there, and they are a lot more expensive. But Pin 21 by Arabah Joy is only $49, and it covers everything you need to know to get started growing your Pinterest following and increasing your blog traffic through Pinterest. It is an online course that is 21 lessons, and is completely self-paced. It is written by a Christian blogger, but her points apply to every niche. And did I mention it is only $49?!
This course is taught by Rosemarie from the Busy Budgeter. She is AH-mazing! Her course will teach you how to work with affiliates that fit your niche in order to monetize your blog and make money each month. If you are looking for easy ways to bring in money, recommending affiliates that you believe in might be a great fit for you! You can check out Rosemarie’s Core Afiiliate Strategy course right here.
10 – Genius Bloggers Toolkit by Ultimate Bundles
Last, but certainly not least, the masterminds behind Ultimate Bundles have created a Genius Bloggers Toolkit and it is a very wise investment. The Bundle includes countless ebooks and ecourses worth thousands of dollars, but it only sells for $97! Topics covered include building blog posts and readership, time management for bloggers, conquering social media, tips on photography and training on photo editing software, and so much more. It is such a fabulous deal, BUT it is only available a couple of times a year. If you think this is something you would like to know more about, and hear when it goes on sale, feel free to add your email to the waiting list right here.
I also send out more detailed information about the Genius Bloggers Toolkit to my subscribers, and alert them as soon as I hear when it is going on sale. If you enter your email address in the box below I’ll send information as soon as I know the Bloggers Toolkit is available. You will also be given a link to my free Simple Finance Toolkit as an added perk. Hopefully you can use some of these things now, as you wait with eager anticipation for the Bloggers Toolkit.
And there you have it. The ten BEST resources out there that will help any blogger take their blog to the next level.
I hope you are able to use these resources, and I can’t wait to hear about all of the progress you will make as you implement the strategies you will learn. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions! I would love to help you on your journey.
Happy blogging, friends! You’ve got this!!