Are you thinking of starting a blog? Wondering which blogging tools you need to get started?
I get it! It feels exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. 🙂
Starting this blog has been life-changing. I’ve gotten to meet travelers and bloggers from all over the world. But I’ve also grown personally and professionally. Before my eyes, this blog has turned into a full-fledged business that has led to amazing opportunities.
This didn’t happen overnight! Well, it sort of did…Let me explain.
When I started this blog, I was a full-time elementary school teacher. At night, once lessons were planned and dinner was cleaned up, I worked on the blog into the wee hours of the morning, slept for a few hours, and then repeated it all again the next day.
The point is blogging is a lot of hard work…especially if you’re hoping it’ll become a business.
Only you can dedicate yourself and do the work, but I can share the tools and resources I’ve used and found extremely helpful in the hopes they’ll help you, too.
Once you decide on a name for your website, you’ll need to purchase a domain. I’ve used and recommend:
When I first started this blog over 5 years ago(!), I knew nothing about hosting a website. So, don’t worry if you feel the same way.
As you get started, your blog will have just a small number of visitors each day. It’s fine to start with a cheap, basic hosting plan. I’ve used (and use for a couple of new sites) and recommend:
As this blog grew, though, I needed to focus more of my time and energy on content, marketing, and monetizing and less time on searching (sometimes desperately!) for answers to my tech questions.
Also, basic hosting plans often can’t handle growing websites with increasing amounts of traffic to the site. When you’re ready for it, upgraded hosting plans can be one of the best investments you’ll make for your blog. I use and recommend:
Performance Foundry offers managed hosting plans and a variety of other website services. My site runs faster and better, but honestly, I can’t rave enough about their customer service.
No matter how big of a jam I’ve landed in on the backend of the site or how silly of a question I ask, the Performance Foundry Support Team responds quickly and doesn’t quit until I’ve gotten the help I need. Seriously, I love them!
WordPress offers several free themes. But, I’d recommend investing in a paid premium theme. I did when I first started and used it for 5 years before changing. It was worth the investment and made my site look great!
I’ve used and recommend
- Astra Pro
- Genesis Magazine Pro
Email Service Providers:
Whether you want to blog about travel or another topic, a common piece of advice is to start building an email list right away. I 100% agree!
You begin building a community of readers and eventually have an audience to which you can share blog updates, exclusive content, and products and services you offer and/or love.
I use and recommend:
They have a free plan to get started and paid plans with more functionality as your list grows. The free plan also means you can start and stick with Convertkit instead of starting with another free option and going through the hassle of migrating your list over when you need something more powerful like Convertkit.
What I especially love is the ability to segment my list and offer specific content and opt-ins depending on who I’m trying to reach or which blog post I’m putting a sign-up form.
If you’re looking to put together or improve an effective email strategy, I 100% recommend this course. It’s without question the best blogging-related course I’ve taken.
Social Media Scheduling Tools:
Social media is a beast! If you’re committed to growing your blog, it can take over your life! You need back-up in the form of automation tools.
The ones I’ve relied on the most are Tailwind for Pinterest and Buffer for Twitter. Facebook has its own native scheduler which I also use regularly for my Page and Groups.
Buffer has a free plan to get started and you can upgrade later if you want more features and functionality.
Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler where you can save pins to your pre-set schedule and they’ll be pinned at that designated time. This is great because you don’t want to pin a whole bunch of pins at the same time nor can you spend all day on Pinterest!
Pinterest is what gave this blog a boost in its early days. As a full-time teacher, there was no way I could’ve managed to get regular content on Pinterest without a scheduler.
If there’s a piece of advice you take from this resource page, it’s this. Learn SEO, search engine optimization. Understand how to write content that will get found.
To do this, you’ll need a keyword research tool. I use and recommend:
Video editing is daunting but the great thing is it’s easy to put together videos using shorter video clips and even photographs in no time at all. For this, I use and recommend:
Here’s some of the gear and equipment I use for the blog.
- Dell XPS13
- Sony A7 iii Mirrorless Camera (First started with Sony A6000)
- LimoStudio Lighting and Neewer Ring Light Kit 18″ for videos, Lives on social media, etc.
- GoPro HERO8
- Blue Yeti USB Mic
- Dry Erase Monthly Calendar
- Large White Message Board