Hey there friend! Below you can find the products and tools that I use for my website on a regular basis. I recommend these tools to anyone looking to create a successful business online. I don’t know all the programs, resources or tools out there, but these work wonders for me.
10 Day Blogging Quickstart by Abby Lawson
My favorite part about this quickstart course is that it’s FREE! Abby teaches strategies and tactics in this course that aren’t found anywhere else on her blog (or on mine). It’s a very simple, easy to move through course that is just the boost you need to get started without a monetary commitment.
Building A Framework by Abby Lawson
When I decided to get more serious about blogging, I went through Abby’s book backwards, forwards and then backwards again. It helped me build my blog from scratch and actually understand what I was doing as I went. If you are considering starting a blog yourself, Abby’s book is the place to start.
What The Tech by Leslie Clavijo
Leslie is the bee knees when it comes to the behind the scenes tech. After establishing my website, I found that I wasn’t as knowledgeable in the technical aspect of blogging as I would like. “What The Tech” is also an excellent place to start if you are trying to build your website and have very little to know background experience with the technical aspect of things.
I have used Bluehost since I started blogging and it is highly recommended by bloggers as a hosting platform for beginners. When you sign up with Bluehost, you receive your domain name for free. I talk about how to start a blog using Bluehost here. Bluehost also has great customer service and low, competitive pricing.
If you choose to purchase a domain name outside of your host, Namecheap offers very competitive rates for those.
If you are like me, you love a gorgeous, feminine theme for your site. Lauren at Restored 316 designs offers just that and so much more. I used her Market Theme and LOVED it! Her themes are user-friendly and the customer service is beyond excellent.
I stumbled upon Bluchic when I purchased the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit from Ultimate Bundles and received their Isabelle Theme for free. I waited quite awhile before I even THOUGHT about putting their theme to use because I was so happy with my Restored316 theme. Now that I have rebranded, I fall more in love with it every day! Bluchic offers social media and landing page templates as well as other services too.
I use WordPress.Org for my website and use the Genesis Framework as my primary theme. This gives the basic structure of your website (think html, like the frame of a car) which you pair with a child theme (think css, all the pretty colors/bells and whistles on the car) to bring out all the beauty.
Photography is HUGE when it comes to your website. Beautiful images paired with great content will keep your clients coming back for me. Below are my favorite resources for stock photos.
Hautestock is one of my favorite places to find gorgeous, feminine stock photos. They offer free photos to newsletter subscribers every month. They have annual and quarterly packages to choose from at a price that’s well worth it!
Styled Stock Society
Style Stock Society is also one of my favorite places to find gorgeous, feminine stock photos.Elle is such a beautiful photographer! She has over 50 collections (1,000+ photos!). If you are nervous about or can’t make a big monetary commitment, Elle lets you shop individual stock photo sets as well.
Pexels is my favorite resource for free stock photos. Until I had it in the budget to purchase stock photos, any of the ones I didn’t take myself came from there. The only downside I found to using this free service is that I saw the images also being used by other bloggers and I wanted something more unique to me and my style.
In all honesty, I have not purchased any images from shutter stock, but often found ones that I LOVED linked when searching through images on Pexels. Shutterstock offers the widest variety of styles of images as well as various packaging prices.
Photo Editing and Digital Product Creation
Photoshop Crash Course
Before starting my blog, I knew ZILCH about editing in photoshop. I mean NADA. I took Ellen’s crash course and it the perfect tool I needed to get me going and actually make sense of what I am doing. She doesn’t go super in-depth, but the techniques she teaches will do WONDERS for your blog images and pins.
The holy grail of everything is the only way I can describe Adobe products. I primarily use Photoshop, but with they have various memberships that include stock photos, pdf document creation, photo editing, design and so much more. I steered clear of Adobe until I took this photoshop crash course.
I (currently) make most of my printables using Canva. I use the basic, unpaid version, but I hear that the paid version, Canva For Work, is 100% worth it! Especially if you collaborate with others for your business. You are able to batch edit/create and save a ton of time.
If I am completely honest, as much as I love Photoshop (now that I’ve figured out how to use it!) I still default to Picmonkey for most of my basic photo editing. It is so user-friendly and offers so so so much through their free version. I use the paid version ($35 annually) and plan on keeping room for it in the budget in the future. It’s been one of the most valuable tools for my business.
Maintenance and Scheduling
It took me a year to discover Planoly and I won’t use any other instagram scheduler. I initially used the free plan, but in order to get super far ahead (okay maybe I was
overzealous a little excited) I signed up for their $9 a month subscription. This allows me to schedule out as many post as I want, as long as I want. The $9 a month has totally saved me on days when I have no clue what to post.
Pinterest, pinterest and more punters. That’s what I hear from all over the web when it comes to bringing traffic to my website. The best way to increase engagement is to pin 50-100 times a day to your own boards, as well as group boards. This gets old, FAST. Insert Tailwind. In one afternoon, I usually schedule my pins out 1-3 months (depending on how distracted I am while working) and then add some hear and there as I find more content I like and think will be useful to my followers. Tailwind also has an Instagram scheduler. Your first 30 I posts are free, but you have to pay for anything more than that.