Welcome To My Recommendations Page!
Here is where you will find a list of all the recommendations
and resources to help you
start, grow & cultivate your blog
with purpose and success.
I personally use these resources
and have also listed out why/how I use them below.
If you have any questions,
please feel free to email me and I will be
happy to answer any you may have!
Follow Along & Stay In The Know
Web Hosting & Website Development
I highly recommend doing a self-hosted website instead of a free website. When I first started I used WordPress.com and I quickly learned that I could not do a lot of things I wanted to do on that platform so I researched how to transfer my site to a self-hosted platform. I have to say when I first started, I went with a different hosting company and it was a NIGHTMARE! The day I switched everything, I was on the phone with customer service for 4.5 HOURS! After that, over the next 4 months, I had my site hacked 4 times even after I spent hundreds of dollars updating my security on my site. I eventually decided to switch hosting sites and I have never looked back. So the hosting site I recommend is…
- Siteground: I hands down recommend siteground. When switching from the other self-hosted platform, I thought I was going to be in for a long phone call with customer service BUT I kid you not, the customer service rep at siteground did EVERYTHING for me! This company seriously has the BEST customer service I have ever seen. It was also SO much cheaper in the long run from my other hosting site. You can get web hosting through siteground for only $3.95 a month! Also, if you do not have a domain name yet (the name of your site) you can purchase one for $14 through siteground!
- WordPress.org: This is a platform that you can download and utilize after you purchase your hosting. This platform is so easy to use and you can pretty much customize it anyway you like. You also have the option to install plugins that will all you to do certain things on your site. I describe plugins as “apps” like you would download on your phone. I will suggest some favorite plugins later below.
WordPress Web Design & Web Themes
- GeorgiaLouStudios: This is a website where you can purchase gorgeous themes to upload on your WordPress site. I have purchased a few themes through this site and it is so easy to upload on your site and get started on customizing each section to fit your brand.
- Restored 316 Designs: This is the site I purchased my current theme from. This site is GORGEOUS but a little bit more on the expensive side. These also require a genesis theme platform so you would have to purchase that through Studio Press Genesis Theme.
- CreativeMarket: This site has TONS of themes you can purchase and you can even search by category. For example looking for a theme that is more geared toward photography? You can search that right there and it will pull up TONS of themes to match that description.
- Google Analytics: This is a FREE plugin you can imbed in your site and it will show you traffic stats to your site. I look at this everyday and it helps me determine which posts are getting the most traffic and which ones are getting shared the most. It also shows me how many people visit my site, how long they spend on my site, how long it takes for my site to load and where the traffic came from. This has been a game changer for growing my blog.
- Pretty Link: This is a tool that will shorten a link and allow you to create a custom link. For example instead of a link being something like www.thebellelifeblog.com/hKAjsnnxposdienb2254321657 I can create a link that says www.thebellelifeblog.com/resources. This plugin is free and I highly recommend it!
- Pinterest Pinit Plugin: This plugin allows a “Pin it button” to show up over top of your photos to allow people to pin them easily to Pinterest! Since installing this plugin, I have had so many shares to Pinterest which has helped a TON with blog traffic.
- Yoast SEO: This plugin allows you to implement SEO super easy on your site. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) allows you to rank on google searches. This plugin will walk you step by step on making each blog post and page you publish be able to show up on search engines and get people to your site. I would be LOST without this plugin!
- Convertkit: I seriously CANNOT RECOMMEND convertkit enough. I first started out on a free mail chimp platform and ended up switching to convertkit after a blogger friend sang their praises and I am SO glad I did. This platform was designed by bloggers and online entrepreneurs so they have seriously made everything so easy to use. I will also say that they have workshops that you can access for free that teach you creative ways to grow your email list. When switching to convertkit, I TRIPLED my email list in less than a month. My list also continues to grow EVERYDAY without me doing much to it. I believe this is the number one way I was able to go from hobby status to full time blogger. Seriously, you will NOT regret investing in this email platform.
Pinterest Growth Tools
- BoardBooster- This is a platform I use to schedule pins to Pinterest. With this platform, I can create secret boards and set up a system to automatically search pins based off keywords and pin them to my secret board. Then, Pinterest will take those pins and publish them at the ideal time to get the most traffic meaning more exposure to your blog. It also has the feature called the “pin doctor” in which it will automatically go through pins on your boards and if they have broken links they will delete them and clean up your boards for you so people who follow you are only getting direct access to valuable pins and content. This platform is pretty simple to use after watching the free tutorial video and it has grown my Pinterest account and blog traffic tremendously! I went from 86 followers to over 680 followers in less than 3 months and I get 69.8K monthly views which jumped from 2k views before I started using this platform.
- Tailwind: This is another automated platform and I have grown to really love it! Its a little more work than board booster because you have to actually schedule out pins yourself but it has really helped grow my Pinterest and it is half the price of Boardbooster. I also enjoy that it has a “Tribes” feature which is essentially like a group board within the platform that you can join and add pins to. I spend about 30 minutes a week going through and scheduling out my pins to different boards and then I’m set for the week. With tailwind it also suggests pins for you to pin which is great because it matches what you’re already pinning.
Want to start a blog but have no idea where to start? I got ya covered, girlfriend! Click the photo below and you’ll be on your way!
Blog Fonts, Creative Tools & Graphics
- CreativeMarket : I talked about this site for themes but it also has TONS of font packages and branding packages you can download and utilize. They also have a ton of stock photos for free and for purchase. The great thing too is they offer FREE items that change every week so I am constantly checking the site to get some free goodies.
- Canva: So canvas is a free website you can use to make blog graphics. I am on this site constantly creating graphics for my blog & Pinterest. The good thing is they already have pre-made templates that are already sized for different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etsy, twitter, etc.
- Pixabay: This website offers THOUSANDS of stock photos you can use for different graphics. You can download them straight to your computer and it has a pretty awesome search bar to search what type of stock photo you would like to use. Best part? ITS FREE!
Top Affiliate Sites
Affiliate sites are sites that you can sign up to be a part of to make money. I utilize several affiliate sites and I have written a post about them you can check out here.
- Share-A-Sale: This affiliate website is free to join and once a member, you can apply to many different companies (merchants) in which you can make a profit if someone buys items from your link. Some of the companies I am a part of through this platform are LuLus.com , Groopdealz.com & minted.com. There are over 4,000 merchants/companies with this program ranging from ALL types of categories so anyone in any niche is bound to find an affliliate partner through Shareasale.
- Skimlinks: This platform has over 25,000 merchants you can partner with and you will have a blast promoting this company on your blog. This program also has a HUGE range in category of merchants so you can sell anything from clothes and fashion, automotives, entertainment to business. This site also comes with a plugin you can download on your wordpress.org site and any link you put on your site will automatically be scanned to see if they fit a merchant on skimlinks and you get a commission! For example, I posted a shirt from Americaneagle.com not knowing they were part of skimlinks and ended up getting a commision because skimlinks scanned the link!! SCORE! Some other top companies they are partnered with are Nordstrom, H&M, lululemon, Anthropologie, Amazon & Freepeople.
- ShopStyle Collective : This platform is mostly for fashion & home decor but it is one of my favorites! It is free to join and there are SO SO SO many features you can use to implement this on your social media platforms and blog. I am constantly on this platform creating lists that I can share with my readers. The great thing about this platform is you can get paid per click even if the person doesn’t buy anything from your link. This is one of the only platforms that do this.
That’s all I have for now…
BUT, I will be updating this as I find new recommendations so make sure to check back often! I hope you found all of these helpful!!
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