Business + Blogging Resources
These are the products and services I've used in my 4 years of blogging that have helped me grow and sustain my business from a hobby to a full-time job
*there are affiliate links in this post
At the beginning of my blogging journey, I went with Bluehost, a budget-friendly host that I'm sure everyone has heard of. Though I had some issues on and off, the thought of switching seemed too daunting to someone like me, a person that gets overwhelmed over anything technology-related. After doing almost everything I could think of to help site speed and it still wasn't helping, I realized the problem was Bluehost and I needed to switch. Bigscoots was recommended to me by my ad company for being a network that could handle a website my size so I decided to take the plunge.
It was the best thing I ever did and now I wonder why I didn't do it before! Now with Bigscoots, my website is way faster (which is one of thee most important things for a blog) and they have a 99% uptime rate. In the 6+ months I've been with this new host my site hasn't crashed-even once! With Bluehost, there were times when my site was down for THREE days. That's unacceptable.
Migration was a breeze and Bigscoots is a company that is personal, helpful, and takes what they do very seriously. Though the $35/month is more than Bluehost, it's a no brainer. My website feels safe and secure and I will never go back!
Underline Designs- Etsy
Having your blog on wordpress.org is a given if you want to make a business out of blogging, but their free themes aren't all that great. Luckily, you can buy gorgeous themes (the way your website looks) for a super affordable price. I got my theme from Etsy (installed by Chloe Digital) for only $25!! And the owner/developer is fantastic. I've emailed with support questions over the years and she's always given a friendly, prompt reply. I'm always looking at her other designs not because I *need* to switch, but just because I just like them haha!
However, Etsy has so many other affordable options that fit every style! If you're feeling up to it, you can even install them yourself.
*Update- though my theme was beautiful I have since switched themes to better comply with Google's standards*
I started out in professional photography and though I'll always love Canon, switching to Fujifilm was one of the best decisions I made for my blog when it comes to creating content. I switched from full-frame to mirrorless because I wanted something that would suit my blog needs better.
Such as a smaller camera body with better focusing and video capabilities for my fashion and travel content. The content I can create now is a million times better and I bet you could look at my content and see when we made the switch. Not only that, but Titus finds it easy to use (which is a must since he takes the majority of pictures), and personally, I think they have some of the best lenses around for their price point! The 85mm lens I use now is my favorite. It's so dreamy and a steal at the price for the quality you get. Though I use it for the majority of my content, it's especially great for portraits and styled shoots.
This 35mm lens equivalent is the newest addition to my gear that makes my camera bag complete! Though I love, love my portrait lens, and will probably still use it for the majority of my work, this one is a great option in my bag to help me get wider shots. It's better for street style photography and interiors, while getting better quality than what a kit lens can provide.
I edit my blog photos in Lightroom on my desktop and for the majority of my photos, I use a DC Preset. For my Instagram photos, I add a filter through the mobile version. I love Lightroom so much! For those wondering, I made my Instagram filter and no I'm not ready to sell it yet! 😉
This phone (the make-iPhone 11- not the exact one) is a new purchase. So new that I'm waiting for it to arrive and I can't quite review it yet, but I've messed around with it before and the camera quality is so good for a phone. This would be so nice to have when I still want to create good content on the go.
This laptop is also a new purchase that I'm waiting to arrive. I finally got tired of using my dinosaur laptop that's 12 years old haha. It has tons of problems but the final straw for me was the speed. It was taking me forever to edit photos and we all know, time is precious! I special ordered it with extra short term memory to make processing even faster!
Tailwind (combined with Pinterest) has been one of the biggest contributors to my blog growth. If you're a blogger and you're not using Tailwind (or Pinterest for that matter) then you're crazy! 😉 Tailwind schedules out pins for me as well as does a ton of other things and I can grow my Pinterest on what seems like autopilot sometimes. Of course, there's a lot of work you put into creating the content, but you might as well use something easy yet calculated to push it out while you sleep!
Also, followers don't matter as much on Pinterest but in a couple of years I've grown from 0-40k+ and I go up every day. I know for a fact this is Tailwind. I don't do any "engaging" on Pinterest either. No liking, commenting, or following. Just pinning! What a relief compared to Instagram, right? If I started the Tailwind/Pinterest combo at the beginning of my blogging business I know things would look drastically different. But I'm telling you now so you can start. 🙂
Want a FREE month of Tailwind? Use my link below!
I love Canva so much it's not even funny! It's great for creating blog graphics, ads, Instagram stories, quotes, t-shirts, and so much more. It's super easy to use and the designs/templates are beautiful and never-ending it seems.
If you're looking for an easy way to create beautiful graphics then this is all you need. I've gone back and forth with Canva Pro over the years but I've ultimately decided on Pro because I can create transparent graphics, save my branding info, easily resize, and have access to cooler elements and photos!
Just like switching from Bluehost to Bigscoots, this is another one of those situations where the idea of switching seemed too overwhelming, but I'm so glad I did it.
I started using Mailchimp years and years ago (back with my photography business) not because I loved it necessarily, but because it just seemed like the only option at that time. However, I was never a big fan. It was complicated, clunky, the designs weren't that great, and the price added up quickly. Anytime your list grows or you want to add on another feature you have to upgrade and pay! Soon I found myself paying upwards of $100 monthly and was still limited on the number of emails I could send. Anytime I went over I got charged. Bleck!
I started to explore what my other options were and this led me to Flodesk. It was love at first sight! Flodesk is so easy to use and what tasks seemed like rocket science on Mailchimp, became so easy with Flodesk. The designs are beautiful and customizable, very fitting with what a creative business owner wants! They don't think you should be "penalized" for growing, so your insanely low price of $38/month includes unlimited subscribers, unlimited emails, and access to all features. Once I switched over and got the hang of the new platform (it didn't take long), I kept saying over and over again how much I loved using Flodesk.
If you use my link you can get 50% off your subscription! Talk about HUGE savings!
My Ebook/ Digital Product Service
Want to create a digital product and quite literally make money overnight? You're going to need something that sends it out so you don't have to! SendOwl is an affordable and easy service that allows you to send products digitally. You can use it for so much more than just an ebook however and depending on your package, get access to lots more features too!
Chloe Digital was a membership I was apart of for a while and they were a lifesaver for that time. They were able to get my website up every time it crashed which was mainly the reason I was looking for a support team, as well as backups. However, once I switched hosts that took care of uptime (as in my site didn't crash anymore), backups, and small requests, I didn't need that monthly support as much and realized I was paying monthly for something I didn't need.
But yet, you need support! Recently I've been introduced to Codeable. I'm currently in the middle of a project so I can't review it completely yet, but I'm very impressed. It's a freelance platform for the best of the best WordPress developers. Whether you want to improve your site speed or have someone create a plugin for you, you can feel secure knowing that anyone you hire is extremely qualified and backed by tons of guarantees. Something like this may be the route for you if you find you need help with specific projects once in a while over something new monthly.
No one can do everything on their own. Time is precious as is your mental space. Why try to hack your way through something, spend hours, and still not be totally satisfied with your project? There are times when it just makes sense to hire out! I've used Fiverr many, many times and haven't had a bad experience yet. Yes, you've got to use your common sense, sift through a lot of candidates, and go with your gut to hire good people, but I feel secure that Fiverr has good support and guarantees.
I've hired out copywriting, graphics, videos, & more. It's an amazing feeling to realize you don't have the time or know-how to do something, but you can still get it done if you outsource! Use my link to get 20% off your first gig!
Struggling to grow your blog? Check out my blog audit service where I'll help you reach your goals!
ON MY WISH LIST
Here are the purchases I plan on making next to continue to grow my blog!
Nothing right now, but I'll keep this updated as wants arise. 🙂