Insanely Useful Blogging Resources You Should Know About
Do you think about embracing a blogging career but don’t know where to start? No problem! I created a list of recommended blogging resources that I use to run Radiant Life Diary. If you want to create your own website and make money out of it, this list is exactly what you need. Keep reading to discover blogging tools that are essential to create, run and monetize a blog.
Please note that I will update this list regularly by adding resources as I come across new tools.
Domain Name & Hosting
Bluehost – The first thing you need to do if you want to create and monetize a blog is to buy a domain name and pick a web hosting. Luckily, Bluehost can do both! For as little as $3,95/month you can get a domain name, a site builder and connect to WordPress in one click. Bluehost is very affordable and easy to manage. They have a great customer support and the WordPress installation is fast and easy. I use Bluehost because it is cheap, reliable and user-friendly. I highly recommend Bluehost to anyone who wants to start a blog or a website!
WordPress – Once you have your domain name and a web hosting, the next thing you need is a platform for your blog. The large majority of bloggers, including myself, use WordPress for several reasons. First of all, WordPress is entirely free, it is completely customizable and can be used for almost anything. Once you have your web host, you can download and install WordPress for free and start building your website. You can choose from a large variety of free themes and customize your blog by adding free plugins that will extend the features and functionality of your blog. In my opinion, WordPress is the best platform to start a blog.
Themeforest – Even though WordPress has a lot of free themes available, you might not necessarily find one that fits your website’s personality. If you don’t know much about coding but still want to build a beautiful, professional looking blog or website, you can buy a theme on Themeforest. Personally, I purchased the Amory blog theme through Themeforest. I am very happy with the theme functionality and design. It is a responsive, modern blog theme that highlights my content beautifully.
Once you created your blog through WordPress, you can customize it by adding plugins. Below is a list of my favorite (and completely free) plugins.
Yoast SEO: Yoast SEO plugin helps you improve your site’s SEO. It helps you write better content by forcing you to choose a focus keyword when writing your articles and by making sure that you use that keyword everywhere.
Google Analytics: The Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics stats in your WordPress install.
Wordfence Security: To keep my blog safe I use Wordfence Security, a completely free open-source security software. Wordfence gives you an insight into traffic and hack attempts and has a lot of features such as security scan alerts, firewall blocks complex and brute force attacks, security incident recovery tools, configurable security alerts and robust login security features.
UpdraftPlus: To protect your content and make sure that you don’t lose everything if you get hacked, if your server crashes or if something goes wrong with an update, you need to make regular backups. UpdraftPlus is the world’s highest ranking and most popular scheduled backup plugin, with over a million currently active installs.
Instagram Feed: If you want to display Instagram photos from any non-private Instagram accounts on your blog, either in the same single feed or in multiple different ones, you can use the Instagram Feed plugin.
jQuery Pin It Button: If you are looking for an easy way to pin images in your blog posts and pages, jQuery Pin It Button plugin will help you with that. It highlights images and adds a “Pin it” button over them once the user hovers his mouse over an image. Once the user clicks the “Pin it” button, the plugin shows a pop-up window with the image and a description.
Canva – I use Canva to create all my designs. Canva is a free online design and document editor that allows you to easily create your own designs. You can create Social Media posts, Social Media and Email headers, Business cards, Flyers, Resumes, Blog banners, Book covers, Logos and much more. You can choose from 50,000 templates and customize your designs any way you wish.
As bloggers, we need images to make our posts look more appealing. To stay legal, the images we use need to be royalty-free. Luckily, there are plenty of free stock photos available. Below is a list of my favorite (and completely free) online stock photos.
Unsplash: Beautiful high-quality free images and photos you can download and use for any project. No attribution required.
Pexels: Free stock photos you can use everywhere. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.
Pixabay: High-quality photos, illustrations, and vector graphics. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.
Optimizilla – To keep your website efficient while making it visually appealing, you can use an online image optimizer to compress your photos. I use Optimizilla to compress JPEG and PNG images to the smallest possible size while keeping the maximum level of quality.
MailChimp – As a blogger, you need to create a Newsletter to stay in touch with your readers and establish a trustworthy relationship with them. If you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month for free with MailChimp. MailChimp allows you to create professional and responsive email newsletters. You can create forms and collect subscribers from your blog or platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Finally, MailChimp gives you reports on how your campaigns are performing individually and over time.
Amazon Associates: One of the best ways to monetize a blog is through affiliate marketing. Amazon Associates is one of the biggest and most popular affiliate programs around the world. Whether you are a newbie or an established blogger, you can sign up to Amazon Associates for free and start making money by referring products on your website.
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links for which I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase the products or sign up to the services. All resources mentioned on this page are resources that I use. My opinions are always honest and I only make recommendations that I believe could help others!