If you’re a blogger, you need these tools. There’s no getting around it.
If you’re trying to build a profitable blog, you need to pay for hosting. And not just any hosting. You need fast, reliable hosting, with great support.
I had to test A2 Hosting for a freelance writing task and I was impressed. Although I don’t use them myself (I host at Wealthy Affiliate), I have no qualms about recommending them as an excellent value-for-money service provider.
Having the right theme goes a long way towards making your blog look attractive and professional. Both necessary to instill trust and gain followers. You have access to loads of free themes, some are quite good! However, once I switched to a premium theme (Divi), I couldn’t go back.
A premium theme is more flexible, more customizable than any free theme. Which is great if you’ve got your heart set on a specific color palette, you can match your site colors exactly.
Confession: I hacked around in MailChimp for a long time, but never bothered to learn exactly how to use it. The interface was complicated and intimidating and there were so many options once I got something working I stuck with it, even though my solution was terrible.
But then I switched to ConvertKit. *cue angels singing* ConvertKit is so much easier to use. The interface is really simple and it’s intuitive. Tagging is easily done and… I have far fewer automation accidents than I used to. That’s gotta be a win right?
Pinterest is a blogger’s playground. And Tailwind is the ultimate tool to get you more followers, more reach, and more traffic. When I started using it, my traffic from Pinterest increased by over 900%. This is one tool I recommend investing in first over any others. It’s just that important.
Wait, didn’t I just recommend Tailwind a minute ago? Yes. But BoardBooster has some features that you don’t get with Tailwind (yet) like looping and pin sourcing. What does this mean? Well, with BoardBooster you could conceivably set it up and have a completely hands-free Pinterest strategy. Sounds nice right? I’m actually using both Tailwind and BoardBooster right now.
You need to learn your craft from somewhere. But, if you aren’t making any money, it’s hard to justify spending money on something you could (conceivably) learn for free… You just have to be willing to spend the time piecing it together from various sources and testing it yourself.
A good online course can be a shortcut to profitability. These are the ones that I recommend (and yes, I’ve tried them):
Pinterest to Profits
Coming at ya from McKinzie Bean of Moms Make Cents is Pinterest to Profits. This is a great Pinterest course that goes into nitty-gritty detail about, well… EVERYTHING. There’s something here for everyone, no matter if you’ve never touched Pinterest in your life or if you’re ready to start using promoted pins and making funnels.
Comes With: Pinterest Manager Prep Course, Return on Pinvestment (promoted pins course), 3000 BoardBooster pins, Group Boards Spreadsheet, Viral Pin tutorials, and lots more.
Launch Your Service-Based Side Hustle
If you aren’t seeing the dollars you expected from blogging, don’t just cross your fingers and hope things will improve. Launching a service-based side hustle is one of the best things you can do to bring some money in, bankroll your blog, all while giving you the time, experience, and business savvy to go out and succeed.
“But, I don’t have any skills people would pay for…”
I get it. I felt like this too!
But. If you’re a blogger, at a MINIMUM you can write, you can format and upload blog posts, you know your way around social media, and maybe you’re a Pinterest whiz. You could become a freelance writer, a Virtual Assistant (VA), a social media VA/Manager, or a Pinterest VA/Manager to name a few.
I’ve taken a few different freelancing courses, and I definitely recommend these ones:
Write to 1K
Elna Cain’s Write to 1K is one of my favorite courses. I’d been blogging for about 8 months when I decided to buy it. At that time, I’d barely cracked three figures. Total. Not per month. Within the first two months of getting this course, I made my first four-figure month. And I’ve consistently made four-figure months since.
Yes, it takes work to be a freelance writer. But, it also pays well (if you have the right clients). Elna’s course teaches you how to be successful. As soon as you land client, you’ll have paid for the course and more.
Become a Pinterest VA
From the hands of freelancers Gina Horkey (Horkey Handbook) and Kristin Larsen (Believe in a Budget) comes Become a Pinterest VA. This course focuses on teaching you the business skills you need to get started as a Pinterest VA or Manager. So, you’ll learn how to find and pitch clients, what and how to charge, and what you need to put on your website.
Note, this course doesn’t teach the basics of Pinterest or tell you exactly what services to offer or how to fulfil them.
Enrolment: Re-opening soon!
Want to learn the basics of freelance writing AND have the tool you need to find high paying jobs right off the bat? Contena does both. Even if you’re already a pro at freelancing, Contena is helpful – it aggregates loads of jobs, categorizes them by industry, and ranks them on quality (and $$$). Saves time, which = money!
Graphics & Images
This is the graphic design/editing platform I use exclusively to create the images for This Mama Learns. Simple to use with lots of pre-designed templates for you to work with, you’ll be creating amazing, polished graphics for your blog in no time.
We all need beautiful images for our blogs and some of my favorite are from the Styled Stock Society by Elle Drouin of Wonderfelle. Her images are very stylish and girly. Love ’em! The Styled Stock Society also works a little differently to other stock photo shops. Each month a new photo pack is released. There’s no access to back-editions.
One of my favorite ways to keep organized is using Trello. I love drag and drop systems, and if you do too – give Trello a try for free!
My other favorite way to keep organized is Airtable. I like the way you can link different information tables together and it’s perfect for keeping track of client information. Try it out for free here.
WordPress Learning Resources
One of the best resources for learning about all things WordPress. Plugins, themes, how-to’s, it’s all there!
If you love to read, there are some fabulous ebooks out there for bloggers. These are some of the ones that I’ve read and loved! Check them out!
How to Create a Year’s Worth of Beautiful Social Media Graphics
This ebook from Jess Creatives is extremely helpful when it comes to DIY’ing your own social media graphics. I’ve struggled in this area for a while, but this ebook really helped me. My favorite part is the overused font section and the font pairing section – so important, yet something I don’t do so well at.
Building a Framework
One of the most comprehensive blogging ebooks available is the ever-popular Building a Framework from Abby Lawson of Just a Girl and Her Blog. This ebook also comes with video tutorials and interviews if you purchase the master level package. I was lucky enough to get mine as part of the Genius Blogger Toolkit in 2016 and I haven’t regretted it!
Your First Affiliate Sale From Pinterest in 24 Hours
First things first, this ebook is super-short, to the point, with no fluff. It tells you exactly one strategy for making money from Pinterest with affiliate marketing. And it’s effective. So, if you’re struggling to make your first affiliate sale… why not give it a go?
17 Strategies I Used to Increase My Page Views
This is a detailed guide from an experienced blogger who tells you exactly how she increased her page views. You can be sure that every single one of the strategies she lays out has been tried and tested, and measured and repeated. It’s a helpful ebook for bloggers looking to increase their traffic (and who isn’t?)