This is a dedicated space to share with you some of the resources and tools that I have personally purchased and used myself that have helped me TREMENDOUSLY create, maintain, and elevate this blog to what it is today. As a result, I recommend these products, courses, tools, and resources to you, if you’re interested in creating your blog, or if you’re looking for that tool that will take your blog to the next level.
I’ve tried many courses and resources, but here are the ones that have genuinely helped me, and I totally recommend based on my experience.
If you’re dabbling into the blogging world, you may hear from everyone that you first have to purchase your hosting and domain in order to get started and really set this blogging show on the road.
I don’t know about you, but at the beginning of my blogging journey, many times I couldn’t really differentiate the difference between what hosting and a domain meant. So before I share with you the products I recommend, I just wanted to throw this out there for whoever may need it.
A domain is the URL of your blog, for example, mine is www.travelnotesandthings.com – whereas yours would be whatever you choose as the name of URL of your blog to be.
A host, or hosting, would be the actual platform that is going to “host” or act as the platform that you are able to build and make your blog accessible to the world.
Dreamhost is the hosting platform that I personally use for this site, and I love it! I’ve been using Dreamhost since the beginning (2016) and I haven’t run into problems with the running and maintenance of my blog, they are fast and reliable whenever I have questions about hosting, billing, they offer the best and easiest to use tools to help run your blog from the tech side. Dreamhost has amazing deals that make it SUPER easy for you to start your blog today, with hosting prices as low as $2.59 and purchasing a .COM domain for as low as $6.99 and so many other deals and perks. I absolutely love working with Dreamhost and recommend them if you’re interested in starting your blog or migrating over to an effortless hosting platform.
Email service provider
Mailerlite is the email service provider that I use, and have been using for the past 2 years and I have to say, as I currently am using their free version, it has to be one of the easiest to use, most efficient, helpful email service provider that I have come across. I used to use Mail Chimp, and although it was helpful and I know it’s a common email service provider used by many, I found it a bit confusing to get used to and use all of its features.
I really loved that Mailerlite was for me, easier, more direct, and to the point to use, and overall hasn’t really given me problems. I never have to think twice if a campaign is sending properly, clicking endlessly to see who is and isn’t on my lists, etc. The free version works super well, and also offers select customizable landing pages, website creation, email automation, different design templates, survey creations, and more – yes, even on the free version. I really love Mailerlite, and definitely recommend it to anyone who is on the lookout for an easy-to-use and efficient email service provider for their website/blog!
17th Avenue Designs
A theme is the design and layout of your blog. It’s the aesthetic, look, and style of the website. This beautiful theme that you’re currently viewing on this blog was created by 17th Avenue Designs, which hosts a variety of beautiful, feminine, chic, and overall stylish WordPress themes.
Whenever I’ve had a question pertaining to installing my theme, to tech questions regarding coding and images on my blog, I’ve always heard back and received help from 17th Avenue in a timely manner. Speaking of installing my theme, they make it so easy to do it yourself even if you’re not a techie (which I definitely fall in the category) with a library of resources, how-to’s, and other special configurations and capabilities you can activate with your theme to make your blog look beautiful and effective and easy to maneuver for your readers. They can also do it for you if that is something you’d like.
Lastly, the price points they offer with their themes cannot simply be beat. There is something for everyone, from minimalist chic, to super girly themes, and all in between, along with different price tags. They are a joy to work with, and I cannot recommend their themes enough!
Keyword research and blog SEO optimization
A rather popular SEO tool used by many bloggers, Keysearch is an SEO tool that helps bloggers find relevant keywords for their posts that will help them rank on Google and therefore get seen by more people. Keysearch analyzes your blog and gives you helpful insight on your current rankings, suggestions on how to rank for certain keywords that are relevant to your niche, as well as spying on other competitors to see what keywords they are ranking for, and how you can possibly outrank them by creating better content, and so much more. I know that it sounds a bit like “dog eat dog” but the truth is, in order to break into a higher ranking on Google, you must level up with the right keywords. This tool delivers that and more.
This is a tool that I hesitated a bit to get for the first while of my blogging career, however, the more I started to write, and the more I was seeing that my posts were not getting all the potential traffic that they could be receiving, I knew that it had to come down to getting better at my SEO keyword search game. Once I finally purchased this tool, I started to see just how helpful and how much of a time-saver down the line this tool could be. I was missing out!
What’s the point in creating killer content, but no one can’t find it because you didn’t do your keyword research? It’s like Inviting people to see your new place and giving them your address, but not your apartment number – your friends are close to you, but they can’t find your apartment. Keysearch makes SEO optimizing old posts, creating new posts with adequate keywords such a breeze!
Canva is a graphic design website that allows just about anyone create beautiful, professional, and customized graphics that I absolutely love! I use Canva pretty much every day, for a variety of things such as creating pins for Pinterest, graphics for Instagram and my private Facebook group, creating freebies to share on my blog, and so much more! I personally have Canva Pro, which I totally recommend if you are more serious about blogging, and you want to have more options such as unlimited space to save all your work, unlimited use of Canva’s images, fonts, clip art (that’s actually cute), and so much more! If you are on a budget, however, you can still use Canva for free, and see on your own if you like Canva enough to possibly upgrade to the pro version.
Tailwind is the definition of work smart, not hard in the Pinterest world, and I am here for it! Tailwind is an official (very important, and legit) scheduling tool that works closely with Pinterest to help creators create and share content and drive traffic back to their blogs by pinning your pins for you – almost hands-free.
I usually spend about an hour or so batch scheduling pins for weeks to come, and it’s all possible because of Tailwind! If I didn’t have Tailwind, pinning as much as I do nowadays would be pretty much impossible, not to mention that I would be pinning “in the dark” because I wouldn’t have access to Tailwind’s super-specific analytics, and optimization techniques that it knows about my profile, my pins, and when my audience is more than likely on Pinterest browsing.
Being on Pinterest is one of the ways a lot of people find my blog, and again, it’s pretty hands-free with Tailwind. If you’d like to and you’re new to Tailwind, you can click on my link and get 2 months free to test it out and decide whether or not you think it’s worth it for you to invest in this tool for your blog. I personally really recommend it and see its value for me because it saves me time and a lot of brainpower to know when to pin and how.
Tasty Pins is that tool that is definitely not SUPER necessary, but definitely SUPER helpful if you can get it. It’s really not expensive for all that it can do, as it is designed to help you optimize your photos for Pinterest and other search results, set Pinterest descriptions for all images on your blog post (so if someone pins a photo of yours to Pinterest from a blog post, it will always lead back to your blog), gives you control over what images you want people to pin and which ones you don’t, and so much more!
It’s a one-time investment of $29 in order to access these features and more. I recommend it, as for me, it’s a time saver, it helps me automate pin SEO, and gives me control over what I want people to pin and what I prefer not to be shared on Pinterest.
The following products by Levee Road Studios have to be some of the best investments I have done in terms of Pinterest SEO and working with the Pinterest algorithm.
Levee Road Studios – Pin Description Swipe Files
The more you get involved in working in different ways to elevate your blog, make it easier to find things (for your readers), and more, you realize that there are things that you can start automating in order to create consistent, high-quality content, and exactly what your readers (present and future) want to read from you.
That’s why I love these pin description prompts that cut the time in half for bloggers to quickly create SEO optimized (no matter your niche) pin descriptions. If there’s one thing that I am not particularly fond of doing, it’s creating SEO optimized pin descriptions for my posts, These pin description prompts are super easy to use, as they are pretty much plug and play, and you just insert keywords that are specific to your post and voila! As I said, it cuts time in half, and it makes creating multiple pin descriptions SUCH a breeze!
Levee Road Studios – Quick Pins Template Bundle (50 Pin Templates + Canva Design Hacks)
Anything that can facilitate the process of creating consistent, quality, and beautiful pins is a win for me. Before purchasing and using these quick pins templates, I used to spend an unnecessary amount of time creating new pin designs, instead of using that time to create more content that made me feel excited to share with my readers. These quick pins templates are such a huge time saver, facilitate and speed up my pin creation process, and help me produce beautiful, stylish, and fully customizable pins on the fly. I totally recommend this product if you’re looking for an easier way to speed up your pin design process!
Levee Road Studios – Scheduling Shortcuts [Hacks for the New Pinterest Algorithm]
This has been a GAME CHANGER for me. It’s one thing to know the ins and outs of how to make Pinterest work for your blog and drive traffic to your site, how to optimize your Pinterest profile, how to switch it to a business profile and apply for rich pins (all of which are important, don’t get me wrong). But there is also the importance of learning how to work with Pinterest’s algorithm by understanding it and learning how to implement its practices to your pinning schedule.
In other words, I had Tailwind to help me automize my pin scheduling, but I was missing the strategy to help me know when to pin, how many pins per day I should pin, and other practices within Pinterest (that they oddly enough don’t always make widely known) that I was missing.
And considering the time I was investing into Pinterest, I realized that I needed to finally start to understand how it worked, and how I could make it work for me. The Scheduling Shortcuts course helped me out extremely to use a proven strategy that I could now implement with the Tailwind scheduler.
I was no longer scheduling pins hoping they’d be seen, and more importantly, that they’d drive traffic. I am now pinning with confidence and scheduling strategically. I’m also spending less time as a result – WIN! I recommend this product if you’re looking to really understand how you can make Pinterest work for you, and how you can start seeing better results from Pinterest.
Legal blogging resources
Legal Bundle Value Pack
Yes, it’s the side of blogging that either a lot of us want to avoid or don’t think of initially when we start our blogging journey but is SO important – especially if you’re blogging and offering products (free or paid), collecting emails, and/or having visitors from Europe and California (they have special laws that we as bloggers should be aware of).
I feel safe, protected, and peace of mind knowing that I am blogging legally and that I have just lessened drastically my chances of running into any kind of legal troubles. Also at the price point that she is offering her Legal Bundle Value Pack is pretty much a steal, considering all that it has and offers, which is also a reason why it’s a good choice if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a lot to spend on your blog. If you’re looking for the exact bundle I purchased and personally use on my blog, click here.
If you’re looking to get a detailed crash course on ways to protect your blog legally and blog the legal way, then definitely check out Lucrezia’s FREE legal course for bloggers, and see for yourself if she’s a good fit for you. I totally recommend this free course because 1. it’s free, and 2. it definitely helps demystify this topic that is oftentimes one we don’t know much about and is not the most fun to dive into on our own.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a very popular course I have found on the subject of affiliate marketing, and it’s for a reason. If you want to make money through your blog, and you want to learn of a very lucrative way of doing it, affiliate marketing is an avenue for that.
I absolutely love how Michelle breaks down affiliate marketing in a way that not only teaches you what it is and how to use it but also the tech side of how to link your products, how to find affiliate products and how to apply to affiliate programs and actually get accepted, how to find out what your readers actually want so you’re not just promoting things you think they need/want, how to create blog posts to share your affiliate links naturally and in a non-sales-y way, etc.
It’s very complete, very useful, and very helpful. At the accessible price point that Michelle is selling this course at, it’s a major steal and a course that I think is an important tool in your blogging success. I have found so much use and it’s a course I continuously go back to relearn something new every time. I recommend this course a lot if you’re looking to create an almost effortless and lucrative stream of income for your blog!