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The ultimate blogging resource list for anyone starting a blog

The Ultimate Blogging Resource List for Starting a blog

December 18, 2019 10 Comments

The Ultimate Blogging Resource List For Anyone Starting A Blog

This article uses affiliate links. To learn more, head over to my privacy policy.

I have decided to make an ultimate blogging resource list for anyone who is starting a blog for the first time. I love articles like these because it helps give you ideas on ways to improve your website and expand your readership.

A lot of these I found on myself while the other half I discovered on articles similar to this one. I do want to point out that you don’t have to use everything on this list to create a blog. These are to give you ideas if you need a helping hand in a particular area.

Each item is also great for starters and pros alike! 

I also want to point out that this resource list for starting a new blog might vary from others. These are items that I personally use and love right now. They are also all either free or inexpensive, which is excellent for anyone first starting out.

As I grow, I’ll be more than happy to update and improve this list to showcase new sites and services I use. I’ve also thought about making a more in-depth series on each subject to help you get a comprehensive analysis of starting a blog. If you would like that, please leave a comment below to let me know!

Products and items used to help create my blog Bethany Ashlyn

Blog Site, Hosting, and Plugin Resources

When it comes to building a blog, certain things are a must. This includes a blogging platform, domain, plugins or widgets, and a template. All four of these items ARE your blog. Without them, you have nothing more than an idea. Once you get all of these things situated, you can start adding in the content, ads, products, and whatever else you want on your website.

WordPress.org

You’ve heard it on all posts about starting a blog. However, I’m going to tell you why I personally use WordPress now. When I first started blogging, I used Blogger. This is Google’s blogging platform that is easy to use for any beginners out there. One of the main reasons people choose this option is because it is free to use and has that beautiful interface that makes starting a blog beyond simple.

If you are just starting, then, by all means, this will be just fine. I used Blogger for a little over a year and really never had an issue. The reason why I switched if it works so great? Due to the simplicity and being owned by Google, you don’t have much customization you can do within the Blogger site.

Blogger is great for starting, but WordPress is almost always what people end up using. It has endless customization, is 100% yours, and genuinely works so much better. If you are wanting to make your blog a real passion and, potentially, a job, then I would skip all other platforms and start off with WordPress.org (not wordpress.com, that is entirely different).

I do know that WordPress can be intimidating since it isn’t an easy drag and drop blog that is right there. While it can be intimidating, I promise it isn’t as difficult as you think. As long as you get the right hosting and plugins, you will have a smooth transition into the blogging community.

Siteground- One of the resources used for starting a new blog

Siteground

I was INCREDIBLY picky when it came to my hosting platform. After all, your host is where your website is going to live. Your website is in their hands, so you want to make sure they really work. I know a lot of sites say Bluehost or HostGator is a great platform (or any others), but I honestly don’t think they are as fantastic as people say.

In fact, I first started with HostGator. I’m not big on trashing companies, but I can honestly say I was not impressed at all. I ended up canceling within the first few weeks because I was having too many issues for my liking.

After a lot of unbiased research (meaning articles that weren’t promoting just for a payout), I found Siteground. This hosting platform has been hands down fantastic for me! I’m not the most tech-savvy person, and, in my personal opinion, they made everything so easy to understand.

When it comes to pricing, I got there Grow Big plan (the middle option), which is an excellent option for growing your WordPress site. This might not be great if I ever build my audience, but when that day comes, I can simply upgrade.

Namecheap

Your domain is what your website URL is. For example, my domain is www.bethanyashlyn.com. I personally bought my domain before my hosting, but you can easily purchase your domain through whatever hosting platform you use. When it comes to buying a domain, you can really use any company you feel comfortable with.

My domain costs a little over $8 a year from Namecheap.

Creative Market

Any blogging purchasing need you can think of will be on here. Creative Market is where I bought my template that I have absolutely fallen in love with! They have hundreds of options on templates for whatever you are looking for and fonts, photos, graphics, and so much more you can purchase for your website!

I would definitely recommend bookmarking this site. That way, if you have a need come up, you can look here first to see if they have anything that will work perfectly for you.

Plugins

Next on the resource list for starting a new blog- the plugins! If you do use WordPress, then you are going to add some plugins to the back end of your website. Use one or all and, if I think they are extra special, I’ll add a couple of stars next to them. I will say that whatever hosting and template you purchase will probably add a few plugins with it, which will be useful for your personal website.

GDPR Cookie Consent Banner **

This is that cookie consent box you see on almost all sites. You’ll need this to be in compliance with specific laws.

Akismet **

You’ll definitely want Akismet to help protect your blog from spammers! While your hosting probably has a security plugin, this keeps all the spam at bay.

Jetpack

Jetpack is excellent for security, performance, and site management. If you don’t have a decent security plugin from your host, then I would highly suggest this one (can be used free or a paid version available).

MC4WP: Mailchimp **

Mailchimp is a much-needed plugin for all your emailing needs. Create newsletters, subscription forms, pop up forms, and so much more with Mailchimp (can be used free or a paid version available).

WP Recipe Maker

This is an easy form for any of my recipe girls out there. It’s effortless to use and has a free version available.

WPForms **

I use this for my contact form on my contact page. You can easily use the free version to make several forms for your website.

YoastSEO**

I don’t know if there’s a paid version, but I do know this is a NECESSITY! This plugin helps make sure each of your articles is the most optimized for search engines.

Instagram Feed Gallery

This automatically installed with my template. However, it is excellent for anyone wanting to add their Instagram feed to their site.

Monster Insights

Monster insights is a great plugin to get to know more about what is going on with your website. From your WordPress dashboard, you can see insights such as traffic, bounce rate, top pages, and so much more. You can use it for free or upgrade to their pro version for even more analysis! Definitely a must if you want to know more about your site!

Writing and Grammar Resources

These are sites and services I use to check my spelling, grammar, and add unique words when I repeatedly use the same phrase over and over again. If you do want a more in-depth look at a few of these, I have an article solely based on editing your writing with a few other sites for anyone wanting other options.

Apache Open Office

This is my free version ‘Microsoft Word’ I use on my computer. I’m an old fashion girl who loves a word document on my laptop. That being said, I didn’t really want to spend money on software when there are plenty of free versions that work perfectly fine. For anyone who is like me and wants a free writing software, this is the one for you!

Grammarly

I gush about this program every time I talk about blogging resources. It truly is a game-changer for ANYONE who writes at all. It can be downloaded on your phone, computer, and as a plugin for your internet. Grammarly helps with spelling, grammar, plagiarism, tone, and so much more.

Whether you are doing an email or writing a blog post, this is hands down something you want. You can use the free version, which fixes simple spelling and grammar mistakes or upgrade to a monthly plan. I personally use the monthly plan and think it is definitely worth the money.

The upgraded version gives you so much more analysis on your writing, has a plagiarism tool, and even lets you get your work edited by real people. I’m very picky when it comes to buying specific programs, and Grammarly surpassed all of my expectations.

Thesaurus

I feel like thesaurus is just a known site that we all have used one point in our lives. Technically, if you use Grammarly, it has a built-in thesaurus. However, the thesaurus site is one I will always have bookmarked. I find it genuinely helpful for all of my repetitive word needs.

Portent Content Generator

Can’t think of a good title for your blog post? Head over to this site. You simply put in the keywords you want and push enter. The site will continue to give you ideas each time you refresh the page. While most of the ideas are silly, they really do get that idea generator in your head flowing!

Capitalize My Title

This blogging resource kind of speaks for itself. When it comes to titles, I absolutely suck at figuring out if ‘for’ should be capitalized or not. You simply type in your title, and it does the work for you. If your a pro at capitalizing titles, then just ignore this! However, if you need help every now and again as I do, this will definitely be a site you’ll be bookmarking.

Photos, Equipment, and Photo Editing Resources

Photos for your blog are just as important as your written content! This is a must on the resource list for starting a new blog. Having pictures helps break up all the text, adds dimension to your story, and makes search engines like you a bit more. When I first started in the blogging world, I had absolutely no skill in photography. While this is perfectly fine, I still didn’t want to post my photos online.

Therefore, while I will show you what I use for my photos today, I also have a couple of sites for anyone who is wanting to go in the free stock image side of things.

Unsplash- Free stock photo site that can be used for starting a new blog

Unsplash

While there are other free stock photo sites out there (Pixabay and Pexels are a couple of others), this one was my main contributor to my first blog ever made. You can find fantastic photos for almost anything you are needing. Simply find your favorite, download, and enjoy!

If you want to give credit to the photographer, they have a text box you can copy after downloading that has the photographer’s name and a link to Unsplash that you can put in your caption. You can also like, follow, and get more information on the creator and chosen photo.

Smartphone Or Canon EOS 7D

I have both of these in my resource list for starting a blog because I use both for capturing photos. I do want to stress that you 100% DO NOT need to get a fancy camera to take quality photos. Smartphones these days have great cameras, and, with some editing, your photos will look spectacular.

The only reason I have the Canon EOS 7D is that a friend of ours was giving it away with a few lenses for a deal we couldn’t pass down. If you are willing to spend some money, I would highly suggest this camera or one in the series. While a smartphone is excellent, this camera really goes above and beyond in the photo department!

Adobe Lightroom

If you haven’t heard of Adobe, then you are definitely missing out! I downloaded Adobe Lightroom on my phone years ago and have never looked back since. It is one of the most used photo editing software out there (and for a good reason). You can use filters, create presets, and edit to your heart’s content.

The great thing is that you can use the free version on your phone, which has plenty to offer! A few months ago, I did purchase a subscription for Adobe Lightroom and a few other programs. If you are wanting to up your game (or use this software on your computer), I highly suggest purchasing a subscription.

It is incredibly cheap (I pay a little less than $11 a month), and I get Lightroom, Adobe Spark, Adobe fonts, and a ton of storage! They have SEVERAL plans for whatever you are looking for at reasonable prices.

Adobe Spark

I’m not a photoshop girl. Maybe one day I will get it and utilize it, but for right now it isn’t in my list of needs. For me, I use Adobe Spark for any ‘photoshop’ type projects I have going on. For instance, I use this program to make my Pinterest photos (as in the images with titles to my articles).

With this, you can really make anything you need, from a book cover to a greeting card, and it also lets you add in your branded content (meaning your logos, fonts, etc.). With an easy drag and drop function, I can GUARANTEE this will be one of your favorite resources on this list of starting a new blog.

The ultimate blogging resource list for starting a new blog

Social Media Scheduling Resources

With blogging, it is vital to use social media to help get your name out there into the world. Since it is challenging to juggle posting, writing, and all the other things we need to do to be a successful blogger, I use scheduling apps to help me out.

Using these doesn’t mean you can be lazy; it just helps you stay consistent on specific sites. I still make sure to regularly check-in to each place, comment to replies, and add real-time posts when needed. However, I cannot deny how much more efficient I have become with these programs. 

Tailwind

If you have read even one other resource list on starting a blog, then you have seen Tailwind before. This site is an actual lifesaver in growing your audience. Believe it or not, Pinterest is a fantastic place for bloggers of all niches to share their content.

With Tailwind, you can schedule your pins with smart-scheduling that will come up with times that will help you post during the highest engagement times with your followers. However, what I love about Tailwind is the Tribes section. This is where you find a ‘tribe’ similar to your niche to share content. From there, you post your pins, share other people’s pins, and boost your reach exponentially!

While it is a subscription-based site, you can use it for free (without entering any card information) for a short amount of time to see if you like it. Trust me, after you have used it for just a couple weeks, you will find it SO easy to pay for this subscription service.

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Hootsuite

While Tailwind is great for Pinterest (and can be used for Instagram), I use Hootsuite for my other social media needs. They have an easy to use interface, and, for free, you can schedule up to 30 posts for any of your social media sites. I personally love this for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

While there is a lot of scheduling sites out there, I feel like this one gives you the most for a free version. Want unlimited? The pricing is super affordable and, trust me, it will save you a lot of time trying to keep up with all your social media channel needs.

Preview

While Tailwind can easily do this, I have always used Preview to schedule my Instagram photos. I believe there is a paid version of this app, but I’ve always used the free one. For me, Instagram is one of the only social media platforms that I still manually post my photos. I do this because I can scale the picture the way I want and put hashtags in the comments section if I want to add a few more.

For me, this app is solely to try out where to put a photo in my feed. It keeps several of your already posted Instagram posts and, once you add your ‘potentials,’ you can see how they will look next to other photos. Easily rearrange and delete to get that perfect aesthetic you are looking for.

Affiliate Marketing

What everyone looks for on a resource list for starting a blog! Affiliate links are where I make a decent chunk of my money. With affiliates, you usually get a unique link from a company or brand you like. If someone clicks on the link and purchases the products, you’ll get a certain percentage of the money (or commission). These affiliate sites can be used by anyone and are great for starting off!

I do want to point out that, while these are great for making money, a lot of them require a decent amount of visitors to make a decent chunk of change. If you are wanting to make even more money, I would suggest selling your own products or looking into sponsorships.

Web Hosting & Plugins

Honestly, most affiliate money comes from your web hosting and plugins that you use. If you are using a particular hosting company or product for your site, then you should check out if they have affiliate programs. Almost all do have some type of plan and offer around 10-50% commission on their sales. It is definitely worth looking into.

Shop Collective

Seen those sites that have clothing and makeup pictures that you can click on and purchase? They most likely are from Shop Collective. In fact, you’ll notice at the bottom of this article I have one for the career products I love.

This site is easy to use and doesn’t require a specific number of visitors to apply. You can create links, widgets, and looks with this app. Once someone clicks on the link, you get a small commission and, if they purchase the product, that commission fee goes up.

Amazon Associates

Amazon is an obviously colossal site that everybody uses. They have an affiliate site that allows you to put ads, links, and widgets onto your website. This is really great for the fact that you can put almost any product onto your blog and, once someone purchases it, you get a commission. I do want to warn you that you don’t see a massive profit until you get a high amount of traffic to your site.

Sovrn

You will notice that my resource list for starting a blog does not show Google Adsense. That is because I honestly don’t think it is that great. While you can make some money from it, you really don’t make much unless you are getting a TON of visitors every single day.

However, if you are looking for an ad service, you should definitely check out Sovrn. It is similar to Adsense in where you place ads throughout your site, and you get paid based on clicks. The reason this is better is that the payout is a little better, and the ads are, in my opinion, better for clicks.

Other Affiliate Links

While I don’t use all of these, they are still credible programs that a lot of bloggers use. Find which one (or few) work best for your site. Also, there are plenty more than what is listed! These are just some of the more popular and known options you can use. These include:

The ultimate blogging resource list to help you start a new blog

Odds and Ends

These are resources that don’t fit in a category but are equally crucial for starting a blog. Most of these items help get your name into search engines, keep an eye on your statistics, and help you polish up your site. With this list, I’ll put a short description next to it, so you understand what it is used for.

Bitly

Bitly is a site that you can use to help shorten your links. This is nice when you don’t want a long URL cluttering a post. 

Google Analytics

You probably already know about Google Analytics, but it still needs to be put on this resource list. Google Analytics gives you reports on how much traffic your getting, what your audience looks like, and so much more!

Search Console

Like Google Analytics, the search console does a lot on the back end of your website. What this site does is help index your site so that Google notices you and adds you to search engines. Both this and Google Analytics are an absolute necessity on this resource list for starting a blog.

Bloglovin

Consider this a Google version of blogs. Almost any blog out there can be found on Bloglovin. Once you have your website up and running, make sure to claim it on this site. I use Bloglovin to find other blogs to follow and to help grow my reach.

There you have it! This is my current resource list for everything related to starting a new blog. While you don’t have to use all of these, I would recommend trying a few out to see if they work for you and your purposes.

231 Blog Post Ideas for anyone starting a blog or in a writing rut

You got your blog up and running, now what?

Now you need blog posts! Don’t know what to write? No worries. I created a list of over 200 blog post ideas for anyone just starting a blog, in a writing rut, or simply wanting some new ideas.

All you have to do is fill out the form below and you can download this free template to your computer!

Let me know in the comments below or on my contact page what you have used for starting your blog! Do you love/hate any on this list? Also, please feel free to leave your blog site below, and I’d be happy to read your stuff!

Want to stay caught up with everything going on here? You can sign up for my weekly newsletter so you never miss a second of action!!

**While I do research and find reliable information to share for each article, I am by no means a professional. Make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before changing anything in your health. Also, I do have affiliate links that, if used, will give me a small commission. While I do make a profit, I will never share a product/service that I do not 100% stand behind.

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10 Comments

  • Abby January 6, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    What a thorough guide! I will definitely be going through your section on affiliates and odds and ends now. Thanks for this.

  • Jen January 6, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Wow! This is a VERY thorough post!!! I’ve been blogging for about 6 months and found many of your recommendations helpful. Thanks!

  • Jessica Bryn January 13, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Wow this is a super detailed list. You listed a lot that I hadn’t heard of yet! Especially the plug ins =) Thank you for sharing!

    • [email protected] January 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

      I’m glad this was useful to you! I definitely didn’t want to leave anything out 🙂

  • Valerie January 14, 2020 at 2:30 am

    What an amazing guide for bloggers! I just signed up for the free Tailwind trial, looking forward to trying it!

    • [email protected] January 14, 2020 at 10:29 am

      I’m glad you liked it! I hope Tailwind works for you and your needs!! Definitely utilize the tribes, that’s really what I found helped gain an audience to my site!

  • Duncan John Reyneke January 14, 2020 at 8:20 am

    I’ve already started mine, but I love that guides like this exist for people who haven’t yet. Great job.

    • [email protected] January 14, 2020 at 10:29 am

      Thank you 🙂 I definitely know these types of blogs helped me when I first started for sure!!

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