I know so many people that start blogging thinking, “Omg, it’s going to be so fun!” #NoLie, blogging is fun but it’s also a lot more work than people expect. Within the first few weeks of a friend launching their own brand-new blog I find my email inbox inundated with questions about themes, plugins, growing traffic, building community, finding photos, using social media, and curating content.
I tend to smirk to myself and thinking, “Yeah…it only looks easy, right?” Since I know a lot of people intending to start their own blog soon I decided to take the time to put together a list of the top tools I use to run my own blog in hopes that they help you out as well.
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Restored 316 and Pretty Darn Cute Designs
These are both WordPress theme designers and I absolutely love their designs. Yes, eventually most bloggers decide to invest in a custom designed theme but when you’re first starting out these are two of my favorite places for themes. I’ve used themes from both of them over the years and I always receive tons of compliments. They both focus on feminine designs and colors.
Oh, they both use the Genesis Framework so you have to install that before installing one of their themes or the theme won’t work. You can get the Genesis Framework here if you decide to use one of their themes.
I mentioned Creative Market in a recent post about resources for stock photos but Creative Market is so much more than just stock photos. I’ve used it for fonts, graphics, overlays, 3D art, textures, templates, themes, and so much more. You can even purchase resume templates and PowerPoint templates for presentations. It is basically a one-stop shop for all things creative so if you need something for your blog I can pretty much guarantee that you can find it on there.
Explore Creative Market.
Canva at Work
Not a graphic designer? Me either! Fortunately, you don’t have to be when you use Canva for Work. I think I pay somewhere around $12 or $13 a month for Canva and it stores all of my branding data (colors, fonts, etc) and allows me to create templates that I can use over and over again for things like Facebook posts, Pinterest images, Instagram quotes, etc. You don’t need photoshop (although most people eventually try to learn it so that they can get even fancier than Canva) but Canva is a great place to start out. I make all of my graphics in Canva and swear it’s the easiest thing ever. It’s insanely simple.
Check out Canva.
THIS is the #1 tool I credit for the enormous growth in traffic I’ve seen in the past year. It works with Pinterest and it allows you to schedule your pins for future times which is great when you’re a person like me that goes on a pinning binge at 2am. Most people aren’t pinning things at 2am so BoardBooster allows me to pin hundreds of things to secret boards at 2am and it will pin them to public boards over the next few days between whatever hours I set.
BoardBooster also allows you to loop pins meaning it will repin things over and over again if you tell it to do that. I have it pin and repin things to the board curated for my blog posts all of the time that way my followers are always seeing pins for my content. I wrote more about BoardBooster and why it’s so awesome over here.
I don’t use Grammarly 100% of the time like I should but it has a Chrome extension which makes all of my excuses ridiculous. Grammarly scans your posts to make sure that you don’t have any major typos or total grammar fails. Truly, you can write however you want when it’s completely your content but once you get to the point where you’re working with brands they want to see that you can follow basic grammar and language rules.
I also love MeetEdgar for all of my social media needs but you can read about that right over here. I switched to it after I left CoSchedule behind (even though I still have mad love for them).
If you are looking for even more of my favorite blogging resources you can check out this full list of resources that I put together to get you started. You’ll find even more themes, photo and graphic resources, and other tools.
Did I miss any of your favorite blogging tools and/or resources? Share them below so I can check them out!
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