I have compiled this list of resources and tools to help grow your blog and income.
I use almost all of these on a daily basis - and they all have had a helping hand in my blog's growth (and the dramatic increase in my income!).
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, at no cost to you, I may receive compensation if you purchase something through one of those links. (This helps run The Beautiful Life- so thank you for supporting my dream) I only promote products/services that I use, love, or trust.
1) Stock Photos
It's no secret that in order to have a successful (and appealing) blog, you must have stunning visuals in every post, and on every page.
Although there are loads of free stock photos (In fact, I put together a massive list of them for you here), sometimes you just need to purchase paid stock photos. In comes with the territory.
Why? Well because generally, you get what you pay for.
I'm not saying there aren't lots of gorgeous free stock photos, my post proves there are.
But you're also very limited with those in two ways:
1) You usually only get 1-2 beautiful images from that collection if your just getting the free stock photos that photographers offer. And I know that some of these freebie are so beatiful, I want the entire collection to use on my blog and on social media.
2) You are limited with how you can use them. Free stock photos usually are only for personal use. And I know in my business, I need images. Paid stock photos are for commercial use, so you can use the for everything.
Although I do utilize TONS of free stock photos, one site I would always purchase from is Ivory Mix.
Her photos are so gorgeous and with her membership (Only $10 a month), you get hundreds of different kinds of stock photos that suit the needs of every creative entrepreneur and blogger alike. You can take a peek here. You can also purchase just certain collections for $10 (for 10-20 images).
If you're a freelance writer or trying to get into freelance writing- you need this course in your life. Write Your Way To 1K is a course by Elna Cain who is an incredibly successful freelance writer. It also is great for bloggers if you want to land some paid guest posting gigs or anything of the sort.
This course will show you where to find real, good paying writing gigs, and it shows you exactly how to earn your first $1000 in seven weeks. (And then keep earning from there!!) It's packed full of actionable strategies that Elna Cain used to quit her job and start freelance writing full-time.
I recommend SiteGround for web hosting, for new bloggers (or any blogger!) They are an excellent host, and very affordable. They have impeccable customer service and will make your website so fast, it's incredible.
Bloggers everywhere are switching to SiteGround - and for good reason.
If you already have web hosting and are tired of constant downtime and poor customer service, SiteGround will migrate your website for you - for free!
4) Fonts. (Free and paid)
Although I do utilize many free fonts, it is always nice to purchase some paid ones. Here's a variety of my absolute favorites for female entrepreneurs and bloggers.
A few of my fave paid feminine fonts:
A few of my favorite places for FREE fonts:
- Free feminine fonts for commercial use
- Ultimate Free feminine fonts collection for personal use (and on your blog of course)
- Free fonts for bloggers and designers
5) Studio Press.
Studio Press creates beautiful Genesis themes, and they are quite popular. Although I don't personally use Studio Press to run this blog, I know TONS of happy bloggers and entrepreneurs who do, and they all adore Studio Press.
If you're searching for a theme, look no further.
They have a theme for EVERYBODY. Whether you are a food blogger, beauty blogger, E-commerce blogger; they have you covered!
The theme I use for my blog is called The Boss Lady Theme by A Prettier Web.
They are feminine, and have landing pages and lead pages built right in. So you don't have to pay for a service like Lead Pages. There are just so many extra features, that you normally wouldn't get with most themes; I couldn't resist! And A Prettier Web's themes are surprisingly very affordable.
7) Restored 31.
Another website with fabulous themes, these themes are classy, yet feminine. Although I am in love with the theme that I currently have for this blog if I do start another blog I would definitely go with a theme from Restored 31. They are so pretty, but not in your face ''girly''.
Restored 31 has themes for female entrepreneurs, fashion bloggers, food bloggers, lifestyle bloggers - and so much more.
You can check out Restored 31 here.
Grammarly is an editing software that I could not live without. The cool thing is, it not only works when you are writing a blog post but also on Facebook and most websites. Grammarly is so much more than a ''spell checker.'' It fixes grammar, sentence structure, checks for plagiarism, and so much more.
The paid version does offer a lot more, but if it's not an option for you right now, definitely get the free version. It will change your writing.
9) Books I've read that I recommend every blogger reads.
These books have been game-changers for me. The remarkable thing about these books are they aren't ''trendy''; this tips and secrets will still be relevant for many, many years to come. I guess you could say they are classics.
I feel like, no matter what stage you're in, in your blogging journey; knowledge is power. And you can never learn too much. I'm constantly looking for ways to improve and learn.
10) Mail Chimp.
I probably don't need to tell you how crucial growing your email list is, right? This is something I'm still working on, but I know the importance of building my email list, and I'm doing everything in my power to build my list.
The email marketing company I am with is Mail Chimp. So far, so good. The great thing about Mail Chimp is it's totally free up to 2000 subscribers. Once you reach that number, it will start to increase, though.
If you don't have an email list, I suggest you go for an email marketing service like Mail Chimp.
Speaking of growing your email list, OptinMonster is a wonderful lead generation tool that allows you to put pop-ups, welcome mats, and many other forms on your website to convert visitors into subscribers, and then turn those subscribers into customers.
OptinMonster is a great investment in your business or blog. It's very common with successful bloggers and online entrepreneurs these days.
You can check it out here.
12) Name Cheap.
Name Cheap is a website where you can purchase inexpensive domain names. (With my link, you can get one for $0.88!) They are an excellent company, and many bloggers use them for their domain names.
You can try Name Cheap here.
13) Board Booster.
In fact, my biggest source of traffic is coming from Pinterest (70%).
If you want to grow your blog and increase your blog's traffic with Pinterest, I suggest you use a pin scheduler. Even if you do have time to sit online and pin 50-100 pins daily, you probably don't have the time to sit there all day long (because it's best to pin throughout the day, instead of 100 all at once).
You can get your first 100 pins free here.
I cannot praise Canva enough. I use Canva to create all the graphics you see on my blog, and I also use it to create images for social media.
They have a free version, or you can go for Canva For Work (I recently upgraded.)
The free version is great, but my favorite thing about Canva For Work is that you can upload your own fonts. I use free sites like dafonts.com to download gorgeous fonts, and then I upload them to Canva. You also get a page for your branding. So I have all my brand colors, fonts, and logos in one spot. It's quite handy.
You can create Pinterest graphics, social media graphics, E-Books, checklists, and so much more.
15) Google Docs.
As a blogger, you will be doing quite a bit of writing.
Of course, you could write your blog posts in WordPress (or whatever platform you use), but it is smart to have them saved elsewhere.
Plus, you can use Google Docs on your phone or tablet while you're on the go. Which is perfect because you never know when inspiration is going to hit.
There are a few other options, like Evernote, but I personally have no experience using them. Google Docs has been essential in running my blog.
If you offer any services on your blog, you will need to give your customers invoices. Freshbooks was created for small businesses, and it's an awesome program to create and send professional invoices.
You can get a free 30-day trial here.
17) Bitly (URL Shortener)
If you're a blogger or online entrepreneur, chances are you use social media. Especially with twitter, it's annoying to have long links (URLs). So, with this completely free website, you can shorten any link you want.
I have this free site bookmarked, and use it almost daily. You can check it out here.
When you have any type of self-hosted blog or website, you are going to run into issues (I know I have!).
Which is where a web developer comes in. It can be tricky to find a reputable web developer.
I recommend Bilal Haidar - he is my web developer for this blog. He's efficient and always gets the job done.
He specializing in WordPress development.
You can reach him here:
Email him at: [email protected]