Favorite Tools & Resources
I regularly use and rely on each of these tools myself! Note that some of the links are affiliate or referral links, which means if you make a purchase I may receive a small commission or “store credit,” at no additional cost or effort to you. 🙂
DOMAIN Name HOSTING
Namecheap is the only place I’ll buy web domain names now (I’m kind of a domain hoarder…), because they’re affordable (as the name would suggest), and I like the usability of the platform. But perhaps MOST importantly, I love that I can add FREE domain privacy to all of my domains for life! Godaddy and most other domain hosts charge for this yearly!
WORDPRESS Website (or Blog) HOSTING
Siteground is where I host my WordPress sites (yeah I hoard those too), including this one! I’ve used their chat support many times and it is top-notch! Often rather than just telling you how to do something they will do it for you.
Though I've loved Siteground for many reasons, I will likely soon be switching this blog over to Cloudways. I recently moved another blog to Cloudways and noticed an immediate bump in page speed — even the backend (my WordPress dashboard area) feels faster when I'm creating new content! I also LOVE the user interface, and that staging sites are included and can easily be created with the click of a button (super helpful for testing new plugins and updates, or making design changes behind the scenes)!
Cloudways starts at about $10/month, but when you use my referral link you can get a $15 credit, which basically means your first month and a half are paid for! And if you're moving from another host, they will migrate one site FOR you for free!
WordPress Theme & Page Builder
I custom designed this site myself using Astra Pro as my “base” WordPress theme, and Elementor Pro to customize the theme structure and design. Astra is a fast, lightweight theme that’s made to work well with page + theme builder plugins like Elementor, and Elementor Pro allows me to make all kinds of customizations, and then change them whenever I like! It’s like the never-ending theme of creativity!
ESSENTIAL WORDPRESS PLUGINS
SEOPress – My SEO plugin of choice! The free version is great, the paid version is even better, and very affordable compared to competitors like Yoast! It can also be used on multiple sites for 1 low price.
WP Rocket – The best caching and total optimization plugin. Helped speed up my blog out of the box, and even more after enabling more settings!
Tasty Pins – Totally essential for serious Pinterest marketers, $29/year makes tons of WordPress Pinterest optimization tasks easier, and does a couple things that I haven’t been able to do otherwise.
LuckyWP Table of Contents – My favorite table of contents plugin, and it’s free!
UpdraftPlus – Awesome, easy to use free backup plugin. I can set up scheduled backups to go to my Google Drive, or manually send backups with the click of a button whenever I like.
WebARX – My security plugin of choice. It’s powerful, doesn’t slow down my site and is easy to use, unlike free plugins I’ve tried.
Revision Control – A simple free plugin that makes it easy to keep my number of post and page revisions in check so they don’t clog up my site indefinitely. I can also delete revisions on individual posts manually with the click of a button. NOTE: It hasn’t been updated in a while, but I still like it better than newer options I’ve tried so far.
Pinterest Scheduling + Collaboration
Tailwind really is the best way I’ve found to schedule pins to Pinterest, and Tailwind TRIBES are an amazing way to get more Pinterest shares and traffic, even for a new or smaller blogger!
You can try Tailwind + tribes FREE with no time limit (up to 100 scheduled pins) when you sign up for a new Tailwind account.
DIY Graphics Design
I’ll be honest, a few years ago when Canva was still pretty new and all the rage, I wasn’t super impressed. But it’s come a long way this past year, adding lots of video and animation options, little tweaks to make quick graphics creation more smooth, as well as the ability to easily share templates with Pro… which means there are tons of new Canva templates you can use for your blog popping up all the time!
For me, Canva Pro is essential, and as far as a paid graphics design tool, I currently believe Canva Pro is truly the best for most bloggers and online entrepreneurs who aren't designers by trade — myself included!
You can try Canva Pro FREE for 30 days here.
Graphic Design Templates, Fonts, Etc.
CreativeMarket is my favorite place to find premium DIY design and branding templates and fonts!
TIP: make sure to check out their weekly design freebies!
SCREENCAST VIDEO RECORDING + EDITING
I use and love Camtasia to record and edit my screencast tutorial videos!
I also use a free tool called Handbrake to compress and optimize the video files for storage space and playback speed.
Digital Planning, File Storage + Organization
Airtable is my favorite way to create colorful spreadsheets and organize my digital images and files online, all for free. I literally use Airtable to organize my entire life!
Blogging + Pinterest Learning Resources
I've taken a LOT of online courses over the past few years, but there are very few I can whole-heartedly recommend. Here are my ultimate faves:
My absolute all-around favorite blogging course is Project 24 by Income School. It's actually a TON of courses in one, but I've personally been most impacted by their truly unique approach to getting traffic passively through Google SEO, which I really appreciate as an introvert with very low energy!
Before starting this course I was solely focused on growing this blog via Pinterest marketing, but since starting the course about a year ago, my Google traffic has FAR surpassed my Pinterest traffic and I've discovered that for my niche and the type of content I tend to create, it's actually much easier to grow with Google! You can read my review of Project 24 here.
I also love PotPieGirl's Google Pleaser ebook, which is a tiny little ebook with a super-smart tip for choosing specific Google keywords over others.
While I don't fully follow Carly's Pinteresting Strategies manual pinning methods, I still think her course is one of the best, if not THE best beginner-to-advanced Pinterest courses, and is also one of the most affordable! And she recently added a bunch of really interesting new tips for 2020, which I plan to experiment with more this year, especially for my much more broad lifestyle blog.
I also regularly use PotPieGirl's PIQ strategy (another tiny but mighty ebook) to find hidden Google keywords for Pinterest.
More Online Biz Tools + Resources
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