At least once a week I’m emailed questions from readers and other bloggers about the resources I use for my site, everything from “how do I create my own blog”, “who designed your site”, “how do you send out the weekly newsletter/blog update”, etc. Well, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the current resources I use on my site.
When I originally started blogging, like many others, I began with a free Blogger.com blog. After several months, I found it to be very limiting, both in the design, layout options, navigation, and graphically. I began searching for another option, which is when I found WordPress.com.
Like Blogger, WordPress was free, easy to set up and use, but it offered many more options in the way of design & layout, plus I found it to load faster, which was important with graphics heavy blog posts.
I stayed with this setup for several months until my creative side took over once again and I wanted something even more customizable. WordPress.com is free, but in order to have more options & functionality (like my own domain name or additional visual skins), you have to upgrade to some paid options. Also, using Blogger.com or WordPress.com, I didn’t really own the site, I was just renting space on their sites. Being something of a control freak at times, I didn’t like this at all! After doing more research, I found out that WordPress offered a fully customizable free option that I would actually own, but I would have to purchase my own domain name and hosting account to do so.
Since I didn’t know how to do any of this, but really wanted these options, I decided to call in a friend, who just so happens to build websites (among many other types of marketing) for a living. He was able to help me set up my own hosting account, install the WordPress software, and choose a theme that matched my tastes. He also showed me a great WordPress tutorial that showed me how to do everything on my new site.
For those of you who have been long time readers of Wellness Mama, Do you remember my old site design?
I kept this design for about a year, then this past January I decided I wanted another upgrade! Once again, my friend was able to give me some great theme options that could be customized to meet my (ever-changing) needs. And that’s where I am today. Knowing me, I’ll probably want to change and upgrade again in the not-so-distant future, but for now, I like what I’ve got.
I’m always getting questions about the weekly newsletter/blog recap I send out. The service I use is called Aweber. It’s fantastic because I can take the RSS feed from my site (you are subscribed to my newsletter and RSS feed, right?), insert it into a newsletter form, and it will automatically be emailed out every day, once a week, once a month, or however else I want to set it up! I can basically set it and forget it, which is very helpful when I’m short on time.
A couple people have asked me how I created the Wellness Mama shameless video plug several months back. There’s a neat little service called Animoto that makes it really simple, and you don’t need any technical knowledge, either!
I back up Wellness Mama regularly with an amazing WordPress plugin called Backup Buddy. I am able to set it up once, and everyday, once a week, or monthly it will backup my site and email me a copy. It will also save it to my Drop Box folder, which is one of the tools I use to share files with friends and family.
I use a wonderful plugin to create custom forms for both my contact page, the Challenge, and others, called Gravity Forms. It has more options than I know what to do with!
So, here’s the list of resources that I use for my site, hopefully all you other bloggers out there (and future bloggers!) can use these for your own sites.
- Domain name registration: Name Cheap
- Website hosting: Host Gator
- WordPress software: WordPress.org
- WordPress themes: Studio Press
- Additional WordPress Themes: Theme Forest
- WordPress training tutorials: WordPress 101
- Website backup/security plugin: Backup Buddy
- Landing page creation: Premise
- Form creation software: Gravity Forms
- Amazon affiliate links: EasyAzon
- Shopping Cart: Cart66
Now it’s your turn. For all of you bloggers out there, what tools/resources are you using that I’m not, but probably should be? Let me know in the comments below!