At least once a week I’m emailed questions from readers and other bloggers about the blogging 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 a better 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 and layout, plus I found it to load faster, which was important with picture 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 and 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. Since I have a natural tendency to be 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 some professional help. I was able to get set up with my own hosting account, install WordPress, and choose a theme that matched my tastes. I also found a great WordPress tutorial that showed me how to do almost 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 upgraded again about a year later. Once again, I received excellent theme options and design assistance that could be customized to meet my (ever-changing) blog preferences. I’ve changed and updated the blog several times since then, trying to keep up with technology and reader demands.
My website design is based upon the Wellness Pro theme from StudioPress.
I’m always getting questions about the weekly newsletter/blog recap I send out. The service I use is called ConvertKit. It’s fantastic because I can take the RSS feed from my site (you are subscribed to my newsletter, 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.
I use a service called Sucuri to protect and backup WellnessMama.com. It scans for hackers, spammers, and creates backups so my blog is always protected. For backing up the pictures I create for the blog, I use DropBox.
I use a wonderful plugin to create custom forms for my contact page and for questionnaires 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.
Blogging Resources I Use
- Domain name registration: Hover
- Website hosting: Synthesis
- WordPress themes: StudioPress
- WordPress training tutorials: WordPress 101
- Website backups & security: Sucuri
- Form creation software: Gravity Forms
- Recipe Creation: Cookbook plugin
- Email newsletter: Convert Kit
A few months ago I gave a presentation for a food bloggers summit where I discussed what I’ve done to grow WellnessMama.com. The slideshow below is from that presentation.
I’m sure this list will change as new tools and resources become available and as my blogging needs change, but for now these all work really well for me. If you’re interested in starting a blog, this article might help.
Do you blog? What strategies have worked for you? Are there any tools or resources you love?