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 Mai Pro Lifestyle 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: BizBudding
- WordPress theme: Mai Lifestyle Pro
- WordPress training tutorials: WordPress 101
- Blogging Course: Start Blogging Today
- Website security & backups: Sucuri
- Form creation software: Gravity Forms
- Recipe creation: WP Recipe Maker
- 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?
Discussion (26 Comments)
Great to know! Thank you! Now I have another VERY relevant question….
How in the hell do you manage blogging with mothering?!
I’m really working on creating an environment that promotes my productivity. I’d love to hear how you juggle everything you do.
My mother was never a planner or multitasker, so I’m trying to figure out this skill “in the dark” without any examples, ideas, or experiences to draw from. I’ve figured out a few things over the years, but now that I have a rambunctious 3 year old boy, an 18 month old (who basically lives on me), and another boy due in December, I am really struggling to get extra project done. Daily projects are impossible enough to complete right now! 😀
You obviously know a thing or two about being productive, so I would LOVE to hear your tips and ideas. Thanks so much Mama!
Working on a post about this soon 😉
May I ask what your #1 tip is for growing and gaining readers besides creating consistent, quality content? I’ve been blogging for 3 years now and feel that promoting my blog is my biggest issue. I’m just not growing despite good content. I would love to know how you feel about pinning your own posts daily and how many posts do you pin? How important is an email list and consistent newsletter? Thanks so much-you’re such an inspiration!
All of those are very important…This tutorial might help a bit though: http://spearsmarketing.com/4525/structure-blog-posts-google/
This is great-thank you so much!
I spent two years as an SEO writer (long story short, I wrote for the web by pitching myself and article ideas). My network and blog connections through all my guest posts and regular contributions are proving to be SERIOUSLY helpful here. I recommend “advertising” yourself through guest posting and writing for sites. It will do a lot to drive SEO metrics for your site, and it’s a great way to reach a new audience. That’s all assuming that a blogger is writing great content that’s valuable to readers. Of course. 😉
Katie- you are MY “Pioneer Woman.” I look to you for what you’re doing and love the slideshow you posted here. My blog is super niche- I write for people choosing holistic cancer treatment, particularly pregnant women, since I was pregnant while going through alternative/ nutritional treatment 7 years ago. It can be a tough go sometimes, with some angry trollish people and many sad stories, but it’s so fulfilling to bring HOPE with options. I’ve been wanting to chat with you for years now, and my husband keeps telling me- “Reach out to her!” I never have because I have 3 little ones as well and know how busy you are! I admire you so, and would love to guest post for you *one day.* Prayers for restful days as much as possible as your baby comes soon!
Very inspiring responses! This is definitely a long learning process for me but either way it’s a place to share my life with Lupus and find others to connect somehow. I’ve been following so many of your Pins on Pinterest and trying to make some healthy changes.
Thank you for providing resources about starting a blog, especially the PowerPoint. I am starting one now and it is quite overwhelming to say the least. I’m sure I will continue to reference your site as I move forward.
I am also enjoying your recipes.
Hi Katie, I love your site and I use it constantly. I’m thinking of starting a blog. I am a network marketer but my interests lie in health and nutrition. I will most likely start with the free version of everything until I start making money from it. But I had a thought, do you guest blog or would I be able to share your articles, recipes and such if I got a blog? I just love all your stuff and share you as much as possible on Facebook.
I don’t allow my articles to be republished elsewhere, but it’s fine to share them via social media as long as they are credited to me and link back to the blog.
Thank You for posting this. I have just recently begun my own blog and am very inspired by what you do. I am trying to learn what I can from more established bloggers. I’m sure you remember what a long learning process is involved. I am so impressed wit how much you have accomplished. You are definitely one of my blogging idles.
Hi, do you use anything to help reduce emf exposure from laptops, desktops and cell phones in conducting your business?
I wrote about that here: https://wellnessmama.com/25655/health-risks-of-computers/
Hi Linore, I’m not sure my monthly cost for strictly a wordpress site, but with all the things I have on my site, I spend several hundred a year. I know that there are many free wordpress themes, and some of them are very good, so you could certainly do it more inexpensively, I would think. I don’t know the current cost of Aweber, as I’ve had it for so long, I was grandfathered in to an older plan, but it certainly can support over 2,000 readers 🙂 and it is very easy to use. Good luck!
Thank you very much. Either way, seems to round out to hundreds a year, but I might go with WordPress for its versatility. Thanks and blessings!
Do you have a monthly total cost for running the wordpress blog? I’m considering switching from a Constant Contact account (my newsletter) to a new blog, putting lots of my older content onto it, as well as my new stuff. I could use the AWeber option to maintain my mailing list (I suppose–do you know if it will support over 2,000 readers?) You would know!
Thank you for these resource ideas! I’m thinking about upgrading to a studio press theme (currently I’m using a very basic free word press theme). But here’s the question: is the “genesis framework” worth the added cost? I’m looking into a studio press theme that costs 29.99, or 79.99 with genesis. I prefer the 29.99 price tag, but am willing to splurge if the genesis truly enhances the experience (or makes it easier/more user friendly… Very important to me as I am not tech savvy!) thoughts?
I’m not an expert on the tech end, but I am really happy with the set- up I’ve got now. Genesis is supposed to be already optimized, and I get a decent amount of traffic from Google, so I guess it works 🙂
By my understanding, studio press themes run on Genesis, so you would need it for the theme to work. If you already had Genesis, than I think you could purchase the theme alone, but if you don’t, I think you have to get Genesis too. Again, I’m not sure, but that is what I understand. I do love studio press though and how easy my theme is to navigate for me!