Resources for bloggers

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by Debra Dane on January 22, 2013

in Home Life

We all know January is often the time we set goals and make plans. I figured now would be a good time to finally share my list of bloggy resources here to help anyone who is just starting out or looking to take their blogging “to the next level” (I am never decided on whether I love or hate that phrase, but often  find it so appropriate). Most of these are links that  I share with people who email me looking for resources and I hope you find them helpful (and now I can reply with a link to this post which is a win-win).

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be a blogger. There are many free resources out there and you can choose carefully where to invest what money you do have available for your blog. Even if you don’t intend to ever make money from your blog you can still invest some money in it. Just like a scrapbooker buys paper and stickers and a spin class lover pays to join a gym, you can look at what things will help you, inspire you, motivate you or teach you.

Free blogging resources

My  go-to blogs that always deliver clear tutorials, insights into blogging and keep me up to date on blogging without being over the top (some sites go way too deep for me):

Amy Lynn Edwards - Blogging with Amy is always my first stop. She posts videos but always includes written instructions below – my ideal arrangement. She is down to earth, clear, easy to talk to (email or facebook) if you don’t understand something or have a topic suggestion. Follow her on Facebook too.

Momcomm – Melissa is another main source of information. If you want to improve your blog go through her archives and check out a dozen of her blog critiques and notice the key points she brings up. There is so much you can learn from checking out the blogs she is critiquing and seeing how you can apply the ideas to your own space. (See paid resources below as well for details about the fab course I took with Melissa)

Crafty Mummy – I am not a crafter, but Tonya stood out to me early on as a great resource. She posts clear tutorials and if you have a question she will usually answer you with a thorough blog post. Alongside her craft posts she writes about blogging, social media, instagram and new tools she finds.

Michelle Schaeffer – I am a visual person and I struggled to learn WordPress and html at the start of blogging. You tube saved me once I realised that bloggers are out there doing screencasts and showing you visually what to do. If you don’t yet understand the lingo associated with blogging and tech work, videos can save you. It can be hard to follow written instructions if you don’t know what someone is talking about or where to find things (like parts of your dashboard you have yet to discover). Michelle Shaeffer’s you tube channel has videos on everything you can need, but I especially loved  her WordPress tutorials

Another video source I found when starting out was Click to Launch. I was literally one of the first to use it when it was being trialed and I loved it – super beginner, basic, step by step instructions. If you are currently not self hosted and worried about moving to WordPress I think this will help a lot. It is 100% free.

 

Paid blogging resources – ebooks, courses and services (affiliate links used below*)

31 days to build a better blog  Click here to visit ProBlogger. Darren Rowse is the king of blogging for many people and rightly so. He is a nice guy, approachable , smart and has shared so much information to help bloggers learn and grow. You can read through the Problogger archives and learn about anything and everything. I like this ebook because it is broken down into nuggets and you can go at your own pace if you need more than 31 days (I did and still do as I dabble in and out of topics). Blog Wise is another ebook he has put out with productivity tips for blogging and is on my list to buy this year.

Problogger 31 days to build a better blog review

Tell your time -Click here to visit Amy Lynn Andrews.  I mentioned Amy above and love everything she puts out. If you are looking for a time management ebook, Amy’s is inexpensive,  practical and easy to follow with implementation of classic priority setting and scheduling ideas in line with Stephen Covey’s 4 quadrants and examining the different roles you try to juggle.

Tell your time time management ebook review

Momcomm – Along with her free content noted above, Melissa offers a course and an ebook for sale.

Content Brew ecourse and DIY Blog Critique ebook

Last year I took part in the first rounds of Melissa’s Content Brew course  and found it helpful, motivating, and fun. It was a course that filled up fast each time it was offered last year and I just found out it is only being offered once this year (before releasing it as a self paced course). It was fantastic having access to Melissa on two live chats, in the Facebook group along with the support of the others in the class. I wrote about how much I loved the colour coded content calendar system here and felt like each day I was learning something totally new with my social media or in how I plan and operate my blog. By the end of the week I had planned five months of content. Her printable pdf’s are professional, easy to follow and a resource I will use over and over. The next class starts in February and opens for registration January 22 at 11am (USA time for all my Southern hemisphere friends reading along so tomorrow for us).

I have not purchased her “DIY blog critique” ebook, but am a huge fan of the critiques she shares on her blog so having a resource to do it yourself is a great addition if you are looking to review various aspects of your existing site.

If you are an absolute beginner I highly recommend Louisa Clare’s ebook (Click here to visit Louisa Claire.) How to Start a blog as it covers everything from which platform to use to how to be a PR friendly blog (which is Louisa’s specialty as she runs Brand Meets Blog).

How to start a blog ebook review

My blog theme is Thesis and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to tailor their site, but is not looking to learn coding / html / css. I am the least techy person I know and can mange to at least make enough changes to suit myself. I always loved sites that ran on Thesis (such a clean aesthetic) long before I became a blogger so it was a quick decision to pay for the theme. The ongoing support form the DIY themes blog and forum is amazing so I know I can always find answers to how to do what I want on the blog.

Host Gator is my host of choice- I have not had a single day since launching where my site has been down – at all – when I was starting out and had questions they were quick in their response time and helpful to say the least. You can find discount coupons all over the net usually saving 20-30%. I chose to use a coupon for 25% off + pay for 3 years to get the lowest price possible.

 

I would love to know what your best blogging resource is – paid or free – let’s share so we can all learn new things in 2013!

 

Find your simple,

Deb

Linking up with Jess for IBOT – if you want to discover some new blogs head over there and pick 5 posts at random to read – I promise you will have fun!

* Using an affiliate link means that if you purchase via that link I make a commission (anywhere from 20-40% depending on the product). These are all things I already recommend to those who asked for my best resources and those opinions did not change for this post. As someone who has no ads on her blog I figured this was a way to bring in a little income while being helpful to those who need this information.

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Shell January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

Thanks Deb, these will be really useful.

Oh you’re “not a crafter” are you … I’m sure we saw some beautiful embroidery of yours recently :)
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm

thanks shell will try to remember not to label myself in a corner (also need to drop “i’m not techy”) xx
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Ai Sakura January 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

These resources sound very useful. Thanks for sharing them! I’ll definitely be checking them out :)
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Hope you find some of them helpful – xx
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Janet @ Redland City Living January 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

Thank you for sharing – I’m always open to learning more!
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thanks Janet – it can be overwhelming as there is so much blogging info out there
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Cate January 22, 2013 at 10:36 am

I’ve got DIY blog critique, it’s a very thorough book! I have lots of resources that I’m slowly working my way through, here’s a link http://www.lifebehindthepurpledoor.com/p/resources.html?m=1
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:22 pm

ooh thanks Cate – off to check your link out now xx
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Emily January 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Love it. So helpful. Thanks Deb!
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Glad it was helpful Em!
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Nee January 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Great tips Deb. I’m such a blunderer when it comes to techy stuff. I used to know all about it but now I just can’t find enough headspace to get a handle on it ;)
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thanks Nee. headspace is the key right?
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Stacey-Lee January 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I found Amy’s site very helpful and Tonya @Crafty Mummy is beyond helpful! I’m often the go-to chick for techy stuff amongst my friends but the blogging stuff I need all sorts of help with. Great list, I have many bloggy techy updates planned for once school goes back (& I will have the headspace to concentrate) so this post is very well timed. Thanks Deb x
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm

let’s get together and swap skills sometime – i desperately need techy help (need to figure out mailchimp if i am ever getting my newsletter launced) and happy to help you in anything bloggy i can.. xx
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Di @ Life is Di-licious January 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

A fantastic round up Deb – thank you. I got Darren’s 31 days e book a couple of weeks ago and am working through it slowly. Setting blogging goals was challenging but all so important. Wil be saving this post to my bookmarks bar for constant future reference! :-)
Di x
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm

slowly is the way i am doing it too – i tried to join a group doing it in real time but it was too much on top of blogging and life lol. need to set some specific goals for the blog this year too
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Seana Smith January 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Hi there, I’ve been surprised at how many things I have just picked up or learned at conferences or from other bloggers. There isn’t one resource to take us all from woe to go.

I guess that’s the same as an other medium, experience is vital.

And bloody hard work, hours and hours of it… and then a bit of slacking off for balance! Nice list.
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm

thanks seana. i was very happy to see problogger will be in Queensland this year as I was unable to fly down in 2012. i hope to learn a lot come September!!
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Emily @ Have a laugh on me January 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Thanks for these great links and tips, I’ll have do eventually get my act together in this respect! Emily
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm

you’re welcome Em – no act to get together, just read what you need when you need it (if i have something i can’t figure out i check amy or tonyas sites first!)
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Nikki@WonderfullyWomen January 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Great collection of goodies to add to my reading list, thanks for sharing!
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm

you’re welcome – thanks for stopping by Nikki
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Tonya January 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Thank you for the lovely mention, Deb! I think I’m a craft blogger who is happy to share what I’ve taught myself about blogging.

Amy Lynn Andrews is my hero, as I think you know.
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 10:47 pm

You share it so well and I am grateful xx (and yes, we all can look up to Amy – amazing)
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Martine@themodernparent January 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Some great resources. I have been blogging for 2 years and havevprobably only heard of 3 of them…so always good to know where to get easy to follow resources!
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm

So glad it helped you discover some new sources of info – they are all easy to follow as well
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Sarah January 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Oh Debs this is a fantastic post! I am finally, Grrrr, embarking on my blogging journey and these links are truly invaluable.

I am one of the lucky bloggers you have supported and emailed over the past year, and for that I thank you! And it was on your advice that I began watching online tutorials, they are a fantastic source of straight forward information for non-techy types such as myself.

To see how your blog has developed is absolutely incredible a true success story, well done lovely you! x

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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 11:04 pm

Oh sarah – i saw your blog started up again – have been crap with getting in touch since we got back from our trip. i seem to reply straight away to your emails and then you reply and then i sit for ages before the next one. i was just thinking today that i need to just sit down and email you (and several other people -keep an eye out tomorrow xx) thank you for your support and kind words. i actually went to add the bloggy course we met through and ali does not have it on her site now (not sure when it stopped – i saw she is having a baby so maybe put it on hold while focuses on oter stuff)
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Sarah January 23, 2013 at 12:17 am

Any reply from you is a delight Debs, although how you find the time is always a suprise x I’ll definately look forward to hearing from you… whenever! lol x
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Lisa@RandomActsOfZen January 22, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Deb, thank you so much for sharing these resources! i’m happy to get as much info as I can, I’m trying to get serious with blogging this year. So generous of you x
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 11:28 pm

You are welcome hon – looking forward to what you have planned for this year – loving your latest posts xx
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Alicia O'Brien January 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Thanks for these great resources. Starting a blog is very daunting, there is so much to learn very quickly. I went in with no idea, but have enjoyed learning, I could learn so much more, but am happy with what I have right now, however that may change in the future.
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

It s daunting – i waited 3 months before publishing my first post i was trying hard to learn “it all” and finally realised the best way to learn about blogging is to dive into the deep end and learn as you go. that is my #1 piece of advice for new bloggers you can never know it all anyway !
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Karen January 22, 2013 at 11:55 pm

What an awesome list of resources!! I especially love the ones that include the word free! I also love the Pugly Pixel blog for great graphic and design resources!! Karen. #teamIBOT
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Debra Dane January 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm

OMG how could i forget graphics – will have to do a post about sourcing images and graphics for blog design – i have a bunch i follow – thanks for the idea!!

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EssentiallyJess January 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I’m a huge fan of you tube to help me do techy stuff. Love that I can pause, work it out, and then do it myself

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Grace January 31, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Oh, the Content Brew course sounds great! Will have to look into it. Thanks for sharing all this great information, Deb!
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Rae Hilhorst February 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Thanks Deb, don’t know where to start, will make my way through them. Appreciate the help. xxx Rae
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Rebecca Mugridge March 13, 2013 at 10:26 pm

There is so much fantastic information here!
I love the idea of the youtube tutorials for techy stuff- I am definitely going to check that out, thank you XX
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Debra Dane March 13, 2013 at 10:31 pm

You are welcome – you tube it is my first stop now for anything i am trying to figure out tech wise

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