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