If you are interested in creating your own adventure, then you probably want the freedom to live life on your own terms.
Owning a website is one way to obtain this kind of freedom.
But you don’t need me to give you a pep talk. All you need is the information necessary to make an informed decision and that is what you will find on this page.
On this page you can find all of the blogging resources I am using to build websites and create design resources. I only recommend resources that I use currently or have used at some point in the past and found it helpful.
Some of the links below will connect to an affiliate partner. This means that if you were to make a purchase, then I might earn a small commission – an amount that’s usually enough to buy a cup of tea. But I will never knowingly suggest a useless resource. Thanks for trusting me to share solid references!
Your Blog’s Foundation
In this first section you’ll find the essential foundational resources needed to create a website. Once you have these core elements squared away, you can focus on things like aesthetics and function.
All of my suggestions are for those building a WordPress website. Although I have some experience with SquareSpace and Shopify, I don’t feel comfortable offering web design guidance for either of those platforms, so I will stick with WordPress for now.
1. Namecheap Domain
2. Siteground Hosting
When you are ready to self-host your website, part of that process involves buying a domain.
Namecheap is great for buying and renewing domains. They offer nearly all imaginable extensions: .com, .co, .store, .life, .club, .net and so on.
So after deciding on a blog name, head on over to Namecheap to see if your desired domain is available.
Next, you’ll need a solid web hosting company.
Siteground is a valuable option and offers many benefits to signing up, including free SSL, free web transfer, daily backups, fast load times, and a strong support team. They offer three hosting plans starting as low as $3.95 USD per month.
3. Select a Theme
Once you’ve purchased your domain and activated your hosting service, next you will want to find a reliable WordPress theme.
The theme you choose will depend on a lot of factors, such as the type of blog or website you are building, your level of comfort when navigating WordPress, and the manner in which you will utilize your blog. Will it be a blog only? Will you add a shop at some point? What types of customization will you need?
I used to waste so much time searching for the “perfect” theme. But I have narrowed down to three key options to look for in a WordPress theme:
- It must be responsive,
- It must have a block building system, and
- It must be WooCommerce-ready.
I have found that of these three conditions are met, the theme will likely meet my short and long-term needs.
You can find free themes in the WordPress foundry that meet this criteria.
I’m currently using Kaira’s free Vogue theme. And I would consider purchasing their premium theme in the future.
If you would prefer to purchase a premium theme, you may consider finding one in the following places:
Promoting Your Blog Posts
Social sharing is one of the relevancy factors used by search engines. So you’ll not only want to make it easy for your visitors to share your posts, but it’s also important for you to share your own posts.
Manual sharing can be time consuming, and it’s difficult to manually share on a consistent basis. This is where social sharing platforms come into place. Many exist and most of them have free trials for you to test out their services.
Here are the two I use the most:
Tailwind Scheduling App
Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler that’s been approved as an official partner for each platform.
They have highly detailed analytics that help you understand more about your account – what gets pinned, repined, and what’s popular through your domain (if you’ve created your Pinterest business account).
Smart Scheduling analyzes your Pinterest account, and then suggests times for you to post when your audience is most engaged.
The feature I love the most is their scheduling button. Activating this app allows you to schedule a pin when you see an attractive pin on any website. Simply hover over the image and click the Tailwind scheduling button to add the graphic to your scheduling queue.
BoardBooster Pin Scheduling
BoardBooster is a Pinterest scheduling tool that pins and repins to your personal and group boards in a less intrusive manner.
You create secret boards as the source of your pins and BoardBooster pins them at the assigned times throughout the day. This way, you won’t flood your feed or any group feeds. Pins will be distributed over time, not all at once.
If you administer group boards, you can monitor contributor activity through this tool as well.
Blogging Resource Supplements
If you plan to supplement your blog posts with digital downloads like worksheets, ebooks, checklists, and such, you may want to consider the blogging resources below.
Adobe Creative Cloud
More than a dozen software programs are jam-packed into Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I primarily use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create patterns, blog post graphics, Pinterest graphics and more. If you download Adobe Creative Cloud, you will definitely get use out of it if you want to create custom designs for your own blog or as a service to others.
If you’ve never used any Creative Cloud software, Adobe offers a 30-day free trial of each software program. This is how I started out using Adobe, and I think its ample time to get familiar with the ins and outs of a particular program. If you go this route, I would suggest only downloading one at a time, practicing often, and then downloading the next one you need to learn.
Canva: Online Design Tool
Not ready to leap into Adobe’s Creative Cloud? I get it; no worries.
Canva is a free online design tool with paid premium options. With it, you can create social media graphics, flyers, banners, infographics, and more. You can even set up teams with a premium account.
Their free online Design School helps you understand how to create graphic design projects.
Finding beautiful stock photography sources is another option to consider.
At some point, I’m pretty sure you’ll use them on your blog for graphics or to illustrate a point. More and more stock photography plans crop up and most of them are great, but honestly I primarily use creative commons photos.
Creative Commons stock photography is free to use for personal or commercial projects. Some require attribution, others don’t. I try to always link back to the original source to give the photographers credit.
If you’re looking for quality free stock photography, consider these websites:
The best way to build and sustain an adventuresome life is to never stop learning. CreativeLive is one option for obtaining new skills and further developing old ones. Below are some classes that can help you get going or propel your adventure even further.
Firstly, you can check Out CreativeLive’s Free On-Air Classes.
You can also focus on one subject area, like, photography, building a creative business, podcasting, design, and more. Some examples are below.
As Time Goes On…
This concludes my suggestions for now, but I will add more resources as time goes on. Sometimes you can use a resource so often that you forget it might be new to someone else.
So when I experience one of those epiphanies, I’ll be sure to add that resource to this page.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.