Starting a blog is EASY! Promoting and maintaining a blog is a little bit more tricky.
These are the blogging resources I use for my blog. Read my post to learn how to set up a successful blog.
Find out how to set-up your new blog, choose your own custom URL and start making money with ads and affiliate links. Next, learn how to share your beautiful blog posts and images online quickly and effectively. Finally, find out how to maintain your blog and how to make the most of available plugins and tools.
Find the tools you need here to become a more successful blogger.
You will want to bookmark or PIN this post to return to!
Setting Up Your Beautiful Blog
When I began blogging I started where many new bloggers start – on Blogger. The Blogger Platform is very user-friendly and a great place to start if you want to test the waters to find out if blogging is really for you. If you do choose to start on Blogger and later decide that “Yes I do want to be a Professional Blogger!” you will eventually outgrow the Platform. You will want to have more control over your content and your site and you will need to move to a dependable platform like WordPress.
I personally wish I had started on WordPress. When I finally decided to make the move, I had more than 1-year of online content and images that needed to be transferred over. It was a big hassle and it took a lot of time to do properly. It also cost me extra money because I had to hire someone to transfer everything over for me and to add all the redirects for my old links. This did not fix all the images which were already floating around online (like on Pinterest) which were watermarked with my Blogger URL.
Whether you start on Blogger, WordPress, or another Platform I definitely recommend you start with a Custom URL for your business. The URL can be transferred to whichever platform you move to and it will stay the same.
If you are ready to commit to being an online blogger then this is the route I suggest you follow.
Choose your Blog Name and Domain
Choose your blog name and a custom URL. Remember keywords are great for SEO and if you can pop one into your URL it will help people find you online. When I started blogging my url was simply Oombawka Design – which is my business name. But I wanted people to find me when they were looking for the keyword CROCHET – which is the main topic for my site. So, when I transferred over to WordPress I set up a new custom blog URL which included the keyword Crochet. This helps people find my site and helps them know that Oombawka Design is actually about Crochet.
Once you have decided what you want to call your BLOG and a possible URL you want to use, search online to see if someone else is already using it. All good? Then proceed to purchasing your custom URL so no one else can use it!
I recommend purchasing your Custom URL through:
I used to be with GoDaddy but they charge extra for their WHOIS Privacy. Hover includes WHOIS Privacy on all supported domains and they have extremely competitive pricing (I’m saving a lot of money since I switched!). You can check all their pricing options and sales here >>Hover<<
Hosting is available from a number of different companies. I have tried GoDaddy and they fell short of my expectations with both site-downtime and customer service. I switched to RFE Hosting in 2017 and the customer service and tech support I have received is outstanding.
My site is running smoothly and quickly and Aaron handles all of my questions in a timely fashion. He has a variety of different hosting plans available. He also offers Custom URLS and Support Plans for maintaining your blog by doing backups and updates.
Take a look at all the Plans available from RFE Hosting. At the time of this blog post, RFE Hosting was offering you your choice of 1 of the themes available from StudioPress (excluding 3rd party themes) with your hosting plan when you sign up for a year contract billing cycle and BONUS! Aaron even sets it up for you. All of RFE’s Hosting Plans come with SSL Certificates (https) set-up. You will just need to enable it at the site level by changing the site url to include the https.
Link your Domain and Hosting
To complete this step, you need to wait until your Hosting Company emails you your Domain Name Servers (DNS). This can take up to 48 hours. If you purchased a custom URL from RFE Hosting and your Hosting is also with Aaron at RFE Hosting he will set this up for you. If you purchased your Custom URL from Hover, once you have your DNS information you will be able to add it to your Nameservers section on Hover. Both Hover and RFE have great customer service so if you have questions send them a quick email for assistance. You can also check out the HELP section on both sites to learn how to set things up.
Once your Domain and Hosting are linked you will be able to log into your cPanel with the instructions provided to you by your Hosting Company and access your WordPress Blog. You may also want to add Genesis and a Child-Theme if you didn’t sign up for the year contract with RFE Hosting.
You can get Genesis from StudioPress.
Choosing Your Blog Theme
Check out what Genesis has to offer. StudioPress has a great article explaining why Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress Site.
- is SEO and schema.org optimized
- is built on html5
- includes unlimited features and updates
- includes automatic updates
- is secure
- offers many custom widgets and layout options
You can see some of my favorite themes here:
Custom WordPress Themes
If you are looking for a custom site design I highly recommend Melissa and Lauren. They are working on my sister site Free Crochet Tutorials as we speak!
I also work with Sara from Moonstream Design. Sara created my custom Oombawka Design Crochet website and I am VERY happy with it! Find out what else Sara offers and contact her through her site Moonstream Design.
Blog Logo Templates and Custom Logo Designs
There are a few different ways to go about choosing your Blog Logo and Branding your website.
- design your own logo on Canva or Adobe Illustrator
- purchase a logo template and create your logo using the template
- design your logo with DesignEvo
- custom site logo design
Depending on the option you choose, the price will vary. Just remember your logo is super important as it is used to identify your site. Your readers will come to recognize your ‘brand’ and changing it later can sometimes have a negative impact for your blog.
When you are ready to invest in your blog I recommend you contact Melissa:
Important Policies You Must Have for Your Blog
When I first started blogging I had no clue that I needed to have specific policies in place for my visitors. You can pay a Lawyer to set up your policies (like I did – ouch!) or you can generate policies using online policy generators. I’ve included 3 options below that are available online for free. It is up to you whether you count on these policies to cover you, or if you choose to have your policies professionally written (as I did) by a real lawyer. I cannot offer and I am not qualified to offer legal advice so please touch base with a Lawyer if you have questions about what policies you need to use and how to set them up properly.
Disclosure policies are super important and required by law in many Countries. You can use this disclosure policy generator to create your disclosure policy.
You can create a blog copyright policy simply and easily with this free online copyright policy generator.
It is also important to note you cannot simply copy and paste words and photos from the internet into your blog posts. Each item online has copyright attached to it – unless it indicates otherwise and is in the public domain. If you are looking for photos you can use which are in the public domain please see my post: Where to find Public Domain Images. If you see an image you would like to use on another website, you can alternately email the owner of the site for permission to use the image in a post.
You can review my policies here: My Policies (including How to Manage your Cookies) Please note, I reside in Canada.
Free Plugins You Want to Add Immediately
This was the first plugin I added to my site. You can tweak it and use it for so many features. Some of my favorites include the built in mobile theme, Like Buttons, Related Posts, Spell and Grammar Check and Site Stats. Get your free JetPack Account here. A premium plan is also available and you can add helpful features like automated social media tools and SEO tools.
Akismet filters spam comments from your posts. This is a must-have plugin. Get your free Akismet plan here.
Wordfence is a great security plugin to keep your site safe. It includes malware scanning, firewalls, the ability to block brute force attacks and 9 other features. Get your free Wordfence account here. The premium version is fantastic too and includes extras like the ability to block by Country, check if your IP is generating SPAM and a real-time thread defense feed. Check out the comparison of all the features here: WordPress Security Plugin Comparison
The UpdraftPlus Plugin offers you total peace of mind and the ability to backup your blog data and images. You can schedule your backups and even use remote storage options, like Dropbox. You need something to backup your site in case the unimaginable happens. I recommend UpdraftPlus. I used the free plan for 2+ years and recently upgraded to the Pro plan and it is fantastic. Get your free UpdraftPlus account here.
Social Warfare is a quick loading social media sharing tool. With options to include your buttons in multiple locations on posts. Get your free Social Warfare account here. There is also a premium version (I use it) and it does everything it claims to do. You can take a look at it here >>Premium Version<<
Writing Your Blog Posts
There are many ways to improve your chances of having your blog posts seen online. SEO is key and the best way to ensure you are set-up to succeed from the very start is to install this free plugin from Yoast.
This plugin will walk you through the process of optimizing your blog posts for SEO and for sharing online. Follow the handy step-by-step tutorials and sign-up for their newsletter as it is packed with helpful information you will want to know. Especially since our online world changes so frequently!
Once your blog has become more established and you are ready to invest more money into it to make it even more successful, I definitely recommend the Premium Versions of both of these Yoast Plugins:
They are definitely worth every cent!
If you want even more control over you SEO and SEM I definitely recommend SEMrush. It is a super online platform that offers you suggestions for SEO on your posts and pages, checks the quality of your back links and monitors the overall health of your site.
Must-Have Social Media Scheduling Tools
In order for your great content to be found online you will need to market and promote it across different social media platforms. Different content niches do better on different social media sites so you will need to figure out which site(s) works best for you. Quality images are key and the size requirements tend to change from year-to-year. These plugins keep on-top of the size changes which makes it super easy for you to rock on social media.
To be successful make sure EVERY post you write INCLUDES have at least 1 quality image.
Is a great way to build your social media presence on Pinterest and Instagram. Tailwind has even developed a fantastic automatic Instagram sharing tool for Business Instagram plans. Pinterest plans on Tailwind have a great feature called Tribes. You can join and work with Tribes of people all interested in the same types of posts. This is great for finding fresh, new content to share with your readers and to PIN to your boards. In turn, other online bloggers can find your posts and share them with their readers. Sign-up to try Tailwind here.
Is my favorite plugin. I have been using Coschedule for almost 5 years now. It allows me to schedule my blog posts to share on social media accounts when I am writing my posts. I can determine the frequency of the shares and to which accounts I want to share. I have also signed up for their premium plan which has a great feature called requeue. Where I can select posts I would like to reshare in the future when there are holes in my sharing calendar. I can set the frequency of the shares (like only 1 time a month) and even date ranges for specific posts – for when I have a seasonal item I’d like to reshare. Sign-up to try Coschedule here.
Online Photo Editing Tools
Quality Images are KEY so take the time to make quality images in the correct dimensions for each social platform you share your content on. Sizes tend to change on these platforms from time-to-time too. If you are using a plugin like Social Warfare it will include the sizes right in your post so you know what dimensions you need for social sharing. You can also use a tool like PicMonkey which has specific social media sizes listed in it’s crop drop-down list and collage menu. Canva has amazing templates set up by social media platform and is a great place to start to build your brand images and templates. Visme has fantastic templates for infographics, presentations, charts, reports and even social graphics.
When I began blogging I never even considered monetizing my site. I applied for advertising after I’d been blogging for 7 months. There are different requirements for each advertising plan. Some require a certain amount of traffic and some require a certain amount of content. If you blog every day and have relevant and helpful content on your site then you will likely be approved much sooner than if you only write 1 post every month. You need to plan ahead if you are thinking about adding advertising to your site. It may take you a few tries to get approved.
Once you are approved, try to balance your ads out on your pages and posts. Too many ads can discourage some readers from visiting. If you notice your traffic starting to plummet you may want to change your placement or number of ads. You also need brush up on your Disclosure Policies and what the FTC requires you to include on your site for different types of posts.
To make your site Google Friendly, please review this article: Steps to a Google Friendly Site
Google Adsense is the most recognized way to monetize your site. They have great articles and tutorials for how to get your site ready for Ads and how to plan and choose where to put the ads on your site. Learn more about Adsense and sign-up for Adsense here.
If you have a mobile app, then this is the advertising solution you are looking for. Learn more about AdMob here.
Ad Management Companies
Once you are established and you are maintaining a certain level of daily traffic to your site you may want to consider working with an Ad Management Company. I currently work with AdThrive and I recommend them 100%.
While I’ve never used their services before, I have also heard a lot of good things about Ezoic. Find out more about Ezoic here.
Affiliate marketing can be a great source of additional income for you. There are a number of Affiliate Networks available online. My favorite to work with is Shareasale.
Some of the brands I work with through Shareasale include Annie’s Craft Store, Craftsy and Lion Brand Yarns.
Some of the brands I work with through Rakuten include Interweave and Wool and the Gang.
Some of the brands I work with through AWin include Deramores, Minerva Crafts and Etsy.
Some of the brand I work with through CJ Affiliate include Red Heart Yarns and Michaels.
Amazon has a great affiliate program. You can buy almost anything through amazon so it works for many types of blogs.
Other Plugins I Love
No follow all your out going links easily. You can also easily add sites to exclude from the no follow rule.
Speed up your site speed easily by adding Cloudflare.
Great Articles and Other Blogging Resources You Will Find Helpful
Taylor Bradford’s #bloggingedumcation series:
- Why You Should Hire a Blogging Coach
- Running a Blogging Business
- Before You Hit Publish Checklist
- How to Improve Your SEO
- Product Reviewed? Now What?
- Common HTML Used in Blogging
- All About Media Kits
- Who are YOU as a Blogger?
I hope you find these resources helpful! I plan on adding to the post over time and based on my own experiences. If there is some other area about blogging, SEO or social media management you would like me to write a post about please leave me a comment on the post.