I love blogging and I fell into this amazing career on a whim. Three years ago I joined Pinterest and was instantly in heaven, I happened to click on a picture that took me to a DIY Craft blog. I saw what the blogger was doing and it happened to be something I have been doing for pretty much my entire life. Repurposing! That day I realized this was what I meant to do!
So now what? Well, I had just moved into a new home and it needed decorating so I started with that. Next…How do I do this? And so my journey begins…
Being a blogger makes you constantly ask yourself, “how do I do that” or how do I get one of those? Unfortunately Googling it is usually the only the answer, it’s sad really, it’s tough to get great advice that isn’t outdated or so confusing you need to be a developer to understand it. It has been a long process to get me to this point and I wish I had a guide to go by for all the behind the scenes of blogging information you will need.
I am growing and changing the blog every day and I want to share with you some of my favorite things that make this blog run smoothly, well sometimes. Lol!
Let me start at the beginning. When I first started out, I started my blog on WordPress.com. I recommend this to anyone who does not have a clue about how to set up a blog at all. It is a good starting place to see if you even enjoy blogging. Sometimes it can be a lot of hard work, other times it is really fun. You just need to see if it’s for you first before you jump in and start purchasing the software.
WordPress.com has fun themes to choose from and it’s a great place to find your voice and/or niche. Once I was comfortable with the workings of the WordPress Dashboard I moved on to WordPress.org. If you plan on monetizing your blog in the future you will need to change to a format like WordPress.org for more flexibility.
So here are my recommendations for starting a blog:
This is the first step in starting your blog. This is where I purchased my domain. Secure your name/brand first!! Think about it long and hard and make sure it’s something you want to stick with for a long time.
This is the host that I use. I have been using them for over a year, if you have any issues they are very responsive and helpful over the phone. Love that part! You get to take to a real person!! I have nothing but good to say about them.
This is a relatively new platform. I was drawn to this by the control you will have over the theme options. You can change fonts, theme setup, footer, colors and tons of other elements that most child themes do not offer very easily from the dashboard. I love it! I purchased the theme I am using now, “Carraway” Child Theme that has WordPress Canvas included and already baked in from Angiemakes.com. That’s how I have all those great galleries on my front page.
WordPress.org, Studiopress and the Genesis Platform
This was my next step in the blogging process. I purchased a theme from Studiopress that included the Genesis Platform with WordPress.org. The dashboard is flexible in that you have control over the CSS code, depending on the theme options.
Note: You do not need Studiopress or Genesis platforms with the Canva Themes from Angiemakes.com.
Designing your Pics, Headers and other Blog Elements
My camera is a Nikon D5000 DSLR. It is covered in glue and paint and whatever else I am using at the moment the pics are taken. To learn how to use it I took the Craftsy Basics of Digital Photography (w/ Rick Allred) and will be writing about it soon.
Tasty Food Photography Class
Lindsay Ostrom from Pinch of Yum offers this amazing class. Well worth the money spent! Lindsay simplifies the DSLR camera settings. Even though I have taken other classes before this one by far stands out. I never really got what the settings on my camera could actually do until I saw it broken down in this class. Love! Tasty Food Photography Class
My newest purchase.. so far I am loving it!
This is a photo editor similar to Photoshop, it is an app for Mac users. I use this for clear crisp graphics for blog elements such as a header.
I have the paid version of this photo editor and could not live without it. It is my go-to source to make collages. It is also an easy way to edit picture sizes. A must have. There are tons of free items to use as well.
See my tutorial for How to make a Clickable pic for your Posts.
This is a relatively new photo editor. I use Canva for inspiration and to make clean modern graphics. It can be a little confusing at first and does take a little getting used to, but definitely worth a try.
Blog Services & Plugins
A must have Social Media scheduling tool. I could not live without this site! I schedule ahead and shorten my urls for my posts using this program. A must have for blogging. I stopped using Hootsuite recently because the URL shortener was only allowing certain tweets to show pics. Tweetdeck shows ALL pics attached to tweets.
I use this to send my rss out in emails to my subscribers when I make a new post. I just set up my Brand New Weekly Newsletter Campaign! I offer a few bundles of free printables for signing up and an exclusive free download or printable each month for my followers! Click the following link for a brief overview of the bundles and to subscribe. Click here to check out my post on how I made my newsletter with a hidden Freebie page on my blog using a Free Mailchimp Account.
Sign up for my Weekly Newsletter and get FREE Medical & Blog Organizing Printable Bundles and gain excess to exclusive FREE Monthly Printables & Downloads! You do not want to miss these FREEBIES!
WP Content Sharer Plugin
Tweet and share FB old posts using this plugin. At first, I used this on the weekends so I still had some content flow when I am away from the blog. But now I use this for every day. I recently went through all my old posts cleaned them up and fixed the SEO and keywords. You would not believe the retweet and response I get now from past posts using this plugin! You need to tweak your categories for this plugin so old non-content giveaways or random holiday posts you do not want to be tweeted out there do not show up in your Facebook feed. I love this plugin!
This is how I share my pins on Pinterest every day. Just set up the account and leave it alone it pins for you! Awesome!
Blog Party I Host!
I host a Blog party each week on Sunday night~
Merry Monday Linky Party is a Linky for bloggers to share family friendly posts. It goes live Sundays at 6pm right here on my blog!
Fav Blogging Info Books & Sources
- How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Sokup of the Elite Blogging Academy~ Can’t afford the Academy? Get the condensed version in this book!
- My Knowtbook by Amy Lynn Andrews
- Blog Design for Dummies, by Melissa Culbertson
- Teach Yourself VISUALLY Complete WordPress, by Janet Majure
- My Blog Traffic Sucks! 8 Simple Steps to Get 100,000 Blog Visitors without Working 8 Days a Week, by Steve Scott
- Pro-Blogging Secrets: Strategies, Tips, and Answers You Need to Grow Your Blog and Earn More Money by Bob Lotich
- Email Marketing Blueprint – The Ultimate Guide to Building an Email List Asset by Steve Scott
- How to Pin, Tumble & Tweet: Social Networking for Grown Ups by KP Croft
My Go-to Places to Shop for Craft Supplies or Project Inspiration
- JoAnn Fabrics
- Hobby Lobby
- Ac Moore
- Goodwill, Salvation Army and various other thrift stores
- Home Goods
For more of my favorite Blog Links, Clubs and Memberships I am a part of & see my Sponsor & Affiliates page.
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Love these for fall!
You do not want to miss these FREEBIES!
I hope you enjoyed reading this page, as I allowed you to pick my brain a little. I will be updating it as my blogging experiences continue to change.