Like any business person, bloggers have favorite resources we rely on for support and to help us create the business (in this case, a blog) that we aspire to ~ for our readers and ourselves. And because like any blogger, I love to share and spread the news, I’m listing my favorite resources that I have used for Bluesky at Home. This list is always changing, so check back occasionally for any updates.
***This list is primarily for other bloggers and I have designated affiliate links where applicable.
This page contains affiliate links to products that I use, love and highly recommend. If you should purchase any product that this site, I may receive compensation, but you will not pay a penny more.
Hosting – Big Scoots
In June, 2021, I took the big leap and switched my hosting company to Big Scoots. Why is it that we are so nervous about this process? We shouldn’t be. Big Scoots completed the transfer of my site in a very, very short time ~ maybe 30 minutes. They also identified a few issues that they cleaned up. They also worked to make sure that my Ezoic ads were still correctly in place are working properly. I couldn’t be happier.
MailerLite for Email Marketing
I started using email marketing in 2007 with Constant Contact for for my cooking school business . When I started my first blog in 2015, I switched to MailChimp (it was all the rage.) In 2020, I knew that I needed a more robust, more user-friendly EMS. I had heard about MailerLite and decided to give it a try.
I now use MailerLite for sending out my weekly newsletter, blog posts, and opt-ins.
I love the design features and the video and chat support. There are so many more features that I need to take advantage of. If you want a good, solid EMS, I urge you to check our MailerLite.
Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram***
You know the saying, “time is money”? Well, time to me is about spending time with Sweet Shark, friends, hobbies, reading and just me-time. And yet, I want to grow my blog’s reach and engagement with my Social Media channels, especially my two favorites, Pinterest and Instagram. But let’s face it: Pinning and Posting to IG takes time. But if you had a tool, almost like a Virtual Assistant to help you with Pinterest and Instagram, wouldn’t you hire them? Well, you can. And for pennies.
That tool is Tailwind. I discovered Tailwind in the last quarter of 2017, tried the 30-day trial and was hooked. I didn’t give a second thought to signing up. The benefits of saved time and consistency in engagement through Tailwind far outweigh the minimal cost. Like finding the best nail salon or flea market find, I want to share it with you. I urge you to try it because I wouldn’t steer my friends in the wrong direction. Try Tailwind for 30 days. You have nothing to lose, but so much time to gain.
Here are the new plans:
Tasty Pins for SEO and Pinterest***
One of my new favorite resources is Tasty Pins from the creators of WP Tasty and Food Blogger Pro. You don’t have to be a food blogger to reap the benefits of using this WordPress plug-in to increase your Pins’ SEO and user experience.
When you have a designated place to enter a Pin description, your Pins are more likely to attract repins, saves and clicks over to your blog. Think how many Pinnable images you create, how many blog posts you write and it’s easy to understand that, at $29/year, this tool should be working for you.
Tasty Pins recently added two awesome features: Follow Me Button and Pinterest Image Banner. It’s included in the Tasty Pins plug-in.
I love that Tasty Pins, just like Tailwind, keeps up with new changes to Pinterest and helps me not fall behind.
Restored 316 – Beautiful Word Press Themes***
Creating content is our most important task. We also want to present that content in the most attractive and user-friendly way possible. That means having a blog layout, design, and functionality that works for our readers. I have used the team at Restored 316 for the past five years and I couldn’t be happier. The themes are beautiful, adaptable to your style, and the support is outstanding. I love the interaction in the Facebook Group with other R316 users.
A couple of years ago I switched from the Captivating theme on the Genesis platform to the Farmhouse theme on the Kadence platform. The team walked me through the process and answered all my questions.
If you are looking to start a blog, I encourage you to start with Restored 316. If you are looking for a new blog theme with optimal functionality, do yourself a big favor and check out Restored 316.
Do you use affiliate links or other links on social media – you know, the ones that show up? The link may be so looooong with letters, numbers and symbols that go on and on. It’s not attractive and can be distracting to readers. Those links can also discourage readers from purchasing products or services from you.
Facts show that link shorteners increase sales and increase engagement with readers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could add your affiliate links to WordPress one time, then have your links placed intelligently through all your content automatically? That’s what Pretty Links does.
I started using Pretty Links over a year ago and I’m so pleased with the results. It combines the ease of use of a third-party solution with the power of a custom solution – Pretty Links makes it simple for you to shorten, cloak, track, and share your links.
Pretty Links is a plug-in that is easy to add to your WordPress site. Try it and see the improvement in your affiliate sales.
If the content in blogging is king, then great photography is queen.
Good photography skills for bloggers is so important. I use two software editing programs for post editing. For editing with the most flexibility and capability, I use Lightroom CC by Adobe for batch editing blog post images.
When I first heard about Lightroom, I was really nervous about learning this software. After trying it for a while, it started to make sense and I began to use Lightroom for almost all my blog post image editing. The batch editing and the batch uploading is a major time-saver. The editing features are extensive and can take a so-so image to really outstanding. The monthly $9.99 for the Creative Cloud package for Lightroom is more than worth the time savings and increased functionality of your image editing.
In 2019 I took Photographing Interiors course from Rachel Paxton of Maison de Pax. It was amazing. Rachel’s photography is beautiful and she has been featured in several magazines. Although she doesn’t call it a Lightroom Class, Rachel includes quite a bit of very helpful information about Lightroom and Photoshop (for text overlays). I learned things I didn’t know and it is a great refresher if you already use Lightroom. This course is clear, entertaining, and full of hands-on information. Rachel is a dear and she obviously loves sharing her expertise and photography skills. You will feel like you are in her living room learning from her.
I also use PicMonkey for creating graphics, collages, and text overlays for Pinnable images and other applicable images for the blog. I also use it for editing individual images for Instagram**. I found the editing very easy to learn and the software gets constant updates and support.
**Since August, 2021, I edit images for Instagram right in the Tailwind App before scheduling.
Every business needs a calling card and business cards for bloggers are no exception. For 4 years, I’ve used Moo as my business card supplier and I couldn’t be happier with the quality of their cards and the ease of design. If you are looking for a source for your business cards, I urge you to try Moo.
I hope that my small list of favorite resources for bloggers will help you in your blogging journey.