If you’re like me, you started your blog in hopes of making money to save for retirement, or just live a better life. I know everyone says you shouldn’t start your blog with the intention of making money, but the truth is that no one is going to work this hard if you couldn’t get paid to blog.
I love blogging, but this is the hardest and most time-consuming side hustle I’ve ever done. If I didn’t have the opportunity to earn money, well, I’m not sure I’d be doing it.
Just like you wouldn’t go to your day job if you didn’t earn a paycheck. Well, when you realize the advantages and disadvantages of blogging, you realize it’s possible to turn it into a profitable venture.
That Being Said
It takes a lot of hard work to turn a hobby blog into a business that actually earns you enough to put food on the table or pay your bills.
It’s definitely not going to happen overnight. But with the dedication and persistence, there’s no reason why you can’t turn your blog into a business.
If you’re serious about giving it your all to change your financial situation for you and your loved ones, I’m sharing some of the best tools and resources for beginners.
Blogging is a business and unfortunately, it takes some money to start and grow your blog. The great thing is that it’s not as much as you think.
I’m sharing my recommendations of tools for beginners and intermediate bloggers.
You don’t need to invest in all of the resources on this page, but I do recommend finding the best ones for you.
One of the biggest mistakes most new bloggers make (myself included) is they invest way more than they should into their new blog.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to start a blog. Honestly, there is no secret sauce to growing and earning a blog. The biggest thing you need is persistence and the willingness to stick with it even when you’re not getting the results you want.
Amazing Blogging Resources for Motivated New Bloggers
I know it’s hard to spend money on hosting and a domain when you haven’t made a penny yet. But if you’re serious about blogging as a business, you need to stop being cheap. Invest in your own domain and get reliable hosting for your own self-hosted WordPress blog.
Make sure that you’re setting up the right version of WordPress. I had a friend who called me the other day and she started her own WordPress blog. Guess what, she started on the wrong version.
There’s a huge difference and I recommend starting with the WordPress.org version. If you sign up with SiteGround hosting for less than $4.00 per month, they will make sure you get started on the right version.
I’ve created a step-by-step tutorial that will walk you through on how to install WordPress on SiteGround. You can literally follow my tutorial and have a secure site set up in 5 minutes. Yup, you even get a free SSL Let’s Encrypt certificate.
I’ve been working with WordPress for over 9 years and have used several hosting companies for my sites and my clients’ sites. The two that stand out and that I would highly recommend are:
SiteGround: Reliable WordPress hosting for new or established blogs. Affordable with great support, they will even migrate your website for free. If you do sign up, make sure you pay for more than one year as their renewal prices are high.
WPEngine: Full service hosting account that manages everything for you. You won’t have to worry about anything except writing content and growing your blog. They even do nightly backups for you.
Blogging Tools WordPress Related
Once you get your blog up and running, it’s time to invest a few more dollars into it. I know you’re going to be tempted to hire a designer, but DON’T.
I’ve seen so many new bloggers pay thousands just to design their new blog. They want their blog to look perfect before they launch it to the world.
I know you do too, who doesn’t want to make a good first impression?
Take it from me, you don’t need to pay thousands for your blog to look amazing. Nope, all you need is a responsive theme like Genesis or Divi.
Both are great themes and are hugely popular in the blogging community. Genesis does come with a little bit of a learning curve, but it’s worth it. I’ve created some Genesis tutorials to help you learn the basics.
If you’re scared of learning new things and NOT techie at all, I’d recommend going with Divi. I’ve personally used it for some of my freelance clients and they loved it.
This site runs on the Genesis Framework and uses the Wellness Theme.
You will need to buy the Genesis Framework which costs around $60. Then you’ll need to pick up a child theme, which will be the design and look of your blog.
There are several places to get your Genesis child themes from and I recommend:
Other WordPress Plugins You Need for Your Blog
Once you have your theme set up and ready to roll, there are a few more plugins you need to run your blog. Plugins, and themes, what the heck is all of it?
You don’t want to add a bunch of plugins to your blog, remember “less is more.” Here are 7 Free Plugins I add to all my blogs. Here are some of my favorite premium plugins that I’ve actually paid for.
Once you get a better understanding of what you want to accomplish, you’ll come up with your own favorite plugins you like using for your blog.
Blogging for Beginners Course
Okay great, your blog is up and ready for the world, NOW What?
Well, it’s time to get busy and start writing content and help your readers? If you’re brand new, you’re probably wondering:
- Who are my readers?
- What do I write?
- How do I write my first blog post?
- How long does my blog post have to be?
- What’s the best way to get started?
Trust me, I get it, we all had those questions when we’re new. Blogging is not as easy as a lot of people say it is.
The concept is easy, you write content that helps your readers and over time you gain a following and make money.
But it takes time to grow a blog and you need to enjoy writing content on a regular basis.
No, you don’t need to invest in a how to start a blog course, but if you want to cut your learning curve in half, it definitely won’t hurt.
I personally recommend the following.
How to Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul
This blogging book will open your eyes to what’s possible with blogging. Written by Ruth Soukup (owner of the Living Well Spending Less blog and the founder of Elite Blog Academy), it’s a fantastic resource that costs less than $10.
It’s a great investment for first-time bloggers. It will provide you with an outline of what you need to do to start making money with your blog.
You’ll get an inside look at how bloggers make money. It’s exciting to see all the different ways that bloggers choose to monetize their blog. It will get you excited about all the possibilities about your blog and help you understand what’s necessary to succeed.
If you’re a more experienced blogger, then (I recommend reading the book as well) but I then you might want to consider The Product Launch Playbook. (also by Ruth), but it will help you launch your own products online. (which is where the real money is made)
This guide will hold your hand step-by-step and show you how to launch digital products. It’s actually not offered at this time and moment, but I suggest signing up for the wait list for when it does open up again. Sign up for the waiting list here.
Other How to Start A Blog Courses
There are no shortages to blogging courses online and trust me, I’ve purchased my fair share. I don’t regret investing in my blogging education, but if you’ve bought one course, then you don’t need to invest in several.
Here are a few that I would recommend.
Elite Blog Academy: I purchased this 3 months after starting this blog because I had failed so many times online. I wanted to know what it takes to build a successful business. It’s a very expensive course and it is geared towards complete beginners. You can read my Elite Blog Academy review here.
Dare to Conquer: Formerly called BBC (Billionaire Blog Club), it offers a ton of value for the money. You get everything you need in one place. I was able to reach my first 10,000 pageviews after investing in this course.
Blogging for Beginners: This course is more basic and will teach you exactly what you need to create a successful blog. For the price, you get a lot of value and I think it’s so worth it if you don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars just to learn how to blog.
Remember: Don’t buy more than one blogging course, you don’t need it.
JumpStart Blog Traffic
One of the most challenging things you’re going to face as a new blogger is getting blog traffic. It takes time to grow a blog.
Yes, you can get some instant traffic with Pinterest, if you learn how to use it. But you need to learn how to get traffic from Google.
Once you start understanding how to find keywords you can actually rank for, you’ll eventually start to see organic traffic to your blog.
My JumpStart Blog Traffic eBook will show you everything you need to know about keywords before you sit down and write your blog post. When you take the time to evaluate your keywords, you’ll know if you actually have a chance of ranking for it.
Don’t write a bunch of blog posts targeting keywords that are too competitive. You’ll just end up wasting months or years of your time. I know, because I wasted over a year of blogging before I really understood how to do proper keyword research.
Keyword Tools for Bloggers
Ubbersuggest: Free keyword tool that will help you uncover longtail profitable keywords. You can see how competitive the keyword is to know if it’s worth pursuing.
KWFinder: The tool I use to help me find low competition keywords with high searches. It’s easy to use and gives you a green color score on keywords that are easy to rank for. Sign up here to get 5 Free searches daily. Read my KWFinder Review to make the most of it.
SEMRush: A more advanced tool that I use every 6 months to help me audit my blog. You can check which keywords are sending your competitors their traffic and perform an SEO audit on your blog. (I highly suggest every blogger use it every few months on their blog)
Essential Bloggers Tools
MailChimp: Email service that is compatible with most advanced WordPress marketing plugins, shopping carts, or membership plugins. It’s gree for your first 2,000 subscribers.
MailerLite: Another great first-time email service for new bloggers. It is also free for your first 1,000 subscribers. (I’ve heard they’ve been having some spam issues that has been affecting deliverability rates?)
ConvertKit: An email service that was made for bloggers. Advanced bloggers love it because it allows you to add all kinds of automation and tags to help you segment your lists. (don’t worry if you don’t know what all that means yet, you will eventually learn about all that)
OptinMonster: WordPress plugin that makes it easy to add pop-up opt-in forms to your blog. Even if you’re not a techie person, you can get your first email opt-in set up in just minutes.
Other Blogging Resources
Tailwind: Automate your Pinterest strategy so you can focus more time on creating content or other tasks that actually make money.
Easy Digital Downloads: Sell your eBook right from your WordPress website (free)
Advanced Ads: Create, manage, and insert ads into your blog without any technical experience necessary. (free)
iMark Interactive: Full WordPress service support company that handles all your technical issues. You just focus on turning your blog into a profitable venture.
Gravity Forms: A premium plugin that makes it easy to create professional contact forms, accept payments or donations via Paypal.
Free Blogging Resources
DropBox: Online storage solution to help you stay organized in your business. Automatically syncs with your computer and you get 2GB for free.
Canva: A great website that helps you create beautiful images for your blog and social media accounts.
Trello: Free website to help you stay organized in your business. Use it to help you accomplish those daily blogging tasks and increase your productivity.
Final Take Away
I know you don’t want to spend money on a blog that hasn’t made a penny. The great thing is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started.
It’s the only business that you can start for very little and has the potential to earn an unlimited amount of money over time.
Hand Picked Articles for You
- How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog What You Need to Know
- 9 Things to Know When Starting A Blog
- 7 Tips to Show You How to Launch A New Blog
As I find more blogging tools and resources based on my experience and research, I’ll add them here. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back as I’ll be updating it on a regular basis.
Be sure to check out the tools that I use in my blogging business on a regular basis.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
- Free 12 Day Blogging Bootcamp
- Article about using Yoast SEO for optimizing your blog posts and how to do it.
- SEMRush Free Trial to Gather Low Competitive Keywords
- Quiz: Which theme is best for your blog?
- If you want to build an email list and send newsletters, I recommend ConvertKit (starts at $29)