By Holly Reisem Hanna
This post includes affiliate links.
If you want to work from home and make money blogging, then you need to have the right tools, resources, and information to guide your way. With an overwhelming amount of information on the web – it’s often confusing figuring it all out. Listed below are some of the resources that I use, recommend, or that I’ve found helpful on my blogging journey.
These tools will not only help get you started — but they’ll make the process easier so you can start making money faster. First, grab my FREE Blogging e-book, it will teach you how to write great content, get tons of traffic to your blog and most importantly, how to make money from it!
To start the process you’ll need to choose a blogging platform; or in technical terms a content management system (CMS). There are many different CMS platforms to choose between, but I highly recommend WordPress. It’s ideal for beginners as it’s easy to use and modify, it has tons of functionality, and it’s free to use — all you need to do is purchase your hosting and domain name. WordPress is what I use for this site. A lot of people ask me about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. I’ve heard it’s easy to use. But I also know a lot of people who started out on Blogger, but then had to make the switch to WordPress later on. Do yourself a favor and use WordPress from the beginning, you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.
Once you decided on a blogging platform you’ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. When choosing a hosting company you’ll want to make sure that you get one that’s reliable, affordable, and that has excellent customer service. Right now I’m using a virtual private server (VPS) through, Liquid Web. They have a wide variety of hosting plans, which makes it easy to upgrade your service as your site grows. If I weren’t using them, I would probably use Bluehost or Synthesis, as they were created with WordPress users in mind. Over the years, I’ve had to switch hosting companies three times — which is no fun. Need help installing WordPress to your host? Here’s an EASY way to be up and running in 30 minutes or less!
When I first launched my blog, I had a graphic designer create a custom design for me. And while I loved my design — it was very expensive! If I were just starting out again, I would use Bluehost with their 1-2-3 easy upload and a template from StudioPress (which is what I’m using now). Not only are these templates affordable (like $99), but they look great and they’re super easy to modify. To help make your site stand out, I do suggest getting a custom logo designed. If you’re launching your blog on a shoestring budget, try Fiverr — where freelancers only charge $5 for their services. I haven’t used Fiverr for logo design, but I have used them for other sorts of images, and I’ve been happy with the results.
To get traffic to your blog you’ll want to utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google Plus. Seem overwhelming? To help manage all of these social media platforms, I use HootSuite. I’ve tried other applications, but this one has the most functionality, and it is the easiest to use. You can schedule updates and manage all of your accounts in one place, and best of all it’s FREE! The one network that you can’t manage from HootSuite is Pinterest. For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster to manage my pins. It’s only $5 a month and so worth it! You can schedule pins and re-loop your pins so that they receive maximum exposure. For tips on how to maximize your Pinterest efforts, check out these resources:
- How I Grew My Pinterest Following by 5K in 3 Months
- Skyrocket Your Blog’s Earnings and Traffic with Pinterest
- Pinterest Savvy: How I Got 1 Million Followers
To create pin-friendly images for your blog posts, I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. I started out using PicMonkey, which is easy to use, and it gives you professional looking images in a flash. But now I mostly use Canva. It has pre-made templates and font combos which help me create professional looking images quicker. Each platform is free for basic usage with premium features costing just a bit more. For stock images I use DepositPhotos not only do they have high-quality photos, but they’re affordable.
Part of getting traffic is writing awesome content. To make sure your content is excellent you’ll need to edit your posts for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Now you can do this manually, but I’ve found that even when I go back and proofread two or three times — I often miss typos. Of course, you can hire an editor to proof your content, but that can get expensive. A more affordable option is to use an editing software or program. I’ve tried a few different platforms out and by far my favorite is, Grammarly. It’s easy to use and catches errors that word processing programs miss. It also tightens up your copy — so you’re using an active voice.
From the first day, you launch your blog – you need to make sure that you’re building an email list. SEO rules and social media platforms are constantly changing. But with an email list, it is something that you own, and that can always be used to reach your audience. Personally, I use Constant Contact – I love them! They have lots of professional looking templates to choose from, it’s super easy to use, and they have added features like auto-responders. They even offer a FREE 60 trial – so you can test them out without any obligation.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The majority of my traffic comes from Google, and this is because certain keyword phrases on my site have ranked well with the search engines. Search engine traffic is free, and you’ll want to take advantage of it. I used to recommend Holly Klaassen’s e-book, 50 SEO Secrets for Mom Entrepreneurs, but she’s no longer selling it. So to get familiarized with SEO here are some useful articles on the basics.
I have read a ton of blogging books over the years, and these are the ones that have SERIOUSLY helped me on my journey!
- Ruth Soukup (book) – How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul)
- Wendy Piersall (book) – Mom Blogging For Dummies
- Ruth Soukup’s (online training) – Elite Blog Academy
There are so many ways to earn money from your blog, from direct ad sales and ad networks, to affiliate marketing and digital earning – so make sure to check out these must-read articles.
- 44 Ways to Make Money Blogging
- How to Get Companies to Purchase Advertising Space on Your Blog
- Increase Your Blog’s Money Making Potential with Affiliate Marketing
- How to Get Your First Blog Advertiser
As a career blogger, you’ll need to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. The first year I started out, I made the mistake of keeping all of these transactions in a spreadsheet which made tax time a nightmare. Since then I’ve been using GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly, Outright) which has simplified the whole process because it automatically updates your transactions from your PayPal and checking account. The online platform is super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for all monetized bloggers. Hope you found this roadmap helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey!
If you haven’t started a blog yet, here is a blog post you’ll want to check out!
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