Blogging Resources Used on Sew Very Crafty
All of these resources are presently in use on Sew Very Crafty
I use WordPress for my blog. Why WordPress?
- WordPress is completely free
- One click installation
- Easy to install and free plugins and widgets
- Professionally Designed Templates
- You own 100% of your content
Web Hosting and Domain Registration
Once you have decided on a domain name you must register it with a registration company. I recommend registering it with the company that will do your hosting. For example, both my domain name and my hosting are done through GoDaddy whom I highly recommend.
Remember there are a lot of websites and hosting services out there. You can chose to host your own site through one of these hosting services for very little money or you can have them host your site for you. Domain and hosting sites like GoDaddy allow you to host it yourself with some help from them for as little as 0.99 for a full year depending on your domain name and other add-ons. I actually pay $4.99 per month plus some add-ons that I will talk about later.
You can see a full array of free themes at WordPress.org. When I was searching for a theme for my own blog I wanted something that was a little more feminine and had more features than the themes I was seeing so I started searching for feminine themes and came across Pretty Darn Cute Design. They had exactly what I was looking for. I found a theme that had all of the features that I wanted in a blog as well as the colorful, feminine design I craved.
My Adorable theme is a theme based on the Genesis platform so I had to purchase both the Genesis platform from Studio Press and the Adorable theme from Pretty Darn Cute. I paid less than $100 for both and have been very happy with my purchase. You can also purchase a variety of Genesis themes directly from Studio press that range from professional to artsy to frilly like mine. I highly recommend both the Genesis theme through Studio Press and Pretty Darn Cute Design for looks, ease of use, professionalism and support. Support is important to those just starting out and the stock themes do not come with any.
You don’t necessarily need to be artistically minded to find a great brand. There are professionals on Etsy and Fiverr that will create a logo and header image for very little money. Some are premade and you can buy them on the spot and others will work with you to develop something that is perfect for your blog and your niche.
I have used both Etsy and Fiverr and have found them to be great resources for creative ideas for bloggers and their blogs. LogoNerds is also an awesome place to get the perfect brand images and headers. The cost is inexpensive and you are supporting other entrepreneurs in their business goals as well. Head over to these sites to find the perfect brand for you.
Good photography will only enhance your blog. It is something that I struggle with every day and am trying to get better at. I wish I could say that I took any of these beautiful photos but, alas, they are stock. They came from Dreamstime. Dreamstime is a site that has many free stock photos but many more with a subscription. I have been using Dreamstime lately when only a stock photograph will do. Click on the links to visit them. I am sure you will be impressed.
The next step to a good photograph is editing. Place your image into an editing software and crop and rotate it until it is perfect. I use several editing programs depending on what I am doing. I like Lightroom and Photoshop to help me with the lighting quality of the image and their ability to crop and rotate among other things but once I am happy with my images I like to tailor them to the specific social media site they will be going to as well as on my blog. For this I use PicMonkey and Canva. Lightroom, Photoshop and PicMonkey are subscription based while Canva is completely free.
Ask yourself what search terms you would enter to find the content you are posting. It is those terms that should go into your titles and posts. But you are not alone in trying to find these search terms. As in many instances there is a plugin to help you. That plugin is listed in my list of necessary plugins in 10 Must Have Plugins and is Yoast SEO.
Yoast helps you to monitor the SEO in your posts in two ways. It monitors the readability of your post and the SEO. It guides you in adding or deleting items that will increase your SEO and it is free or paid depending on the features that you want. I use the free version. You install Yoast like the other plugins and configure it according to the directions. Very easy.
Tailwind is a Pinterest and Instagram marketing development partner. Its most important asset is as a pin scheduler. It allows you to schedule your pins way ahead of time and will post them at the most optimal time for your readers based on its smart schedule tool. You can keep a consistent pinning schedule regardless of how busy you are. Keeping a consistent pining schedule is important if you want to expand your reach through Pinterest. You can also pin as often as you want so if you have 20-30 pins going out per day at optimal times your traffic from those pins will increase.
Click here for your free trial of Tailwind. I know you will increase your traffic the same way that I did. This is particularly relevant with the creation of Tailwind Tribes where you can share your pins with other people in your niche and reach a whole new audience at the same time you are scheduling your pins.
There is nothing better for your blog than being able to directly connect with your followers. While they do get your content through social media it is not the same as getting it directly from you in a more personalized way so you want to build your email list using social media and the optin form on your website. My optin form looks like this:
There are a number of different email list generator plugins out there such as Mailpoet, Mailchimp, Converkit and others. I use Convertkit to increase my mailing list using incentives but I like Mailpoet for sending out really nice looking newsletters. Mailpoet is free up to 2,000 subscribers and only $10.00 per month after that with sending service as well. It can be installed as a plugin. Convertkit is a subscription service based on the number of subscribers to your list but is well worth the cost. Mailchimp is also free up to 2,000 subscribers but becomes a subscription service depending on the number of subscribers after that.
Convertkit allows you to insert an optin form into an individual post with a specific incentive included. You can use a different form and incentive for different posts and the incentive can be different for your main optin form. Since signing up for Convertkit I have increased my subscription list by 25% and that number climbs every day. Because I think this is a terrific service and an excellent way to increase your mailing list I am going to spend a little time on how Convertkit works.
The first thing to do is to become an affiliate. You can do that either directly with a company like Amazon or Target or through an affiliate company like Shareasale, CJ, Viglink or Awin I am an affiliate of both Amazon and Target and through companies who contract with Shareasale, Awin and CJ. Regardless of which method you use you will have to apply to become an affiliate. Approval is not automatic.
Per the FCC when you are adding affiliate links to your blog posts you must tell your readers that there are affiliate links or you will risk being sanctioned. It is good practice to link to your affiliate disclosure. You can take a look at mine here.
To become an affiliate directly with a company I generally look at the bottom of a company’s website to see if they have an affiliate link like Target does.
This page contains affiliate links that if you click on them and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at No Extra Cost to you.