The Ultimate List of Resources for Bloggers & Business Owners

List for Bloggers

 

 

 

Resource & Content

This is a resource page full of tools, links, and information for bloggers, business owners, and momentrepreneurs. I only recommended products I use or have thoroughly researched and trusted. Hopefully this list will be helpful reference as you navigate your own blog and business journey! This list will continue to grow so Please check back often.

Since you won’t have a brick-and-mortar location the heart of your home-based business is your website. Having a website allows people to window shop your services and products, it helps them find you via the web, and it conveys valuable information. Personally, I think it’s in your best interest to own your website (purchase your domain name and hosting), but if you can’t afford a website right off the bat, I suggest using a free option until you can afford to switch to a more robust platform.

A few things to note about free platforms. Usually you’re limited to small number of web pages, you’ll have limited bandwidth and storage, and often you’ll have a sub-domain. If you can spare $3.95 a month, I highly recommend setting up your own website with WordPress. Not only is it affordable, it’s extremely easy to setup and use and it will give you a professional looking website.

  • Blogger is a blog publishing service that allows multi-users blogs with time-stamped entries. Generally, the blogs are hosted by Google at a subdomain of blogspot.com
  • Weebly is a web-hosting service featuring a drag-and-drop website builder. Weebly is free but if you want their Pro plan to access more interesting website builder tools then I believe you have to pay $9.00 per month and Business pricing plan is $21.00 per month.
  • Wix  is a cloud-based web development platform that users to create HTML 5 websites and mobile sites through the use of online drag-and-drop tools.
  • WordPress
  • Yola-You’d think as much as I’m online, that I’d rely heavily on online productivity tools, but I don’t. As you’ll see below, I like to use real-world tools to help me stay organized. But if you prefer online time management tools – here’s a great list to keep you on track.

 

Online Productivity Tools. 

 

Printable

I’m old school when it comes to planning and organizing. For all my personal and business activities, I use a physical planner, calendar, notebook, and tons of pintables. From grocery lists and daily to-dos, to packing lists, chore charts, and business goals. If you’re looking for free pintables to organize your business and life this list has you covered.

 

 

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Finance Tools. 

When I first started my business, I used a spreadsheet for all of my income and expenses. Not only has the process manually intensive, by it made tax-time a nightmare. Save yourself the frustration and use a professional platform. The resources listed below offer invoicing, budgeting, planning, bookkeeping, and accounting solutions.

  • BudgetSimple
  • H&R Block – Free tax preparation checklist and free online tax filing for 1040EZ, 1040A, and 1040 with Schedule A
  • Intuit QuickBooks – Free-30-day trial
  • Mint
  • PearBudget
  • Wave-When you’re running a business, you’ll find yourself searching for all types of forms and templates that you don’t even know you need until a certain situation arises. When the time comes, here are some great resources to have bookmarked.

 

Business Templates.

  • Frugal Entrepreneur – Business documents, templates, and forms
  • SCORE – Business planning, financial, marketing, and management templates

 

Content and Project Management Systems

When you’re a service provider (virtual assistant, freelance writer, graphic designer, etc.) you’re going to have multiple projects and clients to manage. The best way to stay on top of everything is by using a content or project management system to keep you organized. 

  • FreedCamp – Free project management tool
  • Trello – Online collaboration and management tool
  • Wrike – Task and project management tool

 

 Marketing Tools and Platforms. 

It’s been said that you should spend at least 20% of your time marketing your business. With hundreds of ways to market your business, you should be able to find a formula that works for you. Here are a few free platforms and resources worth checking out. 

  • Craigslist – Free online advertising
  • Facebook – Free social media marketing platform
  • Free Press Release – Submit your press release for free
  • Hootsuite – Mange your social media marketing efforts in one place
  • HubSpot – Free email signature
  • Instagram – Free photo sharing media platform
  • LinkedIn – Professional social networking website
  • MailChimp – Free email marketing for up to 2,000 contacts
  • Pinterest – Visual marketing platform
  • SendInBlue – Free email marketing, up to 9,000 emails a month
  • Survey Monkey – Allows you to gather feedback, collect data, and analyze survey results
  • Twitter – Free social media marketing platform
  • ConvertKit– WordPress plugin to capture emails and build lists-

 

Administrative Tools. 

You may already have Microsoft Office for your computer, but if you don’t the yearly subscription can be pricey. Here are some other options that work great and they’re free.

  • Cute PDF – PDF conversion tool
  • GoogleDocs – Word processing, spreadsheets, forms, slides, and more
  • OpenOffice – Word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia presentations, and more
  • PrimoPDF – Create PDFs for free It’s funny when you work in an office setting you don’t even think about all the different methods you use daily to communicate with others – the technology and systems are already in place. However, when you run your own business, you’ll quickly learn that you need a whole host of tools. Luckily, there are lots of free and reliable options.

 

Communication Tools. 

  • FaxZERO – Fax documents for free, up to three pages, two times per day
  • FreeConferenceCall.com – Conference and video calls, up to 1,000 people for free
  • Google Chat – Talk to other people over the internet for free
  • Google Hangouts – Video chat
  • Hot Recorder – Record calls for free
  • LetterMeLater – Schedule emails to be sent in the future
  • Mikogo – Desktop sharing tool, ideal for web conferencing, online meetings, or remote support
  • Skype – Free call, video chat, and instant message for Skye to Skype users
  • WebEx – Free video conferencing free for up to three people

 

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Design Tools and Stock Images. 

As an entrepreneur, you’ll take on many roles. Quite frequently that role is a graphic designer. But no worries, you don’t need any special training to create professional-looking images, presentations, and marketing materials; these tools are both free and easy to use.

  •  Canva – Simple design platform and photo editor. I love canva this is the design platform I uses and if you’re a new member this is all you have to do is:
  • 1) Go to canva.com and create an account with email and password.
  • 2) Click “Create a Design”  and click Pinterest Graphic.
  • 3) You can use the layout provided and just customize them yourself, upload your own stock photos from your favorite membership or you can use a background template located under Background tabs.
  • 4) Once the background is selected , move your mouse toward the corner of your picture. When the diagonal arrow shows up, click and drag until the picture covers the whole space of the graphic. You will have to keep adjusting until you get the perfect picture to use.
  • 5) Time for a catchy headline! Toward the top on the left shop, you will see the T for “text.” Next, there are different font formats to use for pins. A bar at the top will show different ways to customize the pin such as color and size. There is an Element tab featuring different shapes where text can be added inside or shape can be used as a text border.
  • 6) When you finish click Download button in the top right corner of the Dashboard. You are done.
  • ColourLovers – Color ideas, palates, patterns, and trends
  • Dreamstime – Stock photos and images
  • FontSquirrel – Free fonts for commercial usage
  • Pexels – Free stock photos
  • PicMonkey – Photo editor, designer, graphic design for headers, memes and logos
  • Pixabay – Over 600,000 free images and videos
  • ResizeImage.net – Resize images without losing quality
  • Yay Images This is a paid, monthly subscription service (you can cancel at any time.) These photos are royalty free, meaning you can use them freely on social media and your blog.

 

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Free Tools for Bloggers. 

If you run a blog, there’s no doubt that you’ll need some specialized tools to make your blogging efforts easier. Here are just a few that I use and recommend.

  • Affiliate Blueprint – A free 4-day email course that will show you how to make your first affiliate sale
  • Blogging Success – free 28-page e-book that covers blog writing, getting traffic, and monetization methods
  • Blogger Assessment – A free quiz that tells you if you have what it takes to be a successful blogger
  • DisclosurePolicy.org – Generate a free disclosure policy for your blog
  • Gravatar – Create a globally recognized avatar, helps brand your blog identity
  • Rafflecopter – Free software for running giveaways
  • Random.org – Randomly choose winners for your giveaways and contests
  • SmallSEOTools – Plagiarism checker for guest blog posts
  • The Blog Structure Blueprint – A free tool to organize your blog
  • Trello is the project management/organization tool I use to keep my business running smoothly.
  • Businesses legal contracts for bloggers and freelancers. This service is excellent, just download the contract and follow the instructions for your specific situation. Even though it is tempting to skip this important step, it is extremely important to have a contract in place before any money exchanges hands between you and a client.
  • HelloSign lets you send contracts to clients for digital signatures. The service also keeps an audit trail with the IP address used at the time of signing in case you ever run into an issue.
  • Acuity Scheduling is a calendar management tool that lets you sync your calendar to an online scheduler so that your clients can book meetings with you. It even connects to payment processors like PayPal and Stripe so you can collect payment before the meeting is even booked!
  • Zoom is the video conferencing software I use to host videos calls, webinars, and record Podcasts. The platform is super affordable and easy to use. When you record a call, it saves three files: video, audio, and chat transcripts. It’s seriously the best and saves me so much time with my coaching clients!
  • Grammarly I honestly do not know how I lived without this before! Grammarly is a plugin I use in Chrome that proofreads everything I write around the web, including on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and many other places. It has saved me from some pretty embarrassing grammatical errors. There are free and paid plan options depending on your needs. I use the free version and it works for what I need.
  • G Suite for Work allows you to use your domain email address using the familiar setting of Google Apps. I highly recommend that you do not filter your email through your hosting provider. The cost is minimal at only $5/user per month.
  • Spanning Backup to backup Google Drive… this one may seem redundant but hear me out, I use Google Drive to store my entire life, no server is immune to problems, even a server owned by Google. You can never be too safe!
  • Moo.com is where I get my business cards from, you definitely need these for conferences and meeting with clients!

 

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Blogging Classes & Books

Advertising/Social Media Classes

Advertising Income

Pay per click ads are web advertisements that you can place on your website (through code) that {theoretically} deliver targeted ads to your audience. You earn a small amount each time one of your blog visitors clicks on a particular ad. Google AdSense is probably the most widely known program to offer PPC ads. These ads can be hit and miss, as in, sometimes the ads delivered will not be a good fit for your readers. However, PPC ads are a very low-maintenance form of blog monetization and can eventually be decent earners for you.

Where they go on your blog: PPC ads can go in your sidebar, header, or footer, and sometimes even between blog posts or throughout your page content (this last one is not my favorite and seems tres, tres distracting).

Who they are best for: PPC will work best on high traffic blogs because enough people need to see them in order to get enough clicks that translate into real revenue for you. This doesn’t mean you can’t put these ads in place while your blog is still in its early stages . . . just don’t expect to pay your mortgage with PPC each month yet.

  • Google Adsense This is one of the top companies to earn income on your website. Payout threshold is $100 and is paid around the 21st of the following month. No minimum page views required.
  • Media.net This is one of my favorite ad networks that I work with. The payout threshold is also $100 and is paid out around the last day of the following month. No minimum page views required

Video

WordPress Themes

Elegant Themes is a great website consisting of hundreds of themes to choose from! This is a great company to use because you don’t need a parent or child theme. I love the Divi Theme!

  • Studiopress provides the Genesis theme, which is one of the tops themes you can have as a blogger or business. Google search also loves Studiopress.
  • Restored 316 Designs (feminine themes) l I was using the Delightful Pro theme and now use the Darling theme)
  • Pretty Darn Cute Designs (feminine themes)

go-daddy-editedHover

Domain names

  • Godaddy
  • Hover
  • Domaintower
  • GoogleDomain
  • Panabee – they won’t steal your domain name idea. When you go check to see if your name is taken on these larger ones they will actually register names you check within matters of seconds or minutes if you don’t buy right away.
  • Dictionary Domain will help you find a domain in the style of {word or tld} (tld: stands for top-level domain, like .com for instance)
  • Lean Domain Search– says it’s out to eliminate the hassle and expense of searching for a domain name.
  • Short Domain Search– want a really short domain name-like 3 letters short; the this site lists the best short domain names and it refreshes every 10 minutes plus it will let you search  for your own ideas.

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Stock Photos

Your Blog’s images can make or break your blog’s popularity and “shareability” on the web. Your images include post photos, photos of you, sidebar graphics, product images, and more. You have the options to take your own photo, hire a photographer, illustrate your own work, or get stock photography works.

 Guide for Business Owners

11 thoughts on “The Ultimate List of Resources for Bloggers & Business Owners

  1. Familyearthtrek says:

    Wow a really complet list for helping to grow our blog! I would be so happy discover such post a few month ago but now I have a very kind webdesigner/web guru who help me with all these questions. But I am so sure your post will help so many others!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Maranda Laverdure says:

    This is so much great information and the resources are so plentiful for any starter to even get. Thank you for all these fabulous lists. I already use alot of them, but I saw a few more that I had not heard of and would love to try out.

    Liked by 1 person

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