Over the years I have tried LOTS of plugins, image editors, web hosts, classes, ebooks, blah blah blah. While it’s really fun picking and choosing and experimenting, it can also be a headache if you’re new to blogging or just looking for a change from something you’re not entirely happy with.
So… I thought I’d compile some of my favorite choices just in case you’d like to give any of them a shot. Things starred with an asterisk are affiliate links. These others aren’t. All are things I love and use myself- I would never recommend anything I didn’t fully completely love and believe in.
Darren Rowse is the king of blogging and 31 DBBB* is still the go-to resource for fine tuning and jump starting your blog. Work through at your own pace and you will be rewarded with a significantly better blog. Over 19,000 other bloggers have worked through this book.
It’s great to work the days when you have a little extra time, and you’ll find your blog seems to be growing organically. Very cool. Click here to view more details
Hostgator* for web hosting. Great, user-friendly site and more importantly, great customer service for when you are scratching your head and staring blankly at what should be your site.
Website Kick Start- This is how I moved my Blogger site to WordPress.org, and learned some coding (not as hard as you’d think), made it look all awesome, and reintroduced it to the world, all while having my hand held.
OH MY! Content Brew* is Melissa from Momcomm.com‘s online class to help you find content, brainstorm your little head off and organize all that great information. It is seriously brilliant. It will streamline and smarten up the way you blog, and you won’t feel so panicky and all over the place. (I know you know what I mean.)
Vanita Cyril from After Bedtime Blog has taken all this stuff (SEO) that most bloggers are terrified of and broken it down, explained it clearly, engaged us with assignments, and empowered us to take control of our blogs under the hood. You will look at blogging in a whole new way- through Google’s eyes- and you really get to put into play some concrete ways to drive traffic to your site. Google Luv course*
This is a membership site and you can start anytime and the membership comes with access to the WP Training Library and 4 weeks of personal mentoring from Vanita.
Here’s a special coupon code for $15 off of the $65 price (awesome deal.) for my readers: artchoo
Click here to view more details
Pic Monkey for special, tweaky image editing and collage-making.
PIXLR – I use this more than I use Photoshop Elements. It’s great, it’s free and for some reason I like editing images on a website more than opening another application.
Hootsuite – To manage Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. I have two twitter accounts, and this is a great way to jump back and forth, but also I can follow my favorite tweeters by putting them in a list, do a search for certain #topics, and schedule tweets for later if I feel like it.
SITS – This site is an excellent place to start if you are a newer blogger. It’s brimming with information and the idea here is to support your fellow bloggers by leaving comments on their blogs. You can sign up for your SITS day, which means you will be the featured blogger of the day, and you are showered with traffic and wonderful comments. It’s a great experience, trust me.
Even better are their Bloggy Boot Camps, which are their day-long blogging conferences. I made this my first blogging conference to attend because it was smaller, more intimate, but you will walk away in a daze with all of the great info. you’ve gathered. (And bloggy connections you’ve made.)
NRelate Related Content- This is a great plugin to add those little thumbnail links to related posts at the bottom of your posts.
Special Recent Posts – Similarly, this plugin lets you add thumbnails of some of your recent posts in widget form to your sidebar.
Rafflecopter – is such an easy way to run giveaways. I don’t do a ton of giveaways, but this organizes everything and picks a winner when you want to.