Please note that some of the links on this page are Affiliate Partner Links. I only recommend tools and resources that I personally use. For more information, click here.
The first step to properly setting up your blog is to purchase hosting from a reputable provider.
While the top 2 registrars are GoDaddy and 1&1, these are a more appropriate fit for businesses that gross between $1 million and $10 million per year. GoDaddy is based in the US and 1&1 is based in Europe. These two global hosting providers have very similar products and services. I have personally used both and after 14 years, I prefer the dashboard inside GoDaddy.
For bloggers and small business owners who are either just starting out (or currently grossing less than $1 million in revenue per year) I personally use and highly recommend Bluehost for the following reasons:
- Great Price Secure just one year, or up to 5 years for a low promo rate of $3.95 per month, but that's not just a great rate now…because…they offer:
- Long-term Quality After your promotional rate expires, hosting at Bluehost is still less than $100 for a year
- Security Bluehost is the only registrar in the industry that provides a FREE Security Certificate (SSL Certificate) which protects your website with https protocol when you buy hosting from them. (At GoDaddy, 1&1, Hostgator, SiteGround, and many other registrars, you will need to pay extra for https…a LOT extra. So take it from an industry expert…I've been doing this for 14 years! Go with Bluehost
- Not Super “Techy” Bluehost is built for regular people, so you don't need to be a super-tech geek in order to get everything all set up properly. They also offer great support and you don't have to wait on the phone forever to get to a live person.
- Need to Transfer Your Blog? If you don't want to renew your hosting with your current registrar, then Bluehost makes it SUPER easy to transfer your blog and migrate. Simply buy a new hosting plan and then restore your site from a backup; if you get stuck, they will help you. It's really that simple.
If you plan to make money with your blog, then you'll need an option for your Email Marketing Automation. Depending upon how far along you are in your journey, you can begin with a free option such as ConvertKit, however, you will eventually have to start paying if you want to take advantage of the full features of automation. It's often more difficult to make a switch in automation systems later, so I recommend starting with ConvertKit.
There are other email marketing tools out there, but here is a little more perspective to help you decide which one is right for your business:
If you are a blogger, the best choice is ConvertKit. It's easy and intuitive to use and you can start with the free plan. It easily integrates with just about any type of website platform that you use and it's also very user friendly. HubSpot on the other hand is an ideal solution for businesses that have annual revenues in the $250,000 to $5 million category.
Content Creation Tools
Need a solution for creating visually stunning E-Books? I have two, Squribble is the solution for the most efficient way to put together your ebooks. If there were ever a tool to make things simple, this is it! The other option is Creative Market. They provide ebook themes in a similar way to WordPress Themes where you can browse a pre-made theme and simply enter your content.
Thinking of doing Webinars? Then WebinarJam is the place to go for the best software to make that possible. Sell your digital products with ease by creating a polished and profound Lead Magnet using the global industry leading software. However, if you're just getting started, your best bet is a digital marketing solution that will give you a website, landing page builder, email integration and even webinar hosting solution all in one, and that is called Clickfunnels.
Need some help with what to actually say in your ebook, webinar, or even on your blog? Then FunnelScripts is the solution! Generate headlines, blog post titles and more with the click of a button!
There comes a time when you want to forget about bitly and create your own custom URLs for link shortening. For example: https://vogue-media.com/clickmagick. Start with your own free trial.
Search Engine Optimization
The importance of good SEO to compliment any SEM efforts is incredibly under-rated. Everything needs to be optimized, and at the very least, use the free Chrome Browser Extension Keywords Everywhere.
Another free tool for good research is Answer the Public. This allows you to type in literally any question and then gain some idea of other questions that people are asking around that topic.
For those seeking a competitive advantage, the best software available is SEMRush. This is the software used by digital agencies.
Another fantastic tool that I also use for my video research is TubeBuddy.
The Design of Your Website (ie: Branding, Colors, Look, and Feel)
The next step is to make sure your WordPress website is beautiful. To make this happen quickly, it's worth it to pay an extra $75 to $100 to purchase a pre-built theme where you can install a demo with just one click. My recommendation is to browse through the designs at StudioPress and Creative Market. The easiest way to get up and running quickly is to install a demo of a theme that you like, and then swap out the text and photos with your own choices. You can often change the colors to match your own branding, or keep them the same as in the demo. I have used both StudioPress as well as Creative Market for WordPress Themes and I highly recommend both.
Logos & Branding
To make your brand stand out among the rest, there are a few options I recommend. If you would like to choose a reasonably priced branding package, I highly recommend 99Designs. They have a wide array of online and print designs that will set you above the rest. Another option is Fiverr, where you can work with an overseas designer for a very reasonable price.
If you're the DIY type and would like to design your own logo (ie: comfortable with navigating graphic design software such as Photoshop) then start with Canva. The options are limited, so the next step up would be software that is just like Photoshop, which is called PicMonkey is a great option. It's very similar to Photoshop, however it's much more affordable. You can sign up for a Free-Trial to see if you like how it works.
Stock Artwork (ie: Photos You Can Use)
Using Stock Artwork is a great way to bring visual appeal to your blog with a photo that accompanies your topic. For Free options, try Pexels.com or Unsplash.com. However, once you start blogging, you'll notice that a lot of people use the same photos from the free websites.
If you're ready to up your game, I recommend Pixistock for female bloggers or 123RF as both are a very reasonably priced way to obtain Stock Art. iStockphoto and Getty Images are also options, but they come at a very high price tag. For stock video clips, StockNation is the least expensive option.
Video & Membership Websites // Digital Course Creation Tools
If you're planning to sell a digital product or membership course, then I would opt for one of the following 3 options: Thinkific, Clickfunnels, or WishList.
The best all-in-one solution is either Clickfunnels or Thinkific.
WishList integrates seamlessly with your WordPress Website as an Elite Plugin. If you can use WordPress, you can easily navigate WishList. You may need some technical expertise, but WishList has the most flexibility.
Clickfunnels is even easier to use than WishList, and if you are starting from scratch, then you can build your landing pages as well as your course inside Clickfunnels or Thinkific.
You could also opt for a less expensive startup option such as Teachable, however, before you consider it, watch this video for more information:
Last but certainly not least is the scheduling tool for Pinterest. It's called Tailwind and it a COMPLETE game changer. If there is only one tool that you buy, make it this one! Tailwind is the only Pinterest approved scheduling tool, so the platform knows that you're not a “spammer” when you use it to pin daily. If you want 100,000 plus reach, you need to be pinning at least 20 pins per day. That may sound like you can do it manually, but trust me, this tool is worth it's weight in gold for getting traffic to your website!
A Selection of my Favorite Books for Women Entrepreneurs