This resource page lists some of the blogging courses and resources I personally use or have used and believe are valuable. If you have any questions about any of them, send me a message through my contact form.
Courses and Events
When I first started blogging, I signed up for a lot of courses—too many if you want to know the truth. Below are several of my favorites. Some of them aren’t open for purchase year around but if you click through the link, you should be able to sign up to be notified when they next open for enrollment.
- Blogger U: the creator of Blogger U, Pete McPherson, is the cheery voice behind the Do You Even Blog podcast (which I also recommend). Pete’s a great source of support and blogging wisdom and he really cares about his students’ success. The best part is the community he has created. I can’t say enough good things about it.
- Elite Blog Academy: If you have been blogging for more than two days, you have probably heard about Elite Blog Academy. I’m not sure you will learn anything in it that you can’t learn elsewhere but there is something about how it is organized that worked for how I approach a task and so would recommend it. I also like the members-only Facebook page that accompanies it and have learned a lot from the other students. If you have the money—and it’s not cheap!—I would recommend it.
- FinCon: Are you blogging in the Personal Finance space? Then I hope you will have a chance to attend the premier, annual conference for content producers in this space (aka FinCon). It’s a fun, education-packed event that will give you an opportunity to network and learn from other bloggers just like you.
- JetFuel: With JetFuel, Jillian, the blogger behind Montana Money Adventures, has created a great, reasonably priced, beginner blogger course that I would definitely recommend for both newbies and not-so-newbies who need to get refocused. I found the sections on defining your audience and your role when it comes to helping your audience extremely helpful.
- Redefining Mom: Monica at Redefining Mom has a number of courses on offer, mostly focused on using Pinterest to drive traffic and increase revenue. I love Monica’s style and how she really loves to dive into the analytics to provide the best information to her students.
I use Siteground for my website and domain hosting and have had a great experience. The speed is good and I haven’t had any crazy issues with my site going down or links breaking. When I signed up, I paid for two years of service which kept my per-month costs low (around $8 per month).
Email Service Provider
There are a couple of email service providers out there for bloggers but I have had ConvertKit from early on and find it fits my needs. It is fairly intuitive but I have had to put some time into making sure the emails I want to send are sent when I want to send them. I like the sign up forms they have available to embed on my site but their landing pages are a little clunky. They are getting better, however.
I try to keep my plugins to around 20 because I read somewhere that too many plugins will slow your site down which means fewer people will stick around, waiting for a page to load. Even so, the below list isn’t comprehensive so if something isn’t mentioned, email me using the contact form and I will tell you what plugin I’m using for that function.
- Social Warfare: I use Social Warfare for my social share buttons. It can sometimes be annoying when they issue an update and instead of it automatically updating, I have to upload the new version but overall, I like the interface and it does what I expect it to do.
- Shortpixel: I use Shortpixel to compress images so their file sizes are smaller and therefore they don’t slow down my page load time. I don’t know how it works but it does it in a way that the images still look like they are supposed to look.
- JetPack: The JetPack plugin is a little controversial—many people feel it is clunky and slows your site down. I like how it pulls together my site stats without me having to go into Google Analytics, its spam blocking feature, and how it regularly backs up my site and checks to make sure it is operating. I have turned off several of the functionalities I don’t use so I think on balance, it doesn’t affect site speed significantly.
- Photo Gallery by Supsystic: I use Supsystic’s Photo Gallery to create this gallery which serves as my Instagram account landing page. This means if someone clicks through from my Instagram account, they can search the images for the post they are looking for. This is useful since Instagram only allows you to include one link per account (unless, I think, you have a crazy number of followers which I do not).
For photos on the site, I use depositphotos.com. They have a lot of images to choose from and their pricing is good. Their interface is also easy to use.
I use the Cheer Up Theme from ThemeSphere and have been very happy with it. There are lots of ways to customize the theme but not so many options that I felt overwhelmed (I am a first-time blogger who appreciates some structure). When I have had questions, I have been able to find answers in the support forum. I bought the theme on sale for $35 from envatomarket.
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