An easy and simple product guide to blogging resources and products that have helped me get set up and look like a pro.
Blogging Resources Product Guide
Blogging Resources Product Guide
I had no idea it took so much to run a blog, and while there are some big bloggers that list some of the products and services they use, I wish there was a more comprehensive list/template that I could just follow. I’m working on that (it’s basically what I did in every job I was given in the Air Force) right now and hope to have it done by Summer 2019. In the meantime, this Blogging Resources page will have to do. These are the services and products that I use that have made blogging life MUCH easier for me. And believe me when I say I am a penny-pincher and that I wanted to do everything manually/inexpensively until making a profit. And believe me even more when I say I made the right decision to cave and pay for some of these. Blogging life is MUCH easier, although still challenging, especially with a 2-yr and 1-yr old and no daycare!
Some of these links are affiliate links and are no additional cost to you should you choose to purchase. I’d greatly appreciate you purchasing through these links so I can continue to publish this site.
Website Domain and Hosting
- I bought a domain and hosting from WordPress.com. You can purchase a domain anywhere for a few dollars. Do NOT purchase a domain from WordPress, because it’s about $20. You will still be able to use WordPress plugins when you purchase a domain and hosting elsewhere.
- Had I known this I would’ve done it and saved some money, however, since I did purchase through WordPress, I ended up buying the premium package which has given me immediate access to their real-time support and that has been a big time saver and stress reliever.
- The .com limits you from doing certain things, and at the recommendation of Pinch of Yum, I’ll be switching to WordPress.org at the end of the year.
- Apparently the (noticeable) difference between the two is that .com pretty much walks you through setting up and makes some things easier whereas the .org requires you to build. Pinch of Yum explains it much better.
- Go to Pinch of Yum’s How to Start a Food Blog page and they walk you through 3 easy steps to set up on a very inexpensive host server (not WordPress).
I just got into ads and I don’t fully understand them just yet. I signed up with Google Adsense and Sovrn. I’m looking into other companies but it’s not a priority until this reorg is complete. But these companies don’t require a minimum amount of traffic to sign up.
This will be the easiest out of everything! It doesn’t matter what your blog is about, you NEED to have a Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest page.
Facebook pages are super easy to set up and take no time. Make sure you opt in for business insights. Throw up a couple of photos, invite your friends and tell them to invite their friends. Facebook is a place for community, so whatever your niche is, you and others interested will be able to interact with one another there. It’s a place where people hang out and linger. Here you can expand on issues and be long wined at times.
Instagram is a bit different. It’s a place where you have a split second to catch someone’s attention. It’s also a place where you can express your brand and yourself, if the two are separate. But IG is useful to gain a following of people that wouldn’t otherwise know about you through the usage of hashtags. So make sure you sign up for the business account (it’s free) so you can have insight as to who is viewing your profile.
Last is Pinterest. It’s a place where people go when they intend to take action. Someone finds your easy 10 minute dinner and pins it, then it gets repinned by a few others and suddenly it’s been viewed by thousands and has driven that traffic to your site.
I started out using my iPhone 6s+ and completely forgot that there are attachable lenses to improve the camera. I never bought one, but you can search for one on Amazon. Also buy a tripod, because your arms just aren’t steady enough. I haven’t used this tripod but I recommend it because it’s flexible. The one I used was hard plastic and cracked very easily.
I use the Canon Rebel T7i because it was recommended to me by my knowledgeable photography friend. The entire Rebel series is known as great introductory DSLR cameras for beginners. However, looking at the differences between the T6i and T7i, I should’ve saved the money and bought the T6i. The differences aren’t notable enough to justify getting the latest version, unless that’s your thing. Everything I do now can be accomplished with the T6i. The ONE thing I will say is that you can buy a remote control for the T6i, but the T7i doesn’t have a compatible remote because the remote is in the Canon smartphone app. You can click here to view the differences.
I avoided buying a camera bundle because I thought I wouldn’t need all of the things that came in it, and guess what…I ended up buying all of the items, separately. So here I’ve linked a bundle for both the T6i and T7i. The T7i bundle shows that it comes with a bluetooth remote, but remember that it isn’t programmed for that and will not work.
The T6i bundle below is currently on sale for $617. It lacks a remote, but comes with an interface (tether) cable. Both items are under $10 and are linked below. If the sale price is no longer valid, buy the bundle below it for $699.
This bundle lacks both the remote and interface cable.
Camera Basics Packages Only
DSLR cameras have 3 parts that they need to function: the body, the lens and a memory card. The packages below are (currently) the best price for these 3 items plus a carrying bag. Other included items are just bang for your buck.
Remote for T6i ONLY
Because the T7i remote is found only in the Canon smartphone app.
These are an absolute must have in my opinion, but that also means purchasing Adobe Creative Cloud. This cable connects your camera to your computer for a live view so you have better insight to what your final product will look like. I was amazed the first time I did this. It made such a difference! I didn’t need to take as many photos as before. The shoot was a breeze and better quality!
I paid $150 for mine because the head tilts both sideways and back and forth. I thought I would need all those directions and I don’t. So don’t do what I did. The first option below is an Amazon Choice and the second is a Best Seller.
For the Phone
A stable device does a LOT for a picture. It’s worth the investment. The one below is a Best Seller. No matter which one you buy, be careful with these because the phone grips often crack or break from figuring out how to grip the phone. Be gentle until you’re comfortable with it.
I did natural lighting outside for 7 months, but after swatting flies and neighborhood cats and waiting for the clouds to pass I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to buy lighting and knew it would be expensive. Then I saw the set below. I only use one light and use a reflector, but the other light is there as a back up.rel=”nofollow”
I don’t have the table lights below, but I would have bought these instead for ease of use and storage. They’re an Amazon Choice.rel=”nofollow”
Go to WalMart or Hobby Lobby and buy a white poster board. It’s best to get one that doesn’t bend so it’s easier on yourself while shooting. You can also use a sheet a white paper as a reflector. I learned that from the Tasty Food Photography ebook.
I wish I had gone to Hobby Lobby before buying backgrounds. They have so many printed papers for less than $1. Tape a few on a sturdy poster board and you have a background for $6 or so.
If you don’t want to do that, I have the backgrounds below. Be mindful that these are just printed paper as well. So it’s a hefty price tag for something you can just tape together.
The above backgrounds come in a roll like Christmas wrapping paper and I clamp them to my table to hold steady. It works great for me because I can roll them back up and put them out of the kids’ reach.rel=”nofollow”
For the Phone
I use Snapseed and it’s great! You can edit professionally and type font on pictures. Youtube Snapseed Tutorial for help.
The Tasty Food Photography ebook suggests 6 other apps that she has used, but I haven’t.
On the Computer
After much avoidance because of the price tag, I bought Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s $50 a month and it gives you access to many graphic and editing softwares, two of which are Lightroom and Photoshop. I cringe when I think about the price, but the quality and capability are far superior.
You can try all three of these programs as a trial and see if they fit what you’re trying to do. Aside from these, the last option I know about is PowerPoint, but that will be limited but you can make it work with some hacks. It all depends on what you’re trying to do.
I mention the Tasty Food Photography ebook later for purchase, but the Food Photography Blog by Christina Peters has been really helpful as well. She offers great freebies for subscribing to her, and she’s been in the food photography biz for 20+ years!
- Chelsea Lords from Chelsea’s Messy Apron wrote an ebook called How I Made $40k My First Year of Blogging. I had already been set up for 6 months when I bought this ebook but I learned so much from it: super helpful tips to get traffic to your blog! She did a really good job writing this and giving insight to her first year’s journey.
- Lindsay Ostrom from Pinch of Yum wrote the ebook Tasty Food Photography. I truly don’t think it could be any better! It’s to-the-point, concise, extremely helpful and easy to understand; well worth the $30! My photos improved immediately. You also get access to video tutorials on how to edit in Lightroom and Photoshop.
There are many free apps to choose from, and WP Recipe Maker has a free version as well that’s perfectly fine. I upgraded to the WP Recipe Maker Elite Package because I really wanted those features for my viewers (mainly the meal planning option). The product is fully customizable and their customer service is fantastic! I truly have never loved a brand more, except maybe Krispy Kreme as a kid. Tasty Recipes is also a good option. It was created by PinchofYum and has features similar to WP Recipe Maker.
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t enabled the meal planning feature just yet because I need to get things together for it. Give me a few months.
- Amazon – It’s easy, they have everything, and everyone shops there.
- EasyAzon is an app that allows you to save time and make more money as an Amazon affiliate.
- ShareASale.com – Lots of companies across the board.
- FlexOffers.com – Lots of companies across the board.
I use MailChimp because it’s free until you hit a certain number of subscribers, and because I’m able to send targeted emails to subscribers based on their interests. This is something you can’t do without an independent provider like MailChimp. Another is ConvertKit, but they charge per month, no matter how many subscribers you have.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s very important and a very hot topic. Expert knowledge in SEO costs $$ but there’s plenty of free information to access. It seems like everyone has tidbits to offer in this subject, and they’re great for beginners, but getting real traffic from SEO requires a little bit more work. Digital Nomad Wannabe is dedicated to SEO, and she has tons of free information if you sign up for her newsletter!