BLOGGING RESOURCES and RECOMMENDATIONS
BLOG PLATFORM + PRIVACY TOOLS
Having a self hosted website makes it so that you have all the freedom to customize your site to your liking. I started using the FREE WordPress.com one but I was very limited to what I can do. After a lot of research, ton of options and a recommendation from my husband, I decided on one and have been using it ever since. Check out all the resources below and I hope they can help you maximize your blog and design it the way you want it.
**Some of these tools contain affiliate links, however all opinions are my own.
♡ Self Hosting + Domain: Namecheap
I chose Namecheap because they are not only great with their customer service but they have very inexpensive domains and hosting plans. This is a great choice if you are just starting and on a budget. I have been using them since I started my blog and have been very happy with their consistency. I have all security and privacy tools that I need without spending a fortune.
Currently they have a deal where you can buy a professional hosting from Namecheap and get a FREE website domain and a FREE WhoisGuard*. If you already have a website with another provider, they will help you move it to Namecheap for free.
If you are interested on a .US domain, they are currently having a big sale where you can purchase it for $0.88/year!!
**WhoisGuard is designed for website owners. This is to protect your confidentiality and make sure that your information won’t be shown when someone searches Whois. This means you are safe from telemarketers, unsolicited phone calls and identity theft.
BLOG DESIGN and WP PLUGINS
Now that you have your self hosted blog purchased, you are now ready to personalize your blog and trust me, it’s going to be FUN! When you have a blog, you need to have a theme. Aside from your great content, it’s one of the reason of your increased traffic. You want to find a theme that fits your blog and your content, basically BUT you don’t want to over do it. There are thousands of options out there and if you find the right theme, you can just customize it and really make it your own. Below are some of my faves!
♡ Blog Theme: XOXO, A Blog & Shop Theme
Now moving on to Plugins. They are installed and used to extend functionality or add new features on your website. When searching or installing a plugin, I highly recommend to check three things to avoid any risk on your site.
- ratings (4 or higher)
- last time it got updated (preferably within a month to few weeks)
- if it’s compatible with your current version of WP
If all of these are a ✔, then you are good to go. Below are the plugins I currently have installed on my WordPress. Some are additional security for my website, while others are just additional features for personalized purposes.
- Akismet Anti Spam – to protect your blog from spam
- Clean and Simple Contact Form – a contact form with Google reCAPTCHA
- EWWW Image Optimizer – reduces large files, especially your images
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – displays Analytics Report and Real Time Stat on your dashboard
- Instagram Feed – beautiful, clean and responsive display of your IG
- jQuery Pin It Button – adds a “Pin It” button on hover on your images for easy pinning
- Mailchimp for WP – for your newsletter/subscriber opt-ins
- Social Media and Share Icons – this is my personal favorite when it comes to displaying my social media “call to action” on my sidebar
Once you have all this up and running, there are essential pages that you need to put on your website. These pages will help you in their specific ways.
♡ Media Kit
When you accept offers from companies left and right, you’re going to need a media kit. It’s a full single or double page where you technically “brag” about your blog and it’s accomplishments. Even if you’re still starting, it’s a good handy page to have. Important information you need to put on your media kit would be:
- About yourself
- About the blog
- Social Media and your # of reach
- What your collaboration offers are (social media share, blog post, YouTube review, etc!)
- Site Traffic & Deomographics
- Email/Contact Info
- Collaboration Pricing
- Companies you have worked with (optional)
You can choose from a lot of templates online and just edit it to match your website and include the information above.
Always remember to keep your media kit updated.
Love it? Pin it!
Disclosure is a requirement by FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for all bloggers if they are being sent products to review or if they are getting paid to do reviews. Not disclosing it on your blog is considered deceptive. Like the PP above, there are a lot of Disclosure generators out there. The one below is what I highly recommend.
Disclosure Generator: Disclosure Policy.Org
These are basically what I have or use on my blog right now. Like I said, some of these may not be necessary on yours but some can be very helpful. I hope you guys learned something from the resources that I use and please feel free to share what tools you use to maximize traffic on your blog.