Because I couldn’t run my blog without a LOT of resources to help me, here in my Resource Library are the tools, guides, and courses that I swear by. Disclaimer: some I also affiliate for because I love them so much. So if you purchase any of the resources marked with a (*), I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale. But others I recommend simply because I think they’re great.
Starting with the Resource Library basics of hosting, themes, keywords (to help with blog post writing), blogging help, pitching to brands, and affiliate sales.
I went self-hosted on WordPress from the beginning and after a couple of bad experiences, switched to Lyrical Host *. Who are THE best hosting company ever with support that’s second to none (I swear Joseph never sleeps – if you know, you know). They have an active Facebook group, offer a range of free guides and downloads, and even blogging courses for customers. Here’s what other bloggers have to say about them and why they love them too. If, after reading the reviews, you’re convinced, here’s a sign up link for you – and you can use my code LISASNOTEBOOK10 for 10% off your first year’s hosting.
Postscript: I recently transferred my freelance writing services website and email over to Lyrical Host as well – the most seamless and stress-free transfer ever, 10/10 recommend them.
WordPress is your CMS (content management system) but you need to dress the skeleton with a theme. There are literally hundreds of themes out there but it all comes down to personal choice. I adored my Pipdig theme but, after the 2019 scandal, had to change it. My current theme is from Creative Market but I’ve had it for a while now so I’ll be looking for a refresh soon. I’ve got my eye on some gorgeous blogger themes over on Etsy* at the moment.
One of the things about blogging is that, presumably, you’d like other people to read what you write, yes? But in order to do that, you need to use the right keywords that will help you rank on Google. So there’s no point writing posts with keywords that (a) no-one is looking for or (b) have a LOT of competition. Here’s where Keysearch is invaluable. It’s not a free tool and I only invested in it recently but it’s made ALL the difference to me. For example, this blog post is now ranking on Google page one and bringing me literally hundreds of views every day. And I’m kicking myself for not buying Keysearch earlier!
Blogging help guides
I’ve been blogging for nearly five years but I’m still learning new things all the time. And many of them from the GURU of blogging, Jenny in Neverland. She’s written not one but two blogging help eBooks, which I refer to frequently, and have helped me hugely.
A Beginners Guide To Blogging * is a 100 page eBook, split into 8 chapters on a variety of elements of blogging, from setting up your blog, growing your blog, setting goals, working with brands and more. Jenny shares everything she’s learned over her 6 years of blogging and targets her advice to suit new and beginner bloggers. This eBook covers everything you should know as a brand new blogger, which will help get your blog off the ground, in a easy to understand, beginner-friendly manner. Get your copy of A Beginners Guide to Blogging here.
A Beginners Guide To Growing Your Blog Following * is a 44 page e-Book, split into 8 chapters on how to grow your blog following. Jenny shares everything she’s learned over her 6 years of blogging about how to grow an engaged and loyal following of over 10,000 – that continues to grow EVERY DAY. From mindset, to social media, to the specific things she did to accelerate that growth, this eBook will teach you everything (and more) to help you sky-rocket those blog followers. Get your copy of A Beginners Guide to Growing Your Blog Following here.
Working with Brands
Pitching To Brands & Creating Lasting Brand Relationships * is what you need if one of your blogging goals is to work with brands and businesses. Drawing on her 7 years of experience, Kayleigh Zara’s 35 page eBook will go over everything you need to know. From where to find opportunities, how to start pitching to brands, working on a gifted basis, working on a paid basis, building long lasting relationships with brands and PRs, and more. For invaluable advice and templates to get you going, get your copy of Pitching To Brands & Creating Lasting Brand Relationships here.
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways of monetising your blog. Want to make money from your blog even while you sleep? Kayleigh Zara is the QUEEN who’s successfully made thousands of pounds in affiliate money and she’s shared all her best tips in her 34 page eBook.
A Beginner’s Guide To Affiliate Sales * details everything you need to know about how and where to get started if you’re new to affiliate marketing, or even if you’re not. From what platforms to use, which programmes to join, to understanding seasonal sales. The best part is that affiliate sales can work for every niche, it all comes down to understanding your audience, crafting blog posts that will sell, using social media correctly, and standing out in an oversaturated market. If you seriously want to start making or increasing your affiliate sales, get your copy of A Beginner’s Guide To Affiliate Sales here.
The Amazon Associates Programme is probably one of the easiest affiliate marketing platforms for bloggers to get started with. I mean most of us use Amazon to buy books, DVDs, electronic gadgets, garden and home products, etc, don’t we? Amazon affiliates direct their audience to products they recommend, and earn from qualifying purchases and programmes. While the commission rates aren’t great, Amazon is one of the most trusted brands out there, selling almost 400 million products and accounting for 43% of all US online retail sales. So used and disclosed correctly, it offers significant earnings potential for bloggers and content creators. Since I started using Super Affiliate Mom’s How to Effectively make Sales with Amazon Associates Super Affiliate Guide* I’ve seen my affiliate income start to rise and it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made. If you want to crack Amazon sales too, get your copy of How to Effectively Make Sales with Amazon Affiliate “Super Affiliate Guide* here.
AWIN* is another of my favourite affiliate marketing platforms. It’s basically a hub for over 15,000 brands, including leading names such as Etsy, Booking.com, Waterstones, White Company, and more. So something for every blogging niche, no matter how diverse. If you’d like to join AWIN you can do so here and, after you’ve been accepted, search for brands in your niche(s) and request to join their affiliate programmes. Once they accept you, you’re free to introduce the brands you love and their products and services to your audience 🙂
Image libraries and design resources
A picture tells a thousand words so, if you don’t have a suitable picture for your blog post already, then you’re bound to find one in an online image resource library.
Styled Stock Society* are my go-to for fabulous images. With over 4,000+ stock photos to choose from (and they add new collections every week) you can search by colour, by style, and even by people. They also offer over 800+ Canva customisable templates (think workbooks, Insta Story graphics, blog headers), monthly Instagram caption prompts, content planning resources, and more. I joined Styled Stock Society earlier this year, and I haven’t looked back. If you’re not sure about signing up for membership right away, they also offer a set of 20 images for FREE – although I think once you’ve seen their quality, you’ll find it hard to resist joining the club 🙂 Click here here to explore all the membership options – and don’t forget to download your freebies!
If memberships isn’t for you, how about these 350 photos from my amazing blog host, Lyrical Host? They’re an absolute bargain too at only £12.99 – I mean that’s less than 3p per photo – what’s not to love? If you’d like to take a look (or better yet, buy The Everything Pack *) here’s a link for you 🙂 Canva is a graphic design platform where you can create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content for free. Yes, that’s right, for FREE. You can use and edit their templates and photos, or upload your own via a simple drag and drop interface. Once you start creating pins for Pinterest (bear with me) you’ll find it invaluable. You can also go for a Pro plan (and access to 400,000 free photos, illustrations, and templates) if you wish, and that’s what I do now. But I was just fine on their free plan for the first couple of years of my blog.
If you don’t want to pay for images, Unsplash is one of the best royalty free stock photo libraries out there. I’ve also used Pexels and Pixabay, but I find I tend to use more from Unsplash. The only drawback from using too many free photos is that so does everyone else, so that’s why I buy mine now.
The single biggest lightbulb moment I had with Pinterest is that it’s not a social media platform. It’s a visual search engine (like Google Images). So keywords are equally as important as images. And the Pinterest with Ell Course and The Ultimate Pinterest Marketing Guide are the two most helpful Pinterest additions to my Resource Library. While both cover mainly the same ground, they each have tips that the other doesn’t. Want to learn how to set up your Pinterest account, boards, keywords, best pinning times, group boards, manual pinning, Tailwind scheduling and more? And grab a few free pin templates as well? These are the two best resources you need.
You can schedule your pins directly in Pinterest and most successful bloggers recommend this as manual pinning is favoured by Pinterest. However, it’s super time consuming, so if you want a shortcut, check out Tailwind which will allow you to upload and schedule as many pins as you can create. While the current Pinterest algorithm favours manual pinning, Tailwind is still a Pinterest approved partner. And, fun fact, you can connect your Instagram account and pin your Instagram pics to Pinterest from here too 🙂
So these are my favourite guides, eBooks, courses, and top tools that I swear by and couldn’t run my blog without. Do you use any of them? Are there any blogging resources that you love and that I need to add to my Resource Library? What do you use to help you run your blog?