The Ultimate Blogging Resource Library at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | learn tips, tricks and tools to start a blog, build your mailing list, prepare to turn into your small biz, monetize your blog using affiliate marketing, sell ebooks, and more!

Blogging Resource Library

Entering the blogosphere can seem overwhelming at first. There is so much to learn, and so many options in terms of resources to help you successfully grow your blog and business.

If you are serious about blogging for business, you should definitely make the small investment to start a self-hosted blog. By starting your self-hosted blog with a monetization strategy immediately, you can also start earning money immediately. I personally recommend starting with affiliate marketing. This is the simplest way to earn passive income on your blog.

Now, how do you blog successfully? I put together a list of great blogging resources to help you build a great business! Don’t be afraid to bookmark this for later.

If you ever have any questions during your blogging journey, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I didn’t start blogging until the end of January, 2017, so trust me, I’ve been where you are! I’m learning the ropes as well, and I’m more than happy to help.

This post contains affiliate links to help keep this blog running.
To learn more about affiliate links, click here.

Get Started Blogging

Learn About Blogging

Essentials

  • Namecheap: Before you purchase hosting, buy your domain! You could find your domain at a cheaper cost than host sites here!
  • Siteground: A self-hosted blog is essential for those who want to monetize their blogs. You can buy a domain and hosting at Siteground with plans starting as low as $3.95 per month!
  • Google Analytics: Install Google Analytics on your website so that you can track accurate page views to your blog, your audience demographics, and even bounce rate. All this information not only helps you improve your website in the long run, but will be what companies will ask for when they want to work with you in the future.
  • Jaaxy: What’s great about Jaaxy is it tells you which keywords you should be using, and which may be a waste of your time. This is essential when it comes to improving your website’s search engine optimization! Simply type in keywords when you’re trying to brainstorm a headline and it will help you decide whether or not your headline will benefit you in the long run.

Monetize Your Blog

Affiliate marketing is one of the simplest ways to passively earn money from your blog. To learn more about affiliate marketing, read this in-depth article. Here are a few affiliate networks that connect you to brands in every niche:

  • Awin. Formerly Affiliate Window, Awin is hands down one of my favorite affiliate programs. Their interface is very easy to use, and they work with a variety of brands worldwide including Etsy and Fiverr. They ask for a $5 deposit to sign up, but you receive that back in its entirety with your first payment!
  • Share-a-Sale. Plenty of bloggers recommend Share-a-Sale because of the huge amount of brands they work with. Share-a-Sale also makes it very easy to create deep links to your affiliates’ products.
  • CJ Affiliates. CJ Affiliates has a huge database of brands you can work with, for bloggers in every niche.
  • Maven. Just like Pinterest but on steroids. You can pin products to boards and share the boards on social media. Then, if someone purchases from your board, you get a commission!
  • Flexoffers. Another huge affiliate program, Flexoffers is a must-join! They work with advertisers in travel, beauty, business, career… the list goes on! No matter what your niche, you’re sure to find partners here.

You can also monetize your blog by showcasing advertisements on your website!

  • Media.netIf your blog is populated with articles, and you want to implement advertisements on your website, try Media.net! They even give you an extra 10% of the revenue you earn for the first three months if you use my link.

Alternatively, you can join networks to connect with companies and write sponsored posts.

  • Linqia. If you have at least 1,500 followers on Facebook or Twitter, use Linqia to connect with campaigns that companies run. You can find sponsored post opportunities here!

Grow Your Reach: Social Media

  • Boardbooster: I love Boardbooster! You can use Boardbooster to strategically schedule your pins onto other boards, including group boards. With Boardbooster, it’s easy to start customizing how many times per day you want your pins to be posted onto a group board. You can even use Boardbooster’s looping feature to repin your own pins to your boards (so that your followers can see it). Then, Boardbooster recognizes which pin has more engagement, and removes the one with less. Their plans start as low as $5 per month. But first, use this free trial to try Boardbooster with your first 100 pins
  • Tailwind: Tailwind is perfect for scheduling both yours, and others’, pins onto Pinterest boards. You can join Tailwind Tribes at no additional cost! They are basically groups where you can add your pins to be repinned by others… and then find others pins to repin onto your own board! Since Pinterest encourages you to post others’ content, this is a great way to find repinnable content in your niche. Use this free trial to try Tailwind and get your first 100 pins free!
  • PlanolyPlanoly has a beautifully designed interface for scheduling your Instagram posts. You can access Planoly from your desktop, or your phone. It has a calendar that displays your latest posts, Instagram comments, and likes. It shows you photos that are scheduled and unscheduled and gives you access to detailed analytics so you can easily gauge which kinds of photos draw in the most interaction from your audience. Start using Planoly’s 15 day free trial now!
  • Pinterest Group Boards: Oftentimes, others ask for the secret to reaching others on Pinterest. The secret is quite simple: Pinterest group boards. I highly recommend joining Pinterest group boards related to your niche! However, I do have a ‘general’ group board accepting contributors here. Make sure you follow each group board’s rules! Read this guide to learn more about promoting your blog via Pinterest.

Marketing & Growth

  • Mailerlite: If you are serious about blogging, you will not regret starting and maintaining an email list. You don’t have to send out newsletters daily or even weekly. But, it’s important you start growing your email list so you can connect with your readers! What happens if someone stumbles upon your post, loves it, but chooses not to follow you on social media? You just lost a potential dedicated reader. For your first 1,000 email subscribers, it’s free to sign up with Mailerlite.
  • SendOwl: Use SendOwl to securely sell and send digital products, like your brilliantly written eBooks! Honestly. All you have to do is take a little bit of time to upload your products, and SendOwl takes care of the rest! You can even start using SendOwl free for the first 30 days.
  • Memberpress: Do you have a huge collection of stock photos, templates, or other content for your readers? Memberpress is the best option for building an exclusive membership area on your website. Your readers can pay for access to your best and exclusive content using Memberpress. You can even create different payment plans, allowing you to choose which content your readers can see based on their subscription plan. Check out Memberpress now!

Themes & Customization

  • Theme ForestThemeForest has a huge marketplace for WordPress themes. It’s pretty easy to navigate the site – if you hover over an image, it shows you a preview of what the theme looks like!
  • Etsy: I actually purchased my theme from Etsy! You will find a wide array of WordPress themes and custom website logos at Etsy.
  • Cityhousedesign: More specifically, I purchased my theme from Cityhousedesign. She has affordable, professional, minimal themes in her Etsy shop. With the purchase of these themes, you get very quick and thorough support!
  • MyThemeShopFind a variety of themes at MyThemeShop, whether you are using your website for your photography portfolio, or starting a blog!
  • Fiverr: The Fiverr marketplace is a great way to look for and buy affordable and customizable website logos, help on search engine optimization, virtual assistant tasks, and even proofreading help!
  • Ivorymix: Do you love stock photos? Ivorymix is the place! It’s also a great resource for tutorials and worksheets related to blogging!
  • Photodune: Another great resource for stock photos is Photodune! They start as low as $2, but the best part is the parent company offers monthly freebies! Definitely check out their stellar quality stock photos.
  • Canva: You can use Canva to create a blog logo, media kit, social media images, and most importantly, Pinterest images!
  • PicmonkeySimilar to Canva, Picmonkey is a great online photo editor. You can edit and touch up photos and then create a beautiful design for your images.

WordPress Plug-Ins

There are so many plugins you can use to customize your blog. These are the my favorite plugins that I consider essential to my blog!

  • Yoast SEOThis plug-in is essential for every blogger! While it takes some time to rank on search engines, the Yoast SEO plug-in helps optimize your posts. Search Engine Optimization is one thing I feel doesn’t come naturally to bloggers (or maybe it does), so using this tool helps naturalize the process for you. As you write posts, this plug-in gives you advice on how you can improve both SEO and readability.
  • jQuery PinIt: With this plugin, your readers can hover over your images and see a “Pin It” icon. It makes your images easily pinnable! Since Pinterest is the main driver of traffic for most blogs, I consider this plugin essential for those who want to succeed.
  • Pretty Link: Pretty Link turns your long, ugly affiliate or referral links into pretty ones! It allows your to track how many times your links have been clicked. I like to put notes regarding my commission rates for each link using Pretty Link, too.
  • W3 Total Cache: Do you ever try to load a website, and close it if its loading time is far too long? It’s amazing how slow your loading time could be without this plugin! You don’t have to do anything except install W3 Total Cache, and your site load time improves! You should not be losing potential readers because of slow loading times.

Toolkit

  • iPhone 6. I use my iPhone 6 to take my photos, edit them, and keep up with social media updates or emails. I also use the smartphone app VSCO to create beautiful images.
  • Macbook Air. This is where I get nerdy. Because I also primarily use my iPhone 6 to take and edit my photos, having a Macbook Air really improves my productivity. All I have to do is use Airdrop to transfer photos from one device to the other! The process takes a matter of seconds.
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini. I get dual use from my Fujifilm Instax Mini. Not only does it take cute polaroid-esque photos, but it is also one of my favorite props to put into photos!
  • Discbound Planner. I go everywhere with my customizable discbound planner (1) (2). It’s an investment great for the environment because you keep the planner each year and only replace the inserts. So, you can select which one works best for you. I like to see the month as a whole when I plan, so I use this monthly calendar for 2017. This particular designer also sells weekly inserts and to-do lists, and they’re gorgeous! 

Aloha!

How to Use VSCO to Create Beautiful Images for Your Brand @ KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | instagram, vsco, photo, filters, brand, branding

Thanks for reading! Want to learn more about me and my passion to inspire? Click here, I’d love to get to know you!

Do you think I’m missing anything? Do you have any follow-up questions? Please feel free to contact me!

Or, connect with me on any of the social media platforms below!

       

The Ultimate Blogging Resource Library at KristaAoki.com, a lifestyle & travel blog | learn tips, tricks and tools to start a blog, build your mailing list, prepare to turn into your small biz, monetize your blog using affiliate marketing, sell ebooks, and more!
Share: