I started Kidsumers in 2010 with the intention of reviewing products and maybe earning an income. The only real blogger resources we had back then were each other, but we figured it out. In 2013 I quit my full-time job to be a full-time blogger. I have had the opportunity to review products, earn an income, build a portfolio and have some incredible experiences. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme and does require regular work and commitment in order to build a business, if that is your goal. These blogger resources are primarily for those who are starting a blog as a business, but there is information for everyone.
The lists below are simply that, lists. For more detailed information on becoming a professional blogger, stay tuned for my first ebook, Blogging 101.
Determine Your Goals
There are many reasons to start a blog, and knowing your purpose will influence every other blogging decision you make. Here are some of the possible reasons you may want to start a blog:
- To chronicle a journey: this may be a site to document an illness, journal a trip, record personal incidences, keep family and friends updated on a situation or just keep a personal diary online.
- As a hobby: many people start blogs because they enjoy writing
- To earn an income: expecting an income in the early days of blogging may be unrealistic, but many people pay the bills through blogging. Like any business, it takes some time and planning.
- To review products: Product reviews are a frequently found on blogs, with beauty, fashion, children’s items and household supplies being commonly tested and reviewed.
- To build a portfolio: Writers and photographers often use blogs to showcase their past work and attract new clients.
- For new experiences: New bloggers probably aren’t going to find themselves being shuttled around the world on trips, but those who put the time and work into their brand can absolutely have experiences like this.
- To sell products: Dropshippers, crafters, creators, graphic designers, authors and almost every other brand can use a blog to attract customers and sell their products.
Choosing a Name and Domain
For some, this is the most challenging part of starting a blog. You want a name that is memorable, easy to spell, not already in use and has appropriate social media handles available. You want your name to represent what your blog is about. Let’s take my name, Kidsumers, as an example.
- When my blog started, Kidsumers (a play on the word ‘consumers’) was an excellent representation of my goals. I wanted to review family related products.
- Kidsumers is not being used by anyone else, so I have brand recognition.
- The name is always available on every new platform.
- Kidsumers is very often mistaken for Kid Summers.
- While I originally owned kidsumers.com, I let it go years before I started by blog and despite it not being used, I have not been able to get it back, so I use kidsumers.ca instead. This could limit my participation in some campaigns, although I can not confirm this.
- The blog has evolved over the years and the name may not accurately represent the current topics and goals.
When choosing your name, search online and on each social media channel to see if it is being used. It is okay to use a similar name as someone else, if your topics and audience will not overlap. For instance, two lifestyle blogs with similar names will cause confusion with readers and possibly lose traffic for both. Be unique.
You may have to choose short forms or variances on your name for social media, such as substituting the number 2 for the word ‘to’ or hyphenating words.
Buy your domain and use it for your blog from day one. Free domains that end in wordpress.com or blogger.com, etc do not gain the same traction in search engines. I use Godaddy.com for purchasing domains.
This post contains affiliate links, below.
When starting a blog, keep in mind that most free platforms own the content and are within their rights to delete at any time if they feel you are violating their terms of service.
- Blogger – a free blogging platform. Check the terms and conditions before attempting to share sponsored content on this platform.
- Caringbridge – a free platform for sharing health journals.
- Medium – a free writing platform. Ads are not permitted.
- Squarespace – a free platform with pre-built templates.
- Tumblr – a free platform that is often geared towards videos, memes and photos.
- Weebly – primarily for product sales.
- Wix – free and hosted options available.
- WordPress.com – a free platform that does not permit ads or sponsored content.
- WordPress.org – the most popular blog platform. This requires a host, but allows the most versatility in design and content. This is what Kidsumers uses.
- Godaddy – I have not used their hosting services and can not offer any information.
- Hostgator – I used Hostgator for many years and was pleased with the how the service worked and the admin section, but the tech support was not great.
- Bluehost – I have not used their hosting services and can not offer any information.
- HostingEh – I switched to HostingEh a little over a year ago. Not only is it the most affordable service I’ve used, it has quick and effective tech support and good communication.
If you self-host with wordpress.org, you will need a theme. You can start out using the free themes provided, or look at some other options available to you, some ideas listed below.
- Divi – (part of Elegant Themes) This allows you to build your site just as you would like it, but it isn’t the most user friendly service and is not a good choice for beginners.
- Studiopress – Genesis and the Studiopress themes are good for beginners and advanced users. There are many different theme types to choose from.
- Akismet Anti-spam
- Google Analytics
- Really Simple SSL
- WP Supercache
- Yoast SEO
- 3c Consulting
- Amazon Influencer Program
- Best Buy
- Blog Meets Brand
- Brand Connection
- Clever Girls
- Diamond Bloggers
- Find Your Influence
- Influence Central
- Massive Sway
- Mom It Forward
- Megan Media
- Social Fabric
- Social Native
- Team Click
- Yummy Mummy Club
Helpful Apps & Programs
There are many blogger resources in the form of software and apps. Some are free, some have a one-time fee and others come with a monthly subscription fee. Below is a list of programs and apps that are often used by bloggers.
- Canva – for creating graphics
- Freshbooks – bookkeeping
- Hashtracking – creates reports from hashtags, great for twitter parties.
- Hootsuite – manage your social media in one place
- InShot – app for video editing
- Misslinglettr – create year-long drip campaigns from blog posts
- Picmonkey – edit photos and create graphics
- Post Planner – schedule content on social media
- Shopify – ecommerce software that works on IG and Facebook as well
- Snapseed – app for photo editing
- Tailwind – Pinterest and IG scheduler
- Tweetdeck – great for attending twitter parties
- Wave – free invoicing and bookkeeping
- Woocommerce – ecommerce software
Conferences can be some of the best blogger resources out there because they provide you with the opportunity to speak face to face with other bloggers, brands and experts. Here are a few conferences that I am aware of.
- Disney Social Media Moms
- Mom 2.0
- Social Media on the Sand
- Travel Media Showcase (TMS)
- Type A
- Women in Travel Summit (WITS)
The links in this post are for informational purposes and are not personal recommendations for the listed services.
Have another resource to share? Leave it in the comments.