Blogging Resources

Blogging Resources

When I first started creating my blog is was much easier said than done. There’s so many options, tools and resources to choose from. Of course I had no idea which to choose from nor what I really needed. For me, it’s been an ongoing learning process … as technology changes, as my blog grows and I offer more to my readers, I constantly have to evaluate the resources I’m currently using. At first I found this completely overwhelming ( vs Seriously. not. the. same. thing. WTF?), but now I find the whole technology piece kind of exciting.

Below is my list of blogging resources that I’m currently using and have found the most success with. I hope this is helpful to all of you current and future bloggers! Love to hear your feedback on any of the resources you use!


Building a Framework: I found Abby’s blog through Pinterest about a year ago and loved her writing style. I first purchased her Starter Package ebook. I was hooked. Her information was so easy to follow and I appreciated that it was written for those who wasn’t tech savvy in the world of blogs. I really resonated with her story of having little confidence in her blog that she didn’t show her friends or family at first. Loved the ebook so much that I upgraded to her Master Package that includes video tutorials (being a visual person, these were super helpful). Added awesome bonus is that whenever she updates her ebooks, I’ll always receive an updated version.

How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul: I learned about Ruth (author) from seeing her online blogging course referenced by so many bloggers, The price was a little steep for me and registration wasn’t yet open, so I opted for her book. I can only imagine what the course is like because the book amazing. Every page is filled with great content and tips. No BS filler pages. I could barely take notes because I’d basically be rewriting the book. Yeah, you can say that I’m a fan.


Media Temple: This is the only hosting site I’ve used (although there’s MANY to choose from!) and it’s been working great for me so far. I’ve only had to call their customer service a couple times, one for a really stupid question and then one for a really stupid error on my part that turned in to a really technical coding question. Both times they were extremely helpful. I selected Media Temple after some digging on what other bloggers were using and it seems to be the industry standard with medium to large size blogs. I like that it has various packages based on my blog size & page views, which means someone like me who is just starting off can stay with Media Temple as my blog (hopefully) grows. The idea of switching hosting sites doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun Friday night 🙂 . So choose wisely for your hosting site!

Does this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, it did for me too! I created a step by step guide to help you through setting up your own blog!

Studio Press Genesis Framework: Once you have a hosting site, you’ll need a framework in order to build your site. The Genesis Framework is a very common option and supports ‘responsive themes’, meaning it will look great on mobile devices. Admittedly I didn’t do a lot of research on other frameworks once I realized the popularity of the Genesis Framework (I had no desire to go rouge on something I knew nothing about). It’s popular for a reason!

Pretty Darn Cute Theme: The last piece to the puzzle is your theme. Think of a theme as the aesthetics of your blog. You’ve got our hosting site and framework and now you need to make it pretty. To me, this was the fun part! I’d compare it to going to a party: you’ve got the invite (hosting site), you know the dress code (framework) and now you get to pick your outfit (theme). OK, this is a stretch, but you get the idea. So many of the Pretty Darn Cute themes matched the style I was looking for that it was actually hard to choose (I was going for simple and clean). The tutorials and suggested plug-ins were incredibly helpful to a rookie like me. Also, all these themes are ‘responsive’ meaning it looks great on mobile apps.


Buffer: I use three social media “helpers”. For Twitter I use Buffer, which allows me to draft my tweets in advance and Buffer will then publish them at a future time. I use the free option with allows me to draft up to 10 posts at a time. I can customize WHEN the tweets will post, but I opted to go with Buffer’s suggested times, as I’m NO expert in this field. There’s both an app on web version, but I find myself most often using the web option.

Publish: The second “helper” I use is Publish for Instagram. This also allows you to draft your pics & descriptions ahead of time, yet it will not actually post in your Instagram account for you. Instead it will give you a message on your phone when your pic is scheduled to post. (The inability to post automatically is due to Instagram’s API, not Publish.)

Viraltag: Viraltag is the final helper that I use.  This tool publishes all my posts to Pinterest for me so that I can continually be moving my new and old posts out through my boards and my group boards without spamming everyone with a zillion pins going out at the same time. Admittedly at first, I didn’t think this was necessary (and that I could build some badass spreadsheet to track when and where to push each pin). The reality the only fun part was building that badass spreadsheet because the tedious task of managing so many different posts was beyond ridiculous. The cost is $30 (again I was hesitant), but I became a huge fan.  There’s a 14 day free trial. At minimum, it’s worth trying out for free. Plus if you purchase through my link, you’ll get a $15 credit.


Font Bundles: I had always been nervous to venture in to the world of purchasing fonts. Sounds totally confusing, expensive and time consuming. That was until I stumbled upon Font Bundles. From my research, this is pretty much the cheapest & most straight forward way to buy fonts. I like that they offer font packages, meaning I can purchase a group of fonts, sometimes up to 30 or so for roughly $30. This was really beneficial because it allowed me to search through many different fonts to pick which I like best for the given project I’m working on. (I used Font Bundles for my logo) Also, there’s no ‘catch’. Often when purchasing fonts, you’ll have to pay annually and have tons of weird stipulations on when/where you can use the fonts. Font Bundles doesn’t have any of that.


My Camera: I have a Canon PowerShot G16 12.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera (longest camera name ever). I opted to purchase the bundle back with the tripod and other accessories because the cost was only marginally more and I knew the tripod would come in handy. (It has!) I’m in no way a photography expert, but this camera seemed to be complex but simple enough for me, if that makes sense.

iPhone: admittedly a lot of my pictures just come from my iPhone. I used to think that good photos could never come from a phone, but I’ve been happily surprised on what I’ve been able to do with my iPhone 5S, especially with the built in photo filter options. Plus, the reality is I always forget to take my camera with me. So there’s that 🙂 .

VSCOcam: A step up from just using the standard iPhone filters is the VSCOcam app. A friend introduced me to this when I begged her for her secret in her beautiful facebook photos. My #nofilter hashtag as officially gone out the window.

Picmonkey: This photo editing site also allows me to add wording right on to my photos (think Pinterest Pins). Really nice ‘two for one’! It’s free, but I opted to go with the paid option ($33/year) due to the additional font styles & editing options. I’m barely tipping the iceberg on the functionality of Picmonkey. You’ll definitely want to have a way to edit your photos on your computer and add wording. If you’re already a sophisticated photography, you may need something more advanced. But for a rookie like me, this works perfectly.


Akismet: This is a very very popular plug-in for combating spam in your post comments. I forget I even have this plug-in, which means it’s absolutely doing it’s job.

Send Email Only on Reply to My Comment: This sends an email to the person who commented on your blog once you reply to their comment so that they don’t have to remember to continually check your blog to see if you responded. Ummm GENIUS.

Favicon by RealFaviconGenerator: A favicon is the icon associated with a URL that is displayed in the browser bar (don’t worry, I had to google this too). I wanted to change mine from what my Theme provided. Thus mine is now a heart shape. Super easy as you simply upload your new icon into the plug-in.

Genesis eNews Extended: If you’re collecting contact information to do a mailing list/newsletter, I highly recommend this plug-in. I use this at the top of my site. It’s essentially the link between my mailchip (email marketing software) and my site.

JQuery Pin It Button For Images: As we all know Pinterest is king for lifestyle bloggers. So it goes without saying you need to pin your posts. This will create an automatic ‘pin it’ button and link to all your photos. I specifically like JQuery because it was really easy to upload a customized ‘pin it’ button, as I wanted mine to be black and white as opposed to the standard Pinterest red.

PopUp Ally Pro: Popups are a HUGE way to increase your email lists, but also your social media accounts (I’m currently running a popup on my blog asking my visitors to like my Facebook account). PopUp Ally is the industry standard for website popups. They have a free version that’s great. I just recently started paying for their pro version, which provides responsive smart phone popups (aka- the pop up is formatted in a nice version for an iphone user). Since over 80% of my pageviews come from visitors on their smart phones, this was a no brainer for me. PopUp Ally “pro” has a 21 day trial period at no cost, so it’s worth testing out even if you don’t want to pay for it afterwards. Remember, email lists are crucial to blog growth, so make sure you’re collecting those emails from the start!


So I obviously pride myself on being organized, but let tell you, starting a blog was overwhelming. I think it was all the NEW information and things I needed to research. I’m a paperless gal, so putting all my information and to-do lists in an online form is second nature to me. Personally I’ve been using Evernote for quite a long time (for my day job and personal), so I just added a new ‘notebook’ for blogging. Now starting to use Evernote is NOT for the faint of heart. Totally worth it in my opinion but takes some getting used to. If you’re pretty tech savvy, you can learn it on your own, but a couple of blogging friends of mine have recommended this guide. Microsoft has their version called OneNote. Being from Microsoft homeland (Seattle), I know LOTS of people who swear by OneNote. I had just started using Evernote years ago and got too used to it to try a different option.

Google: To keep my blogging separate (and organized), I created a separate Google account which provided me with an email address (thecrazyorganizedblog{at}gmail{dot}com), Google+ account (which I haven’t done anything with it yet), and calendar. The calendar feature is where I plot out all my future posts so that I make sure I know what will be posted for the coming months. Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE (not as much as I love coffee, but close) their survey feature in Google. I’ve used it for creating surveys for my readers. It’s basic but really easy to use.


MailChimp: I had used MailChimp at work so I was familiar with it and to be honest, at this point I couldn’t handle any new technology.  So by default I went with MailChimp for my newsletter. Later I did do some researching to find out what others were using and fortunately MailChimp seemed to be the leader! Probably because the user interface is really clean and easy. Also, it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers. Once you get more there’s a tier based pricing model, but that’s probably a good problem to have :).

Crazy Organized

Blogging Resources

Some of the links in this list are affiliate links. It doesn’t cost you any extra, but I earn a little commission if you decide to purchase. Regardless of whether or not I receive a commission, I only recommend products that I personally use and genuinely recommend. And all of the blogging resources above are ones I’m currently using NOW! Thanks for helping support my blog!