Page updated on January 13, 2022
Need help starting your blog? Here is a list of products, services, and blogs I use and read to help get you started on your blogging journey.
Starting your blog
I have been using Siteground since 2004, and I have had 0 issues. I mean it, seriously, 0 issues from their end. The one time I did have a problem, it was one that I caused myself. I “oops-ed” my htaccess. I submitted a ticket, and I was helped right away by their epic support. Not only did he fix my error, but he also walked me through the steps he did to fix my oops.
Any time I have ever had any questions, they have gotten back to me within 5 minutes. I cannot say enough about the support I have received from them over the years. I also use Siteground for domain names.
If you click the link and sign up, I will get a free month, and you will get 60% off, with packages starting at $3.95 a month.
Once you have your hosting, you can download and install the standalone version of WordPress. WordPress is not just for blogging; you can use it as a content management system (CMS) and build a non-blog website using static pages.
If you are on Siteground, you can install WordPress onto your space with a click using their control panel.
Every website should have a CDN (Content Delivery Network). Speed matters. Create a free account on Cloudflare. Their support is top-notch; if you have any questions or need help, they are quick to respond. Cloudflare also has an extensive knowledge base for you to find your issue before the need to contact support arises. (Siteground no longer provides Cloudflare for you in your panel.)
Not sure what a CDN is? Read Why use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) at GTmetrix for more information.
MailChimp is an email marketing software. You can manage your subscribers, send newsletters, create landing pages, and automate your marketing.
Another benefit of MailChimp if you are starting out with a mailing list:
If you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. No expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.
You will need a valid psychical mailing address no matter what email marketing software you use. If you do not have an office you work out of that you can accept mail at; I suggest you get a P.O. Box. After dealing with a stalker, I DO NOT recommend you use your home address. Your address will show at the end of every email you send out. Stay safe, folks!
I use Photoshop for most of my graphics. Gimpshop is another option if you cannot or don’t want to pay for a program like Photoshop.
Free Graphic Programs
Gimpshop is based on the free program Gimp, coded to add functionality that Photoshop offers, and uses Photoshop brushes, filters, and plugins. Gimp and Gimpshop are open-source software, and you can get them free.
Canva is a simple to use drag and drop free graphic design tool that is browser supported. You do not need any graphic arts skills to use Canva; the learning curve is not as steep as the programs mentioned above. Even if you are a Photoshop Goddess, the ease of Canva makes creating graphics quick and easy.
Another benefit of Canva is that they keep up with the ever-changing sizes of headers for Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter. Canva has templates for many platforms waiting for your creative brain to come in and make them your own. Canva has a large selection of stock photos you can use, some for free and some for a fee.
Education Blogs About Blogging and Courses
- First Site Guide - How to Start a Blog in 2018. This page has changed since I originally included their link entitled "An Intro to Blogging." Nevertheless, the update is still informative and useful. The new guide goes into detail about why you should blog, discover your niche, and step-by-step instructions to install WordPress.
- Pat Flynn’s Build Your Own Brand - A Free 5-Day Challenge to Help You Build a Brand and Website You Can Be Proud Of. Pat Flynn is a wealth of information for bloggers. He has a podcast, a YouTube channel, a plethora of articles, and more courses just waiting for you to check out.
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