When you are first starting out blogging it can be overwhelming to even know where to start or what to do. You may not know that there is a multitude of free resources to help you get started on your blogging journey. (see my Free resources tab on the Menu) and you may be torn to know which advice to follow.
I never would have thought that starting our blogging career with extensive tech knowledge would be a downside. But, the thing is since I have the technical abilities, I did not have to look for help on how to start our blogs. I just set them up and published.
I had no idea about SEO, using Pinterest, or the best ways to attract readers and traffic. But, now I do.
Thanks greatly in part to finding honest and super helpful blogging Facebook groups.
These are the Facebook groups you really need to join. Make sure to follow the rules, as this is what keeps the groups amazing.
- Blogging Like We Mean It.
- Blogger Education Network
- Blogging for New Bloggers
- Blogging Newbs
- WP Blogger Assist Questions
It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Carly’s. Her courses on Pinterest and Affiliate Marketing have made the biggest impact on our blogging journey thus far. Her down to earth style and Facebook lives share real value with you on a regular basis.
Through this group I got to know many other bloggers. There are no sharing threads – this is actually strongly discouraged and if you ask on the wall or search the group, you will quickly find out why.
I met Tracie through reading her helpful comments to other bloggers in Carly’s group. She was always adding value. Tracie also offers blog coaching services and has a heart to help other bloggers. She has been blogging for more than 10 years. If you are not in her group, you need to join it.
Lucrezia and Marina run a tight ship over at Blogging for New Bloggers, with a group of over 20,000 members and many more wanting to join daily. They offer excellent advice and their group is very active and helpful. Lucrezia is a lawyer and holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in International and EU Law, and has legal policy template package available to help you take care of the legal side of blogging.
Marina is a Pinterest Pro too. You can see her course Pinterest for New Bloggers (Premium Edition), here.
McKenzie’s Facebook group Blogging Newbs is also over 20,000 members strong and very active. She has a very successful blogging career and retired her husband. I really admire McKenzie and her accomplishments. It is my and Shawn’s goal to both work from home together.
This is my own Facebook group that I am growing this group to offer you technical and practical blogging advice in our small, but growing community. You are welcome to join us.
Tools Every Blogger Needs
Have you heard of Project 24 by Income School? You can check them out here:
Project 24 – Income School, these guys are on YouTube and share awesome, helpful videos to get you building a money making blog. They have just released an awesome theme called “Acabado”, which is super fast, and is optimized for SEO, and so much more!
AppSumo offers huge discounts and often lifetime deals on products that will help make your blogging easier. Before you make the jump to make a purchase, check if there is current offer on AppSumo.
I use Crello for a lot of my Social Images and Pinterest Pins – including Video Pins. Their library is a huge hit. I was able to get in on their lifetime deal by searching AppSumo. Its no longer available, but they have a big discount on the yearly purchase. Definitely check it out.
Affiliate Programs to Join
Share-a-sale is one of the largest networks of affiliate programs to connect Affiliates with Merchants to advertise awesome products you already love to your audience.
Of course the Amazon Affiliate Program.
Personal Development or Relationship Niche:
Change SOS is the Personal Development program by Mort Fertel.
Paint by Number for Adults, great for stress relief posts or mental health niche by Winnie Picks
Analytics and Tracking
I just love when I stumble onto new tools, don’t you? Things that make blogging easier or a new way to do something.
Jennifer Ledbetter shared this awesome tool. That allows you to add tracking code to your blog post links, Campaign URL Builder. You know how I mention I am a huge fan of Carly’s, she’s a huge fan of Jennifer’s. Both share amazing tips to help you get the most traffic out of Pinterest.
I use the campaign tool to generate the links before I share a post on Facebook, so I can actually see which posts on Facebook are sending me traffic, rather than the referrer source just being Facebook.com — oh so frustrating isn’t it, when the full referrer just shows the site and not the actual link or page that is sending you traffic. I wish all big sites would do the same as Pinterest and send us the full referrer link to our analytics.
See my post here to setup your Google Analytics if you haven’t done this yet.
She also has an amazing Facebook group, but the only way to join is to sign up for her Pinterest Course Pin Test Playbook to gain access.
WordPress Caching Plugin
Many premium hosts like SiteGround or BigScoots will provide their own website optimizations for you. But, if you are on another host or if your host’s speed optimization is not top notch, then I highly recommend that you check out WP Rocket. This affordable plugin is fully featured to speed up your WordPress website.
If you are undecided are considering changing hosts. NameCheap’s EasyWP hosting is secure and fast and very affordable. A great choice for non-techie bloggers who want something that is ready to go for WordPress hosting.
Styling and Design
Need help matching CSS Colors for your post or image? Check out Color Hexa.
See this blog post for tutorials on using Crello, Canva and Stencil.
Have you taken Kara Fidds free design courses she includes templates you can use to make professional looking opt-ins to grow your subscriber list.
Related: Have you setup the Facebook Pixel?
Templates help you to save so much time in getting your blog and social media images ready to share. They are made by designers who know which colors work to increase engagement and get the clicks that drive traffic.
Kara Fidd’s The Product Creators Ultimate Toolbox, includes: 15 different product styles and over 320+ pages of product templates allow you to design every type of product imaginable! and so much more.
Yolanda has Editable Templates for Canva 10 Feminine Pinterest Templates. Use coupon code: WPBlogger_10 for 10% off either DIY 10 Pretty template & DIY 25 Pin Templates.
Also, if you are Canadian, you should check out Yolanda’s facebook group, Canadian Bloggers Unite
Free Graphical Editors
Both Crello and Stencil have WordPress plugins that integrate into the Media Library and allow you edit your WordPress photos directly in their respective applications.
All three offer the option to share to Social Media directly.
Grammarly checks your grammar as you type. It is a must for bloggers who are not strong in grammar (like me).
Motion Mail App can be used to add a count down timer to email campaign. It may even be possible to add the countdown timer to your blog post, I am still looking into this one more. But, just had to include it on the list.
Mail Subscription Services
Mailerlite is free for the first 1000 subscribers, you can create different optin forms for different groups of subscribers and set up several automations, to fit your needs. It is a fully functional mail subscription service. You can even add a count down timer on the free plan.
If you need help with getting setup on Mailerlite and configuring your automations check out my services page, I can help you over a remote screen share session and show you how to get started.
Check out Answer the Public to get a list of ideas on different topics that people are searching for. Brainstorm your next post idea.
You will want to make sure that your site is secure. I highly recommend the Wordfence Security Plugin. Wordfence is a firewall and malware scanner. It protects your site from brute force attacks and so much more, the free version works well. The paid version even better. I love the live traffic feature in Wordfence. Gives so much info to help you keep your site secure.
There are other great security plugins out there too, but Wordfence is my favorite.
Even if your host does backups for you, it is important to have your own backups of your site. Stored somewhere offsite. I use Updraft Plus and store the backups on Google Drive. Instructions here.
AntiSpam Bee is a free comment anti spam plugin that is fully GDPR compliant.
The Shortpixel plugin has the best image compression that I have seen in a plugin for a very affordable price. They only offer the first 100 images free, which is not enough to make a difference on site speed, so make sure to pick up at least a small package of one time credits to get your site images all compressed.
Speaking of site speed, see this post on other plugins to make your site faster
I prefer the SEO Framework, SEO plugin. This one sets all your open graph and social meta tags for you and configures schema breadcrumbs. You can test your post against multiple keywords to make sure you are sprinkling those keywords in a manner that Google understands and it is completely free. No paid version.
However, it seems almost every new blogger uses Yoast SEO plugin. This is a decent plugin for SEO and will help you to set your social images and descriptions meta tags, as well as give you a guide for checking the keywords on your post. It is very newbie friendly.
Header Footer Code Manager. I love this plugin, because there is so much you can do with it. You can add your disclosure before post content on all posts. You can use it to add the Sticky Header Opt-in Bar, you can add your Facebook or Pinterest Pixel, Google Analytics code.
Insert Headers and Footers. This one is very basic and just has 2 boxes. One for your headers code and one for footers code.
The easiest method to modify your Header/Footer code is to use a headers or footers plugin. These are lightweight and you don’t lose your code if you change themes.
There are many sharing plugins out there. Most add extra unnecessary code that slows down your site. We use the Social Pug Free sharing icons because they are lightweight and look decent on our site. Their paid version has lots of extra features too.
PS. If your using the floating sharing icons on the left side of your page, there is a good chance that they are covering the first part of the sentences on some screens. This is very frustrating as a reader.
If you are using Siteground or another host that has the staging feature (like Lyrical host), in the cPanel, then you can very easily create a test or development (dev) site for your WordPress blog to test changes before you go live. This feature is awesome and is ready in just a few minutes too.
There is a WordPress plugin for those whose hosts do not provide this feature, WP Staging, that will create a staging site for you to test and play around too, without breaking your site.
For this is really great to test out other themes and plugins when someone needs help to solve an issue or needs quick instructions or screenshots.
Places to share your Posts
If you can find Facebook groups specific to your niche and engage with the group offering good advice and building relationships, you can share your posts in the group (make sure this is ok under the group rules). Building the relationship first helps to get approval too.
Pinterest is awesome to get traffic started on new blogs. It still takes some time, but the first few viral pins sending extra traffic to your site is exhilarating. Make sure to take a few free courses first so you setup your account right from the start for better success as mentioned above.
You can save and share your links on Pocket.
You can post new blog posts or share one of your current posts on Medium.com, you can join their program too and earn some money on locked posts that readers must be a paid subscriber to read.
Mix.com is the replacement for StumbleUpon. It is still a growing community.
Web Talk, another new community, a bit of a mix between LinkedIn and Facebook.
Know other unique networks, feel free to share them in the comments.
Well that about sum’s up this post
Check back regularly, I’ll be updating this post with more resources as I find them. If you see something I’ve missed, share it in the comments below.