I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now (since 2013–wow!) and over that time, I’ve discovered and used plenty of resources and tools to help me blog. Some have been okay. Some have been downright terrible. A select few have been seriously great, and those are the resources that I’m going to be sharing with you today.
When I started out blogging, I thought I had to do it all myself. I had no idea that there were so many epic, helpful tools and resources out there. Since then, I’ve weeded through hundreds of them to create a list of my go-to resources and tools to make your blog even more amazing. I wasn’t sure if I should share this with you or not, but I’ve seen so many tweets and comments from book bloggers who don’t know where to find great blogging resources, so I’ve decided to post this list for you to look through and use as a guide.
I’m covering all aspects of book blogging, so this list will be long! You can search through the headings to get to a section that you’re interested in, or you can read through the entire list.
A Small Orange – A Small Orange is the web host for my other blog, Fierce Blogging, and I seriously love them! They have plans starting at only $2.95/ month (that’s only $35 for an entire year–basically the cost of two books). If you’re looking to move your site to WordPress self-hosted soon, you definitely want to check them out. They also have amazing customer service (like, I can send them a question and get a helpful reply in 5 minutes). If you want to learn how to set your site up with A Small Orange, you can read my step-by-step tutorial here.
Bluehost – Bluehost is another great web host! They also come highly recommended in the blogosphere. If you’re worried about the technical aspect of setting up a blog, Bluehost has 1-click WordPress install, so you can get your site up and running in just a few minutes. Their plans are also incredibly reasonably priced.
IPage- IPage is my current web host for Bookish Serendipity. Their interface is easy to navigate, and I’ve never encountered any problems with them (plus, the customer service is very prompt). They also have a great deal running right now– just $1.99/ month to host your blog, which is pretty great!
PS. If you want to move your blog to WordPress self-hosted, I’m here to help! Just shoot me an email or DM and I can answer any questions or even walk you through the entire process.
Graphics & Design
Creative Market– Creative Market is a great place for finding cool design elements and everything from blog designs to fonts to illustrations to photos and more. Every month, they also offer a giant bundle of amazing design things (valued over $1000) for just $39. Their latest, March Big Bundle , is available for the next 15 hours only, so hop over there and check it out right away!
Unsplash – Unsplash is one of my favourite places to go for free stock photos. I create a graphic to go along with each of my blog posts, and Unsplash is often the place I find the pictures.
Kaboompics – Kaboompics is my latest stock photography obsession. While Unsplash tends to have more nature-y pictures, Kaboompics has a really great variety of free photos available. I just found out about this site a couple of weeks ago, but I’m a little bit obsessed!
Canva – Why did it take me this long to find out about Canva? It’s my new go-to tool for creating and editing blog graphics. Plus, it’s free!
Tweak Me theme – If you haven’t already heard of the Tweak Me theme, you need to check it out. The Tweak Me theme is very popular in the book blogosphere, and offers so many options to customize it (no coding knowledge needed!) It’s easy to customize it to be exactly how you want it to be, and offers lifetime support.
Nose Graze – Need a fun, unique WordPress theme for your book blog? The Nose Graze store has got your back. I bought my very first WordPress theme from Nose Graze, and the store has so many great other themes for bloggers (it’s also run by Ashley, a book blogger and WordPress guru)!
Bluchic – Bluchic is where I purchased the WordPress theme that I’m currently using for my other website. I use the Jacqueline Theme, and I love it! Bluchic has a great selection of stunning feminine WordPress themes, so if you’re looking for a pretty, versatile design you definitely want to check it out.
Buffer– Scheduling some of my social media content (like tweeting out links to blog posts, etc) has been so helpful, and Buffer handles that all for you. I often use Hootsuite for this, but I’ve recently set up a Buffer account and I’ve fallen in love! Seriously, if you want to schedule some of your social media content, check this out.
Vistaprint– Vistaprint is a printing service that allows you to design, upload and have your own business cards printed (I used them to create mine). If you frequently attend book events or send off giveaway prizes, you might want to invest in some excellent business cards for your blog!
Mailchimp – Mailchimp is what I used to set up my blog newsletter and to send blog posts to subscribers. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers, and is incredibly easy to set up and use. You can read my post about using Mailchimp here.
Evernote – Oh my gosh, Evernote is such a lifesaver. It’s a (free) online tool that allows you to create notes, set reminders for yourself, organize your ideas, and more. It also syncs your content across all devices, which is so helpful. I just started using it earlier this, but it has been so valuable so far. I can start drafting a blog post on the bus and hop on the computer when I get home to finish it up, and have my work already ready on the desktop.
The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin– This plugin is seriously THE best plugin for book bloggers out there. According to the description, it automatically updates your review archive for you, grabs book descriptions directly from Goodreads, saves you so much time formatting your reviews, adds a Currently Reading widget to your sidebar, and so much more! Seriously, go check this out.
The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook – Okay, shameless self plug alert! I created The Fearless Book Blogger Workbook to help you get organized and create a vision for your book blog, and it is coming out April 19th 2016! Keep an eye out for updates about this.
Books About Blogging
I highly recommend that you check out at least one of these book below. They’re really helpful for bloggers, and are absolutely packed with good advice.
Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community– Okay, if you are going to buy just one book about blogging, make it this one. Blog Inc is my go-to guide when it comes to creating and running both my book blog and my other site, and it packed with seriously valuable information. Plus, it’s only $9.52 right now, so get on it!
Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide To Create Ridiculously Good Content– This is a book specifically about creating even better, more useful blog content. If you feel like your blog posts are missing something that makes them stand out, check out this book.
How to Start a Blog that People Will Read- The title for this book is actually much longer, but I think that this part sums it up pretty well! This book is definitely more for bloggers who’ve already been blogging for a while (think 1+ years), but it a really great resource.
#Girlboss – This book isn’t specifically for bloggers, but boy is it inspiring!
Blog Boss: The Practical Guide to Getting Down with Blogging- Blog Boss is a great book for newer bloggers (think 1- year of blogging) who want to learn how to get their blogs noticed and grow their sites.
Here’s my challenge to you:
There are so many amazing resources out there that you can use to grow your book blog and streamline the process. I want you to pick two of the resources listed above (maybe one paid and one free!) and get started using them to make your book blog even better. You’ll be surprised how much it helps and improves your blogging process!
What are your favourite blogging tools and resources?