To Self Host or Not?
I’ve self hosted and I’ve been hosted by a traditional hosting company. My other blog Stuff Mums Like is hosted via a hosting company and originally it was partially designed by a website design company. I still have control over it though thanks to using WordPress.org to set it all up.
For this blog I use Siteground. Its so easy to use and I have complete control over my blog. It’s still set up as WordPress, but I can access everything are change whatever I want without having to go through a traditional website development company.
There are so many themes out there, some better than others. Here are my favourite places for themes.
Pipdig – They have easy to use, pretty genesis wordpress themes. This blog uses a Pipdig theme.
Themesinfo – I love the themes by Blog Boat, that’s what I use for my other blog
Canva is my go to. If you aren’t a photoshop expert then Canva pro is what you need to design everything you need for your blog. There are thousands of templates you can use, stock photos, you can store all your branding in there including your fonts, colours and branding, so you can be consistent with your blog branding across the board.
The bonuses of having the business subscription rather than the free version is the vast extras you have access too, such as free photos, the branding pack, the ability to resize all your images, remove backgrounds and so many more things.
Your own photos are always going to be preferable but if you aren’t a great photographer or you’re blogging about something that doesn’t need personal pics (like writing about blogging!) then stock photos are a great way to theme your blog style and get great images that will really stand out.
Free stock images
Unsplash – there are loads of free images here that are great for bloggers.
Pixabay – Pixabay has thousands of free pics, plus access to purchased ones from Shutterstock etc.
Canva – If you are signed up to Canva Pro you’ll have access to thousands of free images. If they aren’t free then they cost only $1!
Subscription Stock Images
There are so many subscription stock image sites. I recommend spending some time looking at the ones you think will suit you best or you’ll end up spending a fortune.
Here are a few you can use:
Ivory Mix – you get free images for signing up here – they are high quality images.
Haute Stock – Haute stock has loads of different styles, which is great if you’re trying to match a particular theme or style.
Pixi Stock – This is my favourite of the subscription services. It has really pretty photos, free downloads and loads of advice for business owners.
Styled Stock Society – This is branded as a stock photo site for women entrepreneurs. It’s full of pretty, pink, floral, professional pics that will make you look pro from the start.
I also find a lot of great packages on Etsy.com
If you are scheduling your blog to social media then there are a number of programs you can use to automate it and make it easier. Here are two that I like the most.
Meet Edgar – Meet Edgar is my #1 for scheduling. I love that you load all your posts into their library and then you can set it to post indefinitely!
Coshedule – This is one of the most popular scheduling tools, you schedule your posts in a weekly calendar and its really easy to use.
To manage my email lists I use Mailerlite. You get your first 1000 subscribers for free and then the payment plans are really reasonable. So much cheaper than Mailchimp and it’s just as easy to use.
If you want to build traffic, Pinterest is a great way to do it. However, just like facebook and instagram, consistency is key. I’m managing full time work and two blogs, plus a family, so I don’t have time to pin manually every day. So I use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest. I increased my Pinterest traffic on my first blog by about 1000% after using Tailwind (chances are you found this article on Pinterest!), and now I’m working on this blog as well. Tailwind also has Tribes, which you can only access through them. They are basically group boards to join in your niche. If you sign up, get the year subscription. It’s much better value for money.
To Perfect your SEO
To really build your blog SEO you need the right keywords. To get the right keywords you need Keysearch. Keysearch helps you find your keywords, ranks them for their competitiveness and helps you decide what to focus on.
Hopefully all these tips help you build a successful blog!