This month, I relaunched this blog to share tips on remote work, online business, and blogging. I’ve been creating content online for over ten years and I’ve learned a lot about what tools work the best to help me easily create content and earn an income online.
There is so much information out there about online business and blogging that in can be confusing to figure out what works. Now that my new blog is up and running, I wanted to share five of the top tools that I use to power my WordPress blog.
Note: This blog post contains affiliate links. If you click through and take action using my link, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Keep in mind that I only recommend services that I truly believe in.
1. Flywheel Hosting
The first tool that I use to power my WordPress blog is Flywheel Managed WordPress hosting. If you’re unfamiliar with WordPress, all WordPress websites require a blog host. The host makes the site available online for people to view online.
It’s important to choose a website host with reliable servers, a user-friendly interface, and a reasonable price point.
Now, when you look for information about WordPress hosts online, you’ll usually find recommendations for the cheapest hosting available. However, I think it’s more important to choose a host that offers a great value for your money, not just the lowest price.
I use Flywheel as my WordPress host because they offer managed WordPress hosting. That means that not only do they host your site, they provide backups, extra security features, 24-hour customer service, staging sites, and a collection of premium themes from StudioPress for free.
Flywheel also has entry-level hosting plan for new bloggers. You can sign up for a monthly fee of only $15.00.
2. 17th Avenue Designs
The next resource that I use to power my blog is a WordPress theme from 17th Avenue Designs. 17th Avenue designs is a company that creates feminine, flexible WordPress themes for bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs. I stumbled upon this company a couple of years ago, and I’ve been using their themes ever since.
I’ve purchased the Charlotte, Mia, and Pippa themes in the past, and I’m currently using the Harper theme. These themes are very flexible and easily customizable. My theme doesn’t look like the demo theme at all! I kept the same fonts, but I changed my colors and my homepage setup.
When you choose a WordPress theme, it’s important to make sure that the theme includes detailed documentation to help you install and set up the theme. It’s also important to make sure that the theme includes support, and that it will be regularly updated as WordPress updates the software.
In my experience using themes by 17th Avenue designs, they include all of these features and support and you can even pay for additional customizations to your theme if you want to make extra edits.
There are several great WordPress theme companies to choose from, but the one that I trust to power my own website is 17th Avenue Designs.
3. Flodesk Email Marketing
As a blogger or online content creator, it’s important to have a way to capture the email addresses of visitors to your blog. I’m currently using Flodesk, a new email service that allows you to easily create on-brand emails and marketing campaigns.
The service is currently in beta, but I tested it out for a few months before switching from my previous email provider, ConvertKit. ConvertKit is also an awesome email service, but I find Flodesk to be a bit more user-friendly.
The pricing for Flodesk is also much simpler. ConvertKit charges by the number of subscribers, but Flodesk offers a set price of $38.00 for small businesses, no matter how many subscribers you gain. So, you can build your email list with confidence without worrying about price increases.
If you’re interested in trying Flodesk, you can sign up for a free trial.
4. Canva Pro
As a blogger, I have to create lots of graphics and documents, like Pinterest images and downloadable free resources. When I first started blogging, I used Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages program to create documents, and I struggled with Photoshop to create graphics.
A few years ago, I started using Canva, and it completely changed the game. Canva is a user-friendly, super-intuitive graphic design tool that you can use to create everything from flyers to professional slides shows and presentations.
There is a free version of Canva, but I use Canva Pro, the paid version, which has enhanced features like the ability to create png files, upload your own fonts, and access to a free library full of stock photos. It includes everything that you need to design amazing graphics and documents.
The entire program is drag and drop and very easy to use. I highly recommend it if you want to create social media graphics, documents, and more. If you’re interested in trying Canva, you can sign up for the free version here.
5. Styled Stock Society
Images are an important part of conveying messages and marketing online. In an ideal world, I would be able to take all of my own pictures, or have a professional photographer take pictures for me. But, I don’t have the time or the budget to produce all of my own professional pictures.
Thankfully, I can use styled stock photos for the graphics on my blog posts, social media sites, documents, and more. Styled stock photos are professional stock photos that are carefully edited and styled to market to a particular niche, primarily creatives and online entrepreneurs.
I’ve used several styled stock photo companies over the years. The company that I currently use and trust to power my blog is called Styled Stock Society. You can purchase photo bundles for use for your blog and business, or you can join a membership plan.
The way that styled stock photo memberships work is that you pay a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee to have unlimited access to styled stock photos. I actually paid a premium to become a lifetime member of the Styled Stock Society, so I have unlimited access to new photos.
In addition to photos, they also offer templates that you can use to create opt-in freebies, customer guides, social media graphics, and more.
These are some of the tools that I use to power my online business and brand. I will continue to share the tools that I use and love. I have a new series coming up where I’ll be reviewing the different tools that I use as a blogger and online entrepreneur.
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