Welcome to The Side Business Resources section, a curated list of the tools, books, and websites I strongly recommend for building and optimizing your business.
I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources mentioned here are crucial to running my blog.
Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you chose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or they will help you achieve your goals.
My next post is on How to Start a blog on low-budget. I am using WordPress Premium plan with Custom domain for my blog. I love WordPress.com for its live support and pocket-friendly packages. You don’t need to worry about your blog backups. Except the fact that you cannot work with any third-party advertising network on your site hosted with WordPress.com. You can anyway monetize your blog with WordAds a program specific to WordPress blogs by WordPress. You are allowed to monetize using Affiliate programs, sell your own products or promote other products.
When it comes to blogging, the problem is with information overload. There are a lot of bloggers and blogging courses who teach us on how to blog. Not to mention, most of them works too. The problem comes when we actually want to blog and which one to follow. I researched on this for more than 6 months before I actually launched my blog in 2016. Somehow I got convinced to trust Elite Blog Academy and I am thankful for trusting Ruth.
Ruth Soukup from LivingWellandSpendingLess.com, the Author of How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul will teach you how to go step by step. She will not teach you about hosting a website or blog. But once you host your website, give it a try. She will teach you how to create pillar content. She will explain by giving examples and step-by-step instructions from starting a blog to monetizing your blog to creating your own products.
I found one more interesting book by Abby from JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com. The Building Framework for Bloggers is another book where Abby will teach you how to set up a blog from scratch. She will teach you how important are the relationships in the blogging world. She will also offer you a private FaceBook group to help people. She taught me how important it is to create a powerful About Me Page. How to set up FaceBook Page and no doubt I got a life savior FaceBook group to ask any technical questions and blog-related queries.
Button This a beautiful theme always recommended for DIY and Crafts bloggers. You can customize the colors if you are on Premium or Business Plan. One awesome thing about this theme is, it is free. You can efficiently use your fold area and sidebar. Social media options are available in the fold area. I am specifying about Social Media buttons because they go missing in few free themes. Check before you activate.
Nucleare is my current theme. I migrated to a new theme and rebranded my whole site. This is a pain but I chose to do this because there is so much of space being wasted in my sites header place. Nucleare on the other side utilizes this space to add custom menus and social links sections. Your blog’s name is also highlighted after this section. On the fold area is empty on this theme but exactly below this place I used my site’s subscription box, hoping it would increase my followers. Fingers crossed!
Akismet is a great plug-in which comes as part of WordPress.com site. This protects your site from comment and trackback spam.
MailChimp Subscriber Pop Up – MailChimp offers free service to users with less than 1000 subscribers. Learn more about this in Email Marketing section.
Google Drive is the place where I store all of my documents before I upload onto my blog. This is the place where I store images and all other documents. I love this service as it comes at free cost loaded with value.
Tailwind is a great app for scheduling pins to Pinterest.com. One amazing thing is Tailwind is officially approved by Pinterest. After signing up for Tailwind, I found that it is much more than a scheduler. You can track how your pins are performing. Based on your pins, Tailwind suggests the best time to publish a pin. You can even link it with your Google Analytics to see how your pins are performing. But this is a paid feature. Tailwind is free for first 100 pins. After that, you need to pay some amount. There is one more crazy thing about Tailwind called Tailwind Tribes! These are in beta testing and you don’t need to have a Tailwind account to join a tribe. You may need to have an email invite to join these tribes. Will cover that in one of my posts. Just one word, it is great for driving traffic to your site.
CoShedule is a great tool for writing better headlines. They are offering many paid features like scheduling and viral traffic growth. I personally use this one for writing better headlines. Again it is free and you can test your Blog Post Title performance. Ideally, if your headline makes a 65 or above percentage, then it is good one to go with. Don’t forget your post content while writing the headline. If you have a killer headline which doesn’t match with your blog post, it is not going to do any good for you.
MailChimp is another awesome tool for growing your email list. They offer a free service for first 1000 subscribers. You can create sign up forms, conduct campaigns, and surveys using MailChimp all for free!
PHOTOGRAPHY and EDITING
iPhone 6 plus- I take all my blog photos with my Apple iPhone 6 Plus. I just check if I have enough daylight to capture images or not. Rest everything, my phone takes care of. I use white backgrounds for photography because the overall picture looks bright with it.
Canva– Once I take pictures with my phone I brand my photos using Canva App for iPhone. These guys provide you with the templates specific to each social media platform.
This option is available for free and you can use the same template multiple times from your saved designs tab.
Grammarly -Though ProofRead option in WordPress is a great tool for spell check, I prefer using Grammarly. With free options you can check if there are any miss-spelled words and any gramatical mistakes present in your content.