I wanted to take a minute to share some of my favorite blogging resources that help keep this site up and running on a regular basis. I’ll note specifically if anything contains an affiliate link by placing an asterisk(*) after the link (aka, if you buy something by clicking through my links below, the company will toss me a little bit of money for my efforts. Don’t worry, it doesn’t charge you any extra!).
Website Basics: WordPress.com Account (free)
I started with a free version of a WordPress site, which is something I highly recommend to all of you thinking about starting a blog. WordPress is very user-friendly, highly customizable, and easy to move over to self-hosting if you decide that’s something that you wish to do. Most blogs are either hosted on WordPress or Blogspot, but WordPress has fewer limitations than Blogspot, so here we are!
Hosting: SiteGround (paid – subscription)
I chose SiteGround* for my web hosting for a number of reasons. They offer site identity protection available on all levels of paid plans, which means that someone can’t just google to see who owns your domain and easily find your address, phone number, and email address. Instead, they’ll see SiteGround’s information. They also have a phenomenal customer service team that you can chat with 24/7 in an instant message style from their website. And no question is below their paygrade. They’ve helped me out a lot, and probably with very, very basic questions. They also are reasonably priced for their different hosting plans which are based on traffic to your site.
Theme: Pipdig (paid – one time only)
For those of you that don’t know, there’s been a stink recently about Pipdig having “backdoor” access to websites that are using their themes, which they claim was for “emergencies only.” Since this was discovered, they’ve offered an update which removes this access. But still, a lot of bloggers/website owners abandoned Pipdig and uninstalled their themes and purchased/used other themes to protect their sites. I’m going to be honest and let you know that I didn’t spend the time to fully investigate these allegations to make my own determination for my blog. I also haven’t spent the time working on my blog lately for it to make sense to buy another $50+ theme. I love my Pipdig theme because it’s so customizable in WordPress and has been so easy for me to use and personalize my blog in ways, that I didn’t think I could. When you buy a theme from Pipdig, they advise you have to use a specific plugin from the company that helps optimize your website’s loading times and functionality. They also give you free theme updates for life, so your one-time purchase is always compatible with the newest WordPress code releases to improve your blog/website.
Computer: Dell 2n1 laptop
It’s really important to have a reliable device as your main hub, so when I opted to upgrade from my 7-year-old MacBook Pro that was crapping out, I ended up with my Dell. It would have been nice to have another MacBook Pro, but couldn’t justify the price when I could get so much more in a Dell for less money. I primarily use my laptop for editing photos, finalizing posts before publishing, and routine site updates. I picked this laptop because it had great reviews, it’s both a tablet (meh) and a laptop, it’s versatile in terms of software, and I could customize the store and hard drive options. I’m not a computer guru, but she’s pretty sturdy and does a pretty decent job. I’ve had basically no issues with it. In retrospect, the 2n1 feature is something I could skip because drumroll… I also have an iPad.
Ipad: 2018 9.7 inch w/ Apple Pencil
This is the love of my life and I use it constantly. From drawing, writing, editing, brainstorming, to reading and playing games, I always use my iPad. I couldn’t afford one of the Pro models at the time that I bought it, but my 2018 with the Apple Pencil integration is marvelous. It’s portable and still enough space to write/draw. I’ll definitely upgrade to a Pro in the future, but for now, this is a very reasonable option. I store most of my drafts in a cloud-based system so I can add to my ideas on the go without worrying about keeping them in 50 different places.
Photo Editing: Adobe Photoshop (paid – one time only)
I didn’t think long or hard enough at the time of buying my laptop to stop to look for a free version of Photoshop somewhere, so I outright bought the program. I knew I was upgrading my laptop for a better blogging/creative experience and wanted to be able to edit my photos without compromising the quality of them. So I did – I bought it. And I don’t regret it. Now I would say I know approximately 5% of the stuff you can do on Photoshop, so take this with a grain of salt, but so far, it has been pretty easy to figure out…. You know with Google and Youtube to back me up. While I opted to buy a copy of the software, I believe Adobe also offers a subscription style service of Photoshop along with their other suite of tools.
Blog Planner and Organization: Made by Me (free-coming soon)
This is my soon-to-be newest addition to my resources. I have been spending a lot of time thinking about how I wanted to plan and organize my blog. Personally, I’m tired of the typical yearly planners made for those bloggers who churn out content on a daily basis. I’m not saying they’re wrong, but they That’s not how my brain works. So I created my own blog planner sheets that I can use to keep my scatter-brain organized. Please feel free to print/use these sheets for your own good.
Camera: either Sony a6000 w/ 16-50mm lens or iPhone 6s
I love my Sony mirrorless camera. I’m still getting to know its capabilities and learning how to use all of the features, but man, it has really upped my photo game. Granted, I’m not the type to post endless photos of myself or OOTD’s all over the blog, but there’s an obvious difference in the photos I took with my Sony v. my iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is perfectly capable of getting the job done on the fly, but for a more professional feel to my photos, I always reach for my actual camera.
If you have any questions about any resources mentioned, or anything that I haven’t mentioned, please let me know. I plan on updating this page as needed to keep it the most up to date and accurate.