Here are a few blogging resources that I (Candice VanWye, Founder of this blog) think you’ll find valuable. There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I wouldn’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used. Your support means the world to me and I’d never want to jeopardize that. Affiliates help me keep this blog sustainable and prices low.
My favorite is wordpress.org. It’s what I use for this blog and all my other blogs. I like it because it’s easy to work with and adjust to. WordPress is free but you have to purchase a domain and hosting. I recommending buying domains directly through your host or through Namecheap which is what I use.
I take bloggers a little more seriously once I see that they’re willing to shell out $10 a year on a domain. Although I recommend purchasing a theme (which can range from $20 – $150) there are many free themes on WordPress that can be customized.
If you don’t want to use WordPress I recommend Squarespace, which I use for some clients, or Blogger which I used when I started blogging. You can use your own domain with both of those services as well.
When you’re ready to set up your self-hosted site I recommend Hostgator. I use them to host this site among others and they are so reliable. I call their customer service all the time with problems and they are always so helpful. I break this site at least once a month playing around 🙄 and they always come through!
Blog Design & Themes
Well obviously I’m going to say us. Ha! We offer affordable WordPress design services that include a simple logo. If you want to learn more read about it here.
If you’re up to customizing your own site I recommend Bluchic. I’ve used a few of their themes for myself and for clients. They have great customer service as well. I love their feminine themes which are also all mobile responsive.
I also love Themeforest. I shop there all the time. There is so much variety and you’ll find a theme for any idea you have.
Graphic Design Tools
Canva is a great resource and really easy to use. There are a ton of templates. I recommend customizing them as much as you can so that your graphics don’t look like everyone else’s. This is a great starting point if you don’t know anything about design.
Picmonkey is also a great resource. If you use their paid option you get a ton of options like extra fonts, airbrushing, etc. Just make sure not to go overboard.
If you want to make your images better I recommend using Photoshop & Lightroom. Yes, there is a learning curve but once you learn so many possibilities are opened up. I love that it’s only $9.99 a month for both Lightroom and Photoshop! If you become a member we’re going to be showing you how to use these services in a step by step way that’s easy to learn.
Creative Market is seriously one of my favorite resources. I buy everything from fonts to stock photos on there. If you want to step up your design game you HAVE to get on board.
I’m also a fan of 99designs if you want to get a cheap logo. They host contests for you and you can chose the logo you like the most. It’s a great budget option.
I used Mailchimp for years but I switched to Convertkit a few months ago and I LOVE it. I was skeptical at first because it’s so different but I’d recommend it now. It’s built by bloggers for us so it’s really easy to send opt-in gifts and freebies to subscribers. Obviously if you’re just starting out you may want to use a free service but once you’re ready to pay Convertkit is great.
My favorite camera right now is my Canon G7x Mark ii. I like it because it’s small enough that I can fit it in my purse on the go and still have great quality. It’s also great for vlogging and sit down videos. If you have this you don’t need a DSLR but you might be like me and want one anyway. There’s also an awesome timelapse feature. I bought it the day it came out and I’ve used it like crazy since.
If you’re serious about your blog and the photos that you take but you need experience before investing in the best camera ever I recommend a refurbished or new Canon T3i. I bought mine back in 2012 (ish) and I still use it today. It’s great for filming Youtube videos or taking pictures for your blog. You can also change the lens which is great.
I’m upgrading to the Canon 70D as I really want a full body camera to really get the most out of my lenses. I’ve played around with it because a friend has one and I’m in love! If you’re creating a video content and you want to make a serious investment it’s a must have.
When you’re ready for the big dogs you should get the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. This is NOT a cheap camera but it will give you the best quality ever. This camera makes even the most novice photographer look like a pro.