Hello friends. This post is for my fellow bloggers and those interested in starting a blog. Sorry decor and diy lovers, we’ll hang out tomorrow. Okay?It’s been a long time since I’ve shared some blogging tips and I apologize. The last six months my blog has grown a lot and for good reason. I have learned how to utilize some awesome resources and if this info can help anyone, then this post is for you.
Sound like a plan?
Five Blogging Resources I Can’t Live Without
1. Shoot Fly Shoot for photography: Of course beautiful-bright pictures are a must for a successful visual blog. After using automatic settings for almost two years I finally took the plunge and invested in an online class. It was totally worth it!! After just one week I felt much more confident in manual mode, had to do fewer edits, and my images have become so much better. Let’s see a before and after!
Here’s a picture of our media stand from our old house shot in automatic over a year ago.
There’s lighting issues, a weird angle, and it’s not really in focus.
Here’s a picture of our current media stand (with the same tv) in our new house which I shot in manual four months ago after taking Shoot Fly Shoot’s Photography 101.
Better right? My angles have gotten better, the lighting and clarity have improved drastically, and it’s atheistically more appealing. The camera I use is a Sony Nex 5 which comes with a wide lens, perfect for interior shots. After taking ShootFlyShoot, I decided to purchase a second lens (a fixed 50 mm) for close ups. I LOVE IT!!! Now I can take cool shots like this.
I haven’t even taken a look at the advanced course so I’m excited to see how my photography will improve even more in the future.
2. PicMonkey for photo editing: Of course with awesome picture taking skills, you still need a photo editor. I’ve been using PicMonkey since the beginning and I couldn’t be happier. My logo, watermark, feature images, printables, and other things have been created with PicMonkey. I also use their basic photo editing options to make my images sharp, the right size, and best lighting. Most of their features can be used for free but spending the $33/yr for the royal upgrade has been totally worth it. Here’s some examples of my feature photos for posts and pinterest.
3. Building a Framework for the ultimate blogging handbook: My most recent purchase. Abby explains EVERTHING you need to know to start a blog and how any level of experience can improve and optimize their blog. After reading some other great blogging books this one has been by far my favorite. I love the way it’s laid out, easily explained, to do’s at the end of each chapter, and even a syllabus among other free printables to keep things organized and managable. I just finished reading it 3 weeks ago, implemented changes right away and have already noticed an increase in subscriptions, social media fans and interaction. Now I am ready to make more changes appropriate for my blog size (and I finally know how thanks to Abby). Seriously y’all, this book is AMAZING. She will inspired you to be a better blogger.
4. BoardBooster for Pinterest: Pinterest is my leading source for traffic so most of my social media time is spent optimizing posts and pins for Pinterest and pinning, pinning, pinning. After trying to create my own schedule for pins at certain times each day (very time consuming) and then using Viral Tag for a year (which lets you pin to other social media too) I made the switch to BoardBooster as soon as it came out per my friend’s suggestion. First I tried the free trial and grew 600 new followers in just over a month. I’ve now signed up for 1,000 pins a month and will probably grow to 2,000 next month. Once you set up your board it’s as easy as pinning your new post once and letting BoardBooster do the rest.
5. Mad Mimi for email subscriptions: After using feedburner for awhile, it was time to choose between MailChimp and Mad Mimi for email subscriptions. I went with Mad Mimi because it seemed a little more user friendly and have been very happy with the results. My email subscriptions finally started growing and I’ve branched out to some of their other services. I currently use the free plan but will soon need to upgrade as my numbers rise and I start utilizing more campaigns and such. (Thanks to Abby, I know how do that!)
So instead of the basic text you get with feedburner, my email subscribers see something like this. (I pasted three pics together so it might look a little wonky.)
Now I want to know what resources you can’t live without!! The best part of this blogging learning experience is the interaction with other bloggers and picking their brains. So let’s chat!