Blogging Resources All Bloggers Should Have

Being a blogger sounds like an easy gig, right? Especially if you already have informally blogged in the past. Maybe you have a blog about your family, your job or your hobby. I had a blog for years before I started Family Friendly Frugality. It is a learning experience and here is a few blogging resources that I have used over the years.

My first blog was my pride and joy, but to be perfectly honest, I was horrible about updating it…but it was pretty easy. I moved that blog around a bit, it spent some time on Blogger and WordPress.com (both free blogging platforms) so I had experience with both content management systems. The paid versions of these platforms are really not all that much different navigation-wise from their free counterparts.

The day I learned that people actually made an income (and in some cases…supported their entire families!) from blogging…

My.mind.was.blown.

I had been an avid blog reader for years and for some reason never realized that many of those links I clicked on, or ads that caught my eye were actually earning my favorite bloggers an income.

You can call me naive, unobservant or even blissfully ignorant and you would be right.

In fact, my first impression upon learning that one of my favorite bloggers was earning an income off of ME was disgust. Luckily, I quickly realized that I was being incredibly selfish.

This blogger had saved me so much money, made me laugh, made me cry…made my life better. Also, she actually didn’t hide that she made an income off her blog at all (which in fact would be illegal), I just had never paid attention (I actually thought those ad spots on her blog were just blogs she liked, LOL).

I never had to pay a penny for the information she gave freely.

She also never endorsed anything that seemed like a scam. I never worried that I would sign up for a deal from her blog and deal with telemarketers spamming me for weeks on end.

Once I realized she was making an income having a blog, I figured why not me? I knew how to blog, I had some free time…I could do this!

Blogging for business is hard work.

It didn’t take me long to realize that blogging for fun/hobby and blogging for profit are not even in the same ballpark. In fact, I’m not sure they even belong in the same universe with each other. To keep this blog running, I work more than a 40 hour work week. You don’t even want to know what that currently breaks down to as an hourly wage.

When I think back to what I didn’t know then…and compare it to what I know now…I’m shocked I didn’t close up shop within a month. I made a LOT of mistakes. I was a mess! Thankfully there were a handful of bloggers that reached out and supported me in that time frame. I’m not going to call them out here…they know who they are!

I was still left finding out a lot of things on my own though.

You see, it’s not that bloggers aren’t friendly (well I’m sure there are unfriendly bloggers out there, I’ve just been blessed that they have stayed away from me!), it’s just that everyone does things a bit differently.

Laws regarding certain aspects of blogging (affiliations, disclosures, etc) even vary from state to state. Don’t even start trying to compare notes with someone that is outside your niche. They might have entirely different blogging philosophies, organizational systems, guidelines, etc.

So you use Google. Google is a bloggers best friend, but honestly it turns up a lot of junk. There are so many blogging “gurus” nowadays, that you really can’t trust that someone knows what they are doing just because they claim to be a blogging expert. Shoot, I have been blogging for over a year now and I am convinced I know more than some of these people (and to be fair…the amount of blogging knowledge I have gleaned over the past few months could still fit on the head of a pin)!

So where do you start?

Well, I can tell you what has been helpful to me in the past few months…and hopefully these resources will help you as well. None of these are niche specific. They are all very general, and that is purposeful.

To learn more about your niche, I encourage you to reach out to likeminded bloggers. Send them an email, tell them you are the newbie in town and ask if they wouldn’t mind answering questions from you when you come up against a wall (and really mean it. Do your own research and only email them when you have hit a dead end. You don’t want to overwhelm or push them away!).

Helpful Websites:

  • Problogger-You had to know I’d include this one. The ultimate go-to source for blogging. He’s actually not my favorite, but there is some great info in the archives. Specifically his 31 Days To A Better Blog series. Now, you could purchase the eBook, or you can just go to this link here because it is all available for free on problogger.net!
  • Blogging With Amy-You might know Amy as Crystal’s go-to person on Money Saving Mom. She has her own blog called Blogging With Amy all about setting up your own money making blog from scratch. I refer EVERYONE to her (seriously, I should be getting a kick back for it! Just kidding…sort of.). More specifically, I refer everyone to the links on her sidebar where she step by step gets you started on a self hosted WordPress blog. I can vouch for those steps. I used a few of them to set this blog up on WordPress (my blog was already established so I didn’t need all of them), but I have set up a few other from scratch blogs using her steps exactly and never hit a wall. She even has videos for some of the more complex steps. I’ve also reached out to Amy in the midst of a blogging crisis on Twitter and she was more than willing to help (but I had already used my mad blogging skillz and figured it out on my own).

Helpful Books:

  • Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way To a Six Figure Income-Don’t let the title fool you, he pretty quickly lets you know that the odds of anyone earning a 6 figure income from blogging (like he does) are stacked against you. Some great info to be absorbed within this book though. More for the newbie blogger, or at least the blogger that is just starting to monetize.
  • Blogging for Dummies-This book was pretty good. Once again…more of a newbie book. Still, I definitely have some parts bookmarked and highlighted for future reference.

Helpful Twitter Hastags (use these when you have a question and want to ask the masses…for more on how Twitter works click here):

  • #blogchat– A chat that goes on on Sunday nights filled with great knowledgable bloggers. The conversation extends all week long though, so use this hashtag and you should get a pretty quick response.
  • #wordpress-Got a wordpress fire to put out? Use this hashtag and I promise you’ll have no less than 10 responses in a matter of minutes. Consultants and blogging gurus follow this hashtag closely in hopes of helping bloggers and getting their attention.
  • #blog, #blogging or #bloggers-Pretty generic hashtags, but just like the above #wordpress hashtag, you will be more likely to receive a quick response.

Helpful links:

  • Monetize My Blog: This is my personal series about monetizing my blog and gaining traffic. I’ll be adding more to this in the coming weeks and updating some things.
  • Google Analytics-Great way to measure what works and what doesn’t. Companies also tend to use this as a standard of measuring your traffic and how effective your traffic will be at advertising their products.
  • Website Grader-This can get addicting! Still it’s a really good way to see any areas you might be lacking in. Right now my Grade is 99….but that could drop if I don’t keep up my quality control and keep building backlinks!
  • Host Gator-This is the hosting service I use for my website and I have to admit that even though it causes me issues from time to time, I have a fraction of the issues I see other bloggers deal with with their hosting providers. I recommend for Host Gator for any blogger who is looking to self host their blog.
  • Feedblitz-Feedburner is great, but it’s limited functionality (inability to deliver my e-book mainly) made me switch to Feedblitz which has been a great solution.
Ways to Make Money:
Many bloggers ask me how I monetize my site. I am not the type to put all my eggs in one basket, so I actually use a wide variety of affiliates. This also enables me to bring a wider range of content to my readers. Many of the companies I am an affiliate with send me previews of great sales and deals, so I can let my readers know about them ahead of time or at least right when they begin. Here are some companies you might want to sign up for to monetize your own site:

Finally, feel free to contact me about any questions you might have. I cannot guarantee that I know all the answers, but I might be able to point you in the right direction. You can contact me in the following ways:

Perhaps most importantly, make friends with fellow bloggers. I know I mentioned earlier that bloggers outside your niche might not be very helpful for your specific niche based questions. That doesn’t mean that community and variety are not essential. In fact, the bloggers I spoke of earlier who helped me so much were not frugal bloggers at all.

Now that I am a bit more rooted and a bit more knowledgeable, I am looking to branch out in certain areas (most notably reviews and giveaways) and these bloggers have been essential in helping me learn the ropes and get my feet wet.

Let’s face it, blogging as a business takes most of us into uncharted, lonely waters. Utilize the resources I have mentioned above, reach out to fellow bloggers and pay forward what you learn whenever you can.

Blogging is all about community, come join us.

What resources have helped you as a blogger? Any other great resources I should have included? Tell me in the comments!

Published by

Heather

Heather is the creator and owner of Family Friendly Frugality. She calls Texas home and is married to her best friend. With 2 children 22 months apart, she has her hands full. So full that she decided to start blogging as a hobby. That hobby blew up into a full time job. Now she's got the husband, the kids and the blog. We're not exactly sure what she was thinking, but she's too busy for us to ask. Find Me On Google + View all posts by Heather

25 thoughts on “Blogging Resources All Bloggers Should Have”

  1. Thanks for the advice! I just started blogging for income recently to help support my household. I am a SAHM, but feel like I should be doing something to make money.

    1. No problem! I’ll be sure to check your blog out. Other than a small part time job working at the Mother’s Day Out my children attend, I’ve been mainly a SAHM since my kids were born. Becoming a work at home mom is a transition, but I love that I am able to contribute to the finances AND still be with my babies!

  2. Hi Heather, I agree with you, blogging is a hard job! I definately agree, Blogging with Amy has been a great help. I am a new blogger, so I have read so much info, I have just recently gotten the 31 days to a better blog, by the guy who owns ProBlogger, I am anxious to get started. Having Google Analytics and a gmail account are must haves! Love your blog!

    1. Ooh a gmail account, great point! Yes, having a gmail account with your domain name is an absolute must!

      What else have you read on blogging? I”m always interested in more resources!

    1. Absolutely no problem! Yeah, I keep telling my husband that HE should blog because all of the daddy blogs I follow quickly get such a huge following because they are so rare!

      I once came across a domain name and did some research on it. It wasn’t purchased and the keywords had something like 600,000 searches per month with relatively low competition. It would have to be run by a man, so I told my husband about it and he told me to purchase it. But now it sits….vacant. Maybe I could ghostwrite as a man? LOL

  3. Heather, thanks so much for this great post. I started reading money saving mom years ago when starting to clip coupons, I then after a few years started my own website for profit. It has been up and running for about 8 months now, I work hard! I know that the majority of the people that read my website have no idea what it takes to actually run one….thanks again for the article. I didn’t know about the Website Grader and I was happy to see that I was a 95! Thanks!!!

    1. Yey for a 95!!! That’s awesome. My score fluctuates and seems to hover between 95-99 depending on how many people have retweeted my posts recently, LOL.

      8 months means you have blogged just a bit longer than me! I’m definitely going to add your blog to my reader!

  4. I am going to add yours too Heather, isn’t it so overwhelming at first….so many details i had no idea of… I have been doing the 31 days to build a better blog challenge this past month from ProBlogger and it has been so helpful! I was doing it with the sitsgirls, but had to drop off their schedule. Now I just do it in my free time. 2 kids + 36 wks prego = tired!

    1. 36 weeks! eek getting so close. Do you know what you are having?

      Yes it is very overwhelming at first. When I even think about how often I would be close to tears trying to figure something out! I’m shocked I stuck with it. I am ridiculously happy and proud that I did, but still shocked!

      1. We have a 5 year old boy, 20 month old daughter, and now another girl! I am shocked i stuck with it too! HA!

  5. Heather, thanks for (another) great post! It’s no wonder your blog has developed such a strong fanbase. :o)

    I think we started our blogs around the same time (August-ish), and I’m still struggling. I, however, have not put in the hours that you have, and can truly see the difference. (Perhaps giving mine a local title may have limited myself??) In any case, when you started the “Monetize My Blog” series, you really helped get me up and running more.

    I’m still a LONG ways away from (financially) living off my blog, but I do enjoy it, and enjoy maintaining it, and being part of the Money-Saving-Mom-Blog community. Working part-time, and trying to squeeze in the gym 3-5 days a week, as well as that whole Mom thing make my time scarce, but I’m starting to learn to juggle it all, and devote time here and there to the blog. Again, you have been a tremendous help -whether you know it or not!- and this is yet another great post to help out. :o) Thanks for all you hard work!

    1. Oh thank you Barbara, you are so kind! Yes I started in early August as well. I do wonder if having a local name is why you don’t feel like you are really capturing your intended audience? I know for a fact that your blog is excellent, so it’s definitely not a problem with your content! That said, I think long term you have more potential to be successful than I do. I got impatient to be honest. I was trying to appeal to Houstonians…but they weren’t really noticing me too much, LOL.

      Long term though, you could end up being THE frugal blogger in Atlanta! How cool would that be?

      I need to pick back up Monetizing your blog. I loved that series and it got some great feedback. I also have changed some of the companies I use now, so it would be a great time to revive it!

      Do you advertise at all?

  6. Thanks for sharing. I just really dove in over the last couple months. http://yourthrivingfamily.blogspot.com/ Preparing to not work anymore once our 3rd little one arrives. So I started it in hopes to bring in some sort of money, keep me sane, but most of all because I wanted to share. I have meet some great people via link ups over the past 2 weeks.
    And I have to say when those with the large followings take time to say they enjoyed your post – its like a crush all over 🙂
    Looking forward to using your great resources! I have been collecting mine via FB on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blogging-Moms-Network-SAHM/172033149555056

    It has been a bit hit and miss as far as the networking groups and affiliates, feels like I have filled out 40 “join” applications. So it is nice to see some that have actually worked out.

  7. Thanks for all the great links – there are a couple that are new to me. I just started blogging a few months ago and am completely loving it although it is a LOT of hard work. Thankfully I found Blogging with Amy as well as a few other helpful sites while I was designing my site. I was wondering if you are still using Crowd Ignite – I can’t seem to find much info on it and was wondering what your current thoughts were. Thanks!

  8. I had no idea you could make money blogging! I have had my blog for several months, but have posted only about 7 times. I want to try this year to post more often & not just about my daughter. What a wonderful goal if I could be making money by blogging by 2014! Thank you so much for posting this….even though it has been quite some time ago.

      1. Some how this popped back up… and I am still slacking on this so called blog I have. Lol! Since my comment, I have added 2 kids and a change of jobs. I’m going over your steps again and hopefully can get in the habit of blogging.

        Just signed up for the Amazon links!

  9. thank you for all the info, i’m trying to learn all i can about blogging, thought it was cool your around houston, me too.

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