BLOGGING RESOURCES

BLOGGING RESOURCES

In this post, I am sharing with you personally all the tools and products I use for my blog. I have some friends who have been wanting to start a blog for the longest time, and they feel lost. They don’t know where to start or where to go. So I thought I would compile all the information that I have required over the last couple of weeks and process it into one post.

I hope you find some of my blogging resources helpful in building your own dream blog. A little reminder that each blog is different and what may work well for me may not work for you.

If there is anything you want to ask me, please comment below or feel free to contact me! Any other tips that you may have, please feel free to drop them below as I would love to hear them. I will definitely check them out and add them to my resources if I think they will work for others as well.

BLOGGING RESOURCES LIST

BLOGGING PLATFORM 

There are lots of platforms to host your website. WordPress, Blogger, Jimdo, Squarespace… I’m not even scratching the surface here. The two most common options are WordPress and Blogger. 

BLOGGER VS WORDPRESS

Blogger is a service owned by Google that allows anyone to start a free blog in just a few clicks. Your blog or website is hosted by Google, and they take care of everything for you.

  • Blogger is free for a website on a *.blogspot.com subdomain
    So my blog name would have been http://www.bonditobasic.blogspot.com. 
  • There are no setup fees or upgrade costs. There are no ads on your blog unless you opt-in. 
  • Blogger is seriously simple to use
  • Limited customization options 

Blogger is perfect for the person who is just starting out and is unsure of blogging and if it is yet your cup of tea. It will literally cost you nothing to set up your first blog(BONUS!) and you can play around with it as you wish and see if this is something you would want to pursue further. 

If you already know that you want to take blogging super seriously and if you need to more creative options (eg. customize your site) then my advice would be: Spare yourself the trouble and go with WordPress from the get-go.

WORDPRESS.COM OR WORKPRESS.ORG 

The one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s hosting your website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.  So you have to find a hosting service like HostGator or GoDaddy. WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all of the hosting for you. 

Because I have had some issues with self-hosting before I decided to try wordpress.com for my blog.

Curious how to set up your ow blog?

Check out my 7 step guide on how I have set up Bondi to Basic in one day. 

GOOGLE ANALYTICS 

Google Analytics –  This is a great tracking tool and it’s free. It shows you how many people are coming to your site, what posts are most viewed and where your referring traffic is coming from etc.

Very helpful information if you want to learn about your audience and which type of posts are most popular.

BLOG THEME

Choosing a theme for your blog is very important. It dictates what your blog will look like and what you will be showing the world, so choosing the right theme is super important.  

Pipdig –  They offer some amazing designs for not a whole lot of money. For one of my previous blog, I purchased Aruba Nights. I still love that theme but I wanted something new for this blog. 

For Bondi to Basic, I am using the WordPress theme Olsen which was $39,- 

STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Free blogging picturesNo blog is complete without pretty images. For most bloggers, this is a stumbling block at the beginning of their blogging career. However, there are many amazing (free and paid) sites with copyright free pictures for you to use. Underneath I have listed two of my favorite, most used, free sites. 

Unsplash –  Unsplash is a website dedicated to sharing copyright-free photography under the Unsplash license. The website claims over 70,000 contributing photographers and generates more than 5 billion photos. So plenty to choose from. 

Pexels – Free stock photos you can use everywhere. ✓ Free for commercial use ✓ No attribution required.

GRAPHIC DESIGNHow to create pintest graphics

Canva is used by many bloggers to create everything from simple social media graphics through to full-blown gorgeous recipe books and everything in between. Easy to use drag and drop features and a whole heap of pre-made templates means it’s easy for anyone to create something amazing in just a few minutes. 

In this extensive blog post, I have explained step-by-step on how you can create graphics like mine. 

SOCIAL MEDIA 

Hootsuite – Hootsuite is a social media management platform that helps you to be social at all hours of the day. It allows you to plan in Tweets, Facebook posts and much more. Very convenient 

Tailwind – I have just signed with this amazing marketing tool for my Pinterest account. It allows you to schedule in your pins, so you don’t have to do it manually. Its biggest and most amazing feature besides the scheduling tool is Tailwind Tribes’. Tribes is a tool that enables you to meet and grow with other bloggers. Tribes will also help you with two key problems that a lot of bloggers face:
– Having a steady supply of high-quality content to share
– Getting your posts seen and shared by the right people

When you pin a post on a tribe, you have to share or schedule in someone else’s pin as well. Because a tribe has a certain subject: e.g. travel, food etc. Is if very easy to find high-quality pins to share on your boards.

By sharing some of my posts on Tailwinds tribes I have gotten the following results so far:

Re-shares Re-pins Reach
86 12 127.9 K

I have only been using Tailwind for 2 weeks. So, a more in-depth analysis will follow. But I do suggest you sign up for this site. They have FREE trials, so give it a go. 

COURSES  

Pinterest with Ell – I purchased this Pinterest course for only $15,- 
If you know nothing about Pinterest and how you should use it, then this is a good course for you. I however already had a good understanding of the site and I didn’t pick up a whole lot of tips (definitely some) However, her main tip on how she increased traffic (The reason why I bought this course) is un-useful. She recommends using BoardBooster, and they are a not an approved scheduling tool and if you are ‘ caught’ using it, you can be banned from Pinterest. So I advise you NOT to use them. 
But if you don’t have a good understanding of Pinterest, then I advise you to buy this course, for $15 you will pick up some useful tips. 

I have also just purchased the E-book from Marina Degiovanni. I am reading now and I will let you if you should purchase it. 
A WARNING: I was charged $37 USD EXTRA on my purchase without my approval. I only wanted her e-book which is only $5,60. I somehow ended up with a 48-hour challenge which I did NOT want. I am currently trying to get a refund. So please be cautious when buying her course. 

FUTURE PLANS 

Since I have not been blogging that long, I have quite a list that I want to do in the future. Underneath are some of the resources that I would like to start using when I have a bit more traffic to my blog. 

AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

Affiliate programmes involve a merchant paying a commission to other online entities (eg bloggers) for referring new business to the merchant’s website. Affiliate marketing is performance-based, which means affiliates only get paid when their promotional efforts actually result in a transaction.

ShareASale :  So many programs on offer from marketing, web hosting to fashion. 

Shop Style Collective : Create “shop the look” images, pin directly to Pinterest and not to mention its pay-per-click! Absolutely perfect for beauty and fashion bloggers you just check this one out! 

Commission Factory : Fashion, Beauty, Home, Health another fantastic one for Australian Bloggers

WORDPRESS PLUGINS 

gabriel-beaudry-93842-unsplash.jpg

Plugins are awesome elements to add to your webpage to help customize your blog. There are thousands and thousands of plugins to choose from.
Don’t get carried away though, because too many plugins will affect your site’s speed, which is never a good thing.

The reason why I added this to my future plans, is because I am currently using the basic WordPress with the cheapest subscription. I won’t have access to plugins until I upgrade my yearly subscription. At the moment, I just blog to pass time and mend a broken heart, so I don’t want to spend too much money on it. However, I have had a WordPress blog with plugins before, and below are some of my favorites that I would use again: 

Akismet  Filters out spam comments from your blog. Getting blog comments is fantastic but for every great comment, you get about 10 spam comments. 

Bottom of Every Post  Just what it says. It allows you to put what you want at the bottom of your posts, just once and it will show up at the bottom of every post.

CommentLuv  When someone comments on your blog, it automatically links up their latest blog post to the end of their comment.

jQuery Pin It Button For Images – Adds pin it buttons to your website, and gives you the ability to upload your own pin buttons if you would like.

Shareaholic Share Buttons – Makes it easy for readers to share your content through media buttons displayed at either the bottom or top or both of every post.

WordPress SEO by Yoast – Helps with making your blog posts more SEO friendly.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to SHARE it!
I couldn’t do this without you all ❤

WARNING FOR ALL BLOGGERS: FIVERR AND PINTEREST

WARNING FOR ALL BLOGGERS: FIVERR AND PINTEREST

I only recently started this blog and I wanted to make sure that I had some platforms to post my blogs on. It is a bit frustrating when you write blogs for no one to read (Even though I said I didn’t mind that in the beginning) I was interested in showcasing my blog to more people, so I wanted to join some group boards on Pinterest. 

I used Fiverr for the first time ever to help me join the boards because it is pretty impossible to get access to decent boards without help. Unfortunately, instead of actually helping my blog, it ended up harming it.

In this blog post, I will tell you why you should not be using Fiverr for your Pinterest account and what could happen if you do. 

Read on to see what happened… 

Continue reading “WARNING FOR ALL BLOGGERS: FIVERR AND PINTEREST”

HOW TO CREATE AMAZING PINTEREST GRAPHICS

HOW TO CREATE AMAZING PINTEREST GRAPHICS

Last week I wrote an extensive post on how I have set up Bondi to Basic. In 7 easy steps, I was able to create my own personal blog. The very last step of that post was that you should create your own logo, header, and graphics.

This is important for a few reasons. Firstly, you want to be unique and by having your own graphics and artwork is one simple way of standing out. Also, people need to recognize your brand, and one simple way of doing that is by creating a template graphic for your blogs.

In this blog post, I will show you how you can make your very own blog graphics to start setting yourself apart from other bloggers.  

Continue reading “HOW TO CREATE AMAZING PINTEREST GRAPHICS”

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO START A BLOG

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO START A BLOG

If you are thinking about starting a blog and think that it is too difficult then I have some good news for you.
You can literally start a blog today! Underneath I will show you exactly which steps I took in order for me to start this blog. 

1. FIND A NAME 

Your very first step into the blogging world should be picking a name.

When thinking of a name for your blog you need to take a few things into consideration.

Firstly, you want the name to be memorable. It should define what your blog is about and who you are as a person. (You should always blog about things that you love, as it will reflect in your writing and therefore elevate your blog)  
Keep in mind that your name should not be too limiting. For example, you can name your blog “The golden retriever’’. That will limit yourself on what you can blog about. People who will look for your site will only expect content about Golden Retrievers. This can be fine if it that is your only goal. But you are limiting yourself to branch out. What if you decide to adopt another dog and that is a German Sheppard? You don’t want to create a separate blog for that dog?
I know this is a bit short-sighted, but you understand what I mean right? 

You, therefore, need a name that allows for growth and expansion.
People change and therefore your blogging needs will chance as well. Make sure you allow for your blog to chance with you. 
Don’t limit your blog’s growth by setting a time (“Travelling in your twenties”) or geographical limit (“Anna in Australia”)

Now, some bloggers will also tell you to think about SEO factors when picking your blog name. In a nutshell, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and refers to activities that improve your ranking on Google and other search engines.  
What it means is that you should add keywords that rank high on google to your blog name. The best keywords for your niche can be found here. 

For example, to have a higher SEO for my blog I should have added:

  • Bondi to basic travel blog
  • Bondi to basic solo traveler
  • Bondi to basic female traveler

I personally don’t really care for these names and couldn’t really make it work. 

Your blog name shouldn’t sound like a generic website but it should sound like YOU. Because your writing and your life is the reason why people decide to hang around.


How I came up with name ‘Bondi to Basic’: I was brainstorming on a name for either a vlog or blog for quite a while. I didn’t want to have a blog with my name on it, but I did want it to be a clean and simple name. I like the double letter names, so one of the options that I had was:  “Bondi to Bahrain’. But I have never been to Bahrain and I don’t know if I ever will. So I figured that was a bit random and weird. 
I did want something starting with a B, cause I wanted to keep Bondi in my name (I live in Sydney, Bondi is iconic to Sydney and a lot of people know the name) so I brainstormed a bit more and came up with ‘Basic’ 

basic
ˈbeɪsɪk/
adjective
adjective: basic
  1. Forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental.

Because I want a lifestyle/travel blog, who is open to blog about anything, I wanted a general word. I didn’t want to limit myself to only blogging about one thing.  Basic, the starting point of my new life and my new blog. 


Now it is up to you, do a brainstorming section and see if you can come up with a great name….

After you have come up with a kick-ass name there is one important thing that you need to do.
Check whether there is already a blog, website or company with that name. (Fingers crossed there is none)

Once you have checked that you are the only person with this blog name, then you can go to step 2.

2. SECURE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS  

Found the perfect name? Now you need to make sure that all your social media handles are still available.

Social media is an important outlet to get your blog out in the world. Without social media, it is hard for people to find your blog.   
Pick the sites that you want and sign up to secure your handle.

While you are at it, why don’t you give me a quick follow!

All done? Let’s move on to the next step…

3. CHOOSE YOUR BLOGGING PLATFORM

Now that you have a name and your social media platforms are secured it is time to choose your blogger’s platform. This is the ‘boring’ part where you need to figure out what your blogging needs are.

There are lots of platforms to host your website. WordPress, Blogger, Jimdo, Squarespace… I’m not even scratching the surface here. The two most common options are WordPress and Blogger. 

BLOGGER VS WORDPRESS

Blogger is a service owned by Google that allows anyone to start a free blog in just a few clicks. Your blog or website is hosted by Google, and they take care of everything for you.

  • Blogger is free for a website on a *.blogspot.com subdomain
    So my blog name would have been http://www.bonditobasic.blogspot.com. 
  • There are no setup fees or upgrade costs. There are no ads on your blog unless you opt-in. 
  • Blogger is seriously simple to use
  • Limited customization options 

Blogger is for you if you are just starting out and if you are unsure if blogging is for you. It will literally cost you nothing to set up your first blog, and you can play around with it and see if this is something you want to pursue. 

If you already know that you want to take blogging super seriously and if you need to more creative options (eg. customize your site) then my advice would be: Spare yourself the trouble and go with WordPress from the get-go.

WORDPRESS.COM OR WORKPRESS.ORG 

The one major difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org is who’s hosting your website. WordPress.org is where you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.  So you have to find a hosting service like HostGator or GoDaddy. WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all of the hosting for you.

Because I have had some issues with self-hosting before I decided to try wordpress.com for my blog.

4. SETTING UP WORDPRESS.COM

They have made it super simple.
All you need to do is go to WordPress.com and click start and it will help you set up your website or blog. 

You will have to do the following: 

  1. First, choose a homepage layout
  2. Then, choose a theme (Pick a random one, I will show you later how to change it) 
  3. Next, choose a domain (Blog address/blog name)
  4. Pick a plan ( I have chosen the personal plan, the cheapest option If you require more than you can always upgrade later on) 
  5. Create your account

This is what it looks like when you are logged in.

Wordpress (2).jpg

View site: This is where you can check out what your site looks like when you have made changes. 

Stats: How many people have visited your blog, how many pages did they check out, how long did they stay on your website, where are they from etc. 
Try not to become obsessed with the stats, they are not everything. Especially when you first start out. It will take a long time before you start to build up a following.
In the beginning, I advise you to just write what you would like to write and after a few months dive into the stats. 

Plan: When you sign up you can choose from different plans. I (for now) have chosen the $5,- per month plan. If you need more storage etc you can upgrade your plan here. 

MANAGE 

Site pages: Here is where you will be able to add things to your navigation bar: You will want an about me and a contact me.
I also have added my ‘bucketlist’  and some of my more regular post subjects.

Blog posts: This is where you will go to add new posts or edit old ones. 

Media: Here is where all of the pictures, videos, and other files you have uploaded to your blog are located. 

Comments: Here is where you’ll go to check if you have received any comments and you can reply to them here as well. 

PERSONALIZE 

Themes: Here is where you’ll spend the most time in the very beginning deciding how you want your blog to look. You can pick out themes and mess around with widgets and your navigation bar and change some of the basics of the blog. (Logo’s, headers, letter type, colors etc.) 

CONFIGURE 

Sharing: With this, you can set up auto-sharing. When you post a blog it will automatically tweet it out, post it on Facebook or pin it on your Pinterest board. This is a great time saver and I suggest you set up for some of your social media sites.

People: Everyone who has access to your blog. So if you are the only person blogging, It will be just you. If you want to share the blog with a friend you can add her here. 

Plug-ins: Plug-ins are another fun and very important part of your site. They add cool features like better commenting interfaces and added security. Some plug-ins I suggest you use are: 

  • Yoast SEO 
  • Akismet Anti-Spam

You only have access to using plug-ins when you use the business package. I have used these plug-ins on my other blogs and I miss using them. (For now, I don’t want to spend too much money on this blog, maybe down the road I will upgrade) 

Domains: You shouldn’t really use this. This is where you can change your domain name. 

Settings: Here you will find all of the general settings that you can tweak around with. Things like permalink structure and commenting settings.

5. FIND THE RIGHT THEME 

Themes.png

Now it is time to set everything up.

I would first recommend going to themes and finding a theme that you really like. At this point don’t buy an expensive theme. You are going to want to wait until you are absolutely sure that blogging is something you are willing to stick with and commit to before investing in expensive themes and designs.

As soon as you find a theme that you like, you will want to hit install and then activate. Once you do that your theme should be up!

In case you like my theme: I have purchased Olsen for $39,- 

6. START BLOGGING 

Your blog has been set up, your social media is ready to go, so now we get to add content to your blog! This is what you actually wanted to do and why you followed all these steps.  

As said before adding some pages to your site, some examples are: 

You also are going to want to publish your first post(s). Now what you write about is up to you. You can do an introduction to you, your blog, or anything else for that matter.

My first 4 posts where: 

The sidebar on your post editor is where you will be able to customize the look of your content. Here you can add media (photos, videos etc). Bold, italicize, strike-through, format into a list, and quote your text. You can add a horizontal line under a chunk of text, edit the justification, add links, insert a read more option, change the text size, underline, justify, adjust the color and paste. You can delete formatting, add special characters adjust indentation, undo and redo. 

I recommend uploading at least ten high-quality posts you’re really proud of before start promoting your blog. Otherwise, you risk people coming to your site, not finding anything of value on it and never returning. And you will work hard to get those posts up so no one reading them would be a huge shame! 

7. GRAPHICS
cropped-come-true-4.jpg

My header created with Canva. 

Lastly, to make your blog look professional and well put together you need to make some kick-ass graphics. 

You need to come up with a branding for your blog so that people can recognize a graphic as belonging to your brand/blog. 

Now, this doesn’t sound as hard as it does, because you can use canva.com for this. 

In this extensive blog post, I have explained step-by-step on how you can create graphics like mine. 

Now you should have everything ready to start a blog. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below and I see if I can help you with anything.