When starting your creative blog, it can be difficult to know exactly what you need and even where to start. You can rack up a pretty large bill, too, if you’re not careful.
Sometimes it’s helpful for someone to simply let you know what you need.
When I first started my business, I had a lot of time to hunt all over the Internet for the necessary tools and resources to get me going. I remember sitting down at my computer each day and spending hours upon hours searching for the right blogging platform and testing out different platforms to see what I liked best.
I did the same exact thing when it came to hunting for my email provider. I tried out three email providers within that first year.
You might not have an unlimited supply of time like I did when I first started out. You might have your 30-minute lunch to do every single thing on your to-do list, which really isn’t enough time to do much.
So, today I want to take some of that guesswork away and give you a short list of things that will help you get started right off the bat.
Here are 10 tools and resources that I think are must-haves when you’re just starting out:
#1 – WordPress
First up, I recommend all my clients to use WordPress for their website and blog. Of course, there are other platforms that you can build your blog and site on, but from my experience WordPress is the best.
You can read more about why I suggest WordPress here.
# 2 – A hosting company to host your WordPress website
I recommend a few various hosting companies, but when you’re just starting out you may need a company that’s relatively inexpensive. For years, I’ve used Bluehost for my website, and have always had a pretty good experience.
If you can afford a higher rate, my favorite choice is Flywheel.
# 3 – A theme to make your site look and feel professional
Your site needs to be well-branded and that probably means you need to choose a theme that will give you a professional vibe. One company that creates WordPress themes that I love is called Blue Chic, for their light, feminine feeling themes.
You can get a free Blue Chic theme as a part of the Genius Blogger’s Bundle right here (affiliate link)*.
Tool # 4 – An email provider to build your email list
I’m totally in love with ConvertKit for email marketing. I’ve used many different providers, but I feel like ConvertKit gives you the most bang for your buck.
Tool # 5 – Beautiful photography that will invite your viewers in and make them want to stay
One of the things that I stress with my consulting and one-on-one clients is the need for awesome photography. I LOVE when your photography is branded and taken specifically for your website and blog, but when you’re first starting out that may not be feasible. If you have to go the stock photography route, go with something like Haute Stock. Their photography is to die for and they add new images to the library every single month.
Tool # 6 – A lovely community of friends and some helpful mentors
Owning a creative business can be quite lonely if you don’t have a community and some helpful mentors to help you along from week to week.
Tool # 7- An epic blog planner to help you plan your blog content
My good friend, Meera Kothand, has created just the planner to help you figure out your blog content for the next year. I received my blog planner in the mail this week and it felt like Christmas!
You can order your Create blog planner here.
Tool # 8 – A place to store all your ideas, content, and business-related PDFs/documents
I have two loves when it comes to online storage, Google Drive and Dropbox. I use Google Drive for all of my written content, like blog posts, ad copy, sales page copy, and spreadsheets (like for income and insights). I use Dropbox for all of my visual content, like photos, graphics, etc.
I love that these tools are both free and easy to use. Plus you can access them both from various computers.
Tool # 9 – Adobe Creative Cloud
I use Adobe software to creative every product for my customers and every mockup for my clients. I wouldn’t be in business if I didn’t use Creative Cloud.
I think it’s important for non-designers to have access to programs like Photoshop and Illustrator if they’re planning on offering things like free PDFs or to create their social media graphics.
Tool # 10 – Great marketing advice
One of the things that I tell my clients after we’ve launched their new website is that now they need to take some time marketing and promoting their website. If you create a website to leave it untouched like a dusty book on a shelf, you won’t gain much new traffic, subscribers, or customers.
And I KNOW that marketing is constantly changing, so you’ll want up-to-date info that’s applicable to your business right now. Which is why I recommend The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (affiliate link)*. The toolkit includes several awesome resources that I personally can’t even wait to dive into. I’ve taken the time to list a few of them out below:
I’m all about YouTube these days because video marketing is a game changer. YouTube is the second largest search engine, and it can totally drive traffic to your website and blog.
This course is all about how to get more viewers and subscribers on YouTube.
If you’re thinking about vlogging, this looks awesome. I personally can’t wait to dive in!
Don’t wait any longer to get started with YouTube, because the longer you wait the more missed opportunities.
If you’d like to grow your audience with your blog, Demystifying SEO will help you to get your posts seen on Google. Since Google is the #1 search engine online, I’d say that learning SEO is pretty important for your creative business.
Learning SEO can be a little challenging for people who don’t know the terms and who don’t know where to look. But this PDF breaks it all down for you in one place, making it much easier to learn.
And the last (but not the least) marketing product as a part of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (affiliate link)* that I’d like to share is a course given by my lovely friend Krista.
This course will help you to bring more traffic to your website, which will ultimately result in more email subscribers and more income.
Krista is a magician when it comes to Pinterest, so I highly recommend this course.
And these 3 marketing resources are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit.
Not to mention that you also get a few of the tools above for free when you sign up (you’ll have to read more of the details about which ones).
Here’s an overview of what comes with the bundle:
- Blogger to Author: How I Went from Hobby Blogger to Getting Two Book Deals With A Major Publisher by Erin Odom ($30.00)
- Flipping Blogs for Profit by Jenn Leach($27.00)
- Monetize Your Blog With Freelance Writing: Learn How to Make $2K/month Using Your Blog Writing Skills! by Sagan Morrow ($39.00)
- Side Hustle Blueprint: How to Make an Extra $1000 per month Writing eBooks by Lise Cartwright ($17.00)
- Sweetly Blended: The Ultimate Guilt-Free, 4-Step Recipe for Building a Wildly Profitable Business Without Missing out on Family Time, Burning Out or Watching Money Flow Down the Proverbial Drain! by Prerna Malik ($69.00)
- The Bliss-Filled Mama’s 3 Month Biz Plan: Your Step by Step Process to Designing Your Most Blissful Biz Season Yet! by Kathy Stowell ($47.00)
- Your Business Personality Assessment: Manage and Grow Your Business with Ease by Melissa Llado ($28.95)
- Brand Intimate: The Essentials of Your Purposeful, Profitable Brand by Vanessa Ryan ($27.00)
- Brand Yourself Like A Creative Hustler by Steven Picanza ($397.00)
- The Blogger’s Guide to Rebranding by Cori George ($14.99)
- 1200 Blog Post Ideas by Rachael Wynn ($7.80)
- Creative Sparks for Business: 31 Business Ideas for Bloggers by Jennie Moraitis ($10.99)
- Food Photography Tips & Tricks: The Ultimate Guide 2nd Edition by Christina Peters ($19.95)
- hope*writers 3-month membership by hope*writers ($66.00)
- Make Your Old Content New Again: Six Steps to Getting More Traffic, Money and Followers By Updating Your Existing Posts by Katy Widrick ($14.99)
- Never Run Out of Blog Subjects Again by Max Kuivenhoven ($7.00)
- The Effective Writer by Jeff Goins ($197.00)
- Webinar Essentials: The No-Brainer Guide to Delivering Your First Webinar in 7 Days by Julie Harris & Razwana Wahid ($57.00)
Creating & Selling Products
- Creating and Formatting e-Books: Convert Your Word File to Kindle by Susan K Stewart ($180.00)
- Epic Instructor Lab: Unique Content to Help You Easily Create Your First Online Course by Kari Sayers ($37.00)
- Launch It Right! Bundle: Plan Out and Execute your First Profitable Course or Digital Product Launch by Summer Tannhauser ($29.00)
- Love Plus Color’s eBook InDesign Template by Jessica Safko ($32.00)
- Sales Page Success by Chelsea Damon ($30.00)
- Sign Up To Sold Course: 3 Proven Steps for Turning Strangers Into Customers by Caressa Thompson ($97.00)
- Write, Publish & Market Your Kindle Book In 4 Weeks by Ling Wong ($97.00)
- ConvertKit Masterclass: The Exact Formula I Used to Grow My Email List to Over 14K in Under a Year by Monica Froese ($47.00)
- Email Lists Made Easy for Writers and Bloggers by Kirsten Oliphant ($4.99)
- How to Create Your First Opt-in Freebie by Angie Nelson ($29.00)
- List Building Mania: Build Your List, Save Time and Grow Your Business in 7 Days by Lindsay Maloney ($87.00)
- Problem to Promotion: A Training on Creating the Perfect Opt-in by Kristie McCollum ($39.00)
- Blog Content Creator Kit by Kaitlyn Kessler ($16.00)
- Blogging Binder by Sarah Titus ($47.00)
- Free Your Mind Blog Planner: Dream Bigger, Organize Your Tasks and Achieve Your Dream Life by Mom’s Small Victories ($17.00)
- Printable Blog Planner by Gemma Bonham-Carter ($14.95)
- BECOME by Dollie Freeman($99.00)
- Blog by Number: Every Busy Mom’s Ultimate Guide to Starting a Blog by Suzi Whitford ($47.00)
- Choosing Your Perfect Niche: The Key to Launching a Successful Blog by Abby Lawson ($10.00)
- How to Master Google Analytics from the Beginning: A Beginner’s Guide to Customizing Google Analytics for Your Blog by Dawn Aldridge ($6.99)
- My 14-Point Blog Startup Checklist by Bob Lotich ($19.00)
- Profitable Blogging For Beginners: The 4 Week Online Class by Tanya Peterson ($97.00)
- The Beginner’s Guide to Blogging: Everything You Need to Know to Start a Profitable Blog by Sarah Brooks ($12.00)
- Blog Traffic Bootcamp by Lena Gott ($37.00)
- Demystifying SEO: A Blogger’s Guide To Search Engine Traffic by Kim Six ($29.00)
- Find Your Tribe Online: Find Your Readers, Grow Your Blog, and Have Fun Doing It! by Jen Snyder ($67.00)
- Ready Set Blog for Traffic by Elna Cain ($45.00)
- The She Approach To Boosting Your Blog Traffic by Ana Savuica ($25.00)
- Traffic, Subscribers, Yours by Raelyn Tan ($197.00)
Legal & Financial
- Blog and Be Legal: The Start to Finish Guide to Starting Your Blog & Online Biz Legally by Jackie Jade ($297.00)
- Copyright Infringement Workbooks by Dana Bucy Miller ($40.00)
- The Blogger’s Simple Guide to Taxes: A Guide to Saving Time and Money by Sarah Korhnak ($3.99)
- Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income by Kayla Aimee ($27.00)
- Become an Affiliate Blogger: Preparing You to Create a Full Time Income So You Can Work From Home! by Tia Mac ($47.00)
- Closing Strong: Create Campaign Reports that WOW Your Clients by Danielle Liss ($49.00)
- Core Affiliate Strategy Guide by Rosemarie Groner ($64.00)
- How To Make Money From Blogging: The Ultimate Guide To Earning A Five Figure Income From Your Blog by Sharon Gourlay ($24.99)
- Make Money Blogging at ANY Level by Victoria Pruett ($20.00)
- Media Kit Smash: Increase Your Earning Potential with Professional Media Kit Using Canva by Melissa Culbertson ($87.00)
- Passive Income Planner: Stop Trading Time for Money by Chantal Arnett ($19.00)
- Small Blog, Big Income: Advanced Ninja Tricks for Profitable Blogging by Carol Tice ($3.99)
- The Brand Magnet by Jeni Elliott ($59.00)
- Start Your Podcast: From Idea to First Episode by Jacey Verdicchio ($39.00)
- Turn Your Podcast Into Your Business by Joe Pardo ($197.00)
- Automation Education by Amber Temerity ($49.00)
- Biz Boost Workbook by Tonia Kendrick ($29.00)
- BlogWise: How to Do More with Less by Darren Rowse ($19.99)
- Creative Biz Plan Workshop: Using Smart Strategies to Run Your Biz Without it Running You by Kayleigh Hannon ($47.00)
- Don’t Eat That Frog! A Liberating Look at Time Management Strategies by Stacy Farrell ($14.95)
- Inbox Hero: Learn to Conquer Your Inbox and Be More Productive Every Single Day by Désirée Fawn ($35.00)
- Organize Your Entire Business Like a CEO by Laura Smith ($49.00)
- Piece of Cake: 42 Simple Systems For Your Business by Melissa Smith ($29.00)
- Productivity Freedom by Elizabeth Masarik ($47.00)
- Spend Less Work Less by Loralee Hutton ($99.00)
- ACTIVATE: EBA Live Conference Video Package by Ruth Soukup/Elite Blog Academy ($297.00)
- Blogging to Win: Modern Blogging Strategies for the Busy Woman by Allison Lindstrom ($179.00)
- Fall In Love with Blogging: From Passion to Plan to Profit by Dwainia Grey ($17.00)
- Turn Your Dreams Into Money: How to Build a Six Figure Blog and Live the Life You Want by Emma Drew ($250.00)
- 10 Super Common Facebook Strategies That Do More Harm Than Good by Brittany Ann ($15.00)
- Conquer YouTube by Kallie Branciforte ($375.00)
- Crush It with Facebook Groups: The Ultimate Guide for Bloggers and Creative Entrepreneurs by Lindsey Aleson ($15.00)
- Group Board Master: Unlock the Key to Massive Pinterest Growth! by Caroline Vencil ($97.00)
- Instagram Unlocked: How to Gain Followers and Engagement that Lasts by Helene Sula ($57.00)
- Own It: Amplify Your Influence & Build the Online Tribe of Your Dreams by Chakayla J. Taylor ($75.00)
- Pageviews from Pinterest: The 7-Step System to Skyrocket Your Blog Traffic (& Income!) in the Next 30 Days by Krista Dickson ($197.00)
- Pinterest Boost: How to Optimize and Automate your Pinterest Account using BoardBooster by MaryEllen Bream ($27.00)
- Pinterest Group Boards Masterlist by Jenny Blaisdell ($10.00)
- Pinteresting Strategies: How I Went from 0-200K Page Views with Manual Pinning by Carly Campbell ($32.00)
- Social Media Strategies Course for Bloggers by Alea Milham ($99.00)
- Twitter Strategy for Bloggers by Saira Perl ($44.00)
- Two Minutes a Day to 10K Twitter Followers by Brett Romero ($47.00)
- FREE 2500 Credits from Mouseflow ($29.00)
- FREE 3-Month Thinkific Bundle (Offer Includes 3-month Business Package Trial, Training Courses, Launch Preparedness Review, and Free Migration Concierge Services) from Thinkific ($297.00)
- FREE Web Hosting Bundle (Offer Includes One WordPress Site Health Check, One Free Month AGhosted Plan (any plan), Free Site Migration Service to AGhosted (limited to one site), Six Months Free AGhosted WordPress Management Middle Tier Package; Free Site Migration to Old Host Within 30 days, if unsatisfied) from Agathon ($490.00)
- FREE 2 Month Lunch -or- 3 Month Snack Plan from SaneBox ($25.00)
- FREE 1 Month Professional Plan from Deadline Funnel ($67.00)
- FREE 2 Month Standard Plan from LeadQuizzes ($67.00)
- FREE Isabelle Theme from Bluchic ($79.00)
- 2 FREE Exclusive Fonts (https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/63784-aurella-script/ & https://thehungryjpeg.com/product/63792-natarajasana-typeface/) from The Hungry JPEG ($30.00)
- FREE 2 Month Growth Hacker Plan from SocialPilot ($40.00)
- FREE 10 Stock Photos Bundle from Haute Chocolate ($69.00)
Whew! That’s a lot, huh?
*The link for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is an affiliate link. I think this deal is so amazing that I can’t help but share it with you all, but I also have purchased the bundle for myself because I couldn’t pass up this amazing offer. I would never recommend anything to you all that I don’t think is awesome and that I haven’t purchased or used for myself.