There are limitless ways to create, customize, manage and promote your own blog, but I’d like to share some of my favorites. While I am an affiliate for some of these great tools and services (you can be, too!), I highly recommend and use many of these. Every time you purchase through one of my links, you are helping support this site, my research, and my podcast. THANK YOU!
I like MT. If you’ve decided that WordPress is your CMS, this is super easy hosting. You buy it, log in and WP is waiting for you. They have daily backups of your site – so you don’t have to. I’ve also had great customer service with these guys.
One of the lowest-cost providers, with up to three years of domain registration and hosting for as little as $2.95 a month. Many pre-installed functions, from WordPress to Fantastico. Every account includes 100 emails and unlimited forwarders. Click here for my Just Host WordPress install instructions.
We use ManageFlitter to help us manage, maintain and grow several of our Twitter feeds. It’s easy to use and just stellar at helping us reach engagers and influencers who are local to us!
A small business owner’s dream logo resource! Fill out a simple brief, choose the design package that’s right for you and your request is submitted to creative pros all over the world. After 7 days, you’ll have dozens of designs to choose from.
We highly recommend the WordPress Thesis Theme because it makes managing WordPress platforms exceptionally easy, with on-site SEO that ROCKS! Manage menus, headers, fonts, colors — you name it. It doesn’t demand knowledge of HTML to make sophisticated changes.
I do love my Thesis skins. But you need to get Thesis Framework before using these skins, just FYI. This site is run on Charm Skin.
StudioPress is straight-out-of-the-box easy to use for WordPress. This is Copyblogger’s shop.
Free for basic, but the professional version costs money. Manage your followers with auto direct-message (DM) responses, auto-replies when you’re unavailable. Create global DMs — use with care, as it’s considered borderline spam.
Manage multiple social media platforms from one dashboard. Schedule tweets and updates for later — great for when you’re out for a few days.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Free Digital Photos: This is a great resource for free images as long as you don’t mind providing an attribution. Or you can just buy the image.
Pixabay: This is a fun resource and while there are not a ton of options, they are free to use without attribution. On Pixabay you may find and share images free of copyrights. All pictures are published under Creative Commons public domain deed CC0.
Photopin: This is a super fun website for finding images. Most of the images found on this website do require attribution, so use it.
Adobe Photoshop: Most days of my life I have Photoshop open in the background. While this program does take some time to learn, it is the most reliable way to resize and crop images, in my opinion. I personally pay for the Cloud version which means that I pay a low monthly fee to use it. This allows me to always have the latest and updated version of the software without paying the high cost of upgrades as they are released. It’s worked flawlessly.
PicMonkey: If you are not quite ready for Photoshop but still need to do some editing to an image then this may be the website for you. This is a free photo editing tool.
Fiverr.com: This is one crazy website. I have gotten everything from a fun video made for a client to a logo put into vector art all starting at $5. If you have a creative idea but don’t know how to do it, this is the place to start when you’re on a budget.
Color Scheme Designer: When you work with a web developer they are going to ask if you have a color palette. If you do not have one then this website can help you choose one and you will have fun doing it..
Evernote: This is my go-to cloud-based workspace software for everything. If my Evernote account got destroyed I think that I would find a new career path. I just think better when Evernote is open.
Mindjet: For the longest time I didn’t realize that I processed in a mind map and then I found Mindjet. I’ll tell you now, my life has never been the same. When I am planning out an idea or just trying to come up with blog ideas, this is the tool that I use.