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Between website builders, hosting companies, WordPress themes, plugins, social media tools, etc., it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what software and services you really need (and which ones aren’t worth your money).
I’ve tried many of the various paid and free blogging and marketing tools over the years, and I’ve figure out which ones work for my business.
This list of resources is relevant for any type of blog.
Website and Hosting
Siteground – This is best affordable hosting company for beginners who are just getting into making money online. Plans start at just $3.95/month for the first year, and customer support will literally install WordPress for you.
Bluehost – Another ultra-affordable hosting service that’s best suited for smaller websites. I used Bluehost for about 5 years when I first got started blogging.
Cloudways – When you start getting more than 50,000 visitors per month, you might want to upgrade to a faster host. I use Cloudways for our sites (including this one), and it’s insanely good for the price (even compared to premium hosts like WP Engine).
WordPress – There’s a reason 20% (or more) of the websites on the Internet are powered by WordPress. It’s easy to use, super flexible and infinitely customizable. Did I mention it’s totally free? You can also use they’re beginner-friendly drag and drop version.
Astra – This is a simple, lightweight, fast alternative to Genesis. If I were to start a new site today, I’d probably use Astra.
Lasso – The easiest way to manage an affiliate link heavy website (which can get out of control quickly!). I’ve used this plugin on all of my sites.
Email List Building
ConvertKit – It’s way easier to use than Mailchimp, and more powerful and intuitive than Aweber. I switched from Aweber a while back, and I haven’t regretted it once.
Social Media & Design
Canva – I use Canva religiously for featured images, collages, YouTube thumbs and basic infographics. Every blog post should have images and graphics, and every video needs a compelling thumbnail. Canva is perfect for those tasks, and it’s free to use (although I’m on the Pro plan).
Photo & Video Gear
Canon T6i – This is the camera I use for taking photos and recording videos. I love this camera. You can control it and access it’s data from your phone, and the kit lens is perfect for video.
Canon EF 50mm Lens – This is a great second lens for fashion bloggers and YouTubers. It’s got a fixed focal length and max aperture of f/1.8, which makes it super easy to get the much loved bokeh effect (blurred background).
Rode VideoMic Pro – This is a lightweight, compact, battery powered shotgun mic that mounts to the top of your camera. It’s perfect for any type of vlogging.
RodeLink Wireless Filmmaker System – This is a wireless lavalier (or lapel) mic that lets you stand farther away from the camera and move around without worrying about wires. It records broadcast quality audio.
Payments & Accounting
PayPal – I have a business checking account and credit card, but I use PayPal more than both of them combined. It integrates with everything and is accepted everywhere. I recommend upgrading to a business account.
Stripe – This is the payment processing service I use to accept credit card payments for my digital products. It integrates with pretty much every other service or software.