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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, but it’s especially suitable for fashion bloggers.
Website and Hosting
Bluehost – It’s been my hosting company since day one, and I’ve never had any major problems. Bluehost even helped me through a stressful couple of days after my site got hacked. I’m currently hosting all of my sites with their Optimized WordPress plan.
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?
Genesis – If your website is a car, and WordPress is the engine, then Genesis is the frame and the body. I’ve tested dozens of the most popular WordPress themes, and I can confidently recommend Genesis as one of the best (if not the best).
It’s fast, search engine friendly, secure and widely supported (because so many people use it). Plus there are hundreds of Genesis child themes for you to choose from, along with hundreds of web developers who specialize specifically in Genesis.
This site runs on a Genesis theme called Wellness Pro.
AdRotate Pro – I use this plugin (also free to use) to manage the banner ads on my site. From Google AdSense to ad space you sold directly to a client, it makes ad management very easy.
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.
LeadPages – You don’t need this one, but it’s nice to have if you’re serious about building an email list and/or selling a digital product (like a book). I use LeadPages for my TMM Style Guide sales page, and I use LeadBoxes for email opt-ins on my sites.
Social Media & Design
Canva – I use Canva 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).
PicMonkey – Unlike Canva, this is great for basic photo editing – the kind of stuff that’s too small for Photoshop. For example, adding a drop shadow or a line of text to an image.
Meet Edgar – This software app allows you to build a “queue” of social media content that can be scheduled to post automatically, as many times as you’d like. Unlike similar tools, your content will be reused, rather than only being used one time.
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.
LOHA Flexible Tripod – This is a heavy duty, multipurpose tripod that can be used for vlogging, product photos or to snap a quick selfie, no matter where you are.
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.
Gumroad – I use this service to sell digital products (from accepting payments to delivering files). It integrates with PayPal, LeadPages, Stripe, etc., and it’s very easy to use.
Wave – This is a free accounting tool, kind of like Quickbooks or Freshbooks. It’s very easy to use and plugs into your PayPal and/or bank accounts. I use it for invoicing and basic accounting (income, expenses, etc.).
There are so many awesome blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels for online entrepreneurs. It’s impossible to read them all, and it can be hard to figure out which ones to pay attention to.
Here are the business blogs I subscribe to:
All three are full of very specific, actionable advice – not just fluff or content that’s not backed by actual results.