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MY TOP BLOGGING RECOMMENDATIONS...

This is a list of my all-time favorite products that I would buy a million times again. These are my holy-grail products and things I recommend to everyone.

1. WordPress

wordpress

My blog is run through a self-hosted WordPress blog and it's the only way I recommend to do it! 

I do not recommend Blogger, Wix, Square Space, etc. Only WordPress! You can find out why I feel so strongly about this on my How To Start A Blog post!

bluehost logo

If you're looking to start a WordPress blog for cheap, Bluehost is the way you do it. When I started my blog, I used Bluehost as my host and paid less than $4 dollars a month. It's rated one of the best hosting companies and I recommend it to all my readers who want to start a blog.

I give you all the details on how to set up your blog with WordPress and Bluehost on this post: How To Start A Blog.

I wouldn't have grown my blog to be making so much money monthly if it wasn't for Bluehost.

17th avenue designs

Eek! I love 17th Avenue Designs! They are who designed my website and they have the best WordPress themes at such good prices.

They have so many options to choose from and I have so many readers who have also used them and have had great experiences.

I paid for them to install my website for me because I was scared I was going to mess something up but you definitely don't have to if you are technology savvy ;).

BTW, my exact theme is called Amelia.

4. Etsy - For Website Themes

I actually found 17th Avenue Designs (where my theme is from) from looking at WordPress themes on Etsy!

I love Etsy for themes because they have a lot of different price ranges. 

tailwind

This is the #1 blogging software that I couldn't live without.

Tailwind is a website that can schedule pins to go out on Pinterest. Since one of the largest ways I market my blog posts through is Pinterest, that means that I have over 100 pins going out everyday. 

I would NEVER have time to sit and manually pin those myself everyday so it's awesome to have Pinterest do it for me (it means I only have to be on Pinterest for about 30 minutes a week). 

You can get 100 free pins with this link.

convertkit

ConvertKit is what I currently use to do all my emails.

I spent months debating if I should get ConvertKit because it is a little on the pricey end but finally decided in the end to go with it after having major issues with Mailerlite (do NOT recommend).

All the bloggers that make $50,000+ per month recommend ConvertKit as the leading email provider and say that over half of their income comes just from their email list. Sooo, I have just started focusing on my email list.

I will get back to you in a few months if I do truly believe ConvertKit is working and how well my email list is growing.

As of 1/18/19, I have 2,351 email subscribers. My goal is to get to 15,000 by the end of the year...we'll see ;). 

^As of 6/30/2020, I have 45,010 email subscribers! wohoo!

7. Thrive Architect - How I Design + Layout My Posts 

I use Thrive Themes on every single blog post on my website.

If you look at my blog posts, it's easy to see that they are very organized and have more features than the basic WordPress editor allows. This is all because of Thrive Themes (specifically the Thrive Architect product). I would HIGHLY recommend checking out their website and watching the video they have that shows you all that it can do - it is awesome.

PS - If you're wondering how I am able to get my Amazon products to look the way they do, this is how :).

8. How I Make Sure My Website is Legal:

It is EXTREMELY important that you are making sure your blog is legal, and I use all of A Self Guru products to do this.

Amira, at A Self Guru, is a lawyer who creates products for bloggers like privacy policies, disclaimers, terms and conditions, and more. She sells them at a very reasonable price and has it set up so that you can make it custom for your own website.

I personally purchased the Legal Bundle and had a private meeting with her to look over my website.

This is the not so fun part of blogging, but it is extremely important.

9. LeadPages

LeadPages is what I use to make all my email opt-ins, pop ups, and landing pages.

This is totally worth it for me because I love everything to look so beautiful on my website and LeadPages has been a huge contributor to me growing my email list to as big as it has become.

10. Deposit Photo

I get all my stock images from Deposit Photo.

I either take my own photos, get permission to use photos, or get my photos from Deposit Photo. It is the cheapest stock photo website with GOOD photos that I have been able to find.  I've been using their images for more than two years now!

MY FAVORITE BLOGGING COURSES...

I am a HUGE believer in taking blogging courses. I truly believe the only reason I have found success so quickly is because I have enrolled in blogging courses and followed them exactly from the leaders in the blogging world. 

WITH THAT SAID, every course I have bought I have researched, and researched, and researched to make sure I didn't buy any courses that would teach me nothing and end up wasting my money.

These are the courses I have loved and continue to recommend the most in order of when I purchased them.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

This was the first course I ever purchased!!

I think when I first took this course I only had like three posts written. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is written by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner who is a blogging GENIUS and made over 1,500,000 MILLION on her blog last year (2018). Yeah, you read that right.

She makes majority of her money from affiliate marketing and her course goes over the exact techniques she used to bring her blog to make that much money. 

Do I think this course was worth it? Yes, definitely. I started my blog in September 2017 and by October 2017, I made $300 from affiliate marketing techniques from her course.

Fast forward to this year and in October I earned over $3,400 dollars in one month just from affiliate marketing (Can be seen in the January 2019 income report). About 50% of my blogging income each month comes from affiliate marketing.

by sophia lee recommendations

This is one of the most affordable blogging courses out there and JAM-PACKED with information.

I completely believe that Pinteresting Strategies is the first course EVERY new blogger should buy. It gives you so much information on Pinterest and it will help you sky rocket your blogging success.

Now I want to say, I don't follow everything she teaches. I am a full-time college student and simply do not have time to manually pin everything I put out on Pinterest.

However, she taught me so much just about how Pinterest works that I would buy the course over and over again. It's all about Pinterest SEO, how to properly set up your boards, design your pins, etc. So much information that you need to know to succeed on Pinterest.

Also, Carly (the women who wrote this course) is the actual best and is so real.

If you just started your blog, buy this course! It will help you grow your page views so much.

List Love Masterclass is the latest course I have purchased and goes over all things email list building!

Okay, I have to tell you how crazy good this girl is and why I bought this course. Jennifer Maker (the women who wrote this course) built a list of over 70,000 subscribers (which is really freakin' good) in less than two years.

BUT WAIT, it gets better. Just this past fall, she made over $25,000 in two days selling a product just to her email list.

I just took this course in December and I will let you know in a few months what I truly think of it...so far, so good!

She has a free mini-course that I would also highly recommend.

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