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I loved going through Hostgator for my domain and hosting! They are reliable, easy to work through, and their customer service is awesome! Right now they are having a sale for up to 60% off new hosting and select domains are 4.99! Use promo code SPRING2017 at checkout! The other great thing about going through HostGator, is that you can instantly install wordpress.org straight through them! I paid $0 do have a .org account and there’s no trouble with converting 🙂
I am OBSESSED boardbooster! It is super cheap (only $5 bucks a month) and every person you refer gets you a five dollar credit to your account! Pin management can be super confusing and the thing I love about boardbooster is that all it does, is add secret boards of all your public boards. Then, as you pin, you pin the secret boards and it will move them for you at optimal times! My pinterest traffic went from around 7k monthly views to around 24k in less than seven days!
I use tailwind as well as board booster. At first I was only going to keep it through the free trials, but then I discovered Tailwind tribes! I searched through pinterest and found someone who had a link to their tribe and its amazing! So, I mostly use tailwind to bulk post a pin I create to all of my group boards. It will space the time out for you’re in the que to be released at optimal times during the day. With tribes, it is a great way to get repins and saves from other bloggers in your same niche. Eventually I’d like to start my own tribe, but I have around 50,00 other things on my to-do list. Definitely sign up and use their free trail to decide if it’s right for you.
I just recently started using hootsuite for my instagram. Starting out, I figured I’d do everything manually and it was okay. But, as I did more research on how to make instagram more successful, I realized how planning, utilizing hashtags, and consistency are really the ways to succeed. utilizing this app has skyrocketed my engagement and reach for instagram. It can be used on your phone and computer, and helps you monitor those you follow, certain hashtags, and other social media platforms like Facebook and linkedn. Definitely sign up and try it out, its FREE. They start you out with a free trial of their paid, but when the trial is over, just downgrade to free!
Plann is an app that is really similar to hootsuite. The reason I have both, is because Plann does something that Hootsuite does not…IT STORES YOUR HASHTAG BY THEME. You can make as many themes as you want and put all the hashtags in separate folders. Then, you can just click to copy and past them all into your insta! Super fast and easy 🙂 The other major perk about plann is that you can plan out the way your instagram grid will look. You can rearrange pics and find a something that’s aesthetically pleasing 🙂
Designing Posts & Graphics:
I LOVE CANVA MORE THAN ANYTHING. Seriously, I started using it for work, and its taught me everything I know about graphic design. The free version is amazing and although I now use the paid, I’d definitely use the free while you familiarize yourself. It has so many great qualities, I’ll go ahead and let you just click the link to learn more.
Unsplash is a great resource for high quality stock images. It is completely free and you don’t have to worry about legal issues with using them in your graphics. It is easy to search and save any pictures you think would be useful for your blog.
I stumbled across Invorymix on pinterest. The stock photos are amazing! Something that makes ivorymix different from unsplash, is that they create images where brands and other texts can easily be added in. I added the canva logo in a photo from them and it looks absolutely seamless. I definitely recommend getting on their email list for monthly FREE stock photos. This takes all the stress and worry about whether your images are actually free and legal, because they are all royalty free!
When I started wanting to monetize my blog, ShareASale was always what people recommended. It has literally THOUSANDS of affiliates to join and has all the banners and everything you need right in the database. I’ve yet to make a sale, but if you can sit down and do research on what types of things you can be an affiliate for, I know people who made thousands monthly from ShareASale.
Let’s be honest, I suck when it comes to affiliate marketing. But, there are some affiliate marketing programs that are easier than others. For me, shareasale is complicated and not easy to navigate. Plus, a lot of the things they have on their site, I don’t use or know anything about. This is the exact reason I like Amazon Affiliate. you apply to become an affiliate and then when you write posts, pics, etc, there are ways to link those items straight to the amazon site using your unique id. If someone purchases something from that link, you get $$.
****Get this ebook on how to crack the Amazon Affiliate code and start making passive income today! (Love Million dollar mamma, she is so nice and even gave me tips for my blog!)****
Bzz agent is another great affiliate marketing resource. Although I haven’t landed my campaign, I like that bzzagent does all the work for me! I take surveys and they will match affiliate and sponsor programs based on your responses! It’s totally free and something great to have around for a rainy day. The surveys are fast and easy!
Target Affiliate and Amazon associate are the same thing. You provide links, promotions, and ads, and they will give you money based on clicks and purchases. They also give you extra money for referring people to their Target RedCard (Which I have, and love love love).
Free WordPress Plugins:
Yoast SEO is a MIRACLE. I had no idea what SEO was when I started my blog and although hard to decipher at first, I am confident when I publish posts, that they are optimized because of this app. They give you hints, tips, and it is super user-friendly 🙂 By far, one of the most important plugins for your WordPress blog.
Contact Form 7:
Contact Form is a great asset to any WordPress blog. The last thing you want to do is bog down the speed of your site because of all the awesome plugins everyone says you should have. Contact Form 7 automatically comes with WordPress and is easy to customize and edit to fit your needs! I use it for my Contact Me page here.
**Refer to Mailchimp down below in email marketing**
Enjoy Insta is the plugin that allows you to show your instagram feed to your profile! I have it showing on all of my pages and posts at the bottom. You can edit how many pics, shapes, whether you want them to move, etc. Easy to use and totally FREE
Akismet also came with my WordPress account. This filters all spam through comments and logins. I like being able to approve the comments that show up on my posts before approving them (especially since life gets crazy and sometimes I go a couple of weeks without activity).
Pin It is probably one of the soul reasons pinterest is my biggest traffic source. By having this plugin installed, all images on your blog will have the option to be pinned to pinterest. Put your featured graphic at the bottom and anyone can pin from your site to their boards! (Beware: for rich pin users, utilize the comments section of your picture to add a description in case they choose a picture that isn’t your featured to pin)
Genesis simple share is what allows me to have buttons at the bottom of my post for viewers to share! I use this along with pin it, but simple share has buttons for all sorts of social media outlets. Email, printing, Facebook, stumbleupon, tumblr, and many more!
Google analytics still makes my head hurt. BUT, it is great to have on your WordPress site to get the most accurate view of your data. WordPress stats are great, but don’t include things like bounce rate and amount of time spent on page on average. All of these things become important when trying to build your blogging empire. Google Analytics is free and so is the plugin!
Call me crazy, but I love both Mailchimp and Mailmunch. Both for different reasons. Mailchimp allows me to create lists of subscribers that can be managed through WordPress. Easy to use, gives you data on not just subscribed members, but also unsubscribed. It can be used to create beautiful and customizable emails to send out and has a FREE automation feature that I love to use for my welcome email when people subscribe to the C’est La Vie Fam!
Mailmunch is my go to for making opt ins for my site. I love how streamlined they look and easy to use it is along with Mailchimp. I can create an opt in Mailmunch, and have all the new subscribers show up in my mailchimp account. Again, there is probably an easier way to use this, but I like exploring the two different sites and how to use the best of both.
I absolutely recommend grammarly! I tend to hate proofreading and I love that Grammarly does all the work for me! I know most programs have some sort of spell checker, but grammar checker is where I mess up the most! Click on the link to sign up…ITS FREE!