blogging resourcesDon’t have time to read this blog post about my recommendations and tools I use to blog, work from home and lose weight? PIN IT for later. **This blog post contains affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I only recommend products that I love and/or use personally.**

It’s all about the tools

Ever wonder why Michael Jordan’s Air Nike shoes are so popular and his brand is so enduring?  It’s the tools!  People believe that if they can wear the same shoes that Michael Jordan wore, then they too can “be like Mike” on the basketball court!  And to a certain extent, that is true.  If someone has had success in an area by using certain tools, then others can too.  Now, I would never put myself in the same category of greatness as Michael Jordan.  His athletic skills and business acumen are legendary.  I mean, he has created a billion dollar brand.  But hopefully, by showing you the tools that I use to blog, work from home, and run an online business, you too can do the same.

I always get asked what I use to set up and run my blog.  Therefore, I decided to create this list so that I can refer those people who ask to this page.  The great thing about the recommendations I have listed below is that any blogger can use them.  Whether you want to start a blog, are a beginner blogger or have been blogging for years, you can use all the blogging tools on my list.  These tools are for the beginner blogger and beyond.

But before I launch into my recommendations, I want to let you know that I use every product mentioned in this list.  These are all products I use to blog and work online.  I would not recommend something to you if I haven’t tried it. I just feel like in our everyday lives, we tell our friends what we love, what works and what doesn’t work.  Well, friend, below I have listed my recommendations of what works for me concerning blogging and working from home.

BLOG-RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS

bluehostBluehost – Out of all my blogging recommendations, this one is the most important.  Why?  Because if you want to be a blogger, you gotta have a blog.  I recommend Blue Host because they are the best web service provider.   With Blue Host you get reliable service (you’ll blog will never go down!), 24/7 technical support and a 30-day money back guarantee.   I can help you start your own blog quickly and cheaply.  I have created a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a WordPress blog in about 20 minutes.  For a limited time, you can get web hosting service from Blue Host for as low as $3.95 a month, which is ridiculously cheap.  And as an added bonus, you’ll get a free domain name ($15 value) through my Blue Host link if you purchase at least one year of web hosting service.    Just think, right now, you are only 20 minutes away from having a blog.  So what are you waiting for?  The time for action is now.

aweberAweber – Collecting email addresses is so important and having a large, engaged email list is the true sign of a profitable business.  You need to start collecting email addresses on day one that your blog is up.  I wish I had done this as soon as I started blogging but you can learn from my mistakes.  As the popular saying goes, “The money is on the list!”   If you truly want to build your brand and have a profitable blog, then email marketing must be your #1 income-generating strategy.    Yes, I know there are lots of other free email subscription services out there but I have learned that you get what you pay for.   I have used aweber since I started blogging and highly recommend it for you.  Aweber has a free 30 day trial for you so you can try their service without any risk.   Click HERE  to learn more about aweber.

elegant themesElegant Themes by Divi – A theme is the design of your blog.  Now, WordPress has some built-in themes that you can use and you can also get free WordPress themes on the Internet.  However, I have tried both and firmly believe that you get what you pay for.  I highly recommend Elegant Themes by Divi for your blog.  I use it on this blog and it has been a game changer for me.  Using this blog theme, you can customize your blog to look any way you want it to.  Plus, you can change it up as often as you like and create any kind of configuration, layout or design that you want.  Click here to get Elegant Themes by Divi for your blog today.

leadpagesLeadPages – LeadPages is another amazing service that I have been using for years.  LeadPages is a tool that lots of bloggers and online marketers use to collect email addresses.   Remember   They help you easily create landing pages, squeeze pages, opt ins, pop up boxes, webinar page sign ups, thank you pages, video lessons. and so much more.   Trust me, you don’t want to spend hours trying to code or come up with a webinar sign-up page or a email sign-up box for your blog.  LeadPages has hundreds of templates for their customers to use and they take about 5-10 minutes to customize and put on your blog.  Your job is to work smarter not harder.  LeadPages has already done the hard work for you.  Plus, when you sign up using my link, they will give you a 14-day free trial to test is out and see how awesome it is.  Try it today.

making sense of affiliate marketingMaking Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Some bloggers make money selling affiliate products.  If you don’t know what affiliate products are, that’s when you sell another company’s product to your audience and they give you a cut of the sale.  One popular blogger makes over $50,000 each month in affiliate income.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Financial blogger Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes over $50,000 each month selling other people’s products!!!     Michelle has been blogging for years and her affiliate income has increased over time.  So, making five figures a month in affiliate income may not be realistic for you to achieve right now.   However, many bloggers start out earning $60 or $70 of affiliate income a month and then grow from there.   I have taken the course and use it grow my blog income.  If you want to learn exactly how Michelle earns $50,000 a month in affiliate income, check out her online course “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing“.

tailwindTailwind – I’m gonna let you in on a BIG secret.  You may not know this but the secret to getting tons of traffic to my blog is by using Pinterest.  That’s right.  About 90% of all my blog traffic comes from Pinterest.  Pinning my blog post images on Pinterest is an amazing way to get loads of traffic to my blog.  But I am busy and I can’t spend all day on Pinterest pinning pretty pictures.  Well, that’s where Tailwind comes in.  Tailwind is an automated Pinterest scheduler.  I go into Tailwind about once a month and spend about 30 minutes scheduling the pinning my images on Pinterest.  It is an amazing tool and saves me so much time.  Pinterest is a must for growing your blog.  Therefore, Tailwind is a must-have tool to run your blog.  Click HERE to start your free 30-day trial with Tailwind.

make money blogging Free Email Course: How to Write Blog Posts that Generate Income – This is a course I wrote to teach bloggers how to make money via their blog posts.  The blog post is the single most effective tool to create a customer.  Period.  When readers visit your site, your goal should be to convert them into paying customers.  Understand the difference.  A reader is someone who will visit your blog, read it and leave.  A customer is a reader who TRUSTS your message and pays for products and services that HELPS them, fulfills a NEED or solves a PROBLEM they have.  In 7 days, this course will teach you how to create blog posts that educates the customer, addresses the needs, solves their problems, and helps them make a decision to buy.  Click HERE to enroll in this free course today!

pinterest traffic avalanche coursePinterest Traffic Avalanche – So remember when I told you that I use Pinterest to get tons of traffic from my blog?  Well, guess where I learned how to do that?  From the Pinterest Traffic Avalanche eCourse!  This eCourse was created by couple, Alex and Lauren, who used Pinterest to grow their blogging income to over $50,000 a month!  They quit their jobs and now all they do is travel the world and blog, of course.  So they teach you all their strategies and tips in this amazing eCourse.  The great thing about this course is that once you join, you are a member for life.  Plus Alex and Lauren are always updating the eCourse, adding new lessons and updates about Pinterest.   I consider this eCourse important reference material and I am constantly referring back to it.  As a blogger, you can’t ignore the power of Pinterest and how it can explode your blog growth and income.  Therefore, you gotta learn how to use Pinterest and harness its power for your benefit.  Click HERE to sign up for this eCourse today.  You’ll blog and your bottom line will be so happy that you did.

MONEY SAVING APPS & WEB SITES

ebates Ebates – Ebates is a site that offers cash back and coupons for online shopping purchases.  Retailers such as Amazon, Etsy, Sephora, Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, JC Penny and many other stores that you’ll find at your local mall have teamed up with Ebates to give you cash back.  If you’re shopping online anyway – and who isn’t – you might as well get some money back from those purchases.  My husband encouraged me to use Ebates.  He had been regularly receiving checks from Ebates, getting cash back from purchases he made online.  One day, he was like, “Cella, you should sign up for Ebates so you can get money back when you shop.”  He sent me an email link so I could sign up and the rest is history.  Why don’t you click here to try Ebates and see if you like it?  Plus, they will give you $10 just to sign up.  See, I told you it was super easy to make money online!  My ebates review – “How I Got Paid $2 to Eat Ice Cream and Other Fun Ways to Make Money Online

Ibotta ibotta – ibotta is an app that you download to your apple or android device.  The cool thing about ibotta is that you get cash back for purchases you normally make for groceries.  Ibotta offers cash back for selected items like eggs, ice cream and bread at certain stores like Target, Costco, Walmart, Wegmans, Walgreens, etc.  What I really love about ibotta is that they will offer cash back for specific products like Halo Top ice cream.  But other times, they’ll also offer cash back for a food item like orange juice or toothpaste.  However, they allow you to buy any brand you like.  How cool is that?  Since you have to go grocery shopping anyway, might as well download the ibotta app and get some money back.  The ibotta app also offers cash back for restaurant dining, electronics and more.  Click HERE to download the app.  Also, check out my blog post where I show how I got 2 free pints of ice cream then ibotta paid me $2 to eat it.  I don’t know about you, but I love getting paid to eat ice cream! My ibotta review – “How I Got Paid $2 to Eat Ice Cream and Other Fun Ways to Make Money Online

ORGANIZATIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS

calendarMore Time Moms (MTM) Calendar ($15.99) – Using a calendar is a great way to keep me on track because I tend to avoid deadlines and shy away from making decisions. Yes, I have issues. But anyway, I love using this calendar. I know I can make and track goals with other apps and electronic calendars. And I do use those to make and track my goals. However, my MTM calendar is hanging in my closet and every time I walk in there, I see the calendar with my goals highlighted on it. It is a powerful visual for me and constant reminder of my goals. So I am not saying you have to use a paper calendar. If an electronic calendar works best for you, then use that. Do what works best for you. The key is to use a calendar to post and track your goals.

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