Don’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, run an online business and lose weight, 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, work online and maintain my fitness goals. 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, working from home and weight loss.
Bluehost – 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.
Aweber – 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 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.
LeadPages – 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 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“.
Tailwind – 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.
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.
Pinterest 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. 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 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 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”
More 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.
FITNESS & DIET-RELATED RECOMMENDATIONS
“The Busy Mom’s Guide on How to Lose Weight: How Redbook Magazine Helped Me Lose 18 Pounds.” – After I had my first child, I lost the baby weight quickly. But after I had my twins, I tipped the scale at over 200 pounds! I tried everything but was having trouble dropping the baby weight. I needed help fast! Then Redbook magazine asked me to participate in their Wedding Dress Challenge. The purpose of this program was to help women lose weight so they could fit back into their wedding dress. For 3 months, I worked with a celebrity fitness trainer and a nutritionist. I lost 18 pounds during the challenge. I dropped 2 dress sizes and was able to fit back into my wedding dress. Plus, I got to appear in Redbook magazine. How cool is that? If you want to learn the exact steps I used to lose weight, check out my eBook. In this eBook, I detail my eating plan, fitness workouts and other tips that helped me lose weight quickly. Because you don’t have to do this alone. I am always here to help and encourage you on your weight loss journey.
MyFitnessPal App (Free!) – What would I do without my MyFitnessPal app? This is the diet app that started it all and it’s my favorite app. This app lets you log in everything you eat and drink. Plus, you can log in your exercise and thoughts for the day. It is awesome. They have a huge database of food, so don’t worry. If you can buy it at a supermarket or order it at a restaurant, you can log it in this app. If you don’t want to use the app on your phone, you can also log in your food on their website as well. Personally, I find this app really helps me see and understand what I am eating. I am less likely to eat that pint of ice cream when I know I have to enter all those calories into the MyFitnessPal app. This diet app helps me make better eating choices.
FitBit ($60 – $250) – FitBit has several products to fit your fitness personality. If you visit the Fitbit website, you can take a test to find out which FitBit product fits best with your fitness goals and lifestyle. I used the FitBit Zip for a few years. However, I kept breaking the clip. So after going through about 5 of them, I switched to the FitBit Alta. Now, I am not a watch girl and I don’t like wearing things on my wrists except a few bangles. But so far so good, I haven’t broken or destroyed it yet. The FitBit Alta even has Caller ID features where I can see who is calling me on my cell phone. Pretty cool! There’s also an app that you can download to track your progress. It already tracks calories burned, steps, and sleep. But the cool thing about the app is that you can have challenges with your friends. Each week, my girlfriends and I have step challenges to see who can complete the most steps in a day. We get really competitive and it makes reaching your daily step goal fun. I find that my Fitbit actually helps me be more active.
Ramona Braganza 3-2-1 Training Method Level 1 DVD ($19.99) – This for sure is one of my fav weight loss recommendations. I LOVE DOING THIS DVD! It is incredible. I’m not a celebrity but I had the privilege of working with celebrity fitness trainer, Ramona Braganza while I participated in Redbook’s Wedding Dress Challenge. Ramona has sculpted the bodies of some of Hollywood’s most beautiful bodies. She has worked with Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba and Zoe Saldana. And now she can work with you too! The cool thing about her DVD is that you can custom create your workouts. No two workouts are ever the same which keeps your body guessing and stops your weight from plateauing. You never get bored with Ramona’s workouts. I can do her workouts when I travel or in my own home gym. Get this DVD, you’ll be so happy that you did. Ramona also has book called “Feel Fit Look Fantastic in 3, 2, 1”. In this book, Ramona talks about her fitness and diet plan to help women shed excess weight. I would recommend adding this book to your library collection as well.
Flipbelt ($28.99) – I love to run. I love to run on the treadmill, outside, and after my kids. But running outside or in a gym used to be a hassle because I had nowhere to put my keys and cash. I would put my keys in my sock but that hurt. Then one Christmas, my husband gave me the Flipbelt. Hurray! Now I just slip on my Flipbelt over my workout bottom, put my keys and cash in the invisible pockets and head out for my run. And the cool thing is that no one can tell you are wearing the Flipbelt. It looks like the waistband of your workout bottom. Brilliant! I have the Flipbelt Classic which comes in 9 colors. I have the black one. However if you are a true fashionista, you can buy more than one in different colors to coordinate with your outfits.
“Now Eat This!: 150 of America’s Favorite Comfort Foods, All Under 350 Calories” Cookbook by Rocco DiSpirito – I recommend that you invest in several good cookbooks that specialize in healthy eating. Dieting is not easy. Many people think that healthy foods tend to be bland and boring compared to their high-calorie, high-fat alternatives. However, that’s not the case if you invest in a few good cookbooks. It is really important to switch things up a bit and incorporate new recipes into your eating on a regular basis. This keeps you from getting bored and running to the nearest McDonalds – or in my case, Chik-Fil-A. I really love cookbooks like this one by Rocco DiSpirito that show you healthy alternatives to snacks, sweets and high-calorie favs like fried chicken, lasagna and mashed potatoes. I believe that I have been successful in my diets because I didn’t deprive myself. I just substituted my guilty pleasures with low-calorie, healthy alternatives. I also love “The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook” by Tosca Reno. It has great recipes, too. I have many, many cookbooks and wanted to give you a few that I love. Find one that speaks to you and go with that.
Beats Headphones ($200 – $1200) – Want studio quality headphones where you can hear every beat, treble and note? Plus look cool wearing them? Well, then look no further. Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones are for you. They are the most sought after headphones on the market and they deliver. I don’t know about you but I feel funny using those tiny plug earphones. I feel like I’m going to lose my hearing using them. But Beats headphones are big. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I feel like I’m protecting my ears better using them. I will admit, Beats headphones are an investment. I got mine as a gift so fortunately, I didn’t have to fork out any cash for them. But if something happened to my Beats headphone today, best believe that I’m buying another set pronto!
Jump Rope ($19.99) – I love jumping rope because it’s a tough, cardio workout and you can take it anywhere. Have you tried jumping rope for 20 minutes? It’s hard, right? Jump ropes are great because you can pop it in your suitcase or purse when you travel. I can do it in my hotel room or on the sidelines as I’m watching my girls soccer practice. For me, it’s important to buy a longer rope because I am tall. I also want plastic handles, not the foam ones that tend to break off over time. So what are you waiting for, jump to it.
Ozeri Pronto Digital Food Scale ($10.41) – Eating healthy is important. However, eating the correct portion size of your food is important as well. While I am meal prepping or fixing my plate to eat, I measure out my food portions. . Now, you can get some really fancy digital food scales that will do everything short of cooking the food! But this amazing scale runs on batteries and shows the weight of my food in pounds and ounces. That’s all I need!