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The Best Gifts for Bloggers & Entrepreneurs
If you’re looking for the most budget friendly web hosting option, Bluehost is it. As with all hosting plans, you’ll find the cheapest option after signing up for 3 years at once.
Every blogger (or aspiring blgger) needs a web host at bare minimum. It’s like purchasing land on the web.
If you want the best budget friendly host, with the best customer service & least downtime, Siteground is a better option.
Or grab 3 months of hosting for $1 here
Ready to upgrade to a stronger host with the fastest sitespeeds & best support? Go with WP Engine. (This is the creme de la creme)
I’ve not used Weebly myself, however I know several bloggers that do and love their simplictic desgin. They say it is easy to design pages the way they like. Again, I couldn’t tell you about this platform or speak to its effectiveness, but the option is here if you want it.
Namecheap is the best place to get your domain handle. They have a user friendly dashboard and it’s a one stop shop if you need it to be. They offer VPN, domain, and web hosting & more.
(This is the next most important thing for a blogger to have. It’s like the house on the land.)
Love it or hate it. Design is a huge part of blogging. Websites, graphics, digital products & more! Everything needs to be designed (beautifully & effectively.)
Here’s programs & resources to help
PicMonkey is one of my favourite design editing programs. Like Canva, it’s simple and easy for beginners. Although, it’s a bit more robust than Canva in regards to the features and design tools. At less than $100 per year (currently $72) it’s a no brainer.
Go ahead and sign up for a trial first and see if it’s right for you.
Canva. Many bloggers (including me!) LOVE Canva. It’s super easy to use and has a ton of free templates available.
This program is great for non-designers and designers that want a quick, solid, no-frills program to get jobs done fast. The nice thing about Canva is the ability to import templates. (Which means you can stand out of the crowd because you aren’t using the same free templates everyone else is using. But, still get the added benefit of a faster workflow)
If you’re looking for eye-catching pinterest templates, we offer a massive bundle at an affordable price (because I want this to be accessible to everyone)
Find out more HERE
These work solely with Canva ( not affiliated with them though) and are easy to customize to your needs. And in case you haven’t a clue what to do, I offer text & video support so you can discover the best way to use the program.
Before you consider purchasing my bundle, I’m giving a SUPER SPECIAL offer for the holidays!
If you purchase a course, membership or anything from this page-I’ll give you my HUGE bundle of templates for next to nothing.
You can grab my bundle for just $9 from now through December, Normally $197 (surprise, it’s my fav season!)
(All you need to do to qualify is use the links on this page right before you make your purchase, send your receipt so I can verify the sale & I’ll send you a unique code to snag them for that sale price)
Kara, over at Simplifying Design has an awesome introductory bundle called- The Bloggers Toolkit and I purchased it a long time ago and loved it. It has templates for practically every platform and she’s a great teacher.
She also has another large Creators toolkit, that I haven’t tested but confident recommending as she always makes quality products.
Don’t want Pre-Made, Done-For-You Templates? Care to discover how to create your own?
This course will walk you through everything you need to know to make pretty pins. Holding your hand along the way, you’ll learn the anatomy of creating pins that convert!
Need help creating a successful sales funnel? This course comes with rave reviews and I trust Abby’s advice! She is a very successful blogger and one of the first I found that taught me the world of blogging. (She was the creator of a very well known blogging book that has since been retired)
Stencil, is similar to Canva and Picmonkey. I used Stencil for several months before cancelling (due to finances) and really liked its simplicity. This is probably the easiest of the three programs to master. (It is a tradeoff though…as it’s also the one with the least features)
However, with that said, it has one unique feature the others don’t: A WordPress Plugin. This is huge. Because it speeds up your workflow tremendously. (I didn’t notice a change in site speed either)
Their program also seamlessly posts on several platforms which isn’t common and may be something you want and need!
Everyday, people are using text incorrectly (even paid designers!) You deserve to discover how to use text in an appealing way. What’s great about this course is that it teaches you foundations that can be used acros any program of your liking! Find out more below.
Elementor is a simple, yet powerful page builder. (The most popular on WordPress) The possibilities are nearly endless and the support is phenomenal. (Each time I email, they respond within 24 hours WITH a video explanation & demonstration)
Appsumo is best place I’ve found online for smart prices on everything an entrepreneur or blogger could need. And I do mean EVERYTHING. Click below and sign up for their email list to grab a coupon as well. And just in case it isn’t everything you’d hoped, they have an amazing, hassle free, 60 day return policy. (unheard of in the online world)
Using Appsumo has allowed me to gain lifetime access to many programs and resources I’d otherwise be unable to afford.
The deals over there change often so take a peek & see if there’s anything right for you.
‘Themes’ are to websites what paint and wallpaper is to a home.
Pretty Darn Cute Designs. The themes offered by Lindsay are just that- pretty darn cute. And functional might I add. I have several of her themes and a signature course she offers and they are amazing. & the customer service support team is even better. Hello, Susan! (She a wizard btw and super sweet)
If you want an out of the box ready theme, that’s simple to set up-PDCD would be my first choice.
I love restored 316 themes as well. Rachel and her team are knowledgeable and helpful. Her themes are also ready to go and the support documentation is incredibly detailed. (In the off chance, you still need help, they have a great, engaged FB group willing to help) I’ve lost count how many times I’ve asked questions there because I’m too lazy to send in a email support request!
Studio Press. This is the one stop shop for wordpress themes. They have something for EVERYONE. Really!
What’s awesome (you didn’t hear it from me LOL)
Is that, after you make your first purchase, say…the Genesis Framework…All of your purchases following this will have a 25% discount applied!
Kathie over at Bluchic has really pretty themes and some of most recent work has been amazing. Her themes focus on all the needs of a blogger from posts to shops. (& she’s designed them in a way where its so easy to use WordPress’ most popular page builder- Elementor. She’s having one of her biggest sales this Black Friday.
P.S. She has landing page and social media templates as well.
Unless the blogger in your life is a photographer by nature. You need professional photos! Of course, you can get by using ‘free’ photos but I don’t recommend it. (I say ‘free’ because it comes at a cost. First- people are KNOWN for planting photos just to muster up a lawsuit. Also, they’re usually crappy photos that everyone is already over-using…)
ShutterStock is the best place for a range of stock photos (of all sizes) vector images, icons and more.
If you want the best bang for your buck, this stock membership is it. As a VIP member, I can honestly say its one of the best investments I’ve made in my business. As time passes, the benefits continue to grow.
Here’s what I mean:
When I first joined, Kayla offered a TON of stock photos in several categories. Some ebooks and a few other perks.
NOW: She has thousands of stock photos! (& continues to add more, using member requests as inspiration. I love this. See my review & sneak peek HERE)
- Courses, webinars, ebooks
- Social Media quotes, templates, graphics
- Image Library Search
- 100+ of stock photos added each month
Don’t hesitate, with the vast collections she has, you’re bound to get your money’s worth.
Haute Stock. Rachel’s photos are the freaking mecca of all stock photography. I’m not exagerrating. Her photos are breathtaking and you don’t need to be a professional photographer to see it. If you know, you KNOW. & if you don’t you’re just staring at your screen in wonder. I’m a recovering perfectionist and her images are damn near PERFECT. Lighting, check. Composition, perfection. Check, check, check.
The images capture the exact emotion you’re trying to convey and that’s not something you come by everyday.
Not to mention, every month she offers graphics, icons and more you guys. It’s the whole package. In my opinion, her membership comes at a premium price (normally). $300/year? That’s can be a lot for anyone’s budget. But during black friday (when I always stock up haha) She offers her membership for much less. (Think around $15/month)
If you’ve seen Haute Stock’s photos and know you have to HAVE them, you definitely don’t want to miss this sale.
Productivity matters. Because NO, we don’t have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce! Unless you have a team serving YOU, blogging will be a solo act for a long time. Make those moments count.
Please tell me I’m not the only human here that relies on auto-text, glide texting or text to speech??!!
I don’t know what I’d do without them. LOL
I can write THAT MUCH FASTER and I bet you can too.
But, what happens when its tooo fast?
I find that when I want to be certain (perfectionism ha) about my writing, I proofread it. Who has time for THAT?
I use an app called grammarly, for this very reason. Now, I use them and love them. (So much so that I purchased their yearly subscription) HOWEVER, you can totally use the FREE version. Yay! But, if your a blogger that needs a proofreader in your pocket with more advanced features…grab the subscription and you won’t be sorry)
Tailwind is an easy way for bloggers to manage their Pinterest & Instagram account. I don’t think there’s a blogger on the planet that doesn’t use it. Ha. Seriously, though its an easy, no-frills way to automate your accounts and something worth investing in. But again, they totally have a ‘free’ version and if you’re not interested in automating or still skeptical, sign up for the free features, take it for a whirl and milk that for all you can!
Manual Pinning with Trello. If you’re thinking you need Tailwind but can’t afford it or don’t like the program, whatever the reason…You got options baby.
Enter manual pinning.
Pinning free-style or without a strategy is like throwing spaghetti on the wall. But worse. (think pinterest police) You need to be tracking and monitoring all of your pin activity and this is the best way. Trello is FREE! Think of it like a digital index organizer. But BETTER. I love it and I believe visual people will especially love it. Elizebeth is the Trello Queen, y’all. For real. (I’m
an organized FREAK OCD and she impressed me. I don’t say that often)
She will show you how to pin manually and its amazing how she teaches it (and what Trello is capable of).
If you don’t already have a FREE Trello account, sign up now below.
PLANNERS PLANNERS PLANNERS! The perfectionist & planner in me is jumping for joy and while I’m all about the minimalistic mindset / life.
I’ll be upfront and honest with you.
I still have YET to find a planner that is THE planner. You know what i mean? So, until I do or until i create it haha, here are my favorite ones worth checking out
Email Marketing. Sounds fancy but really, simply put- it means paying an company to use, store and send emails to your readers or clients in a strategic, intentional way.
ConvertKit, is used by hundreds of thousands of bloggers and with good reason. Its amazing. It was created by Nathan Barry, who was a blogger himself. Created by a blogger for bloggers. No one understands the needs of a blogger than one themself. Almost every feature you can imagine is available on this platform. They have great, friendly, quick customer service (I’ve been able to vet this out several times LOL don’t judge. Most of the time idk what the hell I’m doing)
The have lovely templates, landing pages and forms that are super simple to use and edit. You’ll love it and if you don’t, test another provider! Because lucky for you, the link below gives you a 30 trial (compared to the normal 14 day) to test everything out.
Here it is. If you’re on a shoestring budget or just want to bootstrap your way to the top until you make money from your blog, STOP. No, run and grab Mailerlite. Please, please, let me save you some hassle. Do not, I repeat do not waste your time anywhere else (cough* mailchimp* cough) or any other ‘m’ provider. Mailerlite, lets you in for FREE for your first 1,000 subs and that is more than generous (when you’re starting out).
You’ll get the ability to create landing pages and get automation features unlike the others. They also have great customer service. And when you surpass the 1,000 limit, its really affordable to stay with this provider.
Plus, if you use my link below-you’ll receive $20 towards your account when you’re ready to upgrade. Sweet!
The purpose of plugins is to enhance the functionality of your website. (kind of like putting furniture in a home)
We all KNOW how important it is to have a fast site. This plugin hands down is the best on the market to ensure lightening fast speeds. Content, images, web hosts…they all play a role
in slowing down and impact how quickly our sites load. If you’re looking to speed up your site, without actually shelling out hundreds of dollars a year for a better web host, this is one of the next best options
Need a plugin to optimise Pinterest & SEO at the click of a button? This plugin is where its at. & if you need a recipes plugin, they’ve got you covered as well. (This may also help with SEO)
All of the following plugins offer unique forms to place on your website. My favorite is ninja forms. I also love OptinMonster but it’s expensive. Check them out and see which one works best for you
This one is important! You absolutely NEED some sort of backup or security plugin. The one I use & recommend is BlogVault. Super simple to set up and works seamlessly.
Blogging is a business. Even if you don’t think it is, the goverment does & you, as well as your readers, need to be protected.
You NEED to make sure you’re covering your
I personally spent five-ever putting together my own legal pages, only to realize I wasted my time because, sh*t, I’m not a professional and missed wxyz. Ughhhh. Or maybe you’re thinking, you’ll just scrap some together from this free template website and that one. (who writes those anyway??? Not a clue. No fannnkksss. <That’s my 2 year old’s voice)
Or using your favorite blogger as ‘inspiration’. Hint* Hint* that’s low-key plagiarism. Yup, scraping snippets of peoples legal pages here and there to create your own is against the law. Don’t risk it. Not worth it. Period.
Amira, is a professional lawyer (as in, this is her day job people) and a blogger. I don’t know anyone (okay, okay I know ONE more LOL) in a better place to write these legal pages than her. I trust her and you certainly can too.
Grab her templates on sale below!
And just because I love options…Lucrecia is another awesome lawyer & blogger with great templates below. (You can’t go wrong on who you pick so, if it were me…pick the one who has a better sale!)
Creating digital products is one of the best ways to make money online. Here are resources to help.
Selling digital products on your site? (If you’re not, you SHOULD be!)
Sendowl is awesome. I use it and love it and I know many other bloggers that do.
You can easily link and upload your digital products. Sell them from practically anywhere and integrate them with your favorite companies (like Convertkit and Mailerlite above)
Depending on which plan you invest in, you’ll also have the ability to bundle products (hello special sales) and bring affiliates along to help you.
Looking to Create a course? Hosting your course on another platform is a sound option because you won’t risk slowing down or crashing your site. It looks much more professional and you have a team of supporters behind you. After all, they only exist and make money because of us.
My three favorites are teachable, thinkific and podia. (Honorable mention for Teachery. Because they have an epic team over there and the creators stand out the crowd.)
Lastly, products and services aren’t worth a thing if a blogger doesn’t have a clue as to what to do.
RIGHT OUT THE GATE: CONFESSION!
I’m a course
junkie (ugh hate that word) a HOARDER. COLLECTOR. Insert fitting title here.
If it’s out there, I’ve probably taken it. (under $500…haven’t spent more than that..yet) I wish I was joking though.
So, let me save you some time and share the courses that I think are worth it. (As in I still remember because they were THAT good in one way or another)
Are you a mom blogger? (mompreneur) If growing a biz and raising kids is brand new to you, then begin right here mama. This course will give you the foundation. You’ll discover how minimize decisions so you can focus on what matters most. Boost your productivity (even with the kids around, big and small) and GROW. Lisa is a PRO. As as mom of 9 (nine! & homeschooling) You can totally trust her guidance.
Meera is a blogging guru. And she is perfect for bootstrappers. Almost all of her products are budget-friendly and this course is no different. If you think >>> budget-friendly=poor quality content- that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
She is one of the few bloggers that underprice themselves. She always over delivers and you can be certain you’ll get your money’s worth in this course. This one is geared to brand-new bloggers that need to hit the ground running and want to see growth within their first 90 days.
If you need a pinterest strategy that works (from a normal person…not I started blogging last month and make $5,000! -eyeroll-)
You want Anastasia to guide you. Her course covers everything from beginning to end. It’s great for new and intermediate bloggers alike. If you have any specific questions about this course (or any on this page) feel free to send me an email. (hello at darlingsteps dot com)
Tracie has several courses and a mastermind group that you can join. She’s a great teacher and coach. She literally takes you by the hand. No question is ever too big or small or silly for her. She has a genuine heart to help and you’ll be glad you jumped in on her courses.
If you’re a new-ish blogger or an intermediate blogger that feels stuck, Elna is your girl. She’s grown her busineses all the while raising twins! Her courses will walk you through EXACTLY what you should be focusing on, minus the fluff. She also shares her personal strategies (that others won’t)
Check them out below.
This course is for absolute beginners. Its quick, short and easy to digest. But my favorite part about it is the content planners provided. This is worth the cost of the course especially if you like to organize your blog digitally (in spreadsheets or Trello)