Recently, I restructured The Uncorked Librarian’s website to make resources, posts, and stories easier to find. Be sure to visit and check back with TUL’s permanent and new Blogging Resources page, which will receive frequent updates. This new page will also index all blogging tools used and related posts. Each new indexed post will provide a summary to better help you find what you need faster. Before I share blogging tools that helped me these past 6 months, I have a few questions for you, my reader.
Readers, Followers, and Fans: I’d Love Your Input:
As The Uncorked Librarian moves forward into the New Year, I would love to receive your feedback. What do you want to see more of? What interests you the most? On the flip side, what frustrates you about the site, and what is boring you? I find most of my traffic derives from Pinterest and direct visits. What brings you back to TUL?
My own debates that I would love your personal opinions on:
Please post any thoughts in the comments section.
- Should I reserve book blogging reviews to mostly just indie authors and publishers? If so, would indie paired with mainstream and themed book lists each month or quarter interest you? Or do you favor the mainstream authors like Picoult more?
- I am revising my travel stories section. Blogging is always for your audience, but I am also a passionate writer. I am hoping to provide fewer itineraries and more stories paired with helpful information. As you know, Anthony Bourdain was my hero. I want my blog to reflect his traveling values.
- I am debating narrowing my travel niche to just “Books and Booze.” Travel stories will be a little more of everything–meaningful international travel tips–while main articles will have a theme. These subjects would include breweries, wineries, libraries, and bookstores.
- I’m switching out of the lifestyle/everyday category. Buhhh bye!! I am instead adding more blogging resources. These remote work related posts are generating the most buzz along with book lists. Plus, I receive anywhere from 2-10 blogging questions a day. This interaction reminds me of my librarian days and one-on-one computer help seshes. I cannot escape. But, I love it!
Ok, with all of that said, here are my top blogging tools from the first 6 months of transitioning to a business blogger and female entrepreneur:
Basic Blogging Resources
- If you want to successfully monetize your blog and have complete control over plugins, features, and functionality, I highly recommend self-hosting with SiteGround. For a steal, their starter package begins at $3.95 a month. You will have faster loading speeds, more storage space for photos, a custom domain email, and 24/7 online support. SiteGround has taken my blog to the next level through better SEO ranking and allowing me to place ads and links wherever I wish. You can read more about self-hosting here.
- For bloggers with more experience, 25K views a month, and extra spending funds, I also suggest checking out WP Engine. You can access many themes in StudioPress along with Genesis Frameworks for free.
- WordPress offers a variety of free starter themes. When I migrated over to SiteGround and WP .org, I decided to invest in a new blog theme. TUL is currently using Pipdig, which showcases blog posts and is helpful for those wanting to create online shops.
- StudioPress is another great option with a variety of beautiful themes that are mobile friendly, clean, and diverse. Some of my favorite bloggers use either Pipdig or StudioPress themes.
- With self-hosting, you can download a variety of plugins to help boast blog traffic and protect your site from bots and hackers. Some of the plugins I recommend and use include:
- Yoast SEO – Rank higher in Internet searches and learn how to keyword posts.
- Grammarly – Check spelling, writing mistakes, and grammar in your blog posts.
- Updraft Plus, Anti-Spam, and Wordfence- Backup your blog and protect your site from hackers. Block spammy comments, too.
- Redirect and Broken Link Checker- Redirect any 404 (page not found) errors and check the health of your links.
- W3 Total Cache, WP Optimize, and Smush- Clear caches and data that are slowing down your site. Smush makes pictures smaller for faster loading times
Social Media Scheduling
- Tailwind (TW) is TUL’s number one scheduling tool for Pinterest and blog traffic. TUL schedules about 30-40 pins a day via TW, taking advantage of Tailwind tribes and board lists. TW also gives bloggers in depth analytics about board performance, blog traffic, and engagement. Learn how Pinterest can help you boost blog traffic: I reached 700,000 Pinterest views in less than 3 months with this Pinterest course. Those views can translate to blog traffic.
- Facebook Business accounts have automatic schedulers built into the platform. TUL schedules posts for free one to two weeks in advance. The FB algorithm works in your favor when you publish consistently.
Affiliate Marketing Programs For Bloggers
The easiest way to monetize your site is with affiliate marketing. Earn passive income from links and banner ads that you choose. You can read more in depth about each affiliate marketing program here.
- ShareASale – Offers a variety of affiliate programs with services including blogging tools, photobooks through companies like Mixbook, and fun products like Zazzle.
- Awin.com – Home to Etsy, a variety of hotel and travel sites, and stationary companies.
- Skimlinks – An easy way to monetize links without applying for individual programs. Skimlinks converts links from participating companies such as booking.com or tripadvisor.com to immediate affiliate links.
- Amazon – The easiest affiliate program to join and use. Plus, almost everyone uses Amazon for purchases. The list of products is unlimited.
Social Media And Blog Graphics
- Canva – Canva has a free and paid version. TUL uses Canva to create appealing Pinterest pins and featured blog post pictures.
- Adobe Spark and Lightroom- TUL lives by the $9.99 monthly subscription of Adobe products including Lightroom and Photoshop. With part of this package, I also have access to Adobe Spark for Pinterest board covers and any type of social promotion and visual storytelling needed. TUL mainly uses Adobe Spark for IG stories, IG story covers, Pinterest board covers, and the occasional Pinterest pin. here.
Looking For More In Depth Tips?
If you are looking for articles and blog posts to help you take your blog to the next level, check out these great blogging resources on The Uncorked Librarian:
Turning Your Blog Into A Business
How To Make Money Blogging
Learn why you should use self-hosting platforms such as SiteGround. Discover the differences between WP .com and .org. Learn how to immediately monetize your site with these 5 affiliate programs for bloggers.
Blogging Legal Issues and LLC Status
Bloggers need to protect their private assets from the moment they start putting opinions to paper and monetizing their site. Applying for LLC status is one way to separate your personal wine fund from your blogging business–big or small. Discover the easy process of registering your blog as an LLC. Find tips for how to make money blogging.
Read more about the remote life. Commiserate with the hard work blogging entails. Find 10 blogging myths crushed. This post is especially relevant for misunderstood bloggers and entrepreneurs with less than understanding friends and family.
The sedentary, remote life with an excess of screen time can wear on any blogger. Add in unstable income, long sitting periods, and constant social media notifications. Read about TUL’s 5 habits to stay healthy and stress-free as a blogger, remote worker, and digital nomad.
Social Media For Bloggers
Pinterest rolled out its newest feature: Pinterest Communities. Learn more about the social side of Pinterest. Plus, discover three types of Pinterest groups that you can join.
Are you looking to boost blog traffic and network with other bloggers? These 20 Facebook groups and Pinterest boards will help get you started.
Instagram is a frustrating platform filled with ever-changing algorithms and brands that take advantage of smaller bloggers and micro influencers. Learn what your time, platform, voice, and gallery is worth. Understand how not to fall prey to Instagram scams.
Writing Tips For Bloggers
Engaging your audience and building trust and relationships are key to successful blogs. Learn how to write meaningful and engaging captions with these 10 writing prompts. Also, learn how to trade in overused quotes and clichés for heartfelt stories that connect with audiences.
Resources For Book Bloggers & Book Reviewers
Book blogging is like winning free backstage passes. Here are 10 fun reasons why you should become a book blogger and/or add book reviews to your blogging niche. From free advanced copies to working directly with authors and publishers, the field is rewarding and pretty much instant fangirl/guy status.
Bookstagram is basically porn for book lovers. Find the latest hashtags, best photo editing apps, and supplies needed to start a #bookstagram.
As a book blogger, learn what affiliate programs can best help you monetize your site. Programs include Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Book Depository. Also, learn the differences between self-hosting versus paying for sites like WP. com.
Networking and supporting other bloggers are key to your blog’s success. Learn more about Pinterest Communities and 4 Pinterest groups that you should join. Check out TUL’s Pinterest Community specifically for Book Bloggers, Book Reviewers, and Authors.
Lastly, if you have any questions, never hesitate to email Christine at email@example.com.
What are your favorite blogging tools and tricks?