Blogging Tools and Tips For The Newbie Entrepreneur

Blogging Tools and Tips For The Newbie Entrepreneur

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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:

After 6 months of blogging as a female entrepreneur, find the top blogging tips and tricks here: #bloggingtips #blogging Click To Tweet

These are the top blogging tools and articles to help you start a blog and make money blogging. Find blogging tips, affiliate programs, and the best plugins to use. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #remotework #blogging

Basic Blogging Resources

Self-Hosting

  • 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.

Blog Themes

  • 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.

Plugins

  • 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

These are the top blogging tools and articles to help you start a blog and make money blogging. Find blogging tips, affiliate programs, and the best plugins to use. #bloggingtips #affiliatemarketing #remotework #blogging

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:

 

Are you looking for blogging resources? As a female entrepreneur and travel and book blogger, get the latest blogging tips in one post. #bloggingtips #blogging #business

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.

Bloggers’ Life 

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.

Blogging Tools for Book Bloggers and Book Reviewers #bookblogging #bloggingtips #bookblogger

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 hello@theuncorkedlibrarian.com.

What are your favorite blogging tools and tricks?

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20 Comments

  1. November 2, 2018 / 8:56 am

    Love this page! I love your indie finds but as you know I’m interested in good books don’t matter if they’re indie or popular. I didn’t really spent much time on your lifestyle/everyday but love your travel stories & book reviews. I loved the pieces you did on the museums. I think it’s a good idea to write more about bookstores & libraries! It’s never enough info and it would go perfectly with your niche I think.
    I always check out your blogging resources (as you can see =) ) but I do enjoy your bookish and travel related posts the most! =)
    It seems like Anthony really inspired a lot of people. I loved his style and shows he always kept it cool and engaging. And most importantly he was never pretentious which I think often happens in travel & art circles (not to mention literary) and it just kills the vibe. Looking forward to the new pieces you will create!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you so much!! I feel like I am having deja vu and thought I responded to this comment–but then I remembered that we had a Twitter chat. LOL. SOOO much social media and so little of The Uncorked Librarian’s brain left. I swear IG is eating away at my soul…

      I’m glad that you liked the museum posts. Those did well with regular readers and somehow tanked on SM channels. I have to figure out what it is about them that didn’t market well.

      Thank you so much for all of the helpful feedback! I appreciate it so much!

      I just watched a behind the scenes for Anthony Bourdain where they interviewed his crew. Did you happen to see it? It was so funny to watch him up close and personal–he was still behind the camera but not on the air. He definitely had the ability to connect with anyone and to touch people’s lives. He hated when directors called ‘action’ because he didn’t want to be seen as an actor. He never did second takes. They were also talking about how truly ‘selfish’ the show was (in a good way but that it was all about what Tony wanted to see and do); it’s my hope that we can make a living off fulfilling our selfish dreams. Clearly, this selfish show affected millions of people in a such a good way. Goals!

  2. November 2, 2018 / 1:08 pm

    This is such amazing content! Thanks for pulling all these together. Personally, I love book reviews of any kind (big name or indie) and I love the blogging and social media posts. 🙂

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 9:29 pm

      Hey! Thank you so much for the input. I appreciate it!

  3. November 2, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    What an awesome resource for new (or seasoned) bloggers! My biggest stumbling block is how disorganized I am. I need to get a schedule and plan in place for things to really start to take off with my blog.

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 9:24 pm

      Thank you! I have a bullet planner to help me schedule my weeks and months. I don’t make it pretty or fun like some people who bullet journal every day, but it definitely helps me attack major tasks. Every seasoned blogger always talks about consistency. I try to post twice a week on the same days, but I am realizing how hard this is–and a little stressful. I am trying to find a better balance of being consistent on my terms. There are things I try not to miss: at least one weekly post on Tuesdays, IG posts three times a week, keeping up with my Pinterest queue on TW (30-40 posts a day), and a few tweets each day. I’d love to write out a business plan for next year.

  4. November 2, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    Fantastic round-up! I think I’ll just forward a link to this every time I get a message from a friend saying “How do I start a blog?” hahaha. Re: your debates on content and direction – I love ALL kinds of book reviews and bookish discussion posts, regardless of whether you’re focused on indies or big 5… so whatever blows your dress up is fine by me 😉 And I’m definitely more likely to read storytelling-focused travel posts than itineraries and packing lists and that kind of stuff (the world has enough of those already!). Ultimately, keep doing you 😉 because (and I think I safely speak for your other readers as well) we’re loving it!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      Aw, thank you so much! I appreciate all of that! I get so many questions about starting a blog, and I hate to be self-promotey but….now I am like: here, start with this post I wrote.

      I’m glad you like the storytelling–that is more me. Packing lists are not my thing either…although a ton of people ask me those questions too. Not so secret: I pack the day before! And barely. Sometimes it is the morning before. I think those posts bore everyone who writes them, but that content is just SO easy to smack in some affiliate links and make money off of.

  5. November 3, 2018 / 7:27 pm

    I’ve had this post open since yesterday because I want to implement a lot of the tips you laid out here. I have yet to start using tailwind but I hope to implement it in my pinterest account in the next few months. Do you use it for twitter as well? or just post yourself? great post!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 11:36 am

      I am 99% sure that you can only use Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram, not Twitter. I use TW solely for Pinterest right now. If I make a little more cash in the upcoming year, I would love to schedule my IG posts too. Right now, I only post 3 times a week on IG, and I know that with TW, I could up my game. A lot of people use HootSuite to schedule for Twitter. I swear by TW, though, for Pinterest. 20k to 730k views just a few months later–and consistent blog traffic.

      I actually originally didn’t plan on growing or focusing on Twitter, but since my numbers keep going up (without me even trying), I might look into scheduling tweets and paying closer attention to those analytics. Twitter just kind of did its own thing for me. Thank gosh because my time is spent!

      Thank you!

  6. November 4, 2018 / 6:53 am

    Great advice, I am intending to take it all on-board when it comes to building my own business eventually. I enjoy reading book reviews of all types – chances are low that I read a review and instantly buy the book (funds is the main reason and also I am drowning in my TBR) but I do often add it to my Goodreads if I’m interested and keep an eye out for the title. So I guess I’m open to indie and mainstream but I do enjoy supporting the smaller authors/publishers.

    • Christine
      Author
      November 4, 2018 / 8:56 pm

      I was just reading another blog post by a book blogger about whether or not it is even worth writing book reviews as bloggers. Her conclusion was that if you are blogging for fun, go ahead and write those individual reviews. If you are blogging for cash, you are screwed lol. Book lists always have more appeal. I just cannot imagine not showcasing individual titles and authors. I definitely agree–I want to support the smaller guys too. I’m wondering if I can turn indie marketing into a freelancing niche on the side.

      • November 6, 2018 / 8:37 am

        Hmm yes that makes sense, I never expect my book reviews to be read as it’s not something I would actively seek out myself but I do those for fun and because I like to keep track of my personal feelings towards a book. It is also good writing practice. In the future I want to create more book lists and do the contribution ones like I’ve done with you as I think that’s a great idea! I like the sound of turning into a niche on the side, I think it’s really important to shed light on the indie authors!

        • Christine
          Author
          November 6, 2018 / 10:18 am

          Individual book reviews are the only way I remember what the book is about 😂 I forget main characters’ names as I’m reading the book, sometimes… 🙈

          When you start doing contributor lists, let me know 🙋🏻‍♀️ I have an upcoming indie author one that I’m excited about.

    • Christine
      Author
      November 5, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Thank you, book bestie 💕📚

  7. November 6, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    I come back to your site for YOU. Your post are always informative and no matter what you’re writing about, you’re entertaining. I also am constantly learning from you, your blogging resource posts have been so helpful. I still have to implement a lot of it to my own blog, but slowly I’ll get there. I LOVE your travel stories the most. Please write a book one day! 🙂

    • Christine
      Author
      November 8, 2018 / 3:28 pm

      Awww, thank you so much. I just re-wrote one of my travel stories, which I am hoping to throw up tomorrow. Pun intended based on the topic, LOL.

      I need your help: I have been reading up about how bad it is to change dates on old content, even when you repurpose it completely. I’d love your thoughts: I am going to post my re-write as a brand new post. The material and pictures are quite different. Once posted, I am going to take down the old post and redirect it’s URL to the new one. Think that will work out OK? See any issues? I’m pretty sure my followers won’t mind either.

      See, you paid me this beautiful compliment (THANK YOU SO MUCH, by the way), and now I need your invaluable advice.

      I would LOVE to write a book one day. LOVE TO!!!

  8. November 8, 2018 / 5:17 pm

    Late to the party, but I vote for India authors! I recognise that Piccoult is more googled, but then I can also find a million reviews about her books. Not that I don’t ant to know what you think (I do), but I like hearing about less mainstream books that wouldn’t otherwise be on my radar.

    Books & Booze fits your brand perfectly!! So also, yes!! I’m here for it all. I love your travel stories. They always make me laugh. Hopefully one day we’ll have as well defined a brand. Right now that feels like it’s a million miles away. It doesn’t help, though, that I want to talk about ALL the things!

    • Christine
      Author
      November 9, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Thank you so much for the feedback!

      I can never tell how important having a precise niche is (or not), but it is definitely something that I want to research more of.

      I want to eat, drink, and read all the things LOL!!

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