This Blogging + Photography resource list was created to give bloggers (whether new or not) the tools to gain a real footing in the blogging community and build a successful little corner on the web.
Oftentimes, I’m asked “how did you get that picture to be so vivid and captivating”? Or, “where did you get that…?” You name it, I’ve been asked as a blogger who has built a community for the past 5-6 years, seriously, which is why I’ve decided to come up with a direct space on my blog where I can answer such questions and offer a few nuggets for any other blogger and/or photographer trying to figure it all out on this journey of starting a blog.
Disclaimer: We are a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. However, I use all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are companies that I have found helpful and trustworthy.
Best Advanced Extra
Perfect for Point + Shoot
When it comes to photo backgrounds, I’ve had my share of them. However, I can definitely attest to Ink and Elm’s backdrops which are highly premium and are super easy to clean and store. Plus, they have so many options to choose from, so you’re able to build a nice variety for your photography needs.
For a little upgrade, you can purchase these Best Ever BackDrops which are super high quality and they are so flexible and sturdy. Granted, they are a little expensive for those of you who might be beginners, but so worth it.
Currently, however, I custom make my background boards with Erickson Surfaces, which are absolutely beautiful, sturdy, and easy to wipe clean! Definitely worth the investment in my opinion.
When it comes to getting started on your blog, there are a few backend tools that you'll need to consider for a successful blog and site. While there are MANY options available, I've created a short list of ones that I recommend.
Website User Top Picks: Blue Host, Siteground, WP Engine, and my current host: BigScoots---their Customer Service and support teams are amazing and ready to help, always!
OUR FAVORITE: The Genesis Framework (With Genesis, you’re going to want to purchase the Framework ($59.95) along with a child theme(prices vary). This makes up your entire site's theme and layout.) Simply visit Studio Press Themes for WordPress.
Of course, I've chosen to build my website out from scratch, however, we still use the same framework.
Others: Foodie Pro, Daily Dish, and Elegant Themes.
Email Marketing: I previously used Mailchimp--It's great and super simple and customizable. Then, I switched my email marketing to ConvertKit, which most bloggers rave about. But now, I currently use Flodesk which has been a dream so far! I'm all about the design/aesthetics of things and this platform does a great job at highlighting that!
Other tools that are useful: ManageWP, Codeable, Google Apps, Cloudflare, Google Analytics (Your BFF for life!), Canva, Yoast SEO, Ahrefs, and more!
Akismet (Spam Blocker).
Yoast SEO (a great starter tool for anyone learning SEO and wants to ensure that their blog posts meet SEO standards).
Broken Link Checker (I like it because it makes me aware of any inside or outside links that are broken on my site that need fixing).
Pinterest Pin It button (super easy for readers to "Pin" your images with just one click).
UpDraftPlus (for backing up your site).
WP Super Cache (helps to keep things rolling speedily on your site).
VaultPress (Great for Security + BackUps).
WP Recipe Maker (Great organized recipe cards that are great for SEO also)
Gravity Forms (Great option for your website forms).
Imagify (Image optimizer that reduces your image size to minimize server resources).
WP Rocket (allows you to speed up your site and enhance overall performance).
Ultimately, while creating and managing a blog takes a lot of work (especially when you're doing it seriously and running it as a business), it's still all about having fun, understanding your readers, and making killer content that represents who you are!
I've learned along my journey, that it DOES TAKE TIME AND PATIENCE to get this thing right! You'll definitely have a few rocky moments and yes, it'll take a few tries and re-tries. But overall, the road to blogging is one that will teach you A TON and you're sure to walk away a few times saying, "Aha"!
Whether you choose to have a Food Blog or anything else that requires creativity, business savviness, or just plain dedication, just remember that it’s all a learning curve that happens only through experience. Always look at others in your niche for inspiration (BUT never compare yourself or aim to be like anyone else), educate yourself on ways to best market your blog/business to your audience, create a Vision Board so that you have a physical blueprint of your goals, remain CONSISTENT, but most importantly, remember who YOU ARE and remain authentic to YOU, always! Your community will appreciate you for who you are.
Be sure to stop by our Contact page if you have any questions or my About page to learn more about Orchids + Sweet Tea, why I started, and what to expect.