Hi everyone. Happy Monday. how was your weekend? Ours was super busy and productive, we made a trip to Ikea (I got some awesome stuff) and finished painting the living room. I can’t wait to show off our progress. I promise to take some picture and post soon. So today’s post is a little different than normal. I was going to put this just in a page at the top of my blog but I decided to make post out of it. Fair warning, If you’re a blogger or considering becoming one you might want to read this, if not it may cause your eye to glaze over 😉
So you want to start a blog or you have one and are looking for ways to grow or maybe you just are curious how things work. I’ve learned a lot through trial and error about creating and maintaining a blog since I first started. Here’s a list of helpful programs and resources I wish I had when I first started blogging.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I use or have heard great things about all of the products listed below and recommend them because they I believe they would helpful to anyone looking to begin or grow a blog, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products.
|Dreamhost has been our hosting company since starting Our Lake Life. We chose them because they have a really easy set up process for WordPress, very reasonable fees and are recommended by WordPress. They’re great for anyone that wants to start a blog on their own domain easily and economically.Oh and if you sign up be sure to use the coupon code OurLakeLife at checkout to receive $25 off a years subscription!|
|We’ve also heard great thing about Hostgator. They offer free migration if you currently are hosting your website on another service they’ll complete the entire transfer for you for free. Which is great in my mind. I’m seriously thinking about transferring to them myself. The number of free transfers does vary by host plan thought the smallest plan offer 1 free transfer.Oh and if you sign up be sure to use the coupon code OurLakeLife at checkout to receive 25% off!|
When it comes to photo editing in my opinion nobody does it like Adobe. There’s a reason why it’s the industry standard for photo editing. While the big guys use the full version of Photoshop which can be rather expensive Adobe also makes Photoshop Elements . It’s a paired down version of the pro software and great at editing pictures. I find it more user friendly that the full version and I use it everyday to editing, color correction and resizing images.
|One of my go-to resources for photography and photoshop tips is ShootFlyShoot. Launched by Kevin and Layla Palmer of The Lettered Cottage fame this easy to navigate course is great for teaching anyone how to shoot in Manual Mode on their DSLR cameras. What’s really special is that it covers an entire section on interiors, something that has been lacking in other photography courses I’ve seen.|
|Cameras can be expensive, there’s no way around it. I’ve recently update my camera to the Canon EOS Rebel T4i and I love it! It takes much better pictures indoors than my old camera and the touch screen is a great feature to have. I highly recommend it as a good entry level DSLR.|
|Canon EF 50mm f/1.8||In addition to a nice camera lenses can really take your photography to the next level. Anyone ever wonder how the photographers get that nice blurry background? It’s all in the lens, The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is a well priced option, great for low light product shots and takes a really mean portrait.|
|Photoshop Elements||When it comes to photo editing in my opinion nobody does it like Adobe. There’s a reason why it’s the industry standard for photo editing. While the big guys use the full version of Photoshop which can be rather expensive Adobe also makes Photoshop Elements . It’s a paired down version of the pro software and great at editing pictures. I find it more user friendly that the full version and I use it everyday to editing, color correction and resizing images.|
|When I make my next photograph purchase I plan on buying Photoshop Lightroom . A lot of people ask the difference between the two (so have I). Lightroom is a photo management program and Photoshop is a photo editing program.You can still perform many of the same basic editing tasks, such as crop, clone and levels adjustments but it also provides a way to organize your photos. Some people even skip buying Photoshop and only use Lightroom|
Making Money and Affiliates
Join shareasale.com, Earn Cash!
|Share a Sale is an affiliate marketing network that I use to place ads on the sidebars of of the blog. That provides pay per sale and pay per click advertising. What that means is anytime you buy a product from through one of those ad Our Lake Life receives a small commission.|
|Google Adsense is another form of advertising we use on Our Lake Life. It provides both pay per view and pay per click advertising. What that means is anytime you click through one of those ads Our Lake Life receives a small commission.|
Driving Traffic to Your Blog
Here is a list of the submission sites I like to use. It can take some time to go through the process of entering a submission or linking up but the traffic you gain from getting a submission accepted can be great! It’s not unheard of to see 1,000 people visit your blog in a day based on a well placed feature on the right page. Here are some of my favorite submission sites in the Home and DIY niche:
Link parties are also another great way to drive traffic to your blog. I like to participate in a select few that have a proven record of sending traffic my way. Be sure to link up early though, The traffic driven to the 1st link versus the 101st link is dramatic.
Some last thoughts; these are just a few of the things I’ve used and have worked well for me. From now on this post will live in the menu and be available for reference. Periodically I’ll update it and add as I learn and grow. Finally, please remember that I’m no expert here and I’m just sharing the things I’ve found useful and I hope you do to.