Although it’s been a few years since my official Fairyblogmother days ended, I’ve never quite hung up my hat. In the past year, it’s been a privilege to help launch blogs/websites for several friends and family members. (Shout out to Yvonne, Nichole, Allison, Kristina, and LaCriessia)
With so many of my friends joining the fray, I decided to revisit this list of resources to help blogging newcomers get a solid start. There are also some tools for veteran bloggers needing to consolidate their energy and make the most out of their time!
I will be updating this page regularly, so feel free to bookmark or pin it for future reference.
Recommended WordPress Hosting Companies
The Holy Grail of WordPress Hosting: WP Engine
WP Engine is the best of the best. But, it’s going to cost you. Managed WordPress hosting with security, monitoring, server upgrades, and more. This is for sites that want speed and scalability. Recommend choosing WP Engine when you have a high-traffic blog (or expect to someday). They take support seriously, and you’ll feel like a VIP if you ever need their help.
Most User-Friendly WordPress Hosting: Flywheel
I like to call Flywheel the Poor Man’s WP Engine, but it’s probably my favorite for most bloggers. Their tiny plan starts at $15/month, but you can easily scale if needed. Their plans include free SSL and optional CDN (Content Delivery Network) to boost performance and SEO. My biggest pet peeve with Flywheel is their customer service. When there’s something really wrong with a site, I like to speak to someone on live chat or the phone. Flywheel relies on an email ticketing system for support, which adds a layer of anxiety. But Flywheel knows their stuff and with their automatic updates and server upgrades, downtime is rare.
Budget-friendly Website Hosting for Beginner Bloggers: Bluehost
I have a love/hate relationship with Bluehost (and shared hosting in general). It works well 85-90% of the time, but it’s not pretty when your site goes down. Good luck getting in touch with someone from customer service in a timely manner. But, you get what you pay for, and this is the most affordable choice for those who are just dipping their toes into the blog world. If you want to upgrade later, both WP Engine and Flywheel will help migrate your site.
Streamline Your Social Media Management
Favorite Scheduling Tool for Pinterest: Tailwind
In addition to being able to schedule out your pins ahead of time, you can also join “tribes” to both share your own pins and find relevant content from others. Get a free month when you sign up with this link.
Favorite Editorial Calendar Software: CoSchedule
Most SEO-friendly WordPress Theme Framework: Genesis Framework
Instagram Scheduling: Planoly
Search Engine Optimization
Google Analytics is a powerful FREE tool that tracks statistics on people visiting your blog. You can learn significant information such as how many unique visitors and page views you receive over time, or which content on your site is best and worst.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
WordPress is known for being pretty SEO friendly right out of the box. Especially if your site is on a framework like Genesis or Thesis (will save those for another post). However, I highly recommend installing an SEO WordPress plugin for additional optimization options. There are hundreds of search engine related plugins, but my go-to choice is WordPress SEO by Yoast. Read this blog post for more information on setting up the different options.
Google Search Console
Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for Webmaster Tools for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but it will help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance.