2014 Blogger Resources

the ultimate list of blogger resources!We get asked a lot of questions regularly from bloggers such as “which camera should I buy?”, “who can transfer my blog to WordPress?”, and “if I had to pick one conference to go to, which should it be?” As a result, we decided to survey our bloggers and see what they had to say – our assumption being the best information for bloggers should come from other bloggers! Nearly 150 bloggers responded with their favorites. The resources are divided into several sections below. Keep reading to see what your fellow bloggers recommended!

BLOGGING EDUCATION

Books
31% have read a book about blogging. The top two recommended books are:
Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community
How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) – available on Kindle

Other recommended books:
Blogging for Dummies
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

Courses
23% of bloggers have taken an online blogging course. The top two recommended courses are:
Online Blog Conference (will be held September, 2014)
Blogging Your Way

Other recommended courses:
Mom Blog to Money Blog
CraftyPod – courses no longer available but she has books here
Amy Latta’s Growing Together series – starting again this fall

Newsletters
27% are signed up for blogging instructional/informational newsletters. The most popular are:
Blogging with Amy – The Useletter
Sits Girls
The Blog Maven
Blogelina

Websites
Favorite sites for blogging tips and tricks:
Blogging with Amy
ProBlogger

Close behind are the following sites:
The SITS Girls
Crafterminds
The Blog Maven

 

BLOGGING CONFERENCES

49% of bloggers have been to a conference. Here are the favorites:
-SNAP – late April in Salt Lake City, Utah
-Haven – early July in Atlanta, GA
-Bloggy Boot Camp – multiple locations and dates

 

ONLINE TOOLS

Blog Feeds
Most bloggers use Feedburner to serve their feed to their readers. However, there is some concern from multiple sources that it won’t be around for the long haul. Here are some other options for you:
-MailChimp – takes your base RSS feed and delivers it via email
-Feedblitz
Amy Andrews also has a great article here with her experiences and recommendations.

Newsletters
28% of bloggers send out a newsletter to their readers.
MailChimp is the #1 delivery service by far; Mad Mimi comes in second.

Reading Blogs
99% of bloggers still read blogs on a regular basis. Top ways to read blogs:
-Bloglovin
-Facebook
-Feedly
-Email (signing up for blog newsletters)
-Pinterest

Social Media Scheduling
Favorite social media scheduling tools for Pinterest: Ahalogy and Viraltag
Favorite social media scheduling tools for all other: HootSuite and Buffer

Smartphone Apps
Here are some great smartphone apps for managing blogging (besides the basic apps that are available for social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc):
EverNote
Google Drive
HootSuite
WordPress

 

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO

Photography
Most popular camera models (in order of preference):
Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18.0 MP DSLR
Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP DSLR
Nikon D3000 series – D3000 10.2 MP, D3100 14.2 MP, D3200 24.2 MP
Nikon D5100 16.2 MP DSLR

Popular additional lenses:
50 mm fixed – 1.4 – either Canon or Nikon
50 mm fixed – 1.8 – either Canon or Nikon

Classes
23 % of bloggers have taken a photography course online. The top two courses are:
Shoot Fly Shoot
Kristen Duke’s Say No to Auto

Photo Editing Tools
Here are the top programs that bloggers use to edit their photos:
-PicMonkey
-Photoshop
-Photoshop Elements

Other programs bloggers use to edit photos:
-Gimp
-Lightroom
-Picasa

Smartphone Apps
Want to take amazing photos and share them on your phone? Here are the top apps that bloggers use:
-Instagram
-Rhonna Designs
-Snapseed

This program also gets an honorable mention:
-A Beautiful Mess

Video
51% have filmed a video for their YouTube (or other video) channel. Most people use their iPhone to film their videos, or their camera (that is video capable).

The top recommended video camera besides the above is the Flip.

The following software are the top two recommended for video editing:
-iMovie
-Windows Live Movie Maker

Also highly recommended:
-Adobe Premiere

 

WORDPRESS DESIGN, TRANSFERS, HOSTING & PLUGINS

Transfers
Most people transferred themselves or had their new host do it! But the #1 recommended resource for transfer to WordPress was:
-Blogelina

Also recommended for transferring to WordPress:
-Creative Kristi
-Kristi Linauer

Templates
37% have purchased a WordPress template and customized it themselves. The #1 place to purchase and customize is Studiopress.com.

Honorable mention goes to:
-Pretty Darn Cute Design – you can purchase themes and she also does design

Designers
Do you need a template customized, or something special developed just for your WordPress blog? Here are the top two designers:
Janel – Savvy Site Administration
Kim- Seven Thirty Three

Honorable mentions:
Lindsay – AFM Designs
Sara – Moonsteam Design

Hosting
Here are the top places people host their blogs (and they say they are satisfied):
Bluehost
GoDaddy
RFE Hosting

This host gets an honorable mention:
DreamHost

Plugins
What plugins should you make sure to have on your site? Here are the top five . . . but remember that plugins can slow down your site! We recommend using the Plugin Performance Profiler to see which plugins are bogging down your site (this is a temporary plugin that, once used and analyzed can be removed). You should also analyze your page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Tools and read this article.

The top five:
WordPress SEO by Yoast
Akismet (spam mitigation)
CommentLuv
Jetpack
Pinterest Pin It Button

Honorable mentions:
Shareaholic
W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache (site speed)
Broken Link Checker – don’t keep this on your blog; use it and then remove it
CataBlog
Easy Recipe
Genesis Simple Hooks – only use if you have the Genesis platform installed!

*Note that too many plugins can significantly slow your site, not all plugins work well together, and not all plugins work with all templates.

——————

That’s it! Leave us a comment if you’d like your resource reviewed on our blog. Note the only way to get on our yearly list is to be selected by our members in our survey, to keep things honest!