My top blogging tips & tools! Blog your way to awesomeness …

 

Read great blogging tips and epic blogging advice http://www.lynneknowlton.com/tools-for-blogging/

 

Are you struggling with starting a blog?  After you start the blog, is it even harder to get it off the ground and know what to do with it next?

 

Do you need better images for your blog?  Do you want more traffic, leads, comments and engagement?  Do you hate the sound of crickets?  Blog silence can be deafening.  I struggled with that too.  It took me two blogs, two years and two hundred and twenty two bottles of wine to NAIL IT down to a beautiful science.

 

Hey, a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Design The Life You Want to Live lynneknowlton.com

***

I learned to

work smarter, not harder

and YOU can too.

 ***

 

Let me show you how.

 

There’s a lot of blah blah blah info out there.  I’m going to cut to the chase and share the real deal with you.  I’ll show you the best of the best.  

These tools are the tools that I have been using for years and have helped me to grow my blog 700%.

 

 

Yeah, not a typo.

 

These resources are here because they are top drawer, back of the bus, king of the hill of awesomeness in my online world.  My goal is that they do the same for you!  Some of the links are affiliate links.   That’s a good thang.  They are here to help you find the best sources and also help me to earn a little something to pay for my liquorice eating habits (but not enough to buy a small pony or unicorn)

Drats.

 

The best advice for bloggers!

 

The tools and resources that I have listed are EPIC.  They are so good, if you gave me a throw pillow, I’d needlepoint their names of it.

I’d even put a ring on it.

Yeah.  That good.

 

Affiliate links are NOT a bad word.  They are a win-win for everyone.  If you want the inside scoop on how to monetize your blog, use AUTHENTICALLY AWESOME affiliate links and be a kickass blogger,  let me know here and you’ll be the first to be notified of my upcoming kickass blogging courses.

 

Resources lynneknowlton.com1

 

 

Why these tools?

Because the best tools can help to replace your blog with a blog that doesn’t suck at being a blog.

 

Don’t let your readers say this :

 

Last night I fell asleep on your blog.  Sorry about the drool.

 

 

The best blogging tips

 

Are you ready to unleash the awesome?

  I recommend vodka

 

 

Jokes. Let’s do this.

 

This is where the rubber meets the road.

 

Hello amazing, let’s get started…

 

 

TOP TOOLS AND RESOURCES

 

Leadpages :   Blogging-deskIf there is anything that I could emphasize to you, it would be this ONE THING.

Nothing else matters more to your blog and business than this.

BUILD YOUR EMAIL LIST <<– I screamed that!

Make it your number one focus on your blog.

 

 

 

How to use leadpages for your blog

Your readers are the heart and soul of your blog.

The energy of your business comes from the strength of your email list.  Without a dedicated email list, you really don’t have a business.

 You can build your list, leads and sales through Leadpages.

Their customer support, live chat and overall customer service is out.of.this.world. amazeballs.  The best I have ever experienced.  Like ever.

Leadpages has been, by far, the number one tool for growing my email list. Big time.

 

 

 

Working with leadpages to grow your blog It’s surprisingly easy to learn how to use Leadpages.

They have video tutorials and webinars for pretty much everything.

My story:

In March 2014, I signed on with leadpages.  At the time, it took me 2 years to grow that list to 2000 subscribers.  Eight short months later, I had 8000 email subscribers.

Here’s a sample of a Leadbox that I created using Leadpages…

 

 

 

 

BEST BLOG HOSTING

 

Want to have an epic blog? Read more on Design The Life You Want To live .

WORDPRESS:   WordPress is ranked the number one blogging platform in the world.

Hands down *slaps you on the back* d’best.in.the.world.

There’s a reason for that.  Google loves WordPress.

When Google loves a platform, that’s a good thaaang for you. The majority of your traffic to your blog will likely be organic searches via Google.

Make Google your friend with a wordpress site.  Stamped it.

 

 

 

Epic tips for learning how to blogBLUEHOST:  You need a place to host your blog. Bluehost is a great place to start. It’s a fast and easy set up.  Lickity-split.

Want an insider special discount? Click here for your discounted deal for Design The Life You Want To Live readers.

Unlimited web hosting for $3.49 per month!

 

 

 

 

 

How to use Bluehost for setting up your blog I set up a blog with Bluehost. I started from scratch.  I clicked the Bluehost link, registered my new domain name, paid for a year of hosting, clicked on the wordpress add-on and later uploaded my new Studiopress blog theme.

It took more than 4 minutes.  It was 4 hours before I had my first blog post.  I’m fast like that.  LOL.  I also needed cake and cookie breaks.

 

 

That’s what blogging is all about.

 

 

Estimate 4 minutes, spend 4 hours and 44 weeks ~ then, and only then, do you have the beginnings of a kickass blog.

 

 

Epic blogging tips to grow your blog Siteground:I moved to Siteground as my blog grew. I used Siteground for a very long time.  It was affordable and I loved the service.

The shared hosting plan was great until it wasn’t. LOL.

Eventually, your blog can grow out of a shared hosting plan.

Suddenly, you look down and you’re wearing floods.  You feel like a dork.

Your site can start to have outages/downtime, and you’re vulnerable.  That means it’s time to move your blog to a dedicated server.

 

 

 

How to grow your blog with these epic tools ServInt : As your blog grows and you gain momentum, you will have more traffic.

If you have surges of traffic and your host can’t handle it, guess what happens?

CRASH.

Been there. Done that. Got the poster. It was fugly.

Don’t let it happen to you. ServInt scaled up my monthly hosting package as I needed it.

They are the number one host recommended by my web guru’s at Waylay Design <– and I always believe what they say.  The customer service at ServInt is spectacular.  They respond in a flash.  {{ Like, within minutes }}

 

 

Google favours fast blogs. Read more here to find out why.It’s remarkable.

My site is whiplash fast. Google favours fast websites and blogs. What’s that mean for you?  The faster your site, the better your chances for increased traffic.

Look at it like a restaurant.  When it’s busy, you want to go in, right?  Something good must be happening in there.  That’s exactly how Google treats a fast site.  It sends more peeps to that happenin’ spot.  Your blog 🙂

 

 

 

 

The BEST tools for blogging Traffic is like crack to a blogger.

More on that later.

{{Insert big toothy grin.}}

Remember that part about working smarter, not harder? I post 2-4 times per MONTH, not week.

 

 

 

 

 

Kickass blogging tips by @lynneknowlton Read more here I am able to maintain my traffic, grow and monetize my site because I have the systems in place.  The very systems that I am showing you on this page.

When it becomes a grind, you will burn out. I pinky swear promise.

Blog on your terms.  When Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

You can blog on your terms when you have all your blogging ducks in a row.   I’ll teach you how to do that too … right here ….

 

 

 

SIGN UP to learn more about blogging

 

 THE BEST WORDPRESS THEMES

 

Design The Life You Want to Live lynneknowlton.com5In the best of all best worlds we would have the moolah to hire a web designer to create a custom blog design that perfectly expresses our blog vision.  The truth is that a custom designed blog is expensive and not necessarily something that a new blogger, or even intermediate blogger may be able to afford.  Yikes, right?

What to do?! Whaaaaaa?!!

How do you get your blog looking like a smoking hawt tamale in a fairly short period of time?  How do you do it in a cost effective way?  You can do it, without giving up your first born child.  Imagine that?!  Whoa!

 

The answer is: themes {and strong coffee, possibly with a bit of cake}. Liquid energy mud and cake never hurt anyone.

 

 

THEMES

 

Wordpress Themes

 

The interwebs are full of websites offering WordPress themes.

Everything is out there from the good, the bad and the downright gahhhh fugly.

It can become overwhelming to even know where to begin looking.

Guess what?  I’ve done the hard work for you.  You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

1.  ELEGANT THEMES:

 

Elegant Themes Elegant Themes is full of faboosh themes for blogs, stores and websites. You can purchase and have access to all their themes for $69. That is über stinking affordable!!

One drawback is that Elegant Themes doesn’t allow for much customization.  That may be a good thing. LOL.

Try the KISS rule….

keep it simple stupid.

Yay!! That sounds easy. 🙂

 

 

Elegant Themes are BEAUTIFUL and they have a kickass email newsletter with top-notch blogging advice.  Even if you don’t buy their themes, sign up for their newsletter on their site.  It really is so informative.  You can learn a lot about fab wordpress plugins and how to do some jazzy tech wizard stuff on your blog.  Even if you are a techno-tard, you can become a techno-whiz by reading their blog.  Check them out right here.

 

 

2.   STUDIOPRESS :

Studiopress and Copyblogger themes One blog that I have followed consistently since I started blogging is Copyblogger.

 Best. Choice. Ever.  

They know their stuff. Big time.  Learning from Copyblogger has truly changed me and turned me into the blogger that I am today.  That’s sounds all dramatic, but it’s the gospel truth.

Studiopress is the brain child of Copyblogger.  That is what makes it so beautiful to me.

StudioPress is top notch because it came from the best in the biz… Copyblogger.  All StudioPress themes are run on the Genesis Framework.

The themes are not only pretty, they are mobile responsive (which means that they look great on all devices.)

A mobile responsive site is essential to be a kickass blogger.

Did I mention e.s.s.e.n.t.i.a.l.?!!

Oh hells yeah.

Check out the StudioPress themes for your wordpress blog I love the minimalist design and professional feel of the child themes :Foodie ProExpose Pro and Beautiful Pro.   I bought the Foodie Pro theme (for a different blog because my site is custom designed now).

I signed up with Bluehost, bought my domain name, added the wordpress add on with one click and then uploaded the Foodie Pro Theme.  Done.  I had a gorgeous blog in one day.

That is where the fun began 🙂

 

 

 

3.  CREATIVE MARKET 

 

Design-The-Life-You-Want-To-Live-Creative market offers a humungous assortment of graphics, typefaces and, yes, WordPress themes.

The site allows creative peeps to sell their designs.  You’ll see the work of so many fantastic designers, it will blow.your.mind.

It’s epic & inspiring. The gilded gold will make you want to marry Rumplestiltskin.

 

 

 

Provence Font from Creative Market https://creativemarket.com/DrawBabyDraw/34716-Vintage-Font-provence?u=LynneKnowlton

 

Their fonts are totally drool worthy.  I just bought this Provence Font for $6 and LOVE it.  You can get lost in Creative Market for ages. It’s amazing!

Creative Market sends out a ton of freebees too.  The free downloads are d’bomb dot com.

 

 

Faaahrrrree.

I’m addicted.  I love free.  I’m also a bit of a fontaholic.  This is a problem.

It is font-freaking-tastic at creative market, so I shop for fonts for f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  They are totally delish.   And affordable.  I bought this one and this one and downloaded these doodles for free.

 

 

fearlessly authentic

Oh.La.La. LOVE.

<— I made this, in about 5 seconds

Someone needs font therapy.  Let’s not mention names.  K?K.

You’ll see the work of so many fantastic designers on Creative Market.

It’ll blow.your.mind.

 

 

 

 

 MY FAVE PLUGINS

 

 

Catch the spam on your blog with this plugin. It's my fave.

AKISMET PLUGIN: 

Spam, even spam in a can, is best avoided.  Both are gross.  The Akismet Plugin is my spam-guardian-angel.  It’s a free plugin and it catches thousands of spam comments on my blog.

Thousands.

Now, if I can only figure out how to pronounce AKISMET.  Just get it.  You’ll thank me later.

 

 

PS.  When you sign up with Bluehost, akismet is available right in your dashboard.  Click the button, put it on your site.   It’s essential.  It’s free.  You’re welcome. xx

 

 

The best plugin for #Pinterest

PINTEREST PRO PLUGIN:

Do you want to attract an insane amount of traffic to your WordPress site from Pinterest?  Then you need an easy-to-setup eye-catching “Pin It” button that will make readers want to spread your awesome content.

This plugin has a pinterest hover button, and it also gives the added benefit of filling in the alt text for your images.

Super important!

 

 

 

Buy your gold social media buttons on ETSY! Click here for instant download http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=6939&awinaffid=220707&clickref=&p=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.etsy.com%2Fca%2Flisting%2F184213224%2Fgold-social-media-icons-buttons-instant%3Fref%3Dfavs_view_6Pinterest:   Want to test the pin it button in action?  It is all over my site.  On your site, you can choose an option to hover your mouse over photos for pinning or have a pin it button show up in the upper left/right side of the photo.

You can use a standard pin it button or a custom button.  I bought a custom gold pin it button on Etsy to accompany this plugin.

 

 

 

 

Design The Life You Want to Live lynneknowlton.comIMG_8173Pinterest:  When you pin a photo from my site, you will see that the description has been filled out for you.  (that is the alt text description)

Most people will not change the pinterest description on your pins.  Fill in the awesome sauce for them.  Add your keywords, links, photo description and Bob’s your uncle. 🙂

It’s epic stuff when you become a pinterest black belt! The proof is in the pudding.  The pinterest pudding.

Note :  I spend about 5 minutes a day on Pinterest.  Sometimes less.  My pinterest traffic accounts for at least 80% of all social media traffic to my blog.

 

Yuppers.  It’s a great plugin.

 

Psssssst …. You can learn more about how to become a pinterest black belt by signing up for my upcoming kickass blogging course.

 

DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE

 

 

Treehouse trees www.lynneknowlton.com

EVERGREEN POST TWEETER PLUGIN:

Don’t let your old blog posts get all dusty and gross.  Dudette, those blog posts need to live more than ONCE.

You worked hard on those puppies.  Set up the Evergreen Post Tweeter to automatically share your old blog posts while you’re napping.  That’s right.

You’re efficient like that.  You can even talk to the developer, Tom Ewer here on twitter.  Sahhhweet.

 

 

 

Grow your blog traffic and subscribers with these toolsComment Reply Notification has been one of my all time fave plugins in the history of the universe.   I love it so much, I wrote about it here.

Why oh why do I love it so?  This is a juicy one.  Go read the blog post and get blown away.

Hint:  I have between 50-400 comments per blog post on my bloggy.  I owe a lot of credit to this handy dandy plugin.

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

 

 

 

 

 THE POWER OF VISUAL CONTENT

 

 

Photography is super important for blogging!

PHOTOGRAPHY:   This one is so super important, I want to scream it from the rooftops.

SCREAM.  IT.  LOUD.

Your photography should be better than sliced bread.  It should be all that and a bag of chips.  It is super duper supercalifragilisticexpialidocious important.

Visual marketing is where it’s at.  A picture is worth a thousand words and a thousand more in social media.   You need to have beautiful photographs to grab the attention of your reader!!!

 

We all have the patience of a fruit fly.  We flit about and land on what grabs our attention.  What do you think will grab more attention?

 

Words or A Photo ?!!

Case study LOL:  I wrote a blog post called 40 things your Mom didn’t tell you about men.

This photo (meet my hubby <— he’s the naked dude with cancer) was what grabbed the attention of my readers and drove traffic to the post….

 

40 things your mom didn't tell you about MEN http://wp.me/p38cMm-3jq

Man oh man, MEN.

 

My hubby.  Naked.  Story of my life. haha.

Photography: Here’s the problemo.  It can seem scary.  Expensive.  It can make you feel like a-fraid-y-cat to accomplish the photography thang.  I feel your pain sista.  I was in the same boat.  I started small, I worked in small steps and then when I got comfy …. I blew it outta the water.  You can too. 

 

 

Iphone apps and chemotherapy via @lynneknowlton #cancer #Iphone #photoapps #chemoFirst and foremost, you should know that every photo on this blog was created either with my iPhone or Sony camera and edited in photo apps or PicMonkey.

I have never had any formal training.  I have only watched and learned from blogs, social media and YouTube.

I just recently purchased this Canon, and started editing in Photoshop Elements and Screenflow for video.

 

 

 

Learn fantastic blog tips & Canon 70D free tutorials The Canon 70D here on Amazon comes with all kinds of extras.  That was a GREAT feature and I am using almost everything.  LOVE.

My next BIGGEST problem with buying a DSLR and going off automatic mode to manual mode… was having a camera that is smarter than me. LOL.  I also hate manuals. If a manual had a face, I would punch it.

I watched these free Canon 70D tutorials on YouTube and WHAT A LIFESAVER!  I SCREAMED THAT AND THEREFORE FELT THE NEED TO TYPE IT ALL IN CAPS.

 

 

Photography Equipment :

Sony Camera For years, I used this Sony camera and I still absolutely adore it.

Why? It’s flipping easy to use.

I never took it off of automatic.  Point and shoot all the way.

It has an epic zoom feature.  It takes the prettiest panoramic shots in the history of ever.  The camera has a way of making things look better than what they are in real life.

For reals.

 

 

 

@LynneKnowlton creating door track hardware ideas!Muku Shutter Remote for dee iPhone.   As a blogger, we are a one man/one woman show.  If you need a selfie or a group shot … this remote will rock the socks of your iPhone.

It’s bluetooth savvy.

You’ll be a smitten Kitten.

Hold the little remote in and your hand and click away.

Done. It’s a snap.

 

 

 

 

Lynne-KnowltonTripod for the iPhone.

Handy dandy, especially with that Muku remote.

You won’t need to booby trap your iPhone in a duct tape contraption.  Just clip it in the tripod in seconds, and bam. Done like dinner.  Point. Shoot.

You’re suddenly a pro at selfies.

 

 
IMG_0337New Tripod Love:

I finally bought this tripod and I LUUUURVE it !!

The thing to look for on a tripod is grippy feet and two panning handles.

This tripod is ahhhmazing because it tips on an angle to video a table top too. Great for drawing, cooking, everything hands free.

Oh la la.

 

 

 

Learn how to use picmonkey to edit your blogging photography. Read more on the blog.PICMONKEY :

Oh man.  Oh man.  The monkeys.  Hey hey, we’re the monkeys and we love PicMonkey.

I upgraded to the Royale package because it is so darn inexpensive to use and it does pretty much everything you need to do to make an epic photo.

Collages, font overlays, resizing, Facebook cover photos and photo editing.  Yeah, you can get rid of wrinkles without wrinkle cream or a plastic surgeon.  Booyah !!

PicMonkey = your photos on awesome sauce

 

 

Photo sharing

 

See a home tour & get inspired http://www.lynneknowlton.com/theres-no-place-like-home-click-your-heels/Dropbox has been my GoTo for f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  I use it for file sharing, sharing large documents, photo sharing and even for storing my ebooks.

It is a safe haven for storing photos and important stuff.  Somehow I feel more secure knowing that if something tragic happened (yeah, losing my ‘puter would be tragic)… then my photos would at least be somewhere up there in the sky.

Want to work with large brands and companies?  I share photos via dropbox for magazine scouts, location scouts, layouts for brands and an overview of my home for when a company wants to work with me on a brand sponsorship.

Try it.  You’ll feel so smart.  It’s totally impressive and completely affordable.

 

Subscribers

 

MAILCHIMP MAIL CHIMP:

I used Feedburner for ages.  Ages and ages.

Dumb.

It had very little flexibility and my email list grew at a snails pace.  At that time, I received 1-2 opt-ins per week.

Then I talked to the chimps at MailChimp.  LOVE!!

 

 

 

 

Learn how to use Mailchimp for your blogging They are cool dudes and dudettes.  They listen to your online email marketing needs and make it happen!!

As an online entrepeneur there are so many reasons why you should have an email list.  If someone digs your voice, you are going to want them to sign up.

You can earn quality opt-ins when people raise their hands and say they want more. Make it easy for them.

If you don’t publish on a regular basis, an email list is a good way to make sure that your peeps don’t miss out on any amazing pieces of literary magnificence that you post.

 

Ready to take the bull by the horns and run a kickass blog?   Ready to be an unbelievably awesome entrepreneur?  Ready to have some FUN along the way?  Want to do things the fun and painless way?   It’s hard work and it’s good work with massive returns, if you do the legwork and use the right tools.

SIGN UP to learn more about blogging

Look no further.

I’ve got your back.  Sign up here and be the first to be notified when the blogging courses go live.

Where am I?  Right behind you.  Right where I’ve always been.

 

Lynne

PS.  I have a BONUS FOR YOU!

Here’s how to make an instantly downloadable ebook:

 

Shop the post :

Canon 70 D camera with accessories ,  Canon 60D camera , Ravelli tripod pro version,  Manfrotto tripod,

 

Please note:  I only recommend companies/services that I absolutely head over heels adore.  If I don’t love them, they don’t ever ever ever Taylor Swift never ever make it to this page.   You have my word on that.  WORD.