My Blog's Resources
Running a blog means constantly making decisions and trying to understand what software works for your needs. After trying a dozen different tools, I have narrowed down on what I believe are the best resources a blog can buy. Every tool that is listed below is being used by collectingcents.com this very moment so consider this your live demo.
If you do have any specific questions about the tools I have listed, feel free to message me at [email protected] or hit me up on twitter @freyakuka28
Side Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I earn a tiny commission if you purchase something using those links( at no additional cost to you). This helps bloggers like me continue running their blog. I only recommend products I trust and love.
Bluehost is what I used to set up this website. It offers a range of plans and I have gone with the Choice Plus version but the Basic version, which is all a new freelancer with one website needs, is only $71
TIP: You can get it for cheaper if you are willing to pay for 24 months or 36 months at a time. The more in advance you pay, the cheaper it is.
It is probably going to be the most expensive tool you use but it is also your base. Bluehost also gives you the WordPress Plugin so you have everything needed to set up a website once you select a plan. It is not that big an amount considering it is paid only once a year and I couldn't have asked for better support and service at a killer price.
Considering the fact 2 million websites are powered by Bluehost, including mine and a lot of other freelancers, I consider it the industry standard. It comes with the WordPress plugin, an SSL certificate, 24/7 support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Every word I publish goes through Grammarly. It checks the basic grammar, spelling, structure of the sentence and makes it website-worthy.
The free version will give you basic spelling and grammar mistakes while the pro version helps you structure and optimize sentences the best you can.
The robots beat us on this one. Let's just accept it and move on.
When you use a WordPress website (industry standard), you have to use a theme. The theme of your website is essentially the outline. You create the aesthetic of your pages around this outline. So, needless to say, you need to choose wisely!
I use Optimize Press personally and find it really easy to use. It has a drag and drop interface and amazing support. I liked it so much I wanted to sign up for their affiliate program but they aren't taking applications at the min. I do not have to talk about the theme design because if you are on this website reading this, you are looking at it right now.
I will say though that while it is perfect for a blog, I am not sure what is the best option if your website is going to be for advertising a business, membership websites, etc. That is purely because my experience with Optimize Press has been running a blog website. I have tried Thrive Themes and Genesis as well but just prefer this one hands down. I will get into why later when I write a more thorough blog post on the subject. In short: More Options, Less Confusion.
So, as a freelance writer, you may need to check your work for plagiarism just to be sure that nothing is copied. This may be for your own satisfaction or an employer may ask you for a plagiarism screenshot.
The standard plagiarism checker is Copyscape but that is a paid tool. To my knowledge, you can check if a published page has plagiarism issues but if you need to put in text, it is 3 cents per search.
This is why I started using Content Watch Ru, which is a Russian website so you will have to click the translate button that pops up on the top right-hand side corner. A client of mine from Scotland introduced me to the website and I never went back.
It being in Russian is not an issue for me because I can easily translate it to English. You get 7 free checks a day. It is perfect for most freelancers' needs.
I cannot put into words how amazing I think Trello is. It is free if you only need the basics as I do but it does also have a pro version with extra features.
It allows you to create to-do lists, create boards for different topics, add team members to your boards, archive stuff easily, etc.
It just allows you to keep a tab on what is done and what is yet to be done. It is great if you need to handle everything that is stressing you out in a more organized way.
If you are a freelance writer, Bonsai is exactly what you need. It helps you create contracts, invoices, and proposals. You can also keep track of your expenses easily with the help of their interface.
It's great for freelance writers in specific but designers and coders use it as well.
Google Drive is great for storing all of your files. As a freelancer, you should never just depend on your desktop for file storing. Having a back up is crucial.
Also, if you are a freelance writer, there will be times when clients will specifically ask you to send in a google drive file. Thankfully, it is 100% free up to 15GB and I have personally never needed more than that.
Get yourself comfortable by transferring your desktop files on to your Google Drive account right now! The good news is that if you have a Gmail account, you automatically have Google Drive because it is one of Google's services. So, just log in using your Gmail credentials.
There is a free and a pro version available. For most people, the free version is enough.
If you do want all the features, you could go for the Pro version. It does have some amazing features like the ability to automatically resize an image you created for different purposes (changing it from a pin size to a Facebook cover photo size), creating unlimited animated graphics, a brand kit that helps with your brand, the ability to use a transparent background with your images, etc.
At the end of the day, it is up to you. Decide what you need and look at your options. If you think you can manage without pro-well and good and if not the pro version is $12.95 a month.
If you decide to take on freelance work, no matter what kind, there is a good chance one of your employers will want you to use Slack. It is a great piece of software that helps remote companies function well.
You get to create various channels for different purposes or contact someone through private chat. It has become the standard for professional communication.
Thankfully, you will only ever need it if someone invites you to join a slack team.
I only added it to this menu so you are not surprised when someone asks you to join a slack team in the future. It is always better to know about it in advance.
Another similar work management tool that you should be aware of is Asana. It helps teams keep track of goals and projects.
As a freelancer, trying to find images that you can use legally is tough. You do not know what is copyrighted and what isn't. Enter Pixabay.
All of their images are copyright free (which means you can use them with no worries) and you do not have to pay for any of them. Using copyrighted images can land you in trouble at times so it is always better to be safe.
Another great option is Unsplash. Use these to find amazing copyright-free images.
You are going to have to get used to Skype f you want to be a freelancer. Make sure you have a profile and turn those notifications on. A lot of your employers are going to want to have a chat with you via the app.
If you are a freelance writer and need to interview someone, Skype is the answer yet again.
Compressing images will mean your pages will load much faster than usual.
Optimizing your images essentially means reducing the file size. This will help your website function better and load faster. Your image does not change at all and it will look the same but it takes up far less space!
This one is free as well.
You can also use ShortPixel which allows you to compress 50 images ata time for free.