This page contains a list of tools, products, and services that I love and have found helpful in growing my blog and business. BonnibelleChukwuneta.com may earn an affiliate commission on the sales of some of the products shared below. This is one of the ways I’m able to run the site and build an engaging community. Thanks so much for your support and for stopping by!
Domain and hosting provider: Siteground
Content management system (CMS): WordPress (.org, not .com)
Laptop: Macbook Pro
Camera: iPhone 8+
Photo editor: VSCO
Headphones: Apple Airpods Pro
External hard drive: Maxone 2TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive
Blogging and Pinterest go hand in hand when it comes to driving traffic to your blog. Pinteresting Strategies originally came out three years ago and was updated earlier this year to reflect new changes on Pinterest, but it remains one of the best Pinterest marketing courses in the market. What’s great about the course is that it focuses on manual pinning strategies, so no need to invest in Tailwind if you’re not ready just yet. I’ve seen tremendous growth on my blog because of this course and reached 40,000 monthly page views at one point, and I always dive back into the course or lean in on the Facebook community whenever it seems like I’m hitting a wall. Long story short, highly recommended.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
There’s no discussing affiliate marketing without mentioning Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s course, Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle is an OG blogger who took her income from $0 to over $50,000 per month. The course teaches you everything you need to know about taking your blog from side hobby to side hustle. It’s the first blogging course I took and I used it earlier this year to monetize a blog post that went viral. If you want to learn how to generate affiliate income and sell authentically, then consider starting here.
Travel Blogging Blastoff
When I revamped my blogging strategy in 2018, I focused on travel and needed a travel blogging course to help get me started in the right direction. Travel Blogging Blastoff was everything I was looking for. This course has information on travel bureaus and destination marketing organizations you can contact as well as pitching templates so that you feel confident when you’re working on securing potential travel stories. I also like how they break down the various stages of travel blogging so that you know where you are and what you can do to take your travel blog to the next level. And while the pandemic is putting a damper on travel at the moment, I’ve been using the time to get reacquainted with travel strategies I can boost and prepare for travel in a post-pandemic era.
An anti-spam plugin that protects your blog from attacks and publishing malicious content.
Insert Headers and Footers
One of my favorite plugins and a must for new bloggers. This plugin allows you to easily insert code or text in the header or footer of your WordPress blog without having to edit your theme files.
Rank Math SEO
This is my preferred SEO plugin. Even though Rank Math SEO recently released a paid PRO version, their free version is excellent for SEO with comparable results to other popular options like Yoast, while being faster, lighter, and generally easier to work with.
Smash Balloon Instagram Feed
Display beautifully clean, customizable, and responsive Instagram feeds.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore
The worst thing that could happen is you’re working on your blog one day and you lose your whole website without a backup or option to restore it. Siteground offers automatic backups of your blog, but this plugin is great just in case.
The best eCommerce plugin if you want to sell physical products, digital products, or start an affiliate shop.
Makes your site fast, efficient, and attractive to new users by cleaning the database, compressing images, and caching pages.
WordPress Themes + Web Design
Even though I’m a fan of web builders and creating custom designs from scratch, I’m currently using a theme from Lucid Themes and love it. Lucid Themes offers premium WordPress themes and HTML templates that offer great customization and easy-to-use options. This blog uses the Food version of the Faith theme, which I loaded and customized entirely myself. Goes to show just how easy of an option using their themes is. You have the ability to change colors, fonts, layouts, and more to truly make it yours.
Not every creative wants to make their own designs and graphics, and that’s where Creative Market comes in. Creative Market is a one-stop-shop for WordPress themes, custom fonts, social media templates, and so much more. The best part? You’re supporting other creatives and contributing to a sustainable business ecosystem. Winning all around.
Etsy is a great option for shopping for WordPress themes. They have a wide variety with plenty of customer feedback to help you make a decision. Some of the sellers are attentive and ready to answer any technical questions to make your search for a new theme easier.
Elementor prides itself as the best free WordPress website builder available. If you don’t want to take their word for it, just ask one of the over 5 million people actively using the theme. Elementor makes designing your website as easy as can be for beginners. It has a drag-and-drop interface allowing you to start building beautiful pages and sites within minutes. While I used Elementor Pro, you can totally get by with the free version.
If you’re going to use a web builder for your blog and have super basic web dev skills up your sleeves, then I highly recommend going with OceanWP as your theme. OceanWP is a multi-purpose WordPress theme that makes it easy to create beautiful, unique websites with WordPress. You get the most out of this theme by using it along with a web builder like Elementor as you watch your website come to life in real-time. It’s good for SEO, lightweight, and responsive, and gives you loads of flexibility.
Graphics + Stock Images
Canva is the graphic design tool of choice if you’re new to tech and blogging. It’s great for making Pinterest templates, graphics for your Instagram feed and stories, logos for your website, and so much more. I use Canva Pro and use it to make designs for just about everything, but you can certainly get the job done with the free version.
Beautiful, free images and photos that you can download and use for any project.
Provides free, beautiful, high-res photography of black and brown people to creatives, startups, brands, and agencies.
Social Media Tools
Social media management software that allows you to schedule posts and analyze results to build an engaged community.
Allows you to schedule your pins on Pinterest. I use Tailwind as a supplement to manual pinning strategies. It’s great for days when I’m not able to pin by hand as it makes sure there’s always content being shared.
I’ve used a number of email marketing tools over the years, but ConvertKit is my favorite. It’s software made for bloggers by bloggers and is one of the easiest to use, which is why it gets high marks from me. You can use them for free for your first 1,000 subscribers.
As an unabashed grammar nazi, I adore Grammarly. Grammarly helps keep spelling and grammar errors down to a minimum. They also send emails showing you weekly writing stats and the uniqueness of your vocabulary, which I absolutely look forward to.
If you’re freelancing, sending cold emails, or pitches, then you’ll want to try Hunter. Hunter is a tool that helps you find business email addresses.
Thank you for being a part of the journey. 🙂