With this page, I hope to give new bloggers a head start with this list of free resources. I’m all about honesty and I think new bloggers need help in this crazy blogging world to stop spending money on things they don’t need.
This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on them and signing up or making a purchase, I will sometimes receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
Big bloggers all seem to have a blogging FB group and it astounds me how many of them are trying to trick new bloggers into buying all kinds of things they don’t even need as beginners.
For many of them it’s all about power and money instead of giving new people the value and resources they actually need and I really don’t like it.
My free resources, tips & tricks
So here’s my list. Yes, I do use affiliate links, but all these resources can be used for free, some forever, some up to when your blog is actually big enough to make some money and cover the expenses you might face.
If you like this list and want to say thanks, I appreciate it if you use my affiliate link if you do decide to buy something, as this supports my blog.
As far as hosting goes, I don’t really recommend Bluehost, as their customer service isn’t great. I personally use a Dutch provider at this moment. I do hear great things about Siteground and I’m thinking of switching to them when my blog is growing too big for my current provider.
When I do make the change, I will review Siteground before actually referring to them.
If you want to monetize your blog some day, you should go for wordpress.org. You need your own domain name and a hosting provider to be able to start your blog on wordpress.org. Of course you can also use other sites like Blogger, but I personally use WordPress and learned to use it quite quickly.
Two free courses about the basics of WordPress:
- A Free 7-Step Course to Starting Your Blog
- Understanding WordPress – How to Navigate Self-Hosted WordPress
If I run into more free courses, I will share them here.
After some trial and error, I ended up with OceanWP, which is an awesome free theme with so much options! Where I couldn’t change my fonts or font sizes in other themes, I can with OceanWP!
I also use Elementor to make my blog look and feel like a real website instead of a simple blog. I really love it and you can use this for free as well. The free version has tons of options to create an awesome website.
It looks kinda difficult at first, but YouTube is your answer here! I learned how to build my website with OceanWP and Elementor in a day from this Youtube Video. After watching, just play around with it and search YouTube for any option you struggle with as there are videos on just about everything!
I’m definitely not an expert on this yet, but you can always send me a message and I might be able to help you.
Some starting tips
- Make your URL’s look good by removing the date or category. You can do this at Settings -> Permalinks. Here you can choose “Post name” to have just the post name after your domain name.
- Don’t bother about some fancy logo when you just start out. Just your name and maybe a tagline are fine! The most important thing is to start writing. You can change everything later.
- You can just publish your posts from the first post you write, as no one knows your blog yet. I suggest to wait with social media until you’ve got 3-5 posts. People actually have something to read at that point.
- Start building an email list from the start and try to email them at least once a month to stay connected with them.
- Make a welcome series for every new subscriber. One welcome email is just fine when you just start out, but it’s even better to have a sequence of a couple of emails, so your subscribers get to know you and the way you write.
- Don’t spend money when you just start out! The only thing you need at this point, is a hosting provider and a domain name.
If I think of any other tips or tricks for starters, I will let you know!
If you want to monetize your blog, you should build up an email list. There are several providers you can use here. I started with Mailchimp, but it’s pretty hard to understand and I didn’t find it very user-friendly. Then I found out about Mailerlite and I switched to them and it’s so easy to use!
Mailerlite is free up to 1000 subscribers, which is perfect for new bloggers. And even after that, their prices are great compared to some other providers. On their YouTube channel, they explain all kinds of stuff how to use Mailerlite.
There are plugins for almost anything. I found a couple of plugins that you can use for free and are awesome!
- Antispam Bee: Instead of using Akishmet which isn’t free for commercial sites, this ones gets great reviews and fights spam better than Akishmet according to several people.
- ThirstyAffiliates: Instead of linking to your affiliate links, you can use this plugin to make the link look better, like yourdomain/recommends/Product. All of your links are in one place, which makes it easy to manage and when a link changes, you only have to change it on one location, instead of going trough all of your posts and edit them. NB: Amazon wants you to show their original link, but you can do that with this plugin as well.
- Cookie Notice: This plugin allows you to customize your cookie notice.
- Disable Gutenberg: This is personal, but personally, I can’t work with Gutenberg. This plugin gives you the classic WordPress editor.
- Google Fonts for WordPress: This plugin allows you to use hundreds of fonts on your blog.
- Insert Headers and Footers: For several things, you need to place a script in your header. With this plugin, you can easily place anything in the header or the footer without needing the skills to actually go into the back end of your blog.
- Yoast SEO: Yoast is great free tool to help you with basics of SEO.
- Redirection: When I started I still had the post category in every url and I didn’t want that. But if you change that, all of your links stop working. With this plugin, you can add the old and the new url and the plugin redirects your readers to the new location. You can also set this to automation: if you change the slug / permalink of a post or page, this plugin automatically adds a redirect for you.
- Smush: This plugin reduces your image file sizes, which improves performance.
- Wp Super cache: A caching plugin really speeds up your site. This one works perfect. W3 Total Cache is another cache plugin that works great, you can choose either one of them.
If I run into more great plugins, I will add them here.
The internet is full of free resources and you can perfectly go without any course and just figuring it all out on your own. But courses can save you time if you don’t have to find out everything on your own.
I’ve tried some free courses, but most of them all full of sales crap unfortunately. One course almost tricked me into buying their very expensive course because of all the encouragement from a bunch people. But at day two of being talked into it, I knew this wasn’t my thing.
So, just a warning to you: think about it, do you really need this? Sleep on it, don’t FOMO (fear of missing out) into buying anything when their timer ends. Look for reviews, ask yourself if this teacher actually is the kind of person you want to become.
The course I do love is Dare To Conquer by Paul Scrivens. You can check out his teaching style by signing up for his free bootcamps, which are loaded with value. I already learned so much from just his emails! You should also check out his free video’s. He is honest and tells you what you need to hear.
I fell in love with his teaching style and bought his lifetime package. When I bought it back in February, there were four courses. In the meantime, he added four more courses and he’s working on more.
With the lifetime option you also get access to the Slack Community which is awesome. It’s full of bloggers who share tips & tricks all the time, and Paul himself is in there all the time as well to answer questions or to give his perspective on stuff.
Use your head when you are just starting out and don’t get yourself tricked into spending money on all kinds of things. The main thing you have to worry about is creating good content. Just write and write and publish! The great thing about a blog is that you can edit every blog post all the time, it’s not set in stone!
So don’t worry if your writing skills need some work or if you don’t know everything about SEO yet. You can edit all of that later. After a while, when you’ve got more experience, just go back and edit the posts you feel can do better. Or even delete some of them!
I hope this page is a great resource for new bloggers. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!