It’s a new year, with new goals, and new opportunities to create & grow & learn. How are you going to make the most of this fresh start? As with many others, some of my goals for this year center around my blog (more creation, less talk. Less doubt, more boldness). With this in mind, I went ahead and compiled some of the best blogging resources you need for 2017 to help you along your way with any blog goals you may have. It’s time to conquer the year, friends!
For Creating Better Graphics
If you’re looking for affordable graphics, fonts, or photos to up your blogging game, you need to check this out. Creative Market, in their own words, is the place for “ready-to-use design assets from 17,704 independent creators.” They also offer 6 FREE resources a week. Not only does this let you expand your collection of assets, but I’ve also found it a source of inspiration.
Graphic Burger offers free design resources (I’m a big fan of the mock ups I’ve found there) that will help you elevate any graphics you’re making for your blog. Someone introduced this site to me in one of my first graphic design classes, and I haven’t looked back since. Hello, free design resources curated for you + all in one place! Yes and yes.
In my pre-Photoshop days, I was always on the lookout for ways to create graphics for my blog. Though I personally use Photoshop now, I have heard many positive things about Canva. Canva allows you to easily create and design documents or graphics, and even better: the base version is free!
Unsplash offers free high-res photos. They’re like stock photos that don’t look like stock photos (insert praise hands here). Sometimes you just need a particular display photo, or there’s a type of pic you just can’t snap. In those cases, when using your own images isn’t viable, it’s great to have a source for high quality options.
For Upping The Business Side
I’m going to go ahead and say that Google Analytics is sort of an industry standard when it comes to numbers. In short, this is a go-to for stats: how long people are on your blog, how many pages they look at, if they’re a new user or not… it’s got all the good stuff. Keep in mind that you can use this info no matter what your goals are, and that sometimes numbers don’t mean anything, after all. (Like, so what if you have high page views if no one ever interacts on your site… but I digress.) This is one of those blogging resources to take advantage of, mainly because it will most likely increase the size of your audience. Another way of increasing the size of your blog’s audience is through an unlimited cPanel hosting server. If you’ve got no idea what this actually means, you might want to learn more about the different web hosting servers you can get for your blog.
Everyone will probably have different opinions on what’s “important” to look at when you see your analytics. Being fairly new to analytics myself, this article is a great resource that helps you decipher what you’re actually looking at when you see all those stats. Because let’s face it – stats are fun (and useful), but if you don’t know how to read them, they’re not very helpful. One of my goals this year is to get a better understanding of what the numbers mean for me and my blog…because sometimes (most times?) I take one look at it all and just pretend to understand what I’m seeing. Oops.
If 2017 is the year you try to turn your blog into a business, or want to improve your blog just because, this is for you. Melyssa Griffin has a vast range of information for online entrepreneurs and bloggers, all of which are both really interesting and extremely helpful. You’ll find info ranging from how to grow your email list to things like backdrop ideas for your blog photography, so no matter where you are in your journey or what your goals are, you’ll find some good stuff. Yes, please!
For Staying Inspired
I know, I know. I’ve already touched on this one before. But, seeing as it is a new year, and a lot of people want to start off it off properly inspired, I had to include it. It’s all about creative living beyond fear, which I think we could all be doing a little more of. What I’ve found about inspiration for blogging is that in comes in so many forms, many of which are not even directly related to “blogging” itself. Other books I plan to take as inspiration this year? “Make it Happen” (Lara Casey), “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (Dale Carnegie) and “The More of Less” (Joshua Becker). Maybe it’s time to start a book section on here…
Speaking of how inspiration for blogging comes from a whole range of places, I’d suggest taking a listen to “The Lively Show”. In the past year or two, I’ve gone through a bit of a podcast phase, and this is one of the ones that has really stuck with me. This particular podcast is “designed to uplift, inspire, & add a little extra intention to your everyday.” I’ll be honest – I’m pretty skeptical of a lot of podcasts in the inspiration/wellness/better living sector. The whole “drink warm lemon water and meditate for 37 minutes every morning and wake up at 4:22AM so you get extra inspiration + creativity” just isn’t my jam… but this one feels authentic, has great guests, and leaves me feeling just that much more motivated.
Designlovefest was one of the first blogs I ever started reading back when I first began blogging at 14 (good times, good times). I love that it is not just fashion or style inspiration, but also incorporates design, beautiful photography, and color. Sure, there are a lot of blogs I could list here that I find inspiring, or read on the daily (if you need suggestions I’ve got them), but this is one that stands out as a space that consistently inspires me… and one that I hope will do the same for you!
I will leave you with this piece of inspiration: Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford in 2005. Someone recently pointed me toward this, and I’ve been thinking about it since then. I realize that it’s 12 years old (wait what wasn’t 2005 just a year or two ago?!) but I believe what he has to stay is timeless. As he ends his speech with, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Here’s to a new year and new goals! My hope is that these resources will help and inspire, so let me know what you think. What are some of your go-to blogging resources?