Welcome to the Create and Go Resources Page, which contains a list of the best tools and websites we recommend for building and optimizing your business.
We have tested and used EVERY resource on this page. Many of them are absolutely VITAL to the success of our blogs and will have HUGE impacts on yours as well.
You will notice something important from reading this post:
We have tried A LOT of different software products.
When running a blog, the hardest part sometimes can be finding safe and reliable software you can count on. Many of them have failed us at bad times.
That’s why we love what we use and think you will find this page very helpful in creating, growing, and monetizing your own blog!
#1 Hosting and Domain Name Platform
Well, they are CHEAP! You can start a blog for just $2.95/month when you sign up for 36 months (using our discount link!). That’s just $41/year, AND you get a FREE domain name with that! This is so important at the beginning before you are making money to cover your expenses.
They are also incredibly easy to use, and they offer a complete guarantee on their hosting packages. If you sign up for 12 months or more (best pricing option) and decide that it’s not right for you, they will refund any portion of it that you have not used. There really is no risk.
Let me also just say that we didn’t initially start out with Bluehost. Our transition happened when we had an issue with another popular hosting company, Siteground. Basically, we had an unexpected influx of traffic from Pinterest, and our entire website shut down.
This cost us a TON of money in forgone sales, and we vowed that it would NEVER happen again. We got on the phone with Bluehost, and their awesome customer service team took care of everything for us! They are available by phone 24/7, and they take care of whatever issues you throw at them!
I have used all the major hosts up to this point: Go Daddy, Siteground, Hostgator, WPengine, and without a doubt the best is Bluehost. It’s got one-click WordPress installation and is what we use to host our websites.
We also offer step-by-step instructions on setting up Bluehost and your first blog in this post here: How to Start a Successful Blog
#1 Email Service Provider for a Blog
We have tried (in this order): Mail Chimp, Aweber, Get Response, Active Campaign, and Convertkit.
(*We now use and recommend Convertkit!)
For bloggers, Convertkit seems to be the best option. It’s easy to use, has tons of automation capabilities, and is great for bloggers.
By far our FAVORITE feature about this is the layout of email sequences and how EASY it is to edit emails. You can view every email in your sequence in one screen and easily click and edit between them (compared to Active Campaign, Get Response, and others where you have to go through multiple steps and jump through hoops just to open and edit ONE email, save it, and return back to your sequence).
It has saved us SO much time and so many headaches!
It’s also the preferred method we use to email our 34,000+ email subscribers.
#1 Sales Page and Funnel Builder
Powerful and effective, Clickfunnels is the best way out there to build sales pages, take payments, and perform seamless upsells on your blog.
While their customer service can be lacking at times, it is still the best sales page builder we have ever used, and you can also create email optins with it as well.
We have done an entire in-depth review on Clickfunnels and it is our number one recommendation for building your own sales pages and selling products.
Thrive Leads – #1 For Email Collection For Your Blog
The money is in your list.
As you can see, the majority of the sales from a blog come from the emails you send and NOT one the blog itself.
This is why email is so damn important. It’s how you build trust with your audience, drive traffic to individual posts, grow a fan base, and sell products.
And Thrive Leads is the ultimate list building plugin for WordPress. You can collect emails with: screen sliders, scroll mats, in text pop ups, sidebar opt ins, top of page opt-ins, and bottom of page opt-ins.
It basically opt in collection software on steroids, and we LOVE IT!
X Theme – #1 WordPress Theme for Beginners
Lauren and I have worked with dozens of different WordPress themes over the years:
- The list could go on forever
Without a single doubt of hesitation in our minds, X Theme is the easiest theme and best place for beginners to start.
At the beginning of running a WordPress website, things can be quite overwhelming, especially when it feels like the majority of your time is spent just trying to get your blog to “look right.”
X theme makes customizations EASY and simple to understand. Plus, if you ever have a questions, you can just type it into google (i.e “how can make a video header”), add x “theme” to the question, and one of their previously answered tickets will usually pop up with step-by-step instructions to follow.
It’s amazing and the ONLY theme beginners should be using (it’s also the theme we used to build avocadu.com to a 6 figure business in less than a year!)
Shutterstock – #1 Stock Photography Website
For both of our blogs, using high quality stock footage is a must. We use Shutterstock images for book covers, blog posts, pins, thumbnails, and everything in between.
High quality images take your blog’s look and appeal to the next level.
Shutterstock does come with a pretty hefty price tag at $169/month, but it’s 110% worth it. All stock photography is pricey, and we definitely price shopped before we ended up with Shutterstock. They offer the most images for the best cost.
Do not underestimate the importance of stock photography in the blogging world. Copyright and infringement laws are iron tight these days, and bloggers must be aware that they cannot simply take images off of Google and know they they have a right to use them.
Purchasing a plan to use stock photography takes the uncertainty, headaches, and worry out of this completely!
#1 Way to Share/Store Files Online
Dropbox seamlessly integrates with Lauren and I’s computers, making it very simple for us to share documents, videos, and anything else that we need to edit.
It’s as simple as dragging a file on your desktop into a dropbox folder already integrated to your files. There’s absolutely nothing to it and we love it!
#1 Best Photo Editor for Simple Edits
Picmonkey.com is a free, web-based photo editing application that you can use right in your browser. It’s incredibly user-friendly and perfect for quick and simple edits, such as creating simple logos, cropping, adding overlays, doing touch-ups, etc.
They do have an optional paid version, but we have never had any need for it.
#1 Best Photo Optimizer for Blogs
Optimizilla.com is a free, web-based photo optimization tool.
Make sure to upload your photos to Optimizilla first before uploading them to your blog. It usually compresses the file to around 30-70% of the original file size without losing quality.
This will help keep your website from slowing down.
NOTE*** The above content does contain affiliate links, meaning we do get some percentage of the product purchased but at no additional cost to you. We do this to help finance the free content that we publish on our website, so we appreciate your support. Please know that we ONLY recommend products that we have USED and can stand behind 100% on effectiveness.