Welcome to my Money + Blogging + Business Resources! I am frequently asked which products and services I have used in my own personal finance and blogging journey. As such, I decided to put together a list of my favorites that’s easily accessible to you.
Many of the resources listed below have either helped me save more money, make more money, or grow my blog exponentially. I am always looking to help others by sharing what has worked (and what hasn’t) so that you can test and implement strategies for growth and success and learn from my trial and error. 🙂
Some of the products and services below contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no charge to you). Thank you for your support of Money + Blogging + Business Simplified!
Don’t forget to bookmark or pin this page so you’ll be able to find it later!
My favorite online savings account at the moment is housed at CIT Bank. They offer some of the most competitive interest rates and only require a $100 opening deposit to start a high yield savings or money market account.
At this moment, my money market account is earning 1.85% APY! Local banks and credit unions just can’t compete with that. Plus it actually helps you build more savings when it’s out of sight, out of mind. By choosing a money market or high yield savings, your money is liquid (available) and accessible if you need to dip into your savings. You can read more about them in my CIT Bank Review.
Despite what financial gurus may tell you, knowing your credit score and having a good credit score is very important.
You probably already know that potential employers check credit prior to hiring. But did you know that insurance companies check your credit and offer rates based on many different factors, including credit scores?
Utility companies and cell phone providers might charge you a security deposit based on negative credit history.
Save money by knowing your score and actively making payments on time every single month. If you need to rebuild your credit or are starting from zero, read about how to build credit without a credit card here.
Are you using ebates? Cause if you’re not, you need to sign up like right now!
Ebates offers you cash back on the purchases you make online. All you have to do is click the link to the right to sign up for a free account.
You’ll get a $10 reward immediately! After you sign up, be sure to add the Ebates extension to your browser. Then when you visit a site that offers cash back, a button will pop up and say “Activate x% cash back”.
Click that button, complete your purchase as usual, and you will accumulate cash back rewards! They’ll then mail you a check! It literally takes 5 seconds to sign up, so no excuses! 😉
Ibotta is another amazing, FREE app that gives you cash back! You can use it along with Ebates to maximize savings on purchases you make everyday.
The difference is with Ibotta, you’ll sign up for a free account and you will then scan your receipts from major retailers like Walmart, CVS, and Kroger (just to name a few). After you scan your receipt, they match you up with offers for your purchases and mail you a check!
We’re all in different stages of our blogging journey, right? So I’m going to list my favorite blogging resources in order of necessity (those products you absolutely need to get started blogging). Then I’ll list each of the recommended products I used to help grow my blog and Pinterest viewers to over 200,000 in just 5 months.
There are literally products for every blogger, beginner to advanced, low budget to payment plans. I believe in the $5 products just as much as I do the $800 products.
It’s no secret that self-hosted WordPress blogs are the way to go if your goal is to make money blogging. It’s a whole lot easier to just set it up right from the beginning so you don’t have to migrate it all and change it later. I’m referring to having a WordPress.org site vs WordPress.com.
Imagine if my site was melissablevins.wordpress.com. It’s just unprofessional and clunky. You’ll need hosting and a domain name to start. That’s the absolute minimum you need to get started blogging.
I recommend BlueHost for many reasons. I’ve dealt with their customer service. They’re friendly, helpful, have helped me back up my site for free, and they have fair prices.
When you sign up using my link, you’ll get a free domain name. Don’t agonize over the domain name. If you can’t come up with the perfect name, use your own name (like I did). It’s a classic, timeless brand. And if you ever want to have a domain brainstorming session, I’m always down for that! Just send me an email and I’ll respond within 24 hours!
UPDATE: Boardbooster is OUT.OF.BUSINESS. Tailwind is still the leader in Pinterest schedulers.
The next thing you’ll need is a social media strategy.
Despite popular belief from folks who don’t “get” blogging, people don’t just show up. You have to write quality, engaging content, and then you’ve gotta promote the heck out of it!
Pinterest is my #1 source of traffic, and I have spent a lot of time testing and tweaking, learning the platform.
The first tool for Pinterest you absolutely need is only $5 per month! This tool helped grow my Pinterest audience from 3,000 to 228,000 in 5 months! It’s called Boardbooster, and It allows you to set up campaigns and schedules as well as loop your most popular boards (repinning old content so it’s revived and doesn’t stay stagnant). You can sign up for a free trial here.
Don’t worry about setting up your campaigns yet because two products down, I’m sharing an e-book that helped me set it all up, step by step.
Tailwind is the leading social media scheduler that can be used for Pinterest or Instagram (or both), although I’ve only ever used it for Pinterest.
Tailwind also offers a free trial, allowing you to schedule 100 PInterest posts. This tool is worth its weight in GOLD, and it only costs $15 per month for the Plus plan, but you get a discount if you pay annually (4 months free). I opted for 4 months free because it’s a steal!
I schedule 15 posts per day on Tailwind, and paired with Boardbooster, I received 18,000+ pageviews my 5th month blogging!
Tailwind is one of the tools that I will always make room for in the blogging budget. Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself!
Most everything I’ve suggested has been fairly reasonable with regards to pricing. This e-book is no exception! Elise at House of Brazen not only shares How to Make Your FIrst Affiliate Sale on Pinterest in 24 Hours, but she also gives a step-by-step tutorial on Boardbooster!
When you login to Boardbooster, you might be a bit confused, but Elise breaks it down so it’s easy to set up, and you can start growing your PInterest reach immediately!
As a bonus, I did make two affiliate sales that first week (not quite 24 hours post reading the book), but I made back my investment of $25 and then some!
If you’re on a strict budget but want to learn basic, no-b.s. affiliate marketing and social media promotion strategies, this is exactly what you need!
For SEO, I use two tools.
Yoast is a tool that is completely free to use, and it’s very popular for good reason! I don’t use Yoast for SEO, though. I actually use it to help me write better articles!
As you are typing, Yoast tracks your post and will recommend improvements and tweaks. You can enter a keyword you’d like to rank for, and it follows you and gives you green lights when you’re on track!
Squirrly is fairly new to the scene, but don’t discount it! It’s my absolute favorite tool to use for SEO, and it has helped me rank a couple of posts on Google within 1.5 hours! Most take a few days to be indexed, but Squirrly is a powerhouse tool.
They offer a free version, like Yoast, but to get the full benefit (100% optimization tips), you’d want to sign up for a plan. You can pay monthly, yearly, or lifetime. Try the trial and let me know what you think! You don’t even have to enter any debit or credit card info to try it out!
I mentioned above that I’m currently going through a couple of courses.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was created by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner in 2015 after she figured out how to maximize affiliate income…to the tune of 159,000 per MONTH now on average!
The course is a text-based step-by-step affiliate marketing action plan, with everything from the legalities of FTC regulations to which affiliate programs to sign up for based on YOUR niche and everything in between.
The course is the priciest resource on this list, but for good reason. The course is easily worth double (maybe even triple) its current price. I am honestly shocked she hasn’t raised the price (but thankful!).
When you sign up, you get almost immediate access to the private Facebook group where Michelle helps us out with our affiliate marketing strategies (along with thousands of other helpful ladies and gents).
You can get more info by clicking this link. She offers a payment plan if $197 is too much for you right now!
To read more about affiliate marketing success stories, check out this post.
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