Okay, so at this point you’ve decided that you want to start your very own book blog. You’ve picked the right host for your needs and you’ve gotten set up. Now what? You’re going to need some tools to make the blogging experience smoother, i.e. a theme, plugins, and other resources.
Here’s a list of everything I used to get this blog up and running!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so I may receive commissions for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you.
Hosting and Themes
Name Hero – This is my host, but perhaps you’ve chosen someone different.
Tweak Me 2 – The only theme you’ll ever need! You can customize everything. If that looks too overwhelming, there’s also a few more simple themes to choose from.
Ultimate Book Blogger – If you’re going to be posting book reviews, this plugin is a must have. It automatically formats your review posts and creates archives! So easy!
WordPress Editorial Calendar – This free plugin is my favorite other than UBB. It gives you a calendar where you can drag and drop your posts to reschedule them. It’s nice to see all of your posts for the month in once glace and arrange as needed.
NitroPack – Make sure that your blog is running as fast as possible! I use the free version and it’s perfect. This is an alternative to W3 Total Cache. You can have one or the other, but not both. My site speed was significantly faster with NitroPack which is why I switched.
Google Analytics for WordPress – A free (or paid) plugin that adds your Google Analytics data to your WP dashboard. I’m using the free version which gives the basics visitor information such as page views and bounce rate.
Grow Social by Mediavine – I’m using the free version to add simple share buttons to my posts for Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. The paid version has more features and customization.
Loginizer – This is a free security plugin that keeps “brute force” hackers out of blog by limiting the number of failed login attempts.
Pretty Links – I’m using the free version to simply make links prettier. I mostly just use it for affiliate links so that they’re not a random string of letters and numbers.
Revive Old Posts: This plugin will share your posts to Twitter automatically. You set which posts and how many per day. It’s free.
Smush – This compresses images to save on storage and load times.
Updraft Plus – A free backup plugin. You can also upgrade to the paid version for more options.
Wordfence Security – A free security plugin to protect your blog from malware and such.
Yoast SEO – This plugin roughly measures the SEO of your posts and gives you feedback on what to change. You want to aim for a green light.
WPForms Lite – A simple, free plugin to add contact forms to the blog.
Graphics and Media
Limabean Designs – Michelle is one of the bloggers at Because Reading and she’s also a graphic designer! She did all of my main blog graphics. If you need something made, she’s got you covered. She also does book covers!
Canva – I use this to make feature images for my posts as well as social media graphics. It’s super user friendly and the free version is more than enough to get you started. I do have a Pro account though because I needed additional features for other endeavors.
The Complete Blogger Template Toolkit – I am not a graphic designer so this template bundle has saved me! I use it for everything! All you have to do is drag and drop the images that you want to use, change the fonts and colors, and done! Pretty graphics!
Unsplash – In addition to the images available in Canva, I also grab stock photos from here.
A Self Guru – I got my policy page templates here, as well as freelancer contracts, and my LLC agreement. I feel so much more secure knowing that my blog and business are covered legally.
Blogging For New Bloggers – Their free Legally Blogs course is a great introduction to why you need to protect yourself and your site. They also provide affordable legal templates for your policy pages.
Journey to the Center of Amazon – This course is all about the Amazon Affiliates program. I haven’t completed this course yet, but for the lessons I’ve finished, I’ve implemented the advice. I’ve learned so much from it so far! I know I’ll get more out of it once I start taking affiliate marketing more seriously.