Just like a seamstress needs thread and a painter needs a paintbrush, bloggers need certain tools to help them pursue their passion.
So, here is a list of the apps and services I use to make this blog both beautiful and functional.
All the resources listed here are ones that I personally use and am happy to recommend.
Disclosure: Some of the links provided here are affiliate links. This means that if you buy a product via my link, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. It’s not much but allows me to keep this site up and running! Please check out my Disclosure Policy for more information.
Hosting And Domain Name:
Namecheap: Pixie Dust Dolls is proudly hosted by Namecheap! Besides being a top-notch domain registrar, Namecheap offers incredible budget-friendly hosting packages. Their cheapest hosting package starts at $1.44 for the first year, then increases to $2.88 for subsequent years.
Along with being super affordable, Namecheap also offers:
- Free Hosting Migration (a totally awesome perk!).
- Unmetered Bandwidth.
- Free website builder.
- 50 Positive SSL certificates for the first year (renews for $8.88/year).
WordPress: In my opinion, when it comes to choosing a blogging platform, it’s WordPress all the way—and I mean WordPress.org, not WordPress.com.
Here’s an ultra-quick break down of the benefits of WordPress:
- Open source–WordPress is free from commercial limitations. It’s your site to use however you please–so have fun with it!
- 100% free to download, use, and modify.
- Easy to learn and takes the work out of blogging.
- SEO friendly.
- Known for being a secure platform.
- Highly customizable with hundreds of themes to choose from.
As you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to WordPress.
All you need is a domain name and hosting to get started. I recommend picking a company that offers 1-click WordPress installation to make setting up your site even easier.
Canva: Canva is graphic design software that is free to use. All you need is an email address to sign up. You can create blog graphics, Facebook covers, Pinterest graphics, e-book covers…honestly, they have so many different templates I can’t remember them all!
If you want to make beautiful graphics for your site, then I suggest giving Canva a try.
Creative Market: Just like the name says, Creative Market is a digital marketplace filled with graphics, fonts, and templates. It’s a goldmine for beautiful backgrounds, vector images, and blog themes!
When you sign up for an account, you’ll get a weekly email from Creative Market with six free resources inside. Many of the fonts and graphics I use here came via these weekly freebies.
Photoshop: If you post a lot of pictures on your blog, chances are you’re going to need a photo editing tool. Photoshop is the most popular photo and design editing software.
Unfortunately, the full version is quite pricey—around $9.99 a month. So, I use the skimmed down version called Photoshop Elements. While not as fancy as its big brother, Photoshop Elements is easy to learn, with plenty of tools for editing photos and creating graphics.
Grammarly: Grammarly is a grammar and punctuation checker and another great tool for busy writers. They offer both a paid and free plan.
The free plan will catch any major spelling and grammar mistakes, while the paid version goes deeper and checks for punctuation errors, problems with sentence structure, offers alternative vocabulary choices, and a has plagiarism detector.
Not only that, you can install the Grammarly plugin right into your browser and check your punctuation wherever you’re writing!
Evernote: Evernote is the digital note-taking app I use to jot down blog post and story ideas. You can use Evernote’s Basic Plan for free or upgrade to one of their Premium plans for somewhere between $3 and $6 a month. The Basic Plan allows you to sync your notes across 2 devices, while the paid plans let you sync across multiple devices.
So, when I’m shopping in Hobby Lobby and the idea for the perfect blog post hits me, no worries! I open up Evernote on my phone, start typing, and my idea will be saved to my computer at home!