Essential Blogging Resource Guide

3 min read

Whether you want to blog for fun or hope to make a living from it, getting started can be overwhelming.

Perhaps you’re not even sure where to begin. Or maybe you’ve had a blog for a while, but want to propel it to the next level.

I had little idea what I was doing when I started blogging over 2 years ago (longer if you count LiveJournal; remember when that was big?). I’ve learned a lot from running this blog and even more since I transitioned to blogging for income last fall.

In this guide, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most helpful resources to make your blogging adventures less daunting and more effective.

Essential Blogging Resource Guide | The Girl Next Door is Black

Getting Started

Which blogging platform should you use? WordPress, Blogger, Blogspot? Should you self-host your blog? What should you name it? There are quite a few decision to make before you even put fingers to keys.

Wooden Person Thinking by Davide Restivo, from Essential Blogging Resource Guide

Sometimes coming up with a blog name is the toughest part of getting started

Design & Readability

If you hope to attract readers, you’ll need to pay at least some attention to your blog’s looks. You’re inviting others to your personal spot on the web; you want it to look good. Visitors are more likely to stick around if a blog is easy to read and navigate.

Color Palette by Nani Puspasari from Essential Blogging Resource Guide

Color is an important element of blog design

What Should You Blog About?

Ultimately, the most successful bloggers will recommend you write from the heart. Some bloggers fall into a niche like cooking, crafting, mommy, dad or travel, to name a few. Blog about what you know. You are what makes your blog different from the next.

Blog Niche Buttons by Annie Mole | The Girl Next Door is Black

To niche or not to niche? What should you blog about?

Getting Readers

So you’ve got the blog name, you know what your blog is all about and it’s looking mighty fine. How do you get people to read your brilliance?

Crows Reading A Book by Hartwig HKD, from Essential Blogging Resource Guide

How do you attract readers to your blog? Source

Boosting Your Blog

You can supercharge your blog by reducing page load times, optimizing posts and images for SEO, or a number of other blog enhancements.

Light Speed by Jonel Hanopol, from Essential Blogging Resource Guide

Decreasing the time it takes your blog to load can reduce your bounce rate (visitors leaving your blog without reading).

Blogging for Money

Making money from blogging isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s not impossible.

You can also check out my blogging Pinterest boards for more resources.

Happy blogging!

What advice would you give to a blogger just starting out? What advice have you found most helpful?

Subscribe to The Girl Next Door is Black today and as a thank you, I’ll send you a downloadable PDF version of this Essential Blogging Resource Guide!


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I am not seeking nor accepting submissions to add to this guide. Please do not contact me with a request to include your content.

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  • adamjasonp
    April 12, 2015

    Wow, there’s so much here! An incredible resource that shares the work of others. … I don’t have much of any control over load times, but … Thanks for putting this together. 🙂

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      April 12, 2015 does a pretty good job with optimizing speed, so you’re probably fine. Once you self-host, it becomes more of a focus. Hope you uncover useful tips!

      • adamjasonp
        April 13, 2015

        Oh, there are days when it’s sluggish or doesn’t come through at all…rare, but it happens.

  • Chelsey
    March 25, 2015

    This is a great guide! Thanks so much for featuring my post!

  • awomynsworth
    March 23, 2015

    All this helpful info all in one place: Just what I needed! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • FitTriangleMom
    March 16, 2015

    My advice for new bloggers is to blog about what you love (you mentioned this) and don’t be intimidated by – self-hosting is easier than you would think. Thanks for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday link up.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 16, 2015

      This is great advice. I recall before I switched to self-hosted, how daunting it seemed. Kind of like going from renting an apartment to owning a home. I’m glad I made the change though!

  • Jenny Coleen (The Littlest Way)
    March 15, 2015

    Great list of resources! I would also highly recommend the Learn to Blog class by Crystal and Kellie.

  • penguinsangel
    March 14, 2015

    What a great resource, to have all these in one spot. Great idea and post!

  • Sam Yang
    February 18, 2015

    Wish you wrote this sooner! One of the most useful guides I’ve read.

  • Jarret Ruminski
    February 18, 2015

    Great tips. I need to step up my game. Thanks a bunch!

  • Alexa~FurnishMyWay
    February 18, 2015

    These tips are insanely helpful! Any new blogger would definitely benefit from reading this post. Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas and tips!

  • Keisha R
    February 18, 2015

    LOVE these tips. I really think that due diligence and networking. This year, that’s my focus!

  • Carol Parker Walsh
    February 17, 2015

    These are fabulous resources!!

  • Kristie Hill
    February 16, 2015

    Great list, thank you for including Blog Ambitions!

  • Mrs_ AOK (@Mrs_AOK)
    February 16, 2015

    ARGH! You had me opening up too many tabs over here. 😀 I finally just pinned your post to come back to other links later. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • BritishMumUSA
    February 14, 2015

    Holy cow girlfriend a months worth of reading….. This is going to be a blast to come back to time after time. Thanks for doing all the hard work!!! 🙂


  • Monica
    February 14, 2015

    Wow! Wonderful resource. Thank you for sharing this. I’m pinning it for later reference. Seriously wish I had more time to read it ALL now!! 🙂

  • momssmallvictories
    February 14, 2015

    Great resource guide. Pinned to my Blogging Tips board. Stopping by from SITS and hope you link it up with our Small Victories Sunday and Throwback Thursday linkup too!

  • Theboxqueen
    February 14, 2015

    You put together a wonderful resources guide. All the bloggers from the beginner to the seasoned can learn something new from these posts! 🙂 Happy you shared this as Sharefest! 🙂 XOXO, Elif

  • mojoshawn
    February 12, 2015

    Great resource! Thank-you for sharing.

  • Very Bangled
    February 12, 2015

    Wow- this is chock full o’ info! I (of course) clicked the ‘how to get more traffic and keep it’ link straightaway. His suggestion to write in the second person is kind of bananas, but maybe that depends on the blog content? I know I’m instantly turned off when a blogger starts every post with ‘I’ but second person seems extreme.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      February 12, 2015

      Yeah, I took it as a general advice depending on context. If you’re giving advice, tips, or selling a product, second person becomes especially powerful. It makes the reader feel more connected.

      When you’re sharing about your first time going to camp, you’re likely to use more first person speech and I think that’s fine.

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