Camera Equipment (Before)
This setup is what we used when I first started my blog and it produced great photos without a huge dollar investment. Also a great starting kit to learn the basics of photography.
Camera Equipment (Now)
This is our most recent camera equipment. It's a bit of an investment but now that my blog has become my business, we wanted to improve our overall picture quality. This is my hubby's ideal setup and he just loves it.
Photo Editing Programs
My hubby uses these programs to edit my pictures after I apply my VSCO filter.
I've created an e-course with everything I've done to grow my Instagram to what it is today, check it out here:
My Complete Guide to Instagram
Domain & Hosting
Bluehost: I've always received great service and reliability from them. They offer a very reasonable hosting plan starting at $3.95/mo and it's a great package if you're just starting your blog. Once you gain more traction then it's time for an upgrade as you'll notice website speeds start to decrease (see Synthesis below). If you need help with installation, here's my post about how to setup your blog on Bluehost.
48hourslogo: Basically you post a contest (your logo job) and designers will submit their design concepts based on the criteria you provide. You can start a logo contest for $29 and the minimum contest prize for the logo designer is $99. So for $128 you can have a professional looking logo within 48 hours.
99 Designs: Another site I've heard great things about. Same concept as 48hourslogo, but more on a premium end. They also offer a variety of design services such as web & app design, packaging, print, etc. Higher caliber designers will be found here.
Themeforest.net: Where I purchased my theme for my blog. They've such a wide range of WordPress templates that fit any industry. Depending on the template, average costs can be between $20-$80. They also offer a wide range of plugins and additional website goodies.
ElegantThemes.com: A bit more beautifully designed. Get access to over 87 themes for the price of $69*.
StudioPress: Professional clean designs with a reputable support staff. Built on the Genesis framework.
Yoast SEO: One of the best SEO plugins out there. Very easy to use and the learning curve is minimal. My hubs has also created tutorials on how to setup Yoast and use it to create SEO friendly blog posts.
Pretty Link Pro: A fun little tool that tracks link clicks. It can also create, shrink and re-direct links. Easy to manage affiliate links or customized URLs. We have the Blogger Edition for $37. Small investment and worth every penny.
Instagram Feed: I've been through multiple IG plugins and finally found one that provides a “follow” button below my grid. Also love the profile description feature.
Pin It Button: Provides an easy way for your visitors to “pin” your blog post images to their Pinterest by adding a “Pin it” button over the image.
W3 Total Cache: Improves speed and user experience within your blog.
Akismet: Keep out spammy comments and trackbacks. Highly recommend installing this plugin when you start your blog or you will get bombarded with 100's of spammy comments.
ConvertKit: I just recently switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit. It's the best user friendly email marketing service provider out there. It was created by a blogger for bloggers. I find it very easy to use and provides great features such as list segmentation, automation, tagging and reports.
LeadPages: A great tool to convert viewers into subscribers through high-quality landing pages. With an array of themes to choose from, this is my go-to when creating pop-ups and value added campaigns.
DropBox: A cloud-based file storage system. This is a lifesaver! I am able to access my files anywhere I install dropbox. I have it on my computers, iPhone and iPad. I use it mainly to transfer large photo files between my computer and iPhone so that I can edit in VSCO.
Carbonite: The ultimate worst thing that could happen is that your computer crashes and you lose all your files. I would be devastated! Carbonite will back up every file on your hard-drive automatically with no hassle.
Freshbooks: Our accounting software of choice. Allows us to track expenses, send invoices, record payments and generate reports.
Feedly: I love following other blogs from various industries and keeping up on what's going on in the world. I was a big Google Reader user until they discontinued the service. Feedly has stepped in and filled the gap. I enjoy their service and have a paid subscription.
Daily Motivation and Learning
Smart Passive Income: Pat's podcast continues to educate and motivate me in earning a passive income online. I highly recommended listening to him as I have implemented many of his techniques within my blog and online business.
Entrepreneur on Fire: An award winning Podcast where John Lee Dumas chats with today's most inspiring Entrepreneurs 7-days a week. Always fun to hear how other entrepreneurs get started and the struggles/successes they've had.
Digital Photography School: I would find my hubby on this site consistently when he was trying to learn photography. It's a great resource to reference and stocked with tons of valuable content.