Resources

Below is a list of all my resources for all things blogging! I will continue to add to this list with things that rock my blog’s world in a major way.

Domain / Hosting, E-mail, Blog Templates

Bluehost :: link here

I love Bluehost. It’s a one stop shop for hosting & domain. If you are just getting started, do the $3.95 / ¬†month and work your way up. I upgraded my hosting after a year when the blog started to grow. They make it very easy and their customer service is AMAZING! You can also get an e-mail address with your domain from them. I do realize you can go the free route via blogspot or wordpress.com but if you want to treat it like a business, I highly recommend self-hosting. If you do the free route, you do not own it, which means you cannot use affiliate links or have ownership of your work. Plus, it looks more professional & less xanga. Then after that…

Google For Work :: link here

I cannot recommend Google’s G-Suite enough. It’s the g-mail platform and having access to the drive will be a lifesaver. It’s about $10/month and worth every penny. To echo above, I highly recommend making an e-mail for your blog with the domain as a handle. For example: shannon@champagneatshannons vs champagneatshannons@gmail – you want full ownership of everything. Trust me when I say Google Drive is LIFE. More here.

Bluchic :: link here

After you get your website running, you will need a blog design. This is where the fun begins! I cannot recommend Bluchic enough. Their designs are clean & super easy to customize!¬†In fact, it’s what I use here on the site & I stock up on templates whenever they have a sale in case I want to spice things up here.

Design & Logos

Brittney Blanco :: e-mail || website

Brittney is a graphic designer who helped me design the beta look to Champagne at Shannon’s. Her style is very minimalistic & she is so awesome to work with. She was able to put my vision on paper with little direction. Read about Brittney here.

Caitlin Pickett:: e-mail || website

Caitlin is a blogger triple threat :: she blogs, has her own virtual yoga business, & does graphic design! She has a degree in graphic design & new media and really knows her stuff. Read about Caitlin here & let her know I sent you!

Daniel Ferry :: e-mail || website

Danny is a graphic designer with video production. He also happens to be the boyfriend to my best friend in the world so I’m a huge fan of him. His work is amazing too. I cannot recommend him enough – if you e-mail him, let him know I sent you!

48 Hour Logo :: link here

Funny enough, this is how I met Brittney! Pretty much, you put together a contest for a logo and designers will submit their work to win the prize. The higher the prize, the more options you get. I recommend doing at least $100 for a prize. You can also give feedback to the designers if you like an image but need some tweaks. Read my 48HourLogo experience here.

Creative Market :: link here

THIS WEBSITE IS AMAZING. First of all, if you subscribe to their newsletter, they give 6 free downloads a week. This is my go-to shop for fonts, filters, photoshop styles, and templates.

Camera & Editing

Nikon D3300 :: link here

All of my blog photos are done with this camera. We haven’t upgraded the lens yet but it gets the job done. It’s very easy to use and a great camera for beginner bloggers. It is an investment, but worth it.

iPhone 7+ :: link here

I recently upgraded to this phone for the camera alone & I wish I did sooner! The portrait setting on this camera is amazing and can make really professional looking photos. If you have the right lighting, I do believe you can get by with an iphone camera but only if it’s this one. Here is a great blog post on the iPhone 7+ camera.

Canon M3 :: link here

This is a new addition to the arsenal & a birthday present from Erik. I wanted a mirrorless camera and love that it has different filters. Mirrorless cameras are great for travel or throwing in my bag if I have to run to an event. This camera is AMAZING. It has built in filters, the picture quality is SO bright, it has a swiveling screen for selfies, & connects to wifi. Erik prefers the DSLR but honestly, I prefer this one. It’s very efficient as a blogger & I will be using these for fun insta videos.

Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom :: link here {ps – we both get $10 amazon cards through this link!}

Lightroom & Photoshop is a MUST. The subscription is about $9/month and I cannot even imagine blogging without it. It makes editing photos a breeze. If you use presets, it can be as simple as one-click. I generally do all my blog photos in lightroom with furhter edits (or text / gifs / etc) in photoshop.

VSCO :: link here

I highly recommend investing in the VSCO filters. As mentioned above, it makes it a one click process. VSCO has such a classic look to them. There is something for everyone. I also recommend using VSCO on your phone too. My favourite filters on the app are A2, C9 & P5.

FilterGrade :: link here

I LOVE FilterGrade! Pretty much, professional photographers from all around submit their lightroom pre-sets. I love to stock up on these & it makes editing effortless – especially helpful if I am in a hurry! I love the Clay Moss Opal, Maddy Welk, & Noel Alva filters.

WordPress Plug-In’s & Site Enhancements

Pretty Link :: link here

TBH this is something I wish I used from day one. This WordPress Plug-In tracks link clicks within your wordpress dashboard so you can easily keep tabs campaign progress. I find it super helpful for affiliate tracking. What I really I love is that you can customize it & the links are private for you & you only to view. I use the Beginner option for $47 / year which is VERY reasonable for what you get. This is probably my favourite plug in.

Bit.ly :: link here

Similar to the above, but less pretty & less privacy¬†– it’s also an external website vs a plug-in. I like to use bit.ly when I am promoting my blog-post on Facebook or Twitter. This also keeps tracks of clicks, but not as comprehensive as above. The main benefit¬†is that shortens the URL. I recommend customizing the name to make it look clean & for organizational purposes. If you go the bit.ly route, it’s worth noting that your information is not private &¬†that¬†some affiliates do not allow bit.ly.

Yoast SEO :: link here

SEO is a must for people to effectively find your blog! This is one of the best ones out there and makes implementing good SEO tactics effortless. Basically, it does it all for you. Under each blog post, you can select your key-word and it analyzes & “grades” it for you. I basically press publish when I get the physical green light on it. Easy peasy!