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

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!

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.

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 M10 :: link here

This is a new addition to the arsenal. 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 post from one of my faovurite bloggers really breaks it down & is what sold me.

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.