Blogging Resources

Below you will find some helpful information on how to get started with blogging and what type of equipment I use. 

When I first started blogging in 2012, I had no idea where to start or how to get everything set up. Luckily, I was able to figure things out with the help of fellow bloggers and through resources I found online. Below you will find a list of resources and tips that I’ve used and/or continue to use in order to successfully manage my blog.

Please note, some of the links below are affiliate links that I will earn a commission from if you purchase through those links. 

Hosting

Bluehost – When I first moved over to WordPress in late 2012, I hosted my website through Bluehost. Bluehost offers affordable, shared hosting plans that are great for beginners but as your blog grows, you’ll want to switch over to a non-shared hosting plan, such as a VPS (virtual private server). A VPS can handle increased pageviews and spikes in traffic.

Orange Geek – I currently host This Gal Cooks through Orange Geek. I’m on the basic plan and it works great for the 5-10k pageviews per day I receive. I’ve had a few days where I’ve gone well over 10k pageviews per day and my site never slows down or goes down!

Themes, Framework and Tech Stuff

StudioPress Themes – Studiopress offers a variety of themes, making it easy for you to choose a theme that meets your website’s needs. Before I had a custom theme created, I used to use the Lifestyle Theme. In order to use the Lifestyle Theme, or any other Studiopress theme, you’ll need to run your site on the Genesis Framework.

Genesis Framework – The Genesis Framework is what This Gal Cooks is run on. Genesis comes packed with a ton of useful tools, can be easily customized and has built in SEO tools.

Custom Themes – If you’re willing to put forth the money, or if you’re one creative cookie, you can customize all of the Studiopress themes. Before I had a custom theme developed by Melissa Rose Design, I created my own header and tweaked the Lifestyle Pro theme by editing the CSS.

Tech Stuff – Keeping my blog up to date, completing backups and taking care of all of the technical mumbo jumbo is something that I do not have time for. That’s why I use Robin from Grits Design. She has a variety of maintenance packages to fit your needs.

Photography Tools

DSLR Camera – My first DSLR camera was the Canon Rebel T3. Up until October of 2014, I shot all of my photos using the T3.  In October 2014, I upgraded to the Canon 6D. All photos are now shot with the 6D.

Canon EF 50mm f1.8 Lens – When I first bought the Canon Rebel T3, I bought the Canon EF 50mm f1.8 lens. It’s economical and it works great in low light areas. If you’re an unexperienced photographer like I was (and still kinda am) I’d recommend using this lens until you get some practice with your camera and the lens.

Canon EF 50mm 1.4 Lens – I upgraded to this lens in early 2014. I use it for some shots that I am unable to achieve with the 100mm lens.

Canon EF 100mm f2.8 IS USM Macro Lens – This bad boy is the lens that I currently use for all of my shots. It has an image stabilizer which will prevent some of the blur that occurs from camera shake. 98% of my photos are shot using this lens.

Adobe Lightroom – I edit all of my photos with Adobe Lightroom. I switched to Lightroom from Elements in early 2014 It’s also a lot cheaper than Photoshop and easier to learn!

Pic Monkey – I use Pic Monkey to add fonts to my photos and to create awesome little graphics. Pic Monkey is a free tool or $4.99 per month to gain access to their premium features.

Tasty Food Photography – This book by Lindsay from Pinch of Yum is a lifesaver. You’ll learn tips and tricks ranging from photo shoot setup to photo editing in Lightroom or Photoshop. Click here to view more details.

Reflectors – I made a simple reflector by wrapping aluminum foil around a canvas frame. The reflector is a great tool for directing light towards the subject of your photo.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Can’t wait to see the new design of the blog next month! How has your experience been working with the designer? I’ve been considering hiring someone to redesign my blog…

    • says

      Hi Vickey!

      I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I am just now seeing this comment. So far, working with Heather from Viva la Violette has been GREAT! My design is set to be installed tomorrow so stop on by to check it out so you can see some of her work. You can also visit her web page to view her portfolio. :)

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