I’ve had a couple of friends ask me what I use for my blog, so I thought I’d just lay it all out right here!
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A lot of bloggers recommend self-hosted WordPress (wordpress.org
) sites. I tried that for a while, as well as free wordpress.com
, but in the end the best fit for me right now is good old fashioned Google Blogger
. It gives me a lot more freedom with my code than wordpress.com, and is WAY cheaper than self hosted – it’s free!
Blogger also integrates really well with Adsense and Amazon Native Ads if you choose to go that route. The templates that come with Blogger aren’t much to look at, but there are a lot of people who make beautiful templates and sell them on Etsy. Mine is from Blog Pixie. I’ve never paid more than $15 for a Blogger template, and WordPress templates can get into the hundreds if you get the more popular ones. WordPress is a fantastic and powerful tool, but Blogger is an amazing tool too and it doesn’t break the bank.
Photos and Photo Editing
There are header designs and stock photos out there that you can buy or even find for free (check out Pixabay
for free ones!), but I usually like to make my own blog headers and take my own pictures. I am by no means a professional photographer, but I feel like I’ve made some progress over the years and a lot of that is due to wanting to have pretty pictures for my blog haha. I use Adobe Illustrator for my headers and Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to edit my photos. I’ve tried to find cheaper alternatives, but there’s really nothing that compares to Adobe. It’s powerful software that’s easy to learn!
Check out Adobe Creative Cloud pricing – Plans start at $9.99/month!
If a subscription is just too much for you right now, Adobe Spark, PicMonkey and Google Photos are all really great free options.
For my pictures, I mostly use my phone (Google Pixel 2) but I’ve been trying to use my Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera more. The Pixel takes great pictures, but the Sony definitely takes them up a notch. I chose the Sony over the Canon Rebel (commonly recommended by bloggers) because it’s smaller and more portable, but still takes high quality photos. Cheaper too! I’m a fan of saving money.
Here is a newer version (Sony Alpha a6000) if you’re looking for something a little more powerful, but still nice and compact.
Most computers these days will work for blogging and photo editing. You really don’t need a specific recommendation, but I thought I’d still share my preference as a creative junkie.
I used to use a gaming desktop that my husband built for me, and that worked really well for 7 years or so, but it was huge and I really missed the portability of a laptop. When my desktop became too slow to function without me wanting to break things, I did a lot of research on laptops. MacBooks are an obvious choice for a lot of people, and they are great computers, but I wanted a PC.
At first I wanted to settle for whatever cheap laptop I could get, but then decided I’d probably be happier with something more powerful (since my hobbies consist of logo design, digital painting, photography and photo editing, and gaming). I looked into gaming laptops and laptops for designers, as well as convertible laptops that magically transform into tablets. I knew gaming laptops would have the power I needed for the software I wanted to run, but I ultimately settled on the Microsoft Surface Book 2
. It’s a powerful touch screen convertible laptop that is great for both design and gaming. I loved that it can also convert into a tablet for drawing! I bought the Surface Pen
to go with it, along with a cute pink case
to protect it. This computer was NOT cheap, but it was an investment that has served me well and I’m extremely happy with it!
PS – I’ve got my Facebook page for my blog back up and running (I took it down for a while because I was too lazy to keep up with it… we will see how it goes this time haha) so click that “like” button if you want to stay in the loop 👍😁