Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need

If you're serious about blogging there are some essential blogging tools you're going to need. Get the break down of each and why you need them.
Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: This post is brought to you today in partnership with Nakturnal. They and their sponsors made it possible for me to share their and all my other favorite blogging tools, with you!


Today I wanted to share some of my very favorite “Must Use” blogging tools and resources. I’ve had to learn everything the hard way, which is why I love to share my knowledge with everyone else so they don’t have to battle through it all!

If you hope to make any money from your blog someday, I’d absolutely recommend looking at each of these blogging tools to consider if they’d help simplify your life! I have used, loved, researched or tested each of these!

Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need:

Virtix IT

Consider Outsourcing

I know, I know. As an entrepreneur, this can seem counterproductive and it’s something I balked at for a long time. However, it wasn’t until I outsourced the things I could do, but wasn’t great at, that my income took off. A few things that are no-brainers to outsource are Website Design & your IT Support. Many companies like Virtix IT will give you complimentary consultations so you can see how they can best benefit you, and what your needs and budget work best with. Especially if you plan on expanding your blog to become a site with several offers, or one that integrates products or services you sell, advanced IT support is crucial.

You might also consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to take over tedious tasks that eat up hours of your time. I found that bringing someone on helped free up huge chunks of time to allow me to focus on growing and finding more streams of income.

Google Drive

Use Google Products (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Docs)

So I give the whole scoop on how much I LOVE the Google set of products in this video here where I taught you how I use Google Calendar to organize my life. (seriously, it and my Google Sheets are my brain!). The Google products are basically like Microsoft Office Suite, but FREE and you can access them anywhere you have internet. A-MAZ-ING. All you have to do to access them is sign up for a Gmail email account. It’s also my favorite email provider.


So Gmass basically takes all of the amazing Google services I know and love and raises them to the next level! GMass is a powerful mass emailing service that integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Google apps and Google Drive. It has the ability to send emails as either a brand new email or as a reply to a previous thread and offers up to 8 automatic follow-ups that you can set and forget (because people are really busy and sometimes you just need to send a gentle reminder).

It also breaks daily sending limits, avoids spam filters, and allows for unlimited personalization in mass email campaigns. Recently, they added a feature where you can get your emails proofread by an English expert to correct common spelling and punctuation mistakes, and give suggestions on how to improve your email’s grammatical & contextual strength <—a must for me as I’ve always loved writing but am atrocious at spelling and grammar. Comma placement is my kryptonite.

This is great for me because as a campaign leader for Social Fabric I often have to send out Mass emails regarding campaigns. This is so much more elegant and personalized than just bcc-ing everyone and then having one, long, messy stacked message that it’s easy to lose things in (ask me how I know).

Like many of the other options I’m recommending here it is free to install and use send 50 emails per day. This is what I use for me! The installation process is quick and easy.  If you do a bunch of mass marketing there are also several monthly subscription choices available with different affordable pricing options. If you’re coordinating with a team, doing social media promotion, or running campaigns this is definitely something to consider.


I didn’t have WordPress for very long when aaallll the spam comments started rolling in.

(P.S. If you’re serious about blogging you NEED to be on WordPress, so I’m just going to assume you are for the rest of this post. For an entire video on this check out So You Want To Be A Blogger: Getting Started on WordPress  )

Worpress has a lot of amazing plugins to help you make blogging life a lot more simple. For a while I had my Virtual Assistant going through and deleting all my spam comments for me but it was taking waaaayy too long for her each day. Then I found out about Akismet. They filter all the comments and automatically detect spam and delete it for you. They do have a free version, but since I make a profit off of this blog I opted for their Professional version that’s only $5 a month and well worth it!


Another WordPress Plugin I adore is EasyRecipe. It’s how I insert printable recipes into all of my Recipe posts, which I feel is very valuable. I hate it when I find a favorite recipe on a blog but I can print it off. After destroying one laptop while cooking I don’t bring them into the kitchen anymore! If you post about recipes or food this is a must-have! They also have a fancy paid version, but I’ve been totally happy with the free version for my needs


I *adore* these guys for grammar checking my blog posts. Again, I use the free version. I just go into my account and copy/paste my blog posts in before I proofread them myself. Again, they have a premium version but I’ve loved their free services. I actually *don’t* recommend the Grammarly extension, though, as it really bogged my computer down. I’d go with the GMass feature for email proofing instead, but this is great for posts or papers!


Extra Posts To Read & How I Became a Serious Blogger

My blog just seemed like something fun to do as a stay at home mom who loved writing and photography. Since then my blog has grown, morphed, changed, and matured. It has opened up a wild, crazy path of a career that I absolutely love as well! I share my complete work from home journey here in my post How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home.

I have another post:  How To Be An Amazing and Well Paid Blogger Right Off The Bat, in which I share all my training videos I put together for the different contributors on this site. You can go here to repin that to save for later!

I had been blogging for just a few years when the messages on Facebook and email started pouring in. My friends were curious about my new job and had questions! . After repeating the same schpeel over and over and over again I decided to get smart and created a Facebook Group called So You Want To Be A Blogger where I put the answers to all my FAQs. If you’d like to join we’re not super active but I still have everything in there!

There you go! Those are my very favorite blogging tools! Which blogging tools do you love that I missed? Leave me a comment and let me know!



How To Be An Amazing and Well Paid Blogger Right Off The Bat

My personal video training series to help you know all the ins and outs of being an amazing, well-paid blogger right off the bat!


As my long-time readers know, I’ve been at this blogging gig for over 8 years now (wow!!) If you want a blast from the past you can go read my very first post here (if it can even be called that…it was more of a Facebook status update, haha)! I’ve come a looonngg way since the days of a copy/paste blog design and the horridly unoriginal name of “Ramblings By Nicole”.

If you’d like to get the full story of how I started working from home and how this blog went from a “my mom only reads it” to a job, you can check out that whole progress in the post How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home.

Because I jumped in during the “early days” I did absolutely everything the long, wrong way at first. I’m hoping to help save you learning things the hard way, so I put together these blogger-to-blogger training videos for my contributors and also for anyone else looking to pursue their dream of blogging and making an income from it!

If you have anything else feel free to request my So You Want To Be A Blogger Facebook Group, I use it to throw out all the random pieces of goodness whenever I find them!

So You Want To Be a Blogger: Getting Started

Links Referenced in Video:

Correction note from my web guy 😉 : Note: is the self-hosted platform, is where they don’t support ads and there are some issues when trying to make money from the site. It’s technically possible to make money through your site/ads on but it’s not clear and you have a lot of limitations when it comes to customization. is where you would get the install files to host the full version of WordPress for yourself

How Do You Make Money Blogging

Links referenced:

How To Write a Great Review Post

Links referenced in video:

How To Get Sponsored Posts

How To Write a Great Tutorial Blog Post

How To Write a Great Recipe Post

How To Use Google Calendar To Organize Your Life & Business

How To Schedule Out Posts On Facebook

How To Share Blog Posts Effectively Using Social Media

Links Referenced:


How To Promote Your Social Media Shares


What It’s Like to Work for Trades of Hope as an Independent Contractor

As you know I’ve been sharing lately about How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home and since my mega-post was getting MEGA huge I decided to start running additional posts to give you even more details on all the different options there are available! I hope you enjoy and find the perfect fit for you and your family!


Today we’re learning what it’s really like to work for Trades of Hope from Kelleigh Macevicius!

If you are reading this you are most likely already looking for a way to supplement your family income. I was once there, looking at all the options, trying to decide the best fit for me and my family. Let me share the top three reasons why I decided to join Trades of Hope.

1.) I wanted to be able to stay home with my daughter, this is why I was looking into a direct sales company. As I looked into Trades of Hope I realized many of their artisans were able to do the very same thing. Mothers who might otherwise have to give their child to an orphanage just for that child to have a chance to survive were now able to not only keep their children but were gaining a sustainable income, business training, and hope. This is just one artisan group of the many TOH partners with and I was given the opportunity to be a voice for these women. I had countless options available to me to hep earn an income and keep my child, they had just one.

2.) The artisans stories! I had just returned from the mission field and was missing the work God allowed me to be involved in there. Introducing me (in seriously a crazy way!!) to Trades of Hope felt like His gift to me. I checked out the “Who we Help” tab on the TOH main website and was really intrigued by what I saw. It wasn’t until after talking with a Compassionate Entrepreneur (TOH consultant) that I realized just how much of these women’s lives I could impact through selling with TOH. I decided that if I could help just one it would be worth the start up cost alone. It might sound crazy, but I didn’t think about how quickly I could “make back” the money I would spend on a starter kit, rather I was thinking “how many women can I help through selling their products?!?!?”

3.) The foundation of Trades of Hope IS helping these women. When I looked at the Trades of Hope founders I was excited to hear their stories and the passion they had for the artisans. I liked how down to earth and personal they appeared and how their first thought in starting this company was not “How can we make money off of these products while also giving American women who already have so much opportunity MORE opportunity to make money….” no, they started this company with the question “How can our lives leave a bigger impact on those less fortunate? How can we go past ‘charity’ and give opportunity to women around the world?” On the website I read the quote “Give a man a fish he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime!” and I was hooked!

Opportunity for myself to make extra money while staying home with my daughter, opportunity for our artisans to work with dignity and the privilege to be one to share their stories, and founders who GIVE BACK (our incentives are things like “do X, Y & Z and we’ll sponsor a child in your name for a year!”) these are just three of the top reasons why I joined Trades of Hope! I hope they will be for you too.”

Continue reading “What It’s Like to Work for Trades of Hope as an Independent Contractor”

What it’s like to work for Rodan + Fields as an Independent Contractor

As you know I’ve been sharing lately about How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home and since my mega-post was getting MEGA huge I decided to start running additional posts to give you even more details on all the different options there are available! I hope you enjoy and find the perfect fit for you and your family!


Today we’re learning what it’s really like to work for Rodan + Fields from Amy Narron!

I first learned of Rodan + Fields from a good friend who just happened to message me right at a time in my life when I was faced to go back to work and put my 2 little ones, then 5 and 1, into daycare. It was my goal to find a job that I could work from home so I was open to learning more about the company although direct sales was not on my radar at the time. But, as soon as I learned that I could partner with the Doctors who created Proactiv and saw the amazing before and after pictures, I knew that God had placed this opportunity in my lap for a reason. I started my Rodan + Fields business shortly after and have truly loved every minute of it!

Now is the time to join this company because we are on the verge of launching internationally, first into Canada and then into Japan. Also, a new product, Redefine Acute Care, which is proprietary to Rodan + Fields just launched. The results are amazing and it is a complete game changer for the anti-aging skin care market.

Continue reading “What it’s like to work for Rodan + Fields as an Independent Contractor”

5 Awesome Benefits Sam’s Club Offers that Small Business Can’t Miss Out On!

This shop about the Small Business Benefits of  Sam’s Club membership has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Sam’s Club. All opinions are mine alone. #TrySamsClub #CollectiveBias


Being a small business owner is as exciting as it is exhausting, and as rewarding as it is frustrating! There is so much that goes into it that you would never imagine when you’re getting ready to dive in — no matter what type of work you’re considering pursuing. Heather and I (you remember her–she’s the lovely Arrow&Wren photographer behind many of my fashion shoots and one of my local besties) were having a girls day out the other day and were talking about how anytime we get asked how to dive into our lines of work respectively we both give the response of “Hold up a second now–you have a LOT you need to know first!” We also talked about how thankful we were for other small business owners in our same fields who were willing to share their “tricks of the trade” and point us to valuable resources.

Continue reading “5 Awesome Benefits Sam’s Club Offers that Small Business Can’t Miss Out On!”

How To Keep Your Day Organized

How To Keep Your Day Organized
Legalese Nonsense: Knowing how much I love to stay organized Levenger offered to send me their planner in exchange for me giving you all the scoop. All OCD tendencies and love of to do lists and spreadsheets are my own!

As you might imagine, since I work four different part time jobs from home, I get asked a lot – how do you do it all?! My first answer, always? I stay very organized using lots of different tools! You might not be quite as crazy as me and be juggling 4 jobs, 2 kids, one hubby, 2 in-laws, 3 dogs, and 1 God — but just in case you’re anywhere close I thought I’d break down how I keep a handle on things and maybe you can get some ideas too!

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How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home

How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home

This month I have reached a pretty amazing milestone. I normally wouldn’t share but I just can’t help myself!!! I couldn’t be *more* excited because this month I will be bringing in more money by working from home than I did when I was working full time in North Carolina before I had kids. Now, that’s actually not saying too much considering the fact that it was a very low-paying job (not to mention it was awful). But I’m just SO thankful that I’m able to not only live out my dream of being a stay at home mom, I’m able to have the best of all the worlds too! It was a long, hard, slow processes of working for pennies and working my way up, but now that I am to the point I feel that I have somewhat, in some tiny way “arrived” I feel so, so very blessed.

***Update from 4/2015***

I just had to come back and update this that after doing taxes for the 2014 year I realized that I made three times as much working from home for last year than I had ever made working (even full time) working outside of the home. this just absolutely blew me away!!! Also I had one fellow blogger friend that I’ve been Facebook friends and in brainstorm groups with for years share her success in a blog post on a big sight that she made OVER $100,000 blogging last year. Another blog friend from the same group just had her husband quit his full time job to help her out because she’s doing that well blogging. All of this to say that while hard, this is totally do-able if you’re willing to listen to advice, dig in, and try HARD!

Continue reading “How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home”