When starting a new website or blog there are so many resources you need to know about to help you have a successful site as well as simply getting started with your new venture! Here are some of my favorite links that I hope will help you find your way, or at least inspire you!
*Anytime this asterisk is used on the links on this page, this means the item is using our affiliate link. This simply means that we get a commission or some benefit if you choose to purchase the item through the link. This said, we are only recommending here what we have used personally and know these are trusted sources.
My top fav resources
for every business owner
Content Management System & Framework
- WordPress.org– All our themes work only with a self-hosted WordPress.org site. This piece of software is also called a Content Management System which allows you to be able to login and make changes to your site without knowing much code. There are other pieces of software available, but WordPress is by far the best available option!
- SiteGround*– A really great option for hosting if you’re just starting out! See our how to start a website guide for step by step instructions for getting started with these guys!
- WPEngine*- This is a dedicated WordPress hosting company and who this site is hosted with! Fabulous customer support, security, and up time.
- Flywheel*– This is also a dedicated WordPress hosting company and they are fabulous! Great customer support and they offer free migrations if you’re moving from another host!
E-Books & Online Training
- How to start a website guide– This resource is directly from us and will help you get started with a website if you’re just starting out.
- How to choose the right theme for your site– We know there are quite a few themes available on the market, with ours being the best of course, but how do you decide which one is right for your site? I put this together to help you determine exactly what to look for!
Paid Stock Photography
- SCStockshop*– Shay Cochrane is my absolute favorite stock photographer. The work she produces is unmatched and she was the original photographer that started the stock photography craze. Because her photography is top notch, her prices are the highest when it comes to stock photography. That in mind, she does only sell the images a limited number of times, so you do get a little of that exclusivity without paying custom prices. You will see Shay’s images used the most in my theme demo sites.
- Jana Bishop– With white space her trademark, Jana’s stock photography is very minimal and clean. She offers many sets that are incredibly reasonable, making it easy for you to have a consistent brand and plenty of images to use on your site and across social media.
- Creative Market*– If the above photographers don’t have the aesthetic you’re looking for, check out the entire Creative Market gallery. I’m sure you’ll find something there that fits your brand!
Free Stock Photography
- Unsplash– Unlike the paid resources above, the free options are nearly all lifestyle and nature style photography. Unsplash has a large selection of free images that can be used anywhere you’d like!
- Canon EOS Rebel T5*– If you’re wanting to just get started into shooting your own stock images, this starter DSLR is a great camera! It’s reasonable enough to not break the bank but will allow you to begin learning all the capabilities that come with a DSLR camera.
- Canon EOS 70D*– The next level up from the Rebel would be this camera. I started with the Canon 40d which is an older model of this specific camera. I shot many many sessions and photos for business purposes over 8 years with this camera.
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III* – In the last few months I finally upgraded my 40d to this full frame camera. The difference with a full frame camera is that you can still use the same distance lens, but gain a lot more real-estate within your frame. This camera also does high quality video if you’re looking for that feature in a camera.
- Eyefi Mobi 16GB Wi-Fi Card* – Instead of a standard memory card, I use this Eyefi card. This allows me to shoot images and the images will automatically sync to my computer over my WiFi network. There is also an Eyefi app available if you shoot images while on the go and want to have the images on your phone immediately for social media sharing.
- Manfrotto MT055XPRO3 055 Tripod*– I use this tripod anytime I have the need for stable shooting. I’ve had my fair share of cheap tripods but when you’re dealing with a very expensive camera sitting on top of a tripod, you need sturdy. The term “you get what you pay for” certainly applies to tripods, so be sure to invest in one that is sturdy and very well made.
- Manfrotto 131DB Arm* – I use this atop my tripod for overhead shots. This arm allows the camera to be at a perfect 90 degree angle and out far enough to not capture the legs of the tripod when shooting straight down.
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L Lens*– I use this lens primarily for portraiture shots. It allows me to zoom in and out and is great for catching those fast kiddos!
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 Lens*– This is my primary lens for any business type shots. This lens is a fixed length so it won’t zoom. When you’re shooting objects that don’t move it’s easier to move closer or farther away to get what you want in the shot. This lens is also the perfect distance for overhead shots atop a tripod. If you only choose one lens, choose this one.
Video/Audio Software & Equipment
- Manfrotto Cell Phone Stand* – This is a great, sturdy, tiny little tripod that only holds your phone. It’s great for Facebook Live and Periscope type videos.
- Apple iPhone 7 Plus* – I’m a huge Apple fan so of course I had to throw this in here. But, this phone is really great for recording simple videos without the high price tag of professional video camera equipment. The camera on the iPhone 7 Plus specifically is pretty amazing!
- Blue Snowball Microphone*– I use this with my computer for recording Videos, Webinars, and Skype phone calls.
- Lavalier Microphone*– This is a small mic that can be used with your iPhone for Facebook Live and Periscope videos.
- Wistia*– I use this service to upload all my videos and embed them onto my site. I love the options to customize my videos with colors and additional options. This is something that YouTube and Vimeo don’t offer.
- PicMonkey– This is a great free online tool for basic image editing.
- Canva– This is another great free online tool for image editing as well as graphic creation.
- A Color Story– This is another iPhone app that is great for editing images on the go by the lovely ladies at A Beautiful Mess. This one is my favorite of the bunch and one I use all the time!
- ColourLovers– Be prepared to get lost in this site as it has thousands (millions?) of color schemes to choose from! Along with allowing you to create your own!
- Design-Seeds– One of my favorite color scheme sites! I am best inspired by images, so this site pulls color schemes from some amazing photographs!
- My Pinterest Board– I love pinning beautiful color schemes and I have hundreds to choose from!
- Adobe Color– I love using this tool for pulling color schemes from an image!
- Adobe Creative Cloud– This is all the programs like Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and all the other programs in the Adobe family. This is what I use for all my designs and photo editing.
- Picmonkey– a great online tool for creating simple blog graphics.
- Canva– Make photo collages or blog headers! Extremely flexible creative opportunities here.
- Sucuri*– If your site has ever been hacked or is hacked currently, Sucuri is who to contact. They will get your site cleaned up quickly and also take care of any backlisting they may have occurred with search engines. You can also scan your site here if you suspect you may have been hacked.
- Wordfence– Keep your site protected with this plugin. There are a few hosting companies that won’t let you use this plugin because they already have their own security measures in place so be sure to check with them before installing this plugin.
- CyberDuck– This is a free FTP client that you can download onto your computer.
- FileZilla– This is another free FTP client that you can install onto your computer.
- Coda– This is the FTP client I used and is a paid app. I love that I can edit files directly without exporting and importing, and it also has a code completion feature which is super helpful when developing sites!
- Small Business Bodyguard*– Make sure your site is all legal with this fabulous resource. I recommend this to everyone just getting started!
- Disclosure Policy– Learn more about having a disclosure policy and what you’ll need to make known on your site.
- BloggyLaw– This is a really helpful resource that covers all the ins and outs of staying legal as a blogger.
- Disclosing your affiliate links– This is a great article from Amy Lynn Andrews about the proper way to disclosure your affiliate links.
- ConvertKit*– We use this service here at Restored 316 for our over 15,000 email subscribers. I wrote this post all about why we moved to them and all the features I love about this service.
- Mailchimp*– This service is wonderful if you’re just starting to build your email list. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers and is super easy to dive in and use.
- InfusionSoft– This is a very robust emailing marketing and sales generating software. This service offers quite a bit so if your email list is your primary focus, this might be a service you check out.
- Dotcal – A booking client for booking calls with clients
- WooCommerce– If you already have a WordPress site and just want to add the eCommerce functionality to it, WooCommerce is the way to go! This site uses WooCommerce for theme purchases and works wonderful!
- GumRoad– This is a third party eCommerce platform that allows you to sell just about anything and also allows you to create landing pages.
- Teachable– If you want to create and sell online courses, this is the software to use!
- LeadPages*– I use LeadPages for landing pages and lead generating.
Site Statistics & SEO
- Google Analtyics– This is a must have. The moment you create your site, you should install this onto your site so you can track the traffic coming to your site. Here is how to install it onto your site.
- Google Webmasters– This is a great tool to learn how to track your sites search performance. I advise that you set this up at the same time as your analytics!
- Yoast SEO– This is the best SEO plugin available, so if you’re looking for something more robust than the standard WordPress SEO accommodations, this is your plugin.
Get over 50 MORE Resources in our FREE printable copy!
Are you finding this Resource list helpful? I have put together a FREE PDF with over 50 more helpful resources that include all my camera equipment and how I use it, all the tools I use on my computer that help my days run smoothly, and all the inside secrets about how our team is run.