I am often asked for recommendations on resources, services, tools, that are available (and reputable) for blogging, nonprofit marketing and for people living with epilepsy.
Since the site started in 2009 I’ve taught myself to code, the best way to migrate to a self hosted site, best practices in nonprofit marketing and content marketing. So I’ve put together a list of recommended resources that I’ve either personally used or come highly recommended by people I trust.
This page will continue to grow so check back. And, if there is a topic you are looking for guidance on, just let me know in the comments.
Note: Some of the links below are to free resources while others are to products that have a cost. Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you make purchase through the link I get a commission at no extra cost to you.
Living With Epilepsy
PillPack is a pharmacy that makes it simple to take the right medications at the right time. Since I take upwards of 20 pills, made up of 4 prescriptions, 2 times a day, 365 days a year, it’s no surprise that I would welcome any innovation that can inject even a little simplicity into my life.
My guilty pleasure, and one that I justify because my meds make me sleepy, is my daily visit to Starbucks. Yes, it’s true. They know my regular order and have it ready before I can even tell them my name at the counter. The coffee keeps me going even when I have a busy day in front of my computer.
I’ve practiced yoga for more than 15 years and have always loved Gaiam‘s products. I’ve found that yoga keeps my health (including my seizures) in check. There has never been conclusive research that yoga can reduce seizures, but I find it helps me sleep better, breathe better and stay in better shape.
My background is in Marketing not IT, and there is little or no budget for Living Well With Epilepsy, so I do everything on a shoestring. In the process I’ve learned with some trial and error what is out there and worth the time and money if you are looking to create a successful site.
Let’s start with the base. It is important to decide which blog platform you will use to build your site. There are pros and cons to each. Here is a little background on the three major platforms.
WordPress.org – Living Well With Epilepsy now uses wordpress.org which is a self hosted platform.
WordPress.com – a free hosted blogging platform – limited plugins and no ads but many themes(templates) to choose from. This is a great tool to journal your experience.
Blogger.com – This free hosted blogging platform is simple and streamlined. I used Blogger when I started Living Well With Epilepsy. The platform’s simplicity and the ability to access the html code allowed me to completely customize my site.
If you are not sure which platform to use, check out this article which gives a good comparative description of WordPress.com vs WordPress.org.
If you decide to run your blog on WordPress.org you will need a domain name and a hosting service. Two of the more popular services are BlueHost and GoDaddy. Both companies will offer you a competitive price with a simple install. Many of my fellow bloggers prefer using BlueHost since it requires no tech knowledge and the hosting packages are very affordable. Honestly, it only takes few minutes to have your WordPress.org up and running. Click here to get started.
BlueHost – A solid host with some competitive hosting packages.
GoDaddy – Another solid host with some great sales and hosting packages
If you are not sure which one to go with, check out this article, 10 Important Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Host.
Monetizing a blog is not a quick road to riches, believe me. If you are anything like me, then you care about your readers. The last thing you want to do is dump a bunch of ads and fake useless blather all over the blog that you have worked so hard on. Yuck.
Affiliate marketing (when done right) is one way to support your work while maintaining the integrity of your content. If you are considering adding affiliate marketing to your site you should consider creating a profile on the following sites.
Shareasale – popular affiliate marketing network
AdSense – Google’s Ad network and one of the most used monetization strategies for bloggers. Bear in mind though, if you are just starting out you may not have enough traffic to bring in a lot of money from AdSense.
Amazon Affiliates– make money recommending products from the biggest online store.
Commission Junction – another popular affiliate marketing network
Since my site is built on WordPress, I have the flexibility to customize it, protect it, and track it using plugins. Here are a few plugins that I have used regularly since I migrated from Blogger to WordPress.
Feedburner – a great tool for managing your RSS feeds
Google Analytics – a great free metrics/statistics program
Akismet – comment spam filtering tool. This is free if you use it as a plugin with wordpress.org