When I first started blogging, I was always wondering what various bloggers used for everything from building their site to photographing their pictures. These days I'm thankful to be successful enough that I now have fans asking me these same questions. So, I thought it would be neat to put together a resources list and tools of the trade page for items I use on the blog and for creating my various posts! Every item or service listed below is currently used by me or has been in the recent past.
Tools of the Trade List
Last updated February 2017.
Domain Registrar (who you purchase and keep your domain registered through): Name Silo. Currently, for just 8.99 a year, you get 1 year of registration AND free privacy, which hides your address and phone number if someone does a whois on your domains. I originally used GoDaddy, and while you can initially get a great price for the first year, they no longer offer coupon codes to use on renewals, which can regularly be $20+. Bluehost will also give you a free domain registration when you sign up for their hosting and their interface is super easy to use if you're just starting out.
Website Hosting: I started with shared hosting on HostGator (you can get $9.94 off your first order by using coupon code SmartSav994) but as Smart Savvy Living grew, I moved to a VPS server on RFE Hosting so the site could handle the traffic load. Bluehost is also a great beginner website host many of my blogging friends use and you'll get a free domain registration for using them for hosting.
Website Framework: I use WordPress (free) as our content management system with the theme/framework Genesis by StudioPress using the child theme FoodPro by Shay Bocks that I've customized myself. Genesis and the child themes may seem costly, but they work great, are secure and look beautiful right out of the "box".
Pinterest Scheduler: Pinterest is a great source for building traffic and followers but it is quite time consuming to dedicate time to organize and repin your pins every day. As such, I really love Tailwind for scheduling pins, organizing pins, deciphering my Pinterest analytics, and finding content from other bloggers that I'd like to pin. I do suggest getting the annual plan so you can pin as much as you want each month.
Camera: Nikon 5100 DSLR equipped with a 1.4 50 mm lens
Photo Editing: Photoshop and PicMonkey (free option is available with PicMonkey)
Photo Embellishments (Titles and Icons) and Self-Made Graphics: PicMonkey and Ribbet
Lighting: We don't get a whole lot of great natural light here, so I do make a lot of use of my Lowel EGO light and Nikon Speedlight.
Dishes: I get most of my dishes and props from IKEA and World Market that you see in our photos.
Backdrops: Many of our backdrops are vinyl (easy to clean and store) that were purchased from Swanky Prints on Etsy.
Stand Mixer: KitchenAid Pro 600 6-Quart - My baby!
Hand Mixer: We have an older model of this KitchenAid 9-speed hand mixer that's going on 8-years-old, which I think is pretty darn good for how often we use it.
Food Processor: Breville Sous Chef - It's not cheap, but it's pretty darn awesome and worth it, in my opinion, if you use a food processor regularly.
Blender: We have a 9-year-old KitchenAid blender that isn't this exact model due to the age, but I definitely recommend the brand since we blend a lot of frozen items for smoothies and drinks.
Knives: We have a variety of expensive and cheap knives, but some of my favorites are honestly the very affordable Pure Komachi carbon stainless steel knives.
Favorite Skillet: I'm a huge fan of Lodge cast iron skillets. Take care of it and it'll likely love you your whole life, and probably your children's, too.
If you have any questions about the items we use for and on Smart Savvy Living, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected] and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!