Essentials For Bloggers 2021 | Become A Cruiser
Essentials for sailing bloggers

Essentials For Bloggers 2021

Resources For Bloggers

Starting a new blog can be intimidating. The learning curve is steep. There are a myriad of decisions to make to configure your site.

Don’t worry I have made it easy and taken the leg work away from you with this page of resources for bloggers.

Testing Plugins Sucks

Saving you hundreds of hours testing blog hosting plans and plugins which may crash your site. Which then takes hours to restore. Keeping you from getting down to business and blogging.

I have also filtered through the services that are just a scam to push you from free up to the next service level which you don’t find out until you’ve gone through the process of signing up and installing their software on your site.

Only to find that you need to spend hours sifting through lines of code to remove orphan code and database entries left behind when you delete the service.

Blog Hosting Recommendations

I have also made it simple to choose a web hosting for your blog that balances speed with reliability, functionality, and cost.

So whether you are new to blogging or already have a working blog but need to switch to a better host we have done the heavy lifting for you to get going with the right hosting for your blog for once and for all.

On this list, you will only find tools, services, and plugins that I personally use or have used on this or our other blogs and can recommend to you knowing you will have as much success with them as we have.

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that should you one day outgrow the free version of the service and upgrade to the paid version I will receive a small commission.

There is no extra cost to you when you use an affiliate link. The commissions help us run this site and keep it free of annoying advertisements. Also know that I would not recommend any tools or services unless I have had a positive experience.

Get A Free Fully Configured WordPress Site

I have recently begun offering free WordPress Blogs that are fully configured and ready to. At no expense to you other than setting up hosting for about ($3.95/ month) for more information on getting a complimentary fully configured WordPress website just click on the link.


Learn How To Start a WordPress Sailing Blog


I get so many emails on how to start blogging and how to set-up & configure WordPress that I decided to make a quick ‘How-To’ Guide. If you’re thinking of starting up a sailing Blog this should get you started on the right track.

Essentials For Bloggers


WEB HOSTING SERVICE

Powering over 2 million websites. Bluehost is one of the three hosting providers recommended by the makers of WordPress themselves.

Bluehost offers a free SSL certificate (secure your blog with https) and one-click WordPress installation and 24/7 support.

Hosting starts at $3.95/ month (when using my discount link below. Regularly $8.99/ per month) and is by far one of the most affordable hosting plans available anywhere for you to start your blog.

Even with this low monthly plan, they offer a free domain name for the first year.

Bluehost is my recommendation for anyone who is new to blogging and wants a reliable host with good support.

If you are new to blogging and want a very affordable hosting solution on a solid platform.

My suggestion is that if you are new to blogging an are not sure how much traffic your site will see start with Bluehost which currently offers the cheapest hosting that is actually capable of serving a few hundred readers per day.

Once you pass the 10,000 viewers a day mark upgrade to a host such as WPx who will then migrate your site over to their servers for free.

This is a much preferred option at $3.95 a month to starting with an expensive $20+ a month plan and giving up your blog as you find it not worth the expense for the limited amount of traffic you get in the beginning.

I offer step by step instructions on how to open and configure your Bluehost account in How to Start a Sailing Blog.


WEB HOSTING SERVICE

WPx is a premium hosting provider in the shared hosting space.

WPx is one of the few shared hosting providers to employ Litespeed servers for all of their customers. Their site speed is spectacular.

FREE site speed optimization
FREE SSL Certificate (Secure your blog with https)
FREE lightning-fast CDN
FREE daily malware detection & removal
37 Second support response time.

If you have an existing blog and wish to transfer to WPx to enjoy a new level of speed for your higher traffic blog, they offer a FREE site migration service.

Hosting starts at $20.99/ month which is significantly more expensive than Bluehost. This may be a bit on the pricey side for a new blogger.

We migrated this site over to WPx. And are very happy with the support and performance upgrade.


EMAIL LIST & NEWSLETTER SERVICE

Whether you are starting your blog to share your sailing adventures with your friends and family or are hoping to be the next superstar video blogger. Starting a mailing list is essential to keep in contact with your audience.

One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is sending newsletters out directly from their blogs.

Modern email clients quickly flag the email address as spam which effectively makes the email address unusable.

Bloggers need to send emails to their subscribers from a trusted email list provider who ensures no spam is ever sent from their servers thereby ensuring that any email addresses associated with its newsletters are marked safe for delivery.

Mailerlite is great for a blog of any size. For a smaller blog, Mailerlite offers a totally FREE plan which allows you to maintain a mailing list of up to 1,000 subscribers and send up to 12,000.

Free features include automation, signup forms, and landing pages.

The free plan should be more than enough for almost all sail blogs.

Once you grow your blog Mailerlite also offers one of the most affordable paid plans amongst mailing list providers starting at just $10 per month.

‘Become a Cruiser’ uses Mailerlite for our mailing lists and newsletters.


Yoast SEO
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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Unless you are writing a blog exclusively for keeping your friends and family updated on your travel or sailing adventures. You will want to grow your audience.

Google search is still the best way for new users to find your blog.

Getting to the top spot on Google search is a challenge for any blogger.

You need to understand that Google wants to only provide the best experience for its users and that means that Google Search only wants to serve the best content.

Step one is writing great content. Step two is making sure Google finds your content and can identify it as great quality content. And that is where an SEO Program like Yoast comes in.

Yoast will scan your content as you are writing and offer suggestions to improve your writing style and content. Helping you rank higher.

The best part about Yoast is that you can run a great blog forever on their free version. It has ninety percent of what the average blogger will want.

We did move away from Yoast as the plugin is a little bloated in the quest for eking out a bit more page speed. In hindsight, this was most likely a poor decision as the alternative we now use is far inferior and requires testing almost daily important plugin updates.

We should have changed to a better hoast like WPx earlier rather than switching SEO plugins. Unfortunately moving back to Yoast would now be a labor-intensive process.

RankMath Logo
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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

RankMath is the new kid on the block. This highly-rated plugin offers a free plan which covers almost all features bloggers need.

I am putting RankMath on my wait and see list. At this moment this is not an endorsement for RankMath but a wait and see, they look like they are a great Yoast option for the future. But have a long ways to go.

They only released their full plan a month ago and many of the touted features have not yet been built.

Right now RankMath is pushing multiple updates to the plugin each week which takes time to test before deploying. And their support service is abysmal.

Unless you like being an early adopter I would hold off on RankMath for a few more months until their platform stabilizes.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING

SocialSnap makes the best WordPress social media sharing and following button plugin by far.

The leader was Social Warfare up to a few months ago. Since then SocialSnap has leaped to the lead with a sleeker platform and more secure plugin.

SocialSnap is another WordPress plugin that a blogger could use for a lifetime without having to upgrade to the paid version.

Although there are one or cool features that the paid service does offer such as boosing old posts by auto-posting them on social media.

The share and follow buttons you see on this WordPress site are powered by SocialSnap.


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