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Blogging Resources

Ready to Dominate the Web?

Blogging can be very intimidating and finding the right tools to help you succeed is tough.

We’ve been blogging since 2008 and have basically self-taught ourselves everything over the last few years. By the end of this year, more than 3.5 million people will have visited my site, Good Financial Cents.  This is for a guy that, in 2008, had no idea what a blog was. Seriously.  I won’t even get started on how many people have visited my wife’s site, House of Rose, but let’s just say…she has me beat.

I don’t say that often. 

We wanted to share with you the blogging tools and resources that have proven to be successful for us over the years. We hope this helps!

dominate the web 2

Blogging Tools

WordPress: The #1 Blog Publishing Platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of our blogs use WordPress.

Blog Theme

After being with the premium theme Thesis for almost 5 years now (basically since I started blogging) we’re moving all our sites over to Genesis.  It’s bittersweet because I loved Thesis for so long, but their recent upgrade to Thesis 2.0 was a major letdown.

When I first bought Thesis I was able to do a lot of the customizations myself.  Remember, I am not a coder so that really impressed me.

Almost 5 years later, I’ve become decent with HTML to hack my way through the basics.  When I first took a look at the new Thesis 2.0, I was lost.  I have no desire to become a designer and that’s what I feel the latest upgrade forces you to be.  #notcool

There are a few other reasons why we’re switching, too; but that’s the gist of it. If you haven’t checked out Genesis yet, you should.

Genesis WordPress Theme

Transcription Service – How to write without typing

Mobile Assistant Transcription Service Blogging….hands free

Do you hate writing as much as I do? Here’s the perfect solution. Mobile Assistant is a transcription service that I use for a variety of functions: mailing out letters to clients, recording notes of client meetings and…..writing blog posts. Yes, writing blog posts.

For me, it’s much easier to “talk out” a post rather than type it out. With Mobile Assistant you can save time and “brain” energy by calling from your cell phone no matter your location. I’ve “written” many blog posts while driving home from work or in the car on a business trip. It’s saved me hours upon hours of writing.

Luckily I have finally convinced the wifey to start using it as well. She can do bust out blog posts in half the time it took her before.

Regarding pricing, the retail rate of $72.50 is actually lower than the $79.99 retail rate for other transcription services. However, I talked with the CEO and they are willing to offer a 25% discount for those that are referred from our site.

Since you are a reader of Dollars and Roses, you will get their service for $54.37 per month with the discount code “FinancialCents” applied at checkout.

If you’re still not sure, sign up for a free trial where you’ll get 20 minutes of transcription time to test them out. For me, it only took one call to drop my former carrier and switch to them.

Web Hosting

Lunar Pages

For a cheap and efficient web hosting service, Lunar Pages works for us. We currently host a few different sites on their platform and our monthly bill is about $5/month. That’s it. We did sign up for a 2 year contract.

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We’ve been with them for over 2 years and have had only a few minor incidents – which is common with most hosting companies.

Definitely worth the price. Interested? Check them out here.

Liquid Web

Wanting to diversify our hosting accounts, we are now also testing Liquid Web {based off a few blogging friends recommendations}.   As mentioned, we haven’t had any major issues with Lunar Pages, but I’m starting to develop a few other sites and thought it would be best to host them elsewhere.   For their shared hosting package, Liquid Web is a bit more expensive {we’re paying about $15/mo now}, but everyone tells me their support team is awesome.

I found this out first hand when I had a general question about forgetting a password and I was able to get someone on the phone immediately.  They got an immediate A+ for that.   If you’re looking for alternative hosting plan, I would definitely suggest Liquid Web, too.


Our #1 pick for hosting? Bluehost. We’ve been with Bluehost the longest and can honestly say they have great customer service. So far, I can also atest to the fact that they have the least amount of down time. Down time in blog-land means down income. When your blog is not up and running you can’t be making money. See why it’s important to have limited down time.

Get Your Blog Started with Bluehost Today.

Email Newsletter:

Build Your List

What’s the point of working really hard to get people to your website if you can’t stay in touch with them? Be smart from the start and use Aweber – our email newsletter service of choice. Aweber is cheap, it’s super simple to use and it delivers beautiful emails automatically! You just set it up, add some text and voila you’ve got yourself an email newsletter that people can sign up for.

Trust me, Aweber is must have when starting your own blog – set up an email newsletter today and you’ll thank us later.

Try Aweber For $1 Trial

Keyword Research:

Market Samurai. Part of our strategy of driving traffic to our sites is by doing keyword research – what are people typing into Google when they have a question. Market Samurai is a robust tool that narrows it down for you so that you’re not wasting your time with a good article. They offer a free 30 day trial. If you’re looking to take your blog to the next level, it’s a must have.

How to Make Videos:

What Cameras to Use

We first started with a Flip UltraHD, which is a very good camera {now discontinued}. It’s cheap, compact and shoots great video. The only drawback is that it does not have an external mic jack.

We then purchased the Kodak Zi8. I love this camera! Great video, you can upgrade the memory card {we have a 16gb}. And best of all it has an external mic jack. That makes the video quality that much more amazing!

Bad news: It’s discontinued, too! :( You can still buy it. But if you want the latest camera from Kodak, then check out this one:

KODAK PLAYTOUCH Video Camera / Chrome
KODAK PLAYTOUCH Video Camera / Chrome

For a complete list of cameras that we have used {and recommend} visit our video blogging page.

FiverrSome of the best $5 bucks We’ve spent anywhere on have been on Fiverr. I’ve paid $5 for YouTube backgrounds, customized Facebook Fanpages, blog headers and so much more.

YouTube Domination:

If you’re interested in uploading more videos to YouTube, you have to have a game plan – I’ve found this out the hard way. Luckily, we stumbled onto YouTube Video Traffic Academy and it has completely changed our video marketing strategy. For only $97, do yourself a favor and save yourself hours of frustration. I wish I would have. Check it out here.

Income Reports

Be sure to check out the Dollars and Roses Income Report page where we are transparent about HOW much money we make blogging and HOW we do it.

DR Income Reports Header

We also have written tons of articles and how-to’s about blogging. Here are a list of some of our favorites:

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. These are all things that I have experience with that I am recommending because they are helpful and are companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products. Please do not spend money unless you feel it’s something you really need and will help you reach your goals.

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