I started the creation of Foxxy By Nature on a shoe-string budget. This meant I had to really weigh-up which parts of the blog I would invest in. Thankfully there are so many amazing free resources out there! I was able to utilize many of them, and that left me on track with my budget.
The best part about using free resources (besides the fact that you’re not spending money) is that you get to try out a bunch of products, and give them a test ride. That way you can find out if this is a program you’d want to invest in down the road with the comfort of knowing:
- How to use it
- If it suits your needs
- If it will be worth the investment
Here is a list of the free resources I personally used (and still use) in creating my blog:
Disclaimer: I may earn a small commission at no cost to you if you buy anything through these links. This income helps fund Foxxy By Nature and allows me to continue providing you with quality content that fits our overall vision. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for your understanding and support.
Free Resource Status: Trial (7 days)
Favourite Use: Graphic Design
Adobe is my favourite program to use! It might be a little daunting if you don’t know how to use it, but thankfully there are a ton of wonderful YouTube tutorials which you can use to learn pretty much anything. My only problem with it is that you can only get it free for 7 days – so plan beforehand exactly what you want to design, or use it for. Eventually, this is a program I know I’ll invest in.
Free Resource Status: Free Account with option to upgrade
Favourite Use: Graphics and Printable Designs
If you haven’t used Canva – start using it NOW! This site is amazing, and I can safely say that I could not have created Foxxy By Nature without its help. You can design so many different things, just sign-up for a free account and start exploring. If you’re brand-new to the site, start by using one of their templates and then tweak the design to suit your brand. It’s a very easy system so no graphic design degree is needed!
It also features an easy upload system which allows you to create your own library of images to pull from whenever needed. There is an option to upgrade, but the free version lets you do so much that you can take your time getting to this point.
Free Resource Status: 100% Free
Favourite Use: Photo Editing and Graphic Design
PIXLR Editor is what I used once my Photoshop trial ran out. It is one of the best advanced online photo editors out there. It’s actually easier to use than Photoshop AND it has many of the same features. You can easily edit photos, but my favourite use is the layering feature (again, very similar to Photoshop). I feel like it’s one of those resources you’re either going to love or completely disregard. But I’d say it’s definitely worth a try to see how it works for you.
Free Resource Status: 100% Free
Favourite Use: Photo Editing
Snapseed is a mobile app, but it’s definitely worth a mention because it’s that good. I’m honestly hoping it will make its way to being an online editor as well (fingers crossed). I have tried countless editing apps and this is by far the best one I’ve used so far.
It offers an array of editing options for your photos, but my favourite thing is its ability to adjust lighting. It’s the middle of winter currently and we live in a North-facing apartment, so lighting challenges are kind of huge for me right now. This editor has saved so many of my photos I feel eternally indebted to it 😉
It’s not very difficult to use, but if you’re new to editing techniques have some patience and just keep messing around with all the options. You’ll eventually figure out what the best features are for your photography.
Free Resource Status: Free but with options to purchase or donate to certain fonts
Favourite Use: Branding
I have tried quite a lot of free font websites out and some of them are pretty suspect. Not going to lie, I’ve gotten a virus alert or two from downloading fonts. 1001 Fonts has been a safe site for me thus far. I would still recommend having your virus protection updated and fully running when you’re ready to start downloading just for extra safety. Otherwise, I really like this site. It’s easy to use, you can clearly see which fonts are free for personal use and which are free for commercial use. There are some fonts you need to pay a set amount for and others who take a donation.
My biggest warning to anyone who needs a font for their business is to make sure you’re using one with a commercial certificate. If it’s not stated on the site, then usually you can find the creator and email them for permission. State the uses you’re needing the font for and if you will be selling the product. If you don’t get any response, just move on and find another font.
Free Resource Status: 100% Free
Favourite Use: Blog Media
Photography is hugely important for creating a blog. When you’re starting off as a newbie, it’s sometimes really hard to get great photography or even enough photography for your blog and posts. This is where stock photography comes in to play. Unsplash is my #1 free stock photography source. Here are some things I love about it:
- It has a large variety
- It’s free for commercial use (crediting the photographer is a nice option though)
- You don’t have to sign-up to use it
I’m using photos from Unsplash on this post, but mostly I use my own photos for this blog. For me personally, I would love to have my blog 100% free of stock photography in the near future. For right now though, I definitely need some helping out. I would just caution everyone to be mindful of the amount of stock photography that you use. In the end, your readers want to connect with your brand, and photography is quite a personal thing.
Free Resource Status: Free for a month using my referral link ($15 value)
Favourite Use: Pinterest Growth
When I started researching how to start a blog, I came across all this hype surrounding Tailwind. Truthfully, I didn’t really buy into it. It seemed a little too sales-pitchy (yes, that’s a word I made up). However, after about 3 weeks of trying to build up my Pinterest game by myself, I finally signed up for the Free Trial to see if all the hype around it was legit. I can now tell you for sure, that it is really an amazing tool to gain exposure on Pinterest.
My favourite part of it is the Tribes – this really is where Tailwind shines. You can join tribes and share your pins. That leads to other tribe members sharing your pins and you exploding your reach (my reach on one of my Tribes is sitting at 223.3K). Each tribe has certain rules, I recommend taking time to read them thoroughly. Remember to play nice. We’re all in this blogging venture together and I truly believe in supporting one another.
I really could go on with all the great features it offers, but I’ll save that for another post where I can go more in-depth with my explanation.
Give Tailwind a test-drive with a free month on me, using my referral link.
Note: By the way, you can also use Tailwind for Instagram, but I only recently started trying this out, so I can’t give proper insight into it at this point.
Free Resource Status: Free for 12,000 emails/month sent up to 2,000 subscribers
Favourite Use: Email Marketing
Email marketing is something I wanted to keep free for as long as possible in the beginning while I got on my blogging feet. I found MailChimp and I have not been disappointed yet. I struggled a bit getting it set up properly, and from what I’ve heard from other sources, this is where it can get expensive. MailChimp gives you the option for tech help but it comes at a cost. They do have an FAQ section that can be quite helpful for small issues. However, if you have some patience, you can easily find step-by-step guides on YouTube that will help you with bigger set-up issues.
I can definitely see sticking with this company in the future. I love how easy it is to design my newsletter and create different marketing strategies. Once the set-up is complete, I would say it is a pretty easy system to use.
Free Resource Status: Free with the option of upgrading
Favourite Use: Converting Traffic to Email Subscription
MailMunch has been a great option to create email sign-up conversion strategies for your blog. It offers basic templates which you can design to show your own branding. There are some limitations, but with creativity, it works just fine. You can create a landing page which is perfect for marketing opportunities, BUT I did find this difficult to personalize from the template options. Eventually, I worked it out, but some hair was pulled out through this process.
I do love their widget, pop-up and embedded sign-up options, and it’s incredibly easy to link with MailChimp which is what I was going for. I might look into going another route in the future, but for now, it’s the best free option I’ve found.
Free Resource Status: Free with the option to upgrade
Favourite Use: Writing (Grammar Check)
Do yourself a favour, sign-up with Grammarly from the get-go. It is such a help when you’re writing blog posts (even if you’re a regular Shakespeare). Because, here’s the thing… when you start blogging, you’re going to be working 24/7 and it is EXHAUSTING. A tired brain while writing can lead to errors and it’s not fun to post those types of errors.
I love this free browser extension. It has taken the worry out of writing and gives some great suggestions when I get stuck on a sentence.
Well, I really hope this list helps you out! Please feel free to share any free resources you discovered on your blogging journey in the comments below.