Contrary to popular belief, blogging is so much more than just writing content.
These days, bloggers need to know just about everything from social media marketing to graphic design. It’s not an easy job!
So, you better believe that there is a looong list of invaluable resources behind every great blog you see online! And lately, people have been asking me what tools I use to run my blog.
But before we get into it, I just want to say that if you really want to be a successful blogger, then you need to start a self-hosted blog and make a small investment to get your own hosting. It’s worth it, trust me.
Without further adieu, here is the list of blogging resources that I personally use. As I come across new blogging tools in the future, I will continue adding to this list, so be sure to check back often.
And if you want access to my top-secret blogging resources and printables, join my Secret Library here.
BEST TOOLS FOR BLOGGING
Basic Blogging Tools
- WordPress.org: This is the blogging platform of choice for most bloggers, including myself. Starting a blog on WordPress is a simple process that gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to designing and monetizing your blog. My top two favorite plugins are Yoast SEO (I wrote all about it in this SEO for Bloggers Guide) and PrettyLink, which allows you to cloak any external links and make them look, well, pretty.
- Bluehost: There are many blog hosting services available to bloggers and Bluehost happens to be the one I use. I like using Bluehost because they offer 24/7 live chat support, 1-click WordPress installation, and really affordable rates. Bluehost is a great option for beginners and if you sign up here, you will even get a FREE domain name too.
- Theme Shop: There are literally thousands of blogging themes out there and it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you. The premium theme supplier that I like to use is My Theme Shop. I love their designs (especially this Feminine theme) and the fact that they have lifetime support.
- Google Analytics: This free tool allows you to accurately track your page views and metrics. It’s an industry standard and you will most likely need it installed to work with companies in the future.
Blog Monetization Tools
There are so many ways to make money blogging – more than I can talk about on this resources page. But here are some of my recommendations if you’re just getting started:
- Affiliate Marketing: In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when a company pays you a commission for the traffic and/or sales generated from your referrals. There are SO many companies that you can become an affiliate for. Some of my favorites include Airbnb and Ebates.
- Awin: This is an affiliate network that connects bloggers to popular companies like Trusted Housesitters, Swagbucks, and Lonely Planet. It costs $5 to sign up, but you get that amount back once you make your first commission.
- Linqia: The best place to collaborate with brands and find out about sponsored post opportunities. It’s free to sign up, but you must be located in North America and have at least 2,500 social media followers or monthly blog visitors.
- Media.net: This is my go-to for showcasing ads on my blog and it comes highly recommended from many pro bloggers. I find the ads are non-intrusive and very minimal. If you sign up using my referral link, you’ll get an extra 10% on the ad revenue you earn in the first three months!
Graphic Design Tools
- Canva: I use Canva to make awesome Pinterest graphics, beautiful website headers and social media photos. It’s totally free to use.
- Fiverr: If you want a professional logo for dirt cheap, Fiverr is hands-down the place to go. There are so many talented graphic designers on the site and most of their services start at $5.
Business & Marketing Tools
- Mailerlite: I can’t even begin to stress the importance of starting an email list early on in your blogging career. I know it can be intimidating at first, but trust me, these people actually want to hear from you. Mailerlite is an email marketing service that will allow you to create landing pages and send out beautiful newsletters. It’s free for your first 1,000 subscribers. Sign up for Mailerlite through my referral link and you’ll get a $20 credit for FREE, which you can use to upgrade to a pro account later on.
- FreshBooks: This is my one-stop shop for everything related to my blogging services. Seriously, this site lets me track my time, create invoices, manage expenses and bill my clients. It even lets me accept credit card payments! It’s also super easy to use and offers new members a 30-day free trial. Freshbooks is a must-have for anyone who offers services on their blog.
Social Media Tools
- Tailwind: If you want to boost your blog traffic, you need to step up your Pinterest game. Seriously. Once I started using Tailwind, my traffic numbers from Pinterest spiked. I use it to pin my own content to group boards and other’s content to my own boards. Tailwind is an official partner of Pinterest and apparently pins coming from Tailwind are ranked higher than pins coming from the similar service Boardbooster. Sign up for Tailwind using my referral link and you can get an entire month of pinning for FREE!
- Pinterest Group Boards Tracking Sheet: Does anyone else find it difficult to keep track of which group boards you’ve applied to?! I designed this super helpful Pinterest group board tracking sheet, which allows me to accuratHonestly track of my applications and follow-ups. You can download the tracking sheet (plus a bunch of other printables) for FREE by joining my Secret Library.
- Grammarly: This is an essential tool for bloggers or pretty much anyone who owns a computer. Grammarly ensures that everything you write online (blog posts, emails, social media messages) is clear and mistake-free. Honestly, I was surprised to notice how many grammatical errors I was making in my blog posts that WordPress never caught. Now, I can rest assured knowing that my writing is flawless.
- Nectar Mattress: You’re probably wondering why I’m mentioning a mattress as one of my blogging resources but honestly, how could I get any work done without a good night’s sleep?! I bought a Nectar mattress two years ago and regret nothing. Seriously, it’s more comfortable than any hotel bed I’ve slept on. And you can even take advantage of a free 365-day trial!
- Evernote: I love using the Evernote app to keep track of all my blog post ideas and tasks. This is a must-have organization tool. The best part is that it automatically syncs up with my computer and phone!
What are your must-have blogging tools?
I want to know what makes your blog perfect. Let me know your favorite blogging resources in the comments!
Questions or suggestions? Please do not hesitate to send me an email.
And check out my Services Page for more information about my personalized blog audits and coaching.