Using the best tools and resources in blogging can help you with efficiency, productivity, and ultimately- earn more money. Let’s face it, 95% of the blogging community wants to earn money, even if it’s just to cover the cost of blogging or even to pay for little Suzie’s new dance class.
Some of the resources I’ve listed are free, while others are definitely going to be considered an investment into your blog. Either way, these tools will help you bring your blog to the next level.
Keep this post bookmarked or Pinned for the future so that you can come back as you need to! I will be updating this list as I continue to review new and exiting tools in the future!
This is a long one, so if you’d like to skip ahead, here are the sections that I will be diving into.
- Best Tools for Beginner Bloggers
- Best Tools for Increasing Productivity and Organization
- Best Plugins and WordPress Tools
- Best Writing and Content Tools
- Best Software for
- Best SEO Tools
- Best Resources for Making Money as a Blogger
- Best Sites for Images
- Best for
- Best for Creating Products and Courses
- Best Courses for Beginner Bloggers
- Best for Testing Website Performance
- Best Blogging Office Tools
Best Tools for Beginner Bloggers
Ultimate Blogging Toolkit for Beginners – I designed this free toolkit to give new bloggers an overview of how to get your blog set up quickly. It includes everything you need to get set up from finding your domain name to getting your first post written.
WordPress – If you want a money making blog, WordPress is definitely the way to go. If you aren’t familiar with what WordPress is or what the difference is between WordPress .org and WordPress .com, check out my blog post describing the whole confusing thing.
SiteGround – SiteGround’s incredible introductory web hosting rate at less than $4 per month makes this recommendation a no-brainer for me. They also have incredible customer service, free SSL certificates and a free transfer on some plans. AND…. my site has NEVER been down as a result of their hosting.
Weebly – This is a high quality drag and drop website builder that is perfect for new or hobby bloggers just starting out. However, if you are wanting to run your blog as a money making business, I suggest WordPress .org through SiteGround.
StudioPress – Beautiful and responsive themes for WordPress (all are compatible with the Gutenberg editor as well).
Google Analytics – This is a free tool that will allow you to track all your analytics within your blog including demographics, number of users and sessions, average page views and bounce rates and where your referral traffic is coming from.
Legal Bundle – Every blog should have at least three legal pages – privacy, disclaimer and terms and conditions. These legal pages were written by a lawyer and are offered at a fraction of the cost of others. I did an interview with the writer, Amira from ASelfGuru.com a while back which you can check out here.
Best Tools for Increasing Productivity and Organization
CoSchedule – This app has seriously saved my life. As well as blogging, I work a full-time job and have a very busy family so finding a good scheduler became a real necessity. I trialed a few others but it was CoSchedule that filled all the checkmarks. Not only can I curate and schedule in content to all my social media channels, but it integrates directly with WordPress so that when I
Tailwind – As a new blogger, I realized really quickly how important Pinterest was going to be in keeping a steady line of traffic coming to my blog while I was building my SEO rank. Trying to keep up with pinning enough relevant content to my boards and increasing the number of eyes on my pins was very time consuming until I found Tailwind. Now I can schedule out a month of pins (at 40-50 per day) within 2 hours. My reach has increased from practically nothing to over 150,000 viewers in less than 5 months, which is incredible. You can try Tailwind free for the first 100 pins too!
Erin Condren’s Life Planner – Ahhhh. What would life be like without a pretty planner by my side? CHAOS. I have been using her planners for the past three years and they are simply the best. Compact enough to fit in my oversized purse and of course they are pretty and inspiring at the same time. I love that there is enough room for me to fit my business stuff along with my personal life as well.
Batch Blogging Content Creation Mini-Course – I created this free course out of necessity for my own magpie mind. I needed a way to keep on track and write content that made sense, increase my audience and helped with the Google SEO target. This course does just that. Learn how to create one month of content in just one week.
Best Plugins and WordPress Tools
Yoast SEO – Probably one of the most commonly used plugins to assist with figuring out SEO, Yoast is easy to use and gives you all the basic tools and suggestions that you need to get your posts on the right path. It uses a simple green,orange and red stop light to let you know if your posts are generating enough SEO juice. Although there is a paid version, the free one is more than enough to get you going.
Akismet Anti-Spam – This great little plugin will reduce spam comments from your blog.
FTC Disclosure – If you are doing any affiliate marketing on your blog, you will need to have an affiliate disclosure on any page that you have affiliate links. Using the FTC Disclosure plugin will automatically add this to the top of every page so that you are covered. What I like is that you can customize what the disclosure says as well as link to your Privacy page for more information.
Pinterest Pin It Button – Adding this plugin helps your readers to easily share your content to Pinterest.
W3 Total Cache – Helps to increase the speed and loading time of your blog which decreases bounce rates.
Atomic Blocks – This is an add-on to the Gutenberg block editor and gives some additional pre-made blocks to work with for variety and sprucing up your blog posts.
Stackable Blocks – Another block add-on to help you pretty up your posts.
WordPress Editorial Calendar – This is by far my favourite way to organize all my future content in one place. The plugin, accessible through the Posts section once installed, shows a list of all draft topics that you can drag and drop in a calendar. You can see a video of how I use mine here.
Pretty Links – No need to hunt around for your affiliate links or links to landing pages anymore! With Pretty Links, you can create links that work off of your domain so that they are easy to remember. For example, instead of www. thisisyouraffiliate/772643q744, you can create a link like www. everydayshessparkling.com/thisismylink. It also tracks clicks on the links created which is great for reviewing how effective the link is.
Tasty Pins – This should actually be mandatory for every blog that uses Pinterest. The reason? Using Alt Text to fill your Pinterest description means that users that are visually impaired now hear that text instead of text intended to describe the picture to them. Tasty Pins allows for a separate Alt and Pin description so you get the best of both worlds. You can make sure to have a great description for Pinterest SEO and you can ensure that your blog is readable by all audience members.
Best Writing and Content Tools
Grammarly – Not only is this an amazing real-time spelling and grammar checker that you can add into your browser, but if you register (even as a free version) and write and submit a post to their website as a review, you can make $25!!
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer – This amazing free tool will help you create the best possible headline to catch your audience’s attention and get them to click through to your post. It checks the length of your headline, use of power and emotional words and overall strength. This is also p
Editorr – Access online professional editors to proofread your content within minutes. If English is your second language or you really need to make sure that your content is written well, this is a great tool
Portent’s Content Idea Generator – If you are stuck for content ideas, this fun tool will let you pop in a subject and the idea generator will instantly create some ideas and titles for you.
Blog Ideas Generator by HubSpot – Simply enter a noun or two and click on “give me blog ideas” and you’ll get a year of blogging ideas on that topic that you can download as a spreadsheet or access instantly
Hemingway Editor – This is a great place to check the overall readability of your posts. The app will also help with sentence structure, spelling and grammatical errors. You can easily copy and paste in the content and it will immediately check and offer suggestions to make sure your writing is clear and readable.
WebFX Readability Test Tool – Gives a score of the readability of your blog post. Did you know that most people prefer to read at a grade 7-9 level? Whewwww! Lol
Blog Title Generator by SEOPressor – All you do is insert your keyword into the field, choose a describing term and it will create tons of catchy titles and topics that you can use.
Best Software for eMail Marketing and Getting Subscribers
MailerLite – In a ton of email marketing options, MailerLite is becoming more popular, especially for new bloggers. It is free up to 1000 subscribers and offers everything the other big companies have including campaigns, segmentation, automation, forms and landing pages. I’ve been using since the beginning and it has been great! There are lots of tutorials and if you are less than tech savvy, their support group is amazing and can walk you through it.
Kartra – This is one that I will likely move to once MailerLite starts charging at higher levels as it is an all-inclusive solution that is cheaper than some of the larger email marketing solutions without all the extras. It also has the ability to offer affiliate programs for your products which is fantastic for advertising.
Best SEO Tools
Ubersuggest – This is a great, free tool created by the SEO guru, Neil Patel to help you research keywords for your blog posts. If you are struggling with SEO, you really should be following anything he’s doing.
MozBar – This is another free tool that you can download to your browser that will provide keywords and their popularity within a search window.
Answer the Public – If you are doing research for your blog posts (and you really should be!), Answer the Public is a great place to find out what questions people on the internet are asking that center around your keyword. Answering some or all of the questions can help you to increase your SEO juice and help you rank faster.
KeywordsEverywhere – This is another browser add-on that shows a ton of information on each earth that comes up in the page including additional keywords and phrases. This is very helpful in coming up with a variety of long-tailed keywords and phrases to make sure that your posts sound natural while still adding ranking words.
Best Resources for Making Money as a Blogger
Ultimate Bundles – The Ultimate Bundles affiliate program is a MUST for new bloggers. There are a variety of bundles to choose from if you are in almost any niche and the discount that they offer is almost impossible to refuse, so sales are easy! I made almost $200 with my first blogging bundle sale and they provided everything I needed to market the bundle including graphics, what to say and even video training. It was an amazing experience and I will definitely be partnering with them again in the future.
Awin – This is a directory for tons of companies with affiliate programs like HP, Hyatt and Etsy. It’s fairly easy to get accepted, and most new bloggers are accepted quickly. To register, you just need to fill out the application, pay a $5 fee (you get it back on your first payout) and start searching for some companies to promote.
ShareASale – This is another large directory of companies with over 3900 affiliate programs and is easily joined. This one doesn’t have an application fee. The payout is on the 20th of each month and has a minimum of $50.
Affiliate Master List – I’m sooo excited to announce that my great friend Cate Rosales from Sweetandsimplelife.com has released an Affiliate Master List with offer 1000 affiliate companies to join in tons of different niches! All organized by niche with links so you can easily find the perfect ones to get started with.
VigLink – This directory is a little different in that instead of applying to each affiliate, VigLink can promote hundreds of programs all at once like WalMart, Target, eBay, Microsoft and Michael’s. The cool thing is that it can convert content you already have into affiliate links automatically which is great for bloggers just starting out. You’ll have to install some code to get it activated but the support page will walk you through all of it. This one may not be for everyone as it can sometimes look a little spammy if there are too many links.
Amazon Associates – Outside of GoogleAdsense, this is probably one of the first affiliate programs that most beginners start out with. This is probably because there are so many products available in Amazon that there is something for EVERY NICHE, making it an easy fit. There are little requirements to join, but there are quite a few restrictions once you join so be sure to read the agreement carefully.
Fomo – I think this is a great option to GoogleAdsense. (You’ll notice I don’t mention them here). Fomo is relatively new and I don’t see a lot of advertisement for it. What I like about it is that the ads are somewhat tailored to your audience and you can choose the
The pop-ups are mostly unobtrusive and don’t clutter up your feed like some of the ads out there, which I like. (If you saw a pop up on the bottom of this article, it is likely a FOMO ad). Unlike GoogleAdsense which require a ton of audience to make any money, FOMO pays out a decent amount through PayPal and there is no monthly minimum!
UPDATE: Much to my dismay, Fomo Ads Publisher has decided to shut down as of October 1, 2019. If you are looking for a new ad network to collaborate with, Media.net is great for beginners and Monumetric is a great option if you have at least 10,000 page views per month.
Social Bluebook- Will help you determine values of your sponsored post material based on your social media stats, which is great if you are creating a media kit or services page.
Activate – This is an Influencer Marketing Network that helps you to match with brands that are looking for sponsored material.
TapInfluence – This is another Influencer Marketing Network like Activate where you fill out all your details and they try to match you with brands for sponsored posts.
Fiverr – Fiverr is an amazing place to find almost anything you can imagine in terms of help with your blog. You can find someone to write your marketing material, assist with social media or even create a logo for you. Also, if you are looking to make some extra money, you can offer your services as a virtual assistant, Pinterest marketing assistant, freelance writer or 1000 other things on this platform.
Etsy – Etsy is a great forum to sell any digital and/or physical products that you may have.
Best Sites for Images
Unsplash – Easily searchable with thousands of free and beautiful images, Unsplash is a really popular site to snag free images. Attribution is not required on most pics but is considered a nice gesture.
PixiStock – PixiStock has an incredible variety of beautiful, feminine stock photography which is perfect for creating any social media graphics and pins. She also has a great selection of packages sorted by colour to easily compliment your brand.
Pixabay – Pixabay is another great free option for finding stock images to use in your social media graphics.
Best for Graphic Creation
Canva – Canva has become one of the most popular go-to products for creating amazing graphics, pins, printable and even logos. There is a free version which has a ton of options and you can add a paid plan to access additional options like branding colours and fonts as well as folders for organizing all your creations.
PicMonkey – PicMonkey is another great option for creating graphics and has a lot of different options to make your graphics stand out.
Adobe Spark Post– Adobe Spark Post is super fun to use as you can create a graphic with branded colours and then you can spin the document to try out a variety of layouts. You can also create designs that are animated.
WordSwag – WordSwag is an amazing little app that you can get on your phone to add fun text to pictures. I actually used it to create the ESS logo!
Creative Market – Creative Market has a ton of creative developers that create logos, fonts, backgrounds, themes and so much more! They offer 6 free products every Monday and I have found a ton of great graphics this way. This theme also came from there for under $100!
Best for Creating Products and Courses
SendOwl – SendOwl is great for selling digital downloads like eBooks and courses in PDF form. They offer checkout features, easy integration
Teachable – Teachable is a very popular resource for creating courses to sell. It’s very easy to set up and use and has email integration as well. This is also a great place to set up free courses as there are no fees if your course is free!
Best Courses for Beginner Bloggers
Blogger’s Glitterati VIP Hub – You’ll find everything you need to get your blog started in 30 days here including a calendar with a handy checklist and video tutorials in the hub and all for a crazy low monthly price!
Becoming a Blogger – Becoming a Blogger was one of the very first courses I took when I started blogging and is really an all-encompassing course for beginners. It covers everything from starting your blog to making money. Cate has some amazing insight on affiliate marketing, working with brands and other ways of monetizing that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Pinterest Ninja – As a beginner blogger, Pinterest is one of the key areas of focus for most and so it is critical that you figure it out quickly to get the most bang for your buck. Megan’s incredible course covers everything you could possibly know about upping your Pinterest game – my very own Pinterest views and engagement grew over 1000% from this course alone.
Make Money Blogging for Beginners – Once you have got your blog up and running and you are ready to move on to the next level, this course, started by two six-future bloggers, can help you get where you want to go. It’s an invaluable resource for all things monetization.
Best for Testing Website Performance
Pulno – You can get 200 random pages for two sites analyzed for free on Pulno. It reviews your site speed, meta data, internal and external links and content and then gives you a breakdown of your major issues with suggestions on how to fix them. You can even download the report to work on later as well as re-analyze to see if the changes you have made are working.
Pingdom – Pingdom will quickly give you a website speed test for free. It will analyze your site and give recommendations for making it load faster which will help visitors stay on your site longer.
Nibbler – Nibbler is an amazing tool that will analyze several random pages and rate your site based on accessibility, experience, marketing, and technology. My favorite part is that it will also give tops priorities and recommendations for website improvement and reasons why you scored low or high on each category so that you can work on the results.
Best Blogging Office Tools
E-File – Everyone has to do taxes. If you live in the US, this eFile software gives you everything you need to file your blogging taxes at a less price than most of the big brands.
Laptop – Really all you need to get started with blogging is a decent laptop. This doesn’t need to be a huge investment, a couple hundred dollars can get you a laptop that will work perfectly. HP has a great assortment of laptops and I have found that it is more than enough.
You’ve reached the END!!
As you can see, there are a TON of resources for bloggers. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding which ones to use out of the thousands available. Hopefully this post has helped you to narrow down some tools for your blog to help it grow and thrive!
Do you have any tools or resources that are on your must-have list? I would love to hear about them in the comments!