What are the best blogging tools and resources I recommend? This is a question that I am asked frequently. So here is a list of best blogging tools and resources that will make your life easier.
This is a list of tools that I have personally used for my blog or those I have set up on client websites and few are what have been recommended to me by other bloggers I trust.
I intend to keep on updating this list regularly as I am continuously trying out new things and learning.
BEST Blogging tools and resources I recommend (most of them are Free)
What Blogging Platform to Use?
WordPress – Best Blogging PLatform
I recommend WordPress.org any day. It is open source so we get a variety of free plugins and themes. I have built multiple websites including mine here and its a blogging platform of choice for most bloggers I know.
I have even moved some of the websites from Blogger to WordPress in the past few years. So thus I will not suggest Blogger or WIX as a platform of my choice.
For those starting out you can build a website on Free WordPress.com and then once you are ready to take on blogging seriously (ideally have atleast 50 posts or lesser) you can buy hosting from my recommended hosting provider and move to WordPress.org. (If you need any help with the movement feel free to connect with me anytime)
If you want to learn How to start a Free WordPress.com Correctly I have a full course on the same. Click here to check out How to start A free WordPress blog
Related – What is WordPress.org versus WordPress.com
Which Hosting to buy?
There are multiple web hosting in market and you will find multiple online reviews to get started. I bought my first hosting based on such a review and ended up cancelling it in 2 days.
Most of the reviews online are driven by affiliate marketing (Yes I too include affiliate marketing links for the products I have used and recommend).
But sadly not everyone includes reviews of products they have used and not all reviews online are genuine. Thus after I started blogging I have come to trust recommendation of people I know more 🙂
I personally like below service providers for Hosting. If you want to know about each in details you can read Recommended Hosting providers here
I have included hosting providers I recommend in the order I recommend below
Siteground – Best WordPress hosting for Beginners
This is one of the best hosting provider out there. They provide good uptime and excellent service. Go here -> WordPress hosting and Start up plan – if you have one website. If you have more than one website go for their intermediate plan.
Tip – Take for a longer period of time as the initial discounts wont be available all the time. Once your initial discount is over you can move your site to other hosting providers. like one in my list below
Here is a step by step tutorial on how to start a blog using Siteground
Chemicloud – Lesser known but great hosting provider
This is a hidden gem I came across via another blogger friend. And now I have both my websites there along with my clients website set up there. I just love their support.
So if you decide to move to them. Go here -> WordPress Hosting and WordPress starter plan. Take this plan if you have one website and then chat with them or raise a ticket and they will transfer your self hosted for Free.
(the best part is the price remains consistent always)
Bluehost.com or Dreamhost – Other popular hosting providers
These are the third in my list. They are also good options but I would suggest that you go with either of the two hosting providers I suggested above
Click here to save 4$ per month and get started with Bluehost.com at only 3.95$ per month
I actually started my first website with Dreamhost and they have good support but they provide live chat support only during US hours which honestly was not that big an issue as I actually got to work on blogs only at night.
You can save $50 if you Sign up using this link. (Hosting starting 2.59$ per month)
Hosting providers to avoid
Bluehost India and Godaddy. I have not had a good experience with them. Godaddy does not provide Free SSL like others I have mentioned above and has less up time.
Tools for Graphic Design
Well this is my favourite! It has a free version that you can use for almost anything. If you are blogging you definitely need good pictures for your blogs, for your social media and everything in between.
Here is a quick tutorial on how you can create Logo using Canva
I am actually using Canva Pro as well for multiple months.
Try Canva for free here.
Also if you are not very well versed with designs you can easily buy Canva templates, just change the text and start using it.
This the best time saving tip that has worked for me. And I love these templates. For example if you want to make an ebook just get this template and get started with. If you need a social media kit – You can get these
This is something I bought recently and yes I am in love with it 🙂
Reasons I love Stencil
Simply because its much more faster and intuitive than Canva and saves me load of time. Specially in creating pins and images for Instagram. See it in action below
Try Stencil for Free now
I can use any picture I want and just open in Stencil and start working on it (no downloading, no uploading necessary). Then again after the design is done I can just directly pin it on Pinterest.
Also it has multiple quotes and paid pictures with in the tool so it very easy to make quotes that really helps me in Instagram
My major engagement on Instagram have come from quote pics I created using Stencil. For example below one
I mean I personally feel
Time is money as I have so much to do and very less time so I feel this magic tool is worth my investment.
Click here to try Stencil for Free now
This is another great option for those who need graphic designs – Logos, websites, book covers and more.
Its a great resource for bloggers and businesses. Get a custom design done by talented designers and grow your business or blog.
And if you are good at designing, join and make designs for others.
Check out services by multiple designers at 99 Designs
Tools and services for Email Marketing
Before I talk about Tools for email marketing. Let us understand why you need email marketing – mainly to get traffic and make sales.
If someone comes to our blog, it makes much more sense to capture their email id (also called lead generation) and send them relevant mails.
In case if the person is reading your blog – it is likely that he or she may be interested in future ones as well.
So if you have not yet starter your list – its time to do so now.
I have created list and set up automation for businesses and bloggers and I can assure you that they have loved it and found having an email list very useful.
Ok, now what to use for email marketing. Check below for tools and services I have used for email marketing
For beginners this is the best option to get started with specially if you look from perspective of pricing. It offers a free plan till 2000 subscribers.
So to begin with you can get started with this and later switch to other options
Click here to get started with Mailchimp today
I have recently shifted to Mailerlite after hearing multiple good things about it and honestly am loving the transition. I love how I can make various embedded forms and how easy it is to set up automation .
As from what I have seen so far its more intuitive and easier to follow. Though it does have a paid option after we reach 1000 subscribers.
I personally feel that if I had to start all over again – I would have started with Mailerlite
Other options for email marketing once you have finished free limits
Once you are above 2000 subscribers – the other email marketing options that I can recommend are Aweber and ConvertKit
Tools and services for Social Media Management
Managing Social media can be time taking. I use Buffer for scheduling my posts on social media for a week and then come again and do it :-).
Its quite a time saver honestly
Check out how to schedule your content using Buffer. Try Buffer for free today
I also use Hootsuite for scheduling and posting my content. Why above 2 – because in Free plans there is a limitation to number of social accounts we can create.
Try Hootsuite for Free today and save time
If you are looking for something like Buffer, you can consider Social Pilot. Their paid plans are cheaper than Buffer and I like their content discovery option and chrome extension (again time saver).
I am leaning towards getting social pilot for my social media profiles. I will update the blog when I do with my inputs.
But its definitely something in my TO DO list.
You can try Social Pilot for FREE by clicking here
Tools and plugins for making your website fast
A fast website is essential for user experience and SEO. This is one area we don’t worry or plan much about when we are selecting themes or building a website. And as our blog grows – the website keeps on getting heavier due to data and images on the website (apart from other things of course)
One way that I have started using since last year is this WordPress plugin. After I installed this plugin my site speed has becoming much better than what it was.
As a good practice we should always optimize our image for size. And believe me I have tried various plugins (I was on SMUSH before) but this worked for me. So I am now on their paid plan for both my websites. They do have a free plan that offers some number of images per month.
How to set up Short Pixel for FREE (instead of paid plans)
After you click go to “COMPRESS”tab at the top and click on “Sign up for FREE”. Generate your key and set it up on your website.
(You may also be interested in reading How to optimize your image for SEO)
Tools for Productivity and Team Management
Google Doc, Google Forms and Google sheets are great help to all bloggers small businesses. I use google sheets for keywords research. Google forms for collecting data and Google docs for capturing my ideas when writing blogs.
If you have not tried them out, please do so. They are awesome, versatile and FREE.
Trello boards, lists and cards helps you prioritize, organize and manage work. It works great when you have a team but also when you are a solopreneur (blogger)
When we work digitally, the work we do is intangible. Such boards are great to help us visualize work we need to do and complete it. Otherwise if you are like me – I have so many ideas, so much work in progress at any one point of time. This visualisation shows me exactly that and help me in getting work completed and get something done each week
I had posted about an easy way to create boards and concentrate on getting work done or completed recently. Our aim needs to be finishing all the work that’s in progress – Simple motto
Technically we call such boards Kanban boards but Trello is a great way to visualize work and finish it faster.
Try Trello for FREE here
Do you know you can also use Trello for manual pinning organization. Check out this awesome resource that helps you learn that.
You can also use Trello to create, simplify and streamline Blog processes. Learn how to do that here
For more such tips follow me @bloggingmadeeasier on Instagram
This is a great tool for recording and keeping notes anywhere. You can take notes, share them with anyone, take web clips and a lot more.
I love this and am trying to use multiple features of Evernote currently. You will hear more on this soon. May be a separate blog post on how its helping me organize my blogging and life
Click here to Try Evernote for FREE (you get one month Evernote premium as well)
Tools for Analytics
There is only one tool that I would recommend for analytics. That is Google analytics.
I have seen multiple bloggers using Jetpack (which is heavy plugin) or not using analytics at all.
Knowing and checking your analytics s very important specially if you want to grow your blog and make it profitable. So if you still do not have Google analytics set up then it is time for you to do so.
If you want me to set it up for you. Just connect with me here.
Start with Google Analytics for FREE here
Also, just setting it up is not enough, You need to use it correctly and understand your blog analytics.
I found this book very comprehensive and easy to follow, if you are serious about blogging and want to understand Google Analytics
Get this ebook here.
Tools for SEO
If you have a WordPress blog then get this Free Plugin – Yoast. Its really helpful.
But believe me only doing this and getting a green light at bottom of you post is not SEO. This is just the first step.
SEO is multiple things – how you write blogs (On page optimization), How many blogs link to your blog and here we are talking about good backlinks (Off page Optimization), What to write about (Keyword strategy) and there is a lot more. I do have a complete book that cover SEO basics and you can get it here – SEO simplified for bloggers
But first step is to get started with something so when you are setting up your WordPress blog – Install, Activate and Set up Yoast. I do it for all websites I create
Get Started with WordPress Yoast Plugin for Free
It also has a paid version and I am using it for our site on Parenting and Crafts Blogs. If you have kids check it out and join in for free worksheets we send weekly.
Note – My experience is don’t pay a SEO person thousands of bucks to do SEO for you. Most of them apply techniques that are not good for your sites. Do a course and invest in yourself so that you know what is working and what is not.
Resources to Learn SEO
- Best Book to learn ON PAGE Optimization – Click here
- Best Book for Off page Optimization and getting back links – Click here
- The best course I have done on SEO is this, you can do it whenever you have the budget.
I personally have bought above so I know the information is good.
Tools for Keyword Research (SEO)
Here are tools that you can use for keyword research.
More than what tools you use, believe me it is how you use the tool to get the information your need. I have covered basics of keywords research in this SEO book for bloggers
Google Keyword Planner
Its a Free tool that you can use for keyword planning.
I love SEMrush as a tool – You can use it for keyword research, competitor analysis and a lot more. SEMRUSH is paid but here are few links to try it FREE
Try SEMRUSH Guru subscription for FREE by clicking here (Usually its 199$ per month)
Try SEMRUSH PRO subscription for FREE by clicking here (Usually its 99$ per month)
Another tool I find really really useful. But its not FREE you can try it for a week for $7.
Try AHREFs for a week by clicking here
Blogging Tools for Monetisation (earning money)
This is the most known Ad network and is reliable as well. But the payout is very less if you have less traffic. But if you are interested its a great way to get started.
Apply for Google Adsense here
I have helped multiple bloggers get approved for Google Adsense after their initial application was rejected So if you need help feel free to connect with me.
The other two networks are Mediavine and Monumetric.
This is my favourite way of monetising so far. Amazon has a wide variety of products and works well with most bloggers of all niche.
I have a detailed guide on how to get started with Amazon affiliate India. Click here to read.
Also, applying and getting approved for Amazon affiliate India is just the first step.
We need to know how to use the links generated. I personally have started earning money from Amazon affiliate recently and what really really helped me is this course from Jennifer.
I have done multiple courses but I found this course to be the most useful and total value of money
There are multiple networks you can join for Affiliate marketing but the strategy remains same. I would also recommend if you learn more about Affiliate marketing. This course on Affiliate marketing for bloggers helped me a lot.
FOUND THIS RECOMMENDED BLOGGING TOOLS AND RESOURCES GUIDE USEFUL
DON’T FORGET TO PIN IT FOR LATER
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