When you are starting a blog, you don’t know how many hats you’ll need to wear in your blogging career. And you don’t know how many different software tools you will need to learn and use on a daily basis. You’ll need many!
But that is not the worst part. The worst part is when you discover that for each category of tools there are dozens and sometimes hundreds of options to choose from.
Just look at the catalog of WordPress themes… and keeeeeep looking because you will have to choose just one of these.
Now do you still want to be a blogger?
If the answer is yes, that’s good because this blog post will save you hours upon hours of research. You will also avoid doing a few refund requests because I will only give you the best options that I tried and tested.
You see, I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now, I can’t say I have tried it ALL but I have enough experience to share with you my top list of blogging tools in this post!
Now, I will talk about lots of tools in this post and I will say.. your blogging journey will be a long one. And you won’t need all the tools right now. So if you want to get back to this list of tools in a nicely organized PDF, here is a Blogging Tools checklist you can download immediately.
WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
Before we start with the best tools for bloggers, you might want to know that blogging involves several steps. You’ll start with choosing your blog niche, then organizing data related to the idea of your blog post, writing SEO-friendly articles, designing appealing graphics, building a community, and promoting everything.
But it doesn’t mean you’ll have to hire someone to start and manage your blog. You can totally do it yourself using the best blogging tools that will help you from step one.
And the first step would be well… actually creating your blog. Here you’ll need to first understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
WordPress is the #1 most used and best blogging platform when it comes to making blogs or websites. Sure, you can start with their free blog hosting platform – WordPress.com – but the downside to this is that you will have very little control over your blog.
Meaning, you can only place your site under a subdomain (something like yoursite.worpress.com), you will have limited disk space, and you won’t be able to place your own ads.
WordPress.com is a place where you won’t really have the freedom to gain passive income from your blog post – since, again, the website is not yours to own and manage. Plus, your website URL will look like this: yourname.wordpres.com which is not really a professional looking one, right?
If you just go to WordPress.org and download WordPress website builder which is totally free by the way, then you’ll build a self-hosted blog. You will have full control over everything in your blog, you can install the necessary tools, have your own custom domain (yoururl.com), and put up ads! So, if you want to earn passive income, then WordPress.org is the way to go.
At WordPress.org, you can:
- download a free copy of the open source WordPress software
- learn about WordPress
- get involved and contribute to the development of WordPress
- meet other WordPress users and participate in the incredible WordPress community
- have freedom to customize your blog or website
- you can use and integrate powerful blogging tools for analytics, keyword / SEO optimization, and more.
- you can start selling your own products or courses
So to be able to get started with your self hosted blog, WordPress.org has to be set up with your hosting provider so let’s talk about that.
The Best Web Hosting Providers
If you are not building a self-hosted site, you will not be able to put ads on your site and essentially you can’t make money with your blog. Your site may also become laggy or load really slow if use a free hosting platform, and you technically don’t own the site. The platform owns it. Aside from this, having a self hosted site will let you have your own domain name.
So, to be able to have a successful money-making website, we need to pay for hosting. But can you start with a very affordable plan? Yes, I started my blog with Bluehost.
Bluehost is the leading hosting provider for beginner bloggers, especially if you plan to build your blog on WordPress. Which you should by the way. Don’t use Squarespace or Wix. I don’t want to go into a lot of details on that here, but these platforms can look a bit easier for beginners but they are very limited in the long run.
Forget about anything except WordPress if you are building a blog.
As for the hosting, Bluehost has the most affordable plans for beginner bloggers. You can host your WordPress blog with them at a price as low as $2.95/month! And you get 24-hour customer support through chat and this is so important for anyone who is just starting a blog.
Plus, you can get a free domain name for the first year, and a free SSL certificate (https secure address for your blog).
If you want to get a special discount through my link, check it out in the description below this video.
Bluehost is a great option for beginners but when your blog starts getting a lot more traffic, then site speed becomes your priority. And if you start making some real money with your blog, you’d rather pay for a Managed WordPress hosting. In the last year or so, I’ve been using for my blogs Bigscoots.
They provide unmatched support and I can sleep better at night knowing my websites are in good hands.
If you are in the right place to paying around $100 a month for hosting, then check the link to this provider in the description below as well.
WordPress Premium Themes
Now that you have your domain, the next and probably one of the most important steps is to choose a WordPress theme that doesn’t only look niche but also makes your site fast. Sitespeed is crucial for both your rankings in Google and for the potential ad income. Sure, you can get the default and free WordPress themes but there are several setbacks to this.
First, your site could look too similar to other sites that are using the same free theme. Next, you won’t really have any customer support in case you need help. And lastly, customization options could be very limited.
I am using Astra theme on one of my blogs. It makes my blog fast, and you can start with a free version. I am using the paid version of this theme and there is a certain level of support but I would say there is definitely room for improvement in terms of support for Astra theme.
My next favorite premium theme is called Divi. It can make your site a bit slower than it would be with Astra, but it has a great community and customer support, and the theme itself gives you very impressive tools for customization. You don’t have to hard-code anything because they have this amazing Divi editor. It’s perfect for a newbie blogger. Seriously.
And they have a 30-day money-back guarantee, by the way, so you can try the theme with no risk at all. But I’m sure you will fall in love with this theme! Again, check all the links in the description below.
Now let’s talk about the email marketing tools I can recommend
When starting a blog most people kind of ignore email marketing but it’s a crucial part of building a long-lasting connection with your audience. Aside from writing compelling and conversational blog posts, you should also constantly reach out to them with emails that are relevant to your blog.
You could email them short blog-like posts, product recommendations, and more. Through this, your audience could actually reply to you and have a one-on-one conversation with you.
But to successfully do this, you will need a high-quality email marketing tool so that your emails don’t end up in the spam folders too often.
Let me first tell you what I don’t recommend here. It’s Mailchimp. It’s probably the one you’ll hear about a lot and it has a free plan but the downside is your email open rates will be very low with this provider.
Meaning, for a lot of your subscribers, your newsletter will go directly to the Spam folder. Also, Mailchimp has a lot of user experience issues, I don’t feel comfortable with the interface.
I personally use ConvertKit and it even has a free plan to try the software. I think it’s the best email provider for bloggers. I love the feature which allows you to resend emails only to people who didn’t open your latest newsletter.
I also love in ConvertKit that when I edit a sequence, it doesn’t get paused and I don’t have to republish it over and over after making little changes. It’s such a lifesaver because with Mailchimp I used to forget about republishing, and so my sequences sometimes stayed on pause for a few days!
And Convertkit somehow happens to have smooth integrations with about anything in the world. Any software that I even needed to use for my online business had CK on the list of integrations.
Another great email marketing tool or software is Moosend. It is an easy email marketing automation software that includes all the benefits of email marketing minus the coding. So yes, this is perfect for beginners in email marketing who want to grow their email list.
They have advanced automation software and extra features that includes:
- Email Automation Templates
- Drag & Drop Automation Editor
- Website and User Tracking
- Advanced Reporting
- And more!
You can even start creating beautiful landing pages in no time with their premade email marketing templates. And of course, they also offer you analytics and insights where you can collect valuable data effortlessly and share your forms across all your online channels with their feature-packed form editor.
Now, I will also mention Deadline Funnel in this section although it’s not exactly an email provider. It’s a software that you might need to use if you sell products and create landing pages and evergreen funnels on your blog. This tool is a great way to increase conversions and generate more sales with authentic evergreen marketing.
So it’s a pretty advanced tool you might need it further down the line in your online business. It’s the best tool for creating real urgency in an evergreen funnel with countdown timers that can be added and synced across multiple platforms including your website, landing pages, webinar pages, and your emails.
The best thing about this tool is that they offer tons of helpful features to help you grow as a blogger and grow your audience including:
- Add Upsells to Post-Optin Pages
- Email Sequences with Special Offers
- Automated Webinars
- And more!
Their paid plan starts at $49 per month.
Image Optimization and Editing Tools
You will have to keep your readers entertained when they visit your blog or blog posts. Too much text can bore them or even make them dizzy.
You have to break down your sentences or paragraphs with images. The same goes for your blog homepage; you have to attract them with beautiful images. Once you have found some beautiful images for your website and blog posts, there may be times when you need to edit them or make a collage out of them.
I use Canva for everything. Canva is a free, web-based tool that allows you to easily create and design images for your posts, product images, social media graphics, and more. What’s good about this is you can get tons of templates and graphics for free that you can use for your blog posts or social media platforms!
I personally love Canva especially when I need to make pins for my blog posts.
You can also access Canva through their mobile app on your mobile devices which is a huge help especially if you can’t be on your laptop all the time.
You can use Canva completely for free but if you want to unlock more templates and features, then you can upgrade to their premium version which can also allow you to add more team members to your account!
Now let’s talk about Keyword Research and SEO Tools
It is not enough to just make great content. If you want your website or blog posts to rank up in Google search results and reach your target audience, then you should also focus on your website SEO. This means that you will have to do keyword research basically every time you make a new blog post or a page on your site.
In a nutshell, keyword research is especially important for SEO, or search engine optimization, which helps your content get found in search engines like Google (or Pinterest and YouTube).
Sure, you can do keyword research by getting search suggestions on Google. But if you want to be really a pro at SEO, then here are some tools I personally use.
This is a browser extension that will show you keyword volume and some additional keyword ideas right in the search results. It’s very affordable on a monthly fee so great even for beginners. There are some pretty expensive SEO tools that cost over $100 a month, but I am not going to recommend them to beginners because I know you are on a tight budget.
You can also try Ubersuggest which is a free keyword research tool that specializes in generating new keyword ideas. Aside from keyword ideas, you will be able to see the search volume, the competition, and even seasonal trends for each keyword. This is perfect if you want to know more about your competitors and be on track with whatever’s trending.
Yoast SEO or Rank Math
Now on your website, you will need to have an SEO plugin. Most WordPress themes already have Yoast SEO installed by default, but if your site doesn’t have it, then go ahead and install the plugin. Yoast SEO is your best friend when it comes to optimizing your content for keywords.
The plugin offers a premium upgrade but you can do so much in the free version like adding your meta-descriptions which is important for Google SEO.
You can install Rank Math if your blog is new because this plugin offers even more advanced features with its free plan.
Now that you have a well-optimized website and a bunch of good posts, you need to attract more visitors. And social media is a great place to start.
RankIQ is one of my life savers blogging tools when it comes to optimizing new and existing blog posts for SEO ranking. RankIQ is a one-of-a-kind SEO toolkit designed specifically for bloggers and businesses that run blogs.
It tells you what to include in your post and title, allowing you to create perfectly optimized content very quickly and easily. They also have a library of low competition, high traffic keywords for each niche.
They also have a library of recommended keywords (or a keyword library) that is filled with the lowest competition phrases that also have high traffic potential.
FixSpell.com – If you have a blog for an audience in the UK, Australia, or other English-speaking countries where International spelling is used rather than the American version, you should check this powerful tool. Many freelance writers are taught US English. Rather than manually edit each word through a document, you can use this tool, just cut and paste a blog post in and out of it, to swap English.
It instantly swaps 1,800+ US English words for the International English equivalent (or vice versa) in one click.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that helps you research keywords for your Search campaigns. What this means is that Google Keyword Planner will help you discover new keywords related to your blog post topics and will give you estimates of the searches they receive and the cost to target them.
This keyword planner is especially perfect if you want to get more serious with SEO optimizing your blog posts.
Social Media Sharing
For Pinterest, you’ll need something that allows you to schedule pins up to 20 times a day. Tailwind is the officially authorized Pinterest scheduler. Tailwind also gives optimized and recommended time slots for scheduling your pins when your audience is more active on Pinterest.
Aside from this, you can also use Tailwind to schedule posts on other social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook. If you want to get a free 1-month free trial check out this link.
Grow by Mediavine
What I use on my blogs for social media sharing buttons, is called Grow plugin by Mediavine. It’s highly customizable and allows me to choose where exactly in the post I want to see the buttons – above or below the content. But I really recommend it because it’s the best plugin to control your Pinterest save buttons, images you want to be pinned, and pin descriptions.
And I also want to mention a few other free blogging tools which were hard to categorize but are very important.
Pinterest is the main platform for bloggers and content creators when you want to gain readers and traffic to your website really fast.
Pinterest is not just a social media platform, but also a search engine.
As long as you post eye-catching pins and use the strategies I recommend through my Pinterest SEO Traffics Secrets Course, then you are good to go! My course does not only cover the basics of Pinterest, but I will also teach you how to create attractive and effective pins.
Furthermore, I will also give you some top secrets and strategies I use that can help you rank your pins faster.
Youtube is a great platform to reach an even more targeted and large audience so you can earn website traffic to your blog. In your Youtube channel, you can make videos regarding your niche, and then insert a blog post or two in your video script that contains exclusive information that could not be found on the Youtube video.
Personally, I use Youtube to attract more people to my blog and course. But aside from this, Youtube is also a great money-making strategy when you need some extra income! You can check out my Youtube channel here.
Google Drive is an online file sharing platform that provides a personal, secure cloud storage option to share content with other users. This free tool is a place where you can store, edit, and organize your files without having to take up space on your desktop since you will be basically uploading your files online.
The beauty of this is that, aside from giving you extra space on your desktop, you can access your files anywhere since you can find it online or through their mobile app.
You can also share files and documents with your team members.
Dropbox is another file hosting or sharing platform that you can access for free! You can upload any type of file and access them anywhere and anytime. And yes, they have a mobile app as well!
Dropbox even now has a feature where you can create your eSignature and simplify your workflows! Perfect for when you need to sign some contracts or brand deals.
Google Calendar is a free time management tool that you can use. It’s much easier to plan your day, week, or month of work with this simple tool. Of course, being well organized and not forgetting important tasks helps.
So, if you are someone who needs a constant reminder on what post to make, when to publish the post, and such, then Google Calendar will be your new best friend.
Trello is a free task management tool that you can use. This tool can be useful for long-term content planning. And if you have a short team of writers or maybe a VA, then you can use this tool to help track and plan out your tasks. You can make a plan and streamline your work by assigning tasks and tracking their progress.
Other Free Blogging Tools
The other thing you’ll need to have on the blog is something to prevent spammy comments. Even if you are just a beginner with less than 10 posts, you will receive annoying spam comments if your comments section is activated.
Do you know how frustrating it is to feel so excited when you see you have new comments on your blog but then see that it’s just spam?
The AntiSpam Bee Plugin is the easiest and a free spam blocker WordPress plugin. Antispam Bee blocks spam comments and trackbacks them effectively and without captcha. And it’s compliant with European data privacy standards.
Once you have a website, you will essentially become a writer. And if you know that you can occasionally do typos or mistakes in writing, then you may need a tool to suggest some corrections. This is where Grammarly will become your lifesaver.
This plug-in can correct your grammatical errors and spelling, and even suggest better words and phrases – all for free! I personally love Grammarly because aside from fixing spelling and grammatical errors, it can also detect your tone and give you the proper way on how to form your sentences (based on the tone you are using).
If you want to monitor the success of your blog and blog posts, then you must head straight to Google Analytics. This is a free analytics tool that tracks how many people visit your website.
But Google Analytics gives you so much more than that. You will be able to check how much time your audience spends browsing your blog and the demographics (e.g countries they’re from, gender, etc.). This is a really must-have tool to see if your website is doing well.
If you are a blogger, you would know how important it is to keep a backup of your blog posts in case you accidentally delete your blog post for some reason. This is where Google Docs come in.
Think of Google Docs as Microsoft Word but online.. and it automatically saves your progress so you won’t have the fear of losing your post even when there’s a sudden blackout! Another thing I love about Google Docs is that you and your team can work on a post at the same time or have access to your file by just giving them the link.
Oh, and did I mention that you can have access to Google Docs even on your phone?
Google Search Console can be a little bit confusing but I like to check Core Web Vitals for my blog. I also use the URL Inspection tool when I made an update to a certain page and I want Google to index it again faster.
What is the purpose of blogging tools?
Blogging in itself can be quite too much for one person. First, you will have to find the best hosting, set up the legalities of your blog, find the right theme, install the said theme, write blog posts, insert photos, videos, and other media, monitor the comments, share your blog posts to other social media platforms, and more.
Sounds overwhelming? Well, it can be. That is why you need blogging tools to help make your blogging journey much easier. With the right tools, you can cross off a lot of things in your to-do list and just focus on the more important things – like writing your blog posts!
Through using blogging tools and plugins for your blogs, you will be able to get the following benefits:
- Time management
- More time to focus on your blog itself
From the tools that I have mentioned, you will be able to cross off having to manually schedule and post your blog posts on social media platforms. You will also do not need to monitor each and every spam comment in your comment section. And you will not have to spend hours and hours of keyword research and studying about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I hope that my blogging tools list was able to help you. But let me just clarify that you do not necessarily need to install everything that I mentioned at once. Take it easy and one step at a time.
Can you make money through blogging?
Sure, you have done your research and installed the proper plugins and bookmarked the right tools. Now, what next? Can you really make money through blogging or are these efforts just going to waste?
If you’re still unsure about how to make money from your blog, I’m here to tell you that yes, you can make a more than decent income and living from blogging. When it comes to generating passive income or earning money through blogging, the sky is the limit.
You can make money by:
- participating in affiliate programs and including affiliate links in your blog posts
- selling your own courses or ebooks after establishing a community and a large number of site visitors
- making money through website ads
- collaborating with other companies to obtain sponsorships
- and so much more!
And if you own a small business or run an eCommerce store on the side, then your blog can help you gain site visitors, email leads, and sales.
With that said, I wish you all good luck on your blogging journey!
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I’m Anastasia and I’m a full-time blogger, online entrepreneur, and Pinterest marketing strategist. I help digital entrepreneurs and bloggers drive targeted traffic from Pinterest either through my online courses or through Pinterest consultancy.