A useful tool can make your life easier. As a blogger, you need some helpful blogging tools to make your blogging life a lot easier! This post will share all the useful tools that every blogger needs!
Note: I am a budget blogger and like to use my money wisely in blogging and my life. If free tools come with a good service, I always use the free ones. I only pay what is necessary when running a blog. If you are on a budget, I highly recommend you start with the free plan first.
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#1 WordPress.org + Self-Hosted Blog
If you treat your blog seriously or you want to make money from blogging, you should invest in a self-hosted blog!
When I first started five years ago, I started with a free Google blog. I was very conservative and not sure if I would take my blog seriously. It turned out that I love blogging and so regretted that I started with the free blog platform.
One year later, I decided to treat my blog as a business. I transferred my Google Blogger Site to a WordPress.org blog. It took me quite some money since I hired the professional team for it. If you start with a self-hosted blog, it can save you time and money to hire someone to transfer your free blog to a self-hosted blog. I made a big mistake when I started, so I hope you would launch your blog the right way.
Once you decide to have a self-hosted blog, then you can build your blog yourself. Trust me; it is very easy! In the past, you probably needed some IT background to do it, but luckily nowadays, anyone can do it since the web-hosting companies make it so easy to build your blog.
To build a blog with your own domain name, you need three things:
- Use WordPress.org to build your site.
- Have a web-hosting company
- Domain name
Why start a WordPress.org blog?
I highly recommend using wordpress.org, not Wix or Squarespace. Trust me, WordPress.org is the best platform to start your blog because:
- Many big companies, like Techcrunch, Bloomberg, use wordpress.org to build their website.
- Easy to navigate for anyone without any tech background (like me!)
- Since many people use wordpress.org, hundreds of plugins are for you to install for free on your wordpress.org blog.
If you don’t know what a plugin is, it is like an app for your mobile phone, and once you install it, you can use many additional functions for your phone!
Think about this: you have an android phone, but the app only supports iOS; you cannot even use it. WordPress.org blog is just like your iPhone; many apps support the iOS system. However, if you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t even have the chance to use it.
Now, you understand why you need a wordpress.org blog. The next thing is: you need a web hosting plan and a domain name.
Why do you need a domain name and a web-hosting?
Every self-hosted blog needs a domain name and a web hosting plan.
If you are new, let me use an example to explain: if some visits you, you need to give them an address, so the domain name is just like the address of where you live.
The house or apartment is where you live, and in the blogging world, you need a web hosting plan to store your blog data, so people can visit your blog posts by visiting your domain name.
Is it easy to understand? If not, please leave a comment so that I can explain better.
Which Web hosting company is the best?
As mentioned earlier, every blog needs a web-hosting plan, and you can have it from the web-hosting companies.
Here, I would like to recommend BlueHost. BlueHost has a good reputation and makes it very easy to install wordpress.org into your blog for anyone without any prior blogging experience. In addition, they have great customer service!
#2 WordPress Themes
WordPress themes are the style of your blog. If you install it, you can make your blog friendly and professional.
The WordPress theme is the best thing to invest in, next to your self-hosting plan and domain name. It is not necessary to buy paid WordPress themes, but it’s worth the investment.
If you treat your blog like a business, it is for sure worth the money to invest. It helps blog visitors read your blog easier and make your blog stand out from other blogs.
Why you should buy WordPress themes
I first started with a free WordPress theme and was skeptical about the paid themes. When I used the paid theme, I so regretted that I did not buy the paid themes in the first place.
Here are the reasons why you should use a paid themes:
- Make your blog professional: professionals carefully design all the paid themes. Once you install the paid themes, you have a beautiful and professional blog without any programming skills.
- Mobile Responsive: for my blog, more than 70% of the visitors use their mobile to view my blog, so it is crucial to have a mobile responsive WordPress theme.
The free themes usually do not have the best mobile responsive design, so I switched to the paid WordPress themes.
According to the latest updates from Google, they will rank blogs/websites with mobile responsive design higher since most of their users are with mobile phones.
- Updates regularly: paid themes updates more frequently than free themes. These companies update the themes to ensure that your blog is free from spams and viruses.
Things to know before paying for WordPress themes
If you have decided to buy paid WordPress themes, please keep the below factors in mind:
- Buy the paid themes from trustworthy companies to ensure the quality
- Check if they update their paid themes regularly
- Usually, you can only apply to one paid theme to one blog since you only get one activation code. Check this before your pay
- Do not buy paid themes at a low price. If the theme below $50, the quality is not that good.
Where to buy paid WordPress themes
For this blog, the theme is from Astra Pro, a world-famous WordPress theme company. For my travel blog Under Dutch Sky, it is with Authority Pro from StudioPress. I recommend both to my readers! Astra Pro does not slow down your sites and help you build professional websites easily. Authority Pro is build with Genesis Framework, so it helps with your rank higher in the search research and make beautiful blogs without any coding skills. You should check them out!
There are A LOT of paid themes to choose from. If you are a female blogger or business owners, I highly recommend checking Bluchic, their WordPress themes are highly recommended by bloggers!
Tailwind is the best tool to use for all new bloggers.
For new bloggers, it is essential to write good content and also attract people to your blog. How to do it? Use Pinterest!
Best way to drive traffic by using Pinterest
Pinterest is the best way to drive traffic to your site for new bloggers. With Google, you need six months to 1 year to have a decent amount of blog traffic, but with Pinterest, you can do it within three months.
Why you need Tailwind
Based on the Pinterest Algorithm, if others share your pins, that means your pins are popular and useful for their readers. With that concept in mind, you need Tailwind, so you can join Tailwind Tribe, a group that gathers all the content creators to share each other’s pins.
I got 1,000 visitors from Pinterest within two months after using Tailwind. It’s worth the investment.
Here are two courses that help drive traffic to your blog from Pinterest:
Pinterest Traffic Explosion by Shruti ($99): This is the second Pinterest course I took since I liked to try different techniques! The course covers everything you need to know about Pinterest and the right starter course. The original price is $297 (yes, this is what I paid), but now on big promotion on AppSumo. Be sure to grab it before the offer expires.
Pinterest Avalance by Create and Go ($197): a course highly recommended by many bloggers. The first course I took, and it worked for me! A lot of useful strategies and tips for bloggers.
Talking about writing posts in English, Grammarly is one of my favorite tools. It checks your grammar and helps you have English sentences more locally.
They have free and paid plans. You can start with the free plan first and if you are satisfied with it, upgrade to paid plans anytime.
A useful tip for bloggers: turn off the Chrome extension from Grammarly when you are not writing your blog posts since it could slow the page loading time.
#5 Free Stock Photos
You need at least one nice photo for any blog posts, but most of us don’t have nice and professional photos on hand, and free stock photos are your best friend!
Many websites offer free stock photos to download. Here is the list of my favorite sites for free images:
Pixistock, a paid Membership program for Female Entrepreneurs, offers quality pictures and templates on Canva! Templates are for your social media, ebook, or workbooks! After joining Pixistock, I don’t need to lookup free photos online, which saves me a lot of time! Also, they have a lot of Canva templates! They look great and save me a lot of time! They also have content calendars, you can try 30-day social media calendar for free!
#6 Photo Editing Tools
Canva is an Australian company that offers a wide variety of templates for Pinterest, Instagram, ebook, etc. Their free plan offers more than enough for me, so I have never used their paid plan! Actually, I always use their free plan.
ShortPixel is a free plugin that automatically optimizes your photos to improve your website performance. They optimize a limited amount of pictures per month, so if you use this plugin from your blog’s start, you do not need to pay extra money for it.
#7 Keywords search Tools
The keywords search tool is a must-have tool for every blogger. With the right keywords, your blog posts will rank higher in search engines.
If you want to use a paid plan, then highly recommend KeySearch. They do a thorough analysis for you. Start your free trial today.
#8 Shorten your links
Pretty Links is a free plugin that shortens any URL and makes the link concise and easy to remember. It is a must-have plugin for every blogger!
Suppose you have an affiliate marketing link, which is often very long and complicated. In that case, it looks terrible when you share it publicly. With pretty links, you can shorten the URL under your domain.
For example, my blog is heronlineempire.com, and if I would like to share an affiliate link for a course, I make a link like http://heronlineempire.com/xxx(product name), and it will redirect to your affiliate link.
#9 Email Service Providers
Collecting your email list is the best way to monetize your blog.
If you would like to promote your product, you can enable it on your blog post, and most likely, not many readers would notice it or not even click on it.
With an email list, you can share this information with the audience in the email! You force them to read your promotion when they open the email from you.
To build an email list, you need help from the email service providers. I recommend MailerLite on a budget or ConvertKit if you would like to invest in your blog.
The free plan from MailerLite is the perfect free tool for budget bloggers! You can have an email automation service, sign up pop-ups, and can have up to 1,000 subscribers for free.
If you are on a budget, start with MailerLite, so you do not have an excuse not to build your email list now.
ConvertKit is the best email marketing tool for bloggers. A famous blogger creates ConvertKit to know what the bloggers need and offers the best solution.
Convertkit now has a free plan, but you need an invitation to it. Click here to start the free trial today by accepting my invitation
#10 Sell your own products
One way to monetize your blog is to sell your products. It can be ebooks, templates, or online products, and it can be anything! It can be anything, as long as someone is willing to pay!
If you are thinking of making extra money from digital products, you can first create your ebook. SendOwl is your best buddy for this; with only $9 a month, you can start selling your online products! It is very affordable.
If you would like to host online courses or a monthly membership service, then Podia is your best friend! You can start with their mover plan, and the price is very affordable too! If you would like to host your affiliate marketing program, you need to pick the Shaker plan ($79), and you get 2-month free if you are on the yearly subscription. That’s a lot cheaper than Teachable!
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Last Updated on January 3, 2023 by heronlineempire