Blogging is never easy and it can be so overwhelming for new bloggers. I myself was a new blogger years ago and I can sympathize with people that say blogging is hard or blogging takes so much time to build. It’s a lot of learning and mistakes will happen. To help new bloggers have peace of mind, here is a current list of blogging tools that I use for my own blog.
Before I continue, I’d like to share that links below may contain my affiliate links. What it means is that I could receive a small commission if you click on a link of the product or service that I use myself and recommend to you.
My first blog was with GoDaddy but after seeing the prices with BlueHost, I didn’t look back. BlueHost definitely came out as the best provider for folks on a budget.
Since I pay for hosting, I go with WordPress.Org as my blog’s platform. I never go with a free platform even if it’s tempting. My reason is that I want to treat my blog as a business and have something to ‘Own’. If you have WordPress.Com, it’s a free website but you don’t own it. WordPress does. Which means they can shut it down anytime they want to. It’s scary and it does happen. I would rather pay for hosting and have my very own platform than risk losing all my hard work.
I got my premium blog theme from ThemeForest over at Envato Marketplace. My theme is called Anni. I prefer a paid theme over a free theme due to SEO and the fact that I can theme support. Whichever way you go, there are really good themes for both the free and paid version. Just go with what you can afford.
I am currently using MailChimp for email marketing mostly because it’s free. My list is still small so as it grows I can think of switching plans or switching providers later.
If you need help setting up your campaigns, I would direct you to a video from Natrualvita. I found her video to be super helpful when I first started out with MailChimp. Her video also ties in with some of my plugins below.
Here’s a list of blogging tools that I like to call plugins. The short description is a mix of my own and the plugin’s author.
AdRotate: I am affiliated with a few products and I use this plugin to rotate and display a product.
Akistmet Anti-Spam: Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from spam. Your site is fully configured and being protected, even while you sleep.
CommentLuv: Reward your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment. Encourage a community and discover new posts.
Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights: A quick glance of how my page is doing without actually logging into the Google Analytics page.
Gravatar: Not a plugin but it’s something that you want to sign up for. A photo that you upload will display in the comments section. It’ll show your picture next to your comment instead of the Mystery Man silhouette.
Inline Related Posts: Related posts I can insert between paragraphs of a post.
Jetpack by WordPress.Com: Bring the power of the WordPress.com cloud to your self-hosted WordPress. Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
MailChimp for WordPress: MailChimp for WordPress by ibericode. Adds various highly effective sign-up methods to your site.
Pretty Links: Shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website! I have a free printable for you to keep all your links organized. Stay tuned until the very end.
Related Posts by Taxonomy: Display related posts as thumbnails, links, excerpts or as full posts with a widget or shortcode. Posts with the most terms in common will display at the top.
Optin Forms: Create beautiful opt-in forms with ease. Choose a form design, customize it, and add your form to your blog with a simple mouse-click.
StarBox: A pretty cool widget that displays your photo, bio, latest posts and social media icons. You can have it displayed at the beginning of a post or at the end.
WP Broken Link Status Checker: Checks all links on my blog and sends a report to me so show what’s broken.
Yoast SEO: The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more.
For editing images for my blog, I use PicMonkey. I like how it’s so easy to use and navigate my way around. I started off with the free trial but because I’ve used it so many times in that time frame and after my trial ended I had to find another similar program. It didn’t compare so I ended purchasing a plan and I have no regrets about it.
The free version that I compared PicMonkey with is Canva. Canva is pretty good and has cute templates but the first time I used it, I got frustrated with navigating through their site.
I had bought a few educational materials so far to help me with my blog and anything educational should definitely be on the list of blogging tools. There are so many courses out there that I just want to buy them all but I refrain from doing that. I can only concentrate on so many things in a day that if I try to add on another thing my head will explode. One thing at a time is what I need to do so that I don’t feel overwhelmed.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents has been praised by so many bloggers and I can see why. The first time I had started a blog, it was all over the place. It failed big time. With that first blog, I tried my hand at affiliate marketing and honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing. Michelle created this course in a way that is so simple to understand, especially for new bloggers. Through her course, it helped me realized all the mistakes I’ve been doing with my first blog and why it failed. This is definitely recommended if you want to blog or are already blogging.
Traffic Transformation Guide. Lena Gott over at What Mommy Does list 21 strategies she did to increase her monthly page views. Her course is packed with so much information that even though I completed it, I’m slowly applying what I learned to my blog. I still refer to it here and there to keep her tips fresh in my mind.
On a side note:
- If you’d like some help with setting up your blog, I created some instructions here.
- If you don’t have a blog yet, I highly recommend that you write at least 25-30 posts. It’s been such a struggle for me with finding the time to write with no interruptions. Because of this, I am not consistent with posting up new content on my blog. Writing this many posts in advance before you even build your blog is a smart idea. This way, once you do have your blog up and running, visitors can read more posts that you wrote.
- I also created some printables for you that could help keep your blog organized. Yes, I’m a bit of a nerd and I like to be organized. I used these myself and have so far been very useful. Click on the image below and I’ll send you the secret password.
Now that you have seen my list of blogging tools, is there any that you would recommend?
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Helpful Resources that I’d Like to Share:
Below you’ll find my top resources for blogging, saving money & more!
Save Money on Groceries: This has been such a struggle for me since day 1 and I always go over budget with grocery shopping on certain weeks. But as long as I stick with my plan, I have my shopping list, and I leave the boyfriend home then I’ll be fine.
$5 Meal Plan: This has been such a time saver for me! This relates to my resource above on grocery shopping. I struggled with meal prepping because I just don’t have the time to spend looking for recipes. I decided to try this out because I have seen popular bloggers mention it and curiosity got the best of me. The system sends my recipes and shopping list sent to me every Friday and the recipes are so easy to cook. Time has always been against me and this service definitely helps me.
Personal Capital: Do you know what your net worth is currently? Instead of logging into many accounts to track my net worth, I rely on one service. Personal Capital tracks your investments, expenses, and savings. The best thing about this? It’s free!
Free Printables: I went a bit crazy and created a bunch of my own printables that I use for myself to help keep me organized. I also find some amazing printables online that I’d like to share with you. You access everything if you sign up below. I’ll send you the password and the library is yours to enjoy!
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