There are some tools out there for bloggers and so below I detail my 50 best blogging tools for beginners, that you use both free and paid. This list, by the way, is updated every few months so you might want to pin the image below onto Pinterest as a reminder for the future!
If you wish to go straight to a category you can select a button below:
- SEO Tools
- Tools to start a blog
- Graphics tools
- Content creation
- Creating Digital Products and Productivity
If you are looking to make your site better optimised and suitable for search engines, so that you are more likely to get traffic to your site, these SEO tools are ones I can recommend.
- Why: The WordPress Yoast SEO plugin is one of the most popular SEO plugins for a reason. It is a fantastic easy to use tool that guides you through making each page optimized for search engines. Each page you create (i.e. blog post) should be aimed at ranking for a certain term. A page you create on ‘How to Make a Baked Potato’ on your student cookery blog, should target exactly those words. ‘How to Make a Baked Potato’. In Yoast, you can enter that term onto the Yoast interface and Yoast will guide you on exactly what you need to add in terms of text, headings etc. to make your page optimized for web searches. In essence, it helps you to create pages on your site that will get more traffic!
- Site: https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/
- Cost: Free (but a Premium version is also available).
Google Search Console
- What it does: Data tool.
- Why: This is a completely free tool and given that Google here are proving direct guidance on anything that you need to fix or resolve in order to improve your rankings in Google searches, it would be foolish not to use the search console. Furthermore, it is actually a very useful resource that provides you information on many key aspects of your site including dead links on your site, site traffic and any errors that your site is showing for ranking in search results.
- Site: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home
- Cost: Free
- What it does: Site speed checker.
- Why: Making sure that your site is fast and hence gets given a higher priority in Google Search algorithms is a vital factor when setting up a site. Just enter your sites or blogs address and Pingdom will give you a breakdown of how your site performs in terms of speed, against all other sites online.
- Site: https://tools.pingdom.com
- Cost: Free
- What it does: View site on mobile devices.
- Why: The number of searches that are now taking place on mobile devices (i.e. on cell phones, mobile phones, iPad) is now around 50% in some countries. Having a blog site designed to look good both on computers (laptops and desktops) and on mobile devices is now essential. Not only will it make your site easier for users to navigate on smaller devices but Google also includes this flexibility of sites as a factor in their search algorithms for deciding on where to place your site in search results. Responsinator is extremely easy to use! Just enter the page URL that you want to check and this tool will show how your blog/website looks on a number of devices, including iPad, iPhone, and Android.
- Site: www.responsinator.com/
- Cost: Free
Tools to Start a Blog
- Why: We design all of our sites in WordPress and choose paid templates and consider WordPress one of the best blogging tools for beginners. More than 75 million websites are now said to use WordPress and it is not hard to see why. With WordPress, you can choose from zillions of different pre-designed templates (some free and some paid) and tonnes of plugins that provide a vast range of functionality. You will want to limit how many plugins you use as the more you use, the slower your site speed will be.WordPress is the obvious choice for bloggers and we highly recommend the self-hosted version rather than the free version. (Learn about getting started on Word|press).
- Site: https://wordpress.com/
- Cost: Free
- Why: Bluehost is one of the leaders for providing affordable blogging and website hosting. As host to over 2 million websites, they continue to be a great choice for bloggers. The combination of price + 24/7 support + one-step WordPress installation makes this a fantastic choice for new bloggers who are not particularly technically minded. Some website hosts only provide support during office hours and this can be deeply frustrating we have found. You only need the very basic hosting when you start and the cheapest Bluehost package is only a few dollars a month.
- Site: Bluehost
- Cost: £3.95 a month (at time of writing)
- Why: Convertkit is the king of mailing lists if you are a blogger as this software is designed by a blogger for bloggers. Convertkit makes it super-easy to create leads in your mailing list (and to tag each), sequences of emails to send out to specific people, create embedded forms for your site etc. Other mail list packages have some of the same features but what sets Convertkit apart is the ease with which you can do all of these things. It can save you a huge amount of time and is in our view the best mail list option on the market.
- Site: Convertkit
- Cost: Monthly subscription.
- Why: Some of the best tools are sometimes incredibly simple and yet highly effective. Akismet comes into this category. This tool acts to protect you from high levels of spam on your WordPress site. Simply install the plugin and get a license and install it and Akismet will check every comment that is posted on your website and decide whether it is genuine or spam. You get the chance, when you wish, to empty the spam folder. Akismet will save you a lot of time and is thus a wonderful tool for productivity.
- Site: https://akismet.com/
- Cost: You choose how much you consider the license is worth to you per year and that is what you pay. Pay a few dollars only or pay a larger amount if you wish. You decide.
Amazon Affiliate Program
- Why: Although not a tool per se, for helping to develop your blog, the Amazon Affiliate Program is a wonderful way to begin to monetize your blog and to begin to build a source of income.
- Site: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com
- Cost: You get paid! You make money from Amazon affiliates! Yess!!!.
Content – Writing Tools, Software and Research
- Why: The ‘Headline Analyzer is a tool I absolutely love and that comes from the team at CosSchedule and is dead easy to use and is extremely good at driving you towards making much stronger headline titles for your blog posts. I actually find the tool fun to use as it gives you a score for each headline you attempt and making headlines can become a game of sorts, as you push to get a score of 70 and the green light. (You can read more about this tool in the post on how to write effective blog posts).
- Site: coschedule.com/headline-analyzer
- Cost: Free (but you have to enter your email address the first time to get access)
- Why: For doing keyword research, Buzzsumo is one of the best tools you can use to find ideas for new content for your own site. Enter some keyword terms and Buzzsumo will find and display the content that has got the best social media sharing results for those terms. You can visit the results and find extra keywords to use in your own content. In essence, Buzzsumo helps you to find out what terms already work for others, so that you can copy the terms and make even better content yourself.
- Site: http://buzzsumo.com/
- Cost: Free trial but paid thereafter.
- Why: Quora is yet another splendid tool for searching for relevant and useful terms for developing content ideas and titles. Quora, in essence, is one of the most popular a Q&A (questions and answers) online. By entering a key term into the search on Quora, you can get a good idea of the exact types of questions people are looking for answers to.
- Site: https://www.quora.com/
- Cost: Free.
Graphics Tools & Design for Bloggers
- Why: Even if you use a program such as Photoshop, as we have for the last 10 years, these days, if you use a free graphics package such as FOTOR (I will discuss that next) and use Optimzilla to compress the image, you will have a very high-quality image but with low file size (meaning this is a great tool for creating images that load fast on a website). These days you do not need to pay for expensive premium products such as Adobe Photoshop. Just use Optimizzla.
- Site: http://optimizilla.com
- Cost: Free
- Why: FOTOR makes creating graphics incredibly easy for the non-professional graphic artists (like ourselves). FOTOR have a range of pre-made designs for social media graphics, brochures, leaflets etc. and many of these designs are free. You can upload and drag and drop your own images onto the templates to make your unique and classy designs. Incredibly easy to use and free, although I recommend the paid version which is very inexpensive and comes with more template designs.
- Site: www.fotor.com/
- Cost: Free and Paid versions.
- Why: Canva is very similar to FOTOR and offers an alternative. Both though do an equally brilliant job, making it incredibly easy for non-technical people to create classy graphics. With Canva (and FOTOR) you can create images that really are far more interesting, dynamic and catchy than static one-dimensional stock photos.
- Site: www.canva.com
- Cost: Free and Paid versions.
- Why: There are thousands of great quality images available at very low prices on the Photospin website. This is a great site to use if you want to use paid for stock photos (i.e. ones that are less commonly used than the free photo sites). Many images start from as little as $2 each.
- Site: www.photospin.com/
- Cost: Images are paid for but are really quite low priced, compared to some stock photo sites.
Creating Digital Products & Productivity
- Why: One of the very best ways to build an online business is to offer digital products online. You can offer eBooks, guides, and courses, for example. Thinkific is an excellent platform for providing your own online courses. The site and platform are very intuitive and building your own courses is really quite simple.
- Site: www.thinkific.com/
- Cost: Free and paid versions. You can start for free and Thinkific take 10% of the sale cost but you can use the paid version and pay 0% from the sales.
- Why: Another alternative and equally excellent product for making your own online courses is ‘Zenler’. Zenler have an incredibly easy to use interface that means you can set up your own online school in an hour literally – provided, of course, that you have already developed the materials. You though choose to drip feed content (i.e. to make content available as you design it so that you ask what users want to learn as you develop the course). Both Zenler and Thinkific are great products and usable by those of you with little IT experience.
- Site: https://www.zenler.com/
- Cost: Free.
- Why: As a blogger, there is a good chance that you will be looking to work from different places, be it from different devices and computers (and possibly from different geographic locations). We are not sure where we would be without our Dropbox account, because it acts as a cloud space (for online storage and sharing) and also acts as a backup service for all our files. You can log in on a computer the other side of the world and access your files on your Dropbox cloud space. A word of warning though. Make sure you only use secure internet connections. If you use public WiFi, for example, with unsecured connections, you do risk being hacked.
- Site: https://www.dropbox.com/
- Cost: Free and paid versions.
- Why: If you are one of the bloggers who is on the move (i,.e. travelling as your build your blogging business) ensuring that you have a secure connection can be vital. Why risk your data being accessed and the potential for your blog to be hacked?! One of the best VPNs (virtual private networks) I have used is PureVPN. If you are new to VPN, it acts as a barrier or shield between your computer and the Internet and gives you an added layer of security. Using a VPN is especially useful in protecting yourself when using free WiFi service.
- Site: www.purevpn.com/
- Cost: Paid but only a couple of dollars a month.
- Why: If you are planning to sell digital products others than online courses (as you can use Zenler, Thinkific or teachble.com for that), using a service then enables you to provide downloadable sale items and with a lot the payment processes integrated, I suspect will be very useful for you. Selling eBooks and other digital items really is just a case of uploading the items to e-junkie, setting your prices and then putting the links and sales page up on your blog.
- Site: www.e-junkie.com/
- Cost: Monthly fee and dependant on the number of sales. Overall though a very cheap and fair service.
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