My 10 Favorite Blogging Tools
My 10 Favorite Blogging Tools
When I was a new blogger, it took me so much time and research to figure out the best software, plugins, and platforms to use for my blog. I didn’t know who should host my blog, how to manage my social media accounts, or the best way to optimize my blog for search engines. And even to this day, I’m still doing a ton of research when I’m looking for something new. There’s just so many options out there, how can you choose? So to make your life a little easier, I put together a list of my 10 favorite blogging tools that I can’t live without.
(I also want to be as transparent as possible, so I wanted to let you know some of the links on this page are affiliates. That means if you decide to click on one of the links and end up purchasing something, I will make a commission at no additional cost to you. This is how I’m able to blog full-time and support myself. However, please note everything I recommend I have personally used and believe in.)
If you’re just starting out and looking for a hosting service, Bluehost has always been my absolute favorite. They’re extremely reliable, easy to use, and affordable. They even have plans that start out at $3.95 per month and come with a free domain name. Plus, if you do choose to go with Bluehost, you automatically have access to WordPress.org so you can start bogging the same day.
I love WordPress and have used it ever since I started blogging. (I use WordPress.org not WordPress.com. If you’re not familiar with the difference between the two, definitely check out this article: How to Choose the Best Platform for Your Blog). The amazing thing about WordPress is that you automatically get access to hundreds of free plugins and themes, there are unlimited customization options, and they make it easy for you to optimize your blog posts for search engines. Plus, if you go with WordPress, you actually own your blog (unlike a few other platforms) which is crucial if you want to monetize it.
I can’t say enough good thing about BoardBooster. If you’re not familiar with this website, basically what they do is help you with anything and everything related to Pinterest. The two main features that I constantly use are the scheduler and looper. The scheduler allows you to set a schedule for when you want your pins to go out. That way you can schedule 10, 50, 100 pins to be repinned onto your own account or group boards everyday. The looping feature takes your old pins at the very bottom of your boards and repins them to the top. That way your old pins are revived and BoardBooster will even go back and delete any pins that have a low repin rate.
I started using Leadpages a few months ago and I’ll never look back. If you’re looking to grow your email list, Leadpages is the best software out there to help. You can create opt-in forms that match your brand and even track your conversion rates to see what is and isn’t working. (I’ve even grown my email list 2,627% over the last few months with a ton of help from Leadpages.) Leadpages also comes with dozens of free templates to help you create amazing sales pages, thank you pages, and landing pages. And you can even sync your account up with you email marketing service to make sure all your new subscribers get on your email list.
MailChimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms out there and my personal favorite. I use MailChimp to automatically send out a welcome email to my new subscribers, schedule emails for when I’m out of town, create an email series, plus more. MailChimp also creates a report for every email I send out so I can track the open rate, click rate, the number of people who unsubscribed (etc). That way I know which emails are the most popular and which ones I should avoid in the future.
Affinity Photo is my favorite editing software out there. It was released last year and definitely gives Photoshop some competition. All the features are pretty much the same and the amazing this is that Affinity Photo is way cheaper. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars or signing up for a subscription, they only charge a one time fee of $49.99. Such a good deal! I use Affinity Photo to create all of my stock photos, images for Pinterest, promotional material, and anything else that requires a professional photo editing software. (As of right now, Affinity Photo is only for Mac users.)
If you’re looking for a free option when it comes to photo editing and graphic design, PicMonkey is the perfect place to go. You can design something from scratch, edit photos, put together collages, touch up images, plus more. I used PicMonkey to create The Collective Mill logo along with images for my Instagram account. If you don’t have a professional photo editing software like Photoshop or Affinity Photo, or if you’re creating something that isn’t too complex, PicMonkey is a great option.
When I was a new blogger, anything related to search engine optimization freaked me out. However, that totally changed when I downloaded this plugin. The Yoast SEO Plugin will help you optimize your blog post title, URL, and even the content inside your article. Plus, right inside the plugin you can put together your meta description, update your SEO title, and choose the keyword you want to use to represent your post. If you don’t have this plugin already, I absolutely recommend downloading it, and it’s free! (If you’re new to SEO, this post goes over all of the main terms you need to know: How to Improve Your SEO Ranking for Your Blog)
Google Sheets is another one of my favorite blogging tools and I use it for just about everything. I use it as an editorial calendar, to keep track of my income and expenses, as a to-do list, and to brainstorm ideas on new products or services. Plus, I love that it’s online. That way if I’m ever using someone else’s computer or on my phone, I have instant access to it. So every morning, I open a new tab, pull up Google Sheets, and see what I have to do for the day. It keeps me way more organized and productive!
Hootsuite is my other favorite social media management system. I use this one specifically for my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Hootsuite is awesome because you can schedule up to 350 tweets or messages at once. Can you imagine how much time you would save? That way, instead of coming up with new things to share everyday, I can designate one specific time each week to work on it. Plus, if you want to, you can even connect Hootsuite to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ accounts.
I always love to know what other awesome blogging tools are out there. Share your favorites below:
Follow Me On: Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / LinkedIn