10 Blogging Tools you need to have a successful blog
Let’s face it, blogging is hard work. Researching and writing blog posts, making pins for all those Pinterest boards, promoting on Instagram and Facebook, setting up an email list… the list just goes on and on. And as a beginner, the overwhelm is REAL! So to make life easier, you need some blogging tools and resources in your arsenal to make life easier.
I get it! As a semi-newbie blogger myself, your to-do list for your blog is never-ending! And you don’t always know where to start and what is really important. So I thought that I would set up this list of blogging tools that I use, and recommend, to make blogging life easier.
When I started this blog, I wanted to use all the free tools and I didn’t want to pay for anything. But after a while, I realized that I can only go so far with free resources. But with a limited budget, I cannot invest in ALL the resources and plug-ins that the pros recommend.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to take my blog seriously to make a side income from it. I really need some sort of passive income to help with my financial goals. But the thing with passive income is that you first need to do the hard work in order for it to pay off.
So I sat myself down and really thought about what I can invest in my blog. After I set a budget for my blog, I did a ton of research to see what the pro-bloggers recommend and then compared all of the blogging tools myself.
A little disclaimer: as of writing this blog post (September 2020), I haven’t made any money from my blog. You know, life happens and the consistency to really grow a blog is really missing at this stage. But because I am still taking my blog seriously (I am determined), I decided to invest in some of these blogging tools and resources. Some of these tools are free and others are paid for.
Top 10 Blogging Tools you need for a Successful Blog
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1. Have an awesome blog host
Starting a Blog
I’ve written an in-depth blog post on how to start a blog. If you want to start a blog, you want to do it the right way the first time around. This means that you should own your domain name and use a self-hosted WordPress blog. Both of these you can easily get through Bluehost. I use Bluehost to host my blog and you can read here on why I love them so much.
Related: How to start a blog
2. Legal pages that your blog need
If you are intending to make money with your blog, you HAVE TO HAVE LEGAL PAGES on your blog. This will protect you in the long run and you will have peace of mind that you are on the right side of the law.
Because I am no expert when it comes to legal jargon, I decided to invest in a template that is set up by a lawyer that knows all the ins and outs of the legal side of blogging.
I love Lucrezia’s templates over on Blogging for new Bloggers. Her templates are super easy to customize and I had all my necessary pages up within one afternoon. So highly recommend it! They are super affordable too!
I’ve also done some of her free courses that are super helpful. The FREE Legally Blogs course is super insightful and will explain why you need al these different pages on your blog to protect yourself.
Related: How to protect your blog legally
3. How your blog look does count – get a theme
Well, this is not totally necessary to invest in a theme right away. But unfortunately, first impressions are quite important in the blogging world. People these days have short attention spans and you want to capture their attention and keep them on your blog for as long as possible.
So if you cannot invest in a paid theme, try searching for one that is easy to navigate and easy for you to customize as far as possible. But you will notice that free themes do have limitations in the customization area. FYI – I still use a free theme.
But when you are ready to invest in a theme, you are really spoiled for choice, because there are really awesome ones out there. I want to invest in a theme soon and I am looking at Restored 316 Designs and 17th Avenue themes and I cannot make up my mind.
4. Write awesome blog posts with Grammarly
If you are not great at writing and or your first language is not English, but you still want to write awesome blog posts that your readers will understand, I highly recommend using Grammarly.
Grammarly is a freemium writing assistant that helps you with your writing. And what is so awesome about this free resource, is that it integrates into so much more than just your blog. I use it in Gmail when I write my emails as well!
5. Plugin – Atomic Blocks
This is a collection of free blocks for the Gutenberg WordPress editor. “Blocks” are chunks of content that make it easy to create a custom looking blog post or a page.
I love to use this plugin to create a gallery-style layout for my free printable library.
Using Pinterest to grow your blog
If you are a new blogger and you want to grow your traffic, Pinterest needs to be your best friend. Learning Google SEO is also important when it comes to your blog traffic. But you will not see results from that straight away. Where else on Pinterest you will see results a lot sooner.
Now, in order to use Pinterest for your blog, you need to make gorgeous eye-catching pins. And an easy way to do that is to use Canva. Canva is a freemium online tool that you can use to make graphics and a multitude of other things.
7. Stock Photos
Stock photos are images that you can find for free or you can buy in order to save you some time and create a cohesive look for your blog. This is wonderful if you are not particularly skilled in taking photos yet for your blog and still want high quality images.
It also depends on your blogging niche. If you are writing about finances, but you don’t want to actually take pictures of yourself doing your budget, you can find stock pictures to represent that.
No matter what you blog about, you will need images to make your blog post more captivating, and stock images are a way to do that.
You will also find subscription-based services that provide beautiful stock photos that you can use to brand your blog. Some of my favorite subscription-based/membership businesses for stock photos are Haute Stock, Styled Stock Society, and Ivory Mix. Please note that these are more premium services so the investment is a bit higher on these memberships. But if you subscribe to their newsletter you will receive some free stock photos every month! That is what I did in the beginning 😉
Tailwind is a really awesome blogging tool to have in your arsenal. Tailwind helps you to automatically pin all the beautiful pins you created to the relevant boards.
This is especially helpful for me because I live in South Africa and the majority of my traffic comes from the United States.
When I started to research where my traffic is coming from and how to maximize it, I came to the conclusion that I need to pin my images to Pinterest around 7-8 pm PST time. But that is 3 am in South Africa! And there is no way that I am going to get up at 3 am to pin on Pinterest. So Tailwind came to the rescue, I can sleep with while Tailwind does its magic.
UPDATE: Have you heard?! Tailwind has new pricing plans. Go check it out! They have a new Forever-free plan
9. Ultimate Bundles Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
If you are looking for blogging tools that will help you in all the different aspects of your blogging career, look no further than this toolkit! And by far one of my favorite tools.
If you have been blogging for a while or you just started you might have heard of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. But if you have not heard about it let me give you a quick summary.
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (or GBT for short) offers a bundle of blogging-related digital products for an extremely discounted price. Usually, the value of all these digital products exceeds the $5,000 price range, but it is discounted for $97.
But the catch? The GBT is released once a year and is only available for a week, and then it is gone forever. (but if you are lucky, you can catch the flash sale that will bring it back for a few days.)
Inside you will find:
- online courses
- stock photos
- extended trails of software
Basically, you will find all the tools that will help you become a better blogger and ultimately help you create money from your blog.
I have invested in this toolkit once, and let me tell you it helped a lot!
10. Email List & Email Marketing
If you want to grow your blog and someday make some money from it, it is important to start with an email list. And all the pro-bloggers will tell you to start on an email list ASAP!
There are many email service providers that you can use. After much research, I decided to go with Mailerlite. The first 1,000 email subscribers you don’t pay for. If you reached your 1,000 subscriber limit, the prices start from $10 per month. For me, with a limited budget for my blog at the moment, this is fantastic.
Summary for the 10 Blogging Tools you need to have a successful blog
- Have an awesome blog host
- Legal pages that your blog need
- How your blog looks do count – get a theme
- Write awesome blog posts with Grammarly
- Plugin – Atomic Blocks
- Stock Photos
- Ultimate Bundles Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
- Email List & Email marketing
So there you have it, the 10 blogging tools that I can recommend to start growing and maintaining your blog. Leave me a comment on what blogging tools you can recommend or what you will be using!