Blogging Tools: The Definitive List for Growth ?? (in 2019)

blogging tools

Below is NOT a huge list filled with every blogging tool under the sun…

Even though I HAVE tried virtually every product out there ?

These are the battle-tested solutions I use daily for my blog & business.

Important note…

NONE of these companies reached out to me to get featured here, and I’m more than comfortable using my affiliate links!

I stand behind these blog tools 1,000%.

blogging platforms

Which blogging platform should I blog on?

WordPress.org (hosted on your own hosting account)
Price: Free

The absolutely ultimate beginner blogging tool.

WordPress is the actual software that powers this blog, as well as something like 33% of the entire internet!

It is by far the best choice for bloggers, over competitors like…

  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Squarespace
  • Joomla?

It offers far more customization (even if that DOES come with a learning curve at first), and comes loaded with the most power.

There’s a reason WordPress is dang-near a household name. They’re awesome. Use it. If you’re truly new hear and want to learn how to set WordPress UP, check out the beginner guide to starting a blog. It’s also free.

WordPress.com or Medium.com (hosted on their platform)
Price: Free

If you want 100% free blogging, you can blog on Medium.com or WordPress.com site.

The downside is that these limit what you can do with your site! Far less customization.

domain tools

Tools for Creating Domain Names and Finding Their Availability.

Just start typing domain name ideas in–and watch the availability pop up!

NOTE: If you click any of the available domains, you’ll be triggering an affiliate link for Instant Domain Search, and it’ll take you to Godaddy!

instant domain search
Easy to generate ideas as well.

I recommend purchasing domains through either Godaddy or Namecheap–even if you’re using another provider for hosting!

Other cool domain name tools:

DYEB Pro Tip: I really, really, really suggest finding a domain with an available .com, as long as it’s easy to pronounce, spell, and say!!

wordpress hosting

WordPress Hosting tools

Bluehost – STILL the best hosting for beginning bloggers
Price: Starts at $3/month

They have my recommendation–for new bloggers especially.

In the past, I did NOT recommended Bluehost–based on using their product YEARS ago.

However, while doing research for my newbie guide, I gave Bluehost another shot and went through their entire set-up process.

I was blown away by how smooth it went!

I’m still going to recommend Siteground for established bloggers who have experience navigating cPanel & installing WordPress, but for new bloggers, I’m recommending Bluehost 250%.

It’s probably the fastest way to get up and running with a new WordPress blog I’ve ever seen, and their user dashboard looks way better than it did 5 years ago.

bluehost dashboard
The WP installation was incredibly smooth (and automated)

That said, here is my affiliate link to Bluehost. I’m happy to promote it.

Siteground (for high-traffic sites)
Price: Starts at $4/month

I personally use Siteground, based on the recommendation of many blogger friends.

siteground pricing
Best for medium-high traffic sites (includes free transfer as well!)

I initially switched to Siteground when my traffic ramped up enough to cause Godaddy issues.

Website down = Pete moves his website.

Siteground has been incredibly stable, fast loading, and they offered a free website migration, which might actually be the best decision I’ve ever made.

If your blog is moving past the 10k-30k views/mo mark, I recommend them, despite the slight cost increase compared to Bluehost and Namecheap.

Namecheap (for domains)

Namecheap is still my go-to for buying domains, and probably always will be. They’re affordable, easy to set-up, and I’ve never encountered a single problem with their customer service.

I also have a few blogs hosted on Namecheap, and LOVE how easy it is to install SSL certificates on their platform. They make it easy!

Image and Graphic Design Tools

What’s the Best Graphics Editors for Creating Featured Images, Pins, Etc?

Snappa
Price: Free and Pro Versions ($10/month)

I have used Canva, PicMonkey, and more–and I keep coming back to Snappa.

Some features (the last of which is by far my favorite)

  • User-friendly UI
  • Great selection of fonts and access to custom colors
  • WAY better layout guides, snapping, and layer functionality than any other tool I’ve tried.
  • Auto-resizing (need to create Pinterest, Twitter, and FB graphics at the same time? Done).
  • The built-in stock photo library in Snappa is far superior to Canvas!
snappa blogging tool

Canva
Price: Free and Pro Versions Available

Snappa’s main competitor, Canva is by FAR the most used graphic design and image tool for bloggers.

There are fantastic features there, but I get annoyed at the paid images (if you start using Canva, you’ll know what I’m talking about), and therefore don’t enjoy it as much as Snappa.

However, it is powerful for creating featured images, Pinterest images, etc. Definitely worth checking out.

Sketch – A NON-browser-based tool ($99)

This tool is a bit more advanced, as it was created with professional designers in mind. However, I’ve found the user interface pretty easy to navigate, especially with their MANY tutorials on the Sketch website.

This is what I use for logos, pins, and other advanced graphics that need a bit more customization than I can get with Snappa.

sketch app
Keeping my pins organized in Sketch

Where Can I Find Great Stock Photos for My Blog?

There are a metric ton of stock photo sites, but here are my recommendations:

Pexels
Price: Free

This is my go-to for pretty much everything. The variety is a bit more than average, and it’s 100% free.

All The Free Stock (free)

What if there was a way to search several stock photo sites at once?

That’s what this site does. It can be a bit tricky to navigate (click “multi-site search” on the left menu), but if I can’t find it on Pexels, I’ll generally come here next.

What Are the Best Tools for Compressing Images?

In your blogging tool arsenal, you NEED a tool to compress those fancy images you’re creating.

This is important for SEO, as uncompressed images slow down your site!

These also fall under the WordPress site speed optimization discussion.

ShortPixel
Price: Free quota of compressed images a month, paid options available.

This is what I use to compress images these days, as it saves a TON of time compared to the manual upload/download/upload process of using a browser-based compressor.

To use Short Pixel, you

  1. install and activate the plugin
  2. drag-n-drop images to WordPress like you always do
  3. That’s it.

Short Pixel automatically compresses your images to be speedy, and it can even auto-resize large images as well.

Lastly, it’s cheap.

You can get up to 100 images/month for free, and you can also avoid monthly commitments and just pay in bulk (I bought 10,000 images for $10. That’s insanely awesome).

Compressor.io browser-based image compression (FREE)

Drag your image in, it compresses it and gives you a download link.

Compressor makes your site faster!

Not as simple as a WordPress plugin compressor like ShortPixel, but still easy and free.

seo tools

SEO tools (Search Engine Optimization software)

There are several different functions for these tools!

  • On-page SEO plugin
  • Keyword & competitor research
  • SERP tracking
  • SEO audit tools

WordPress Plugins for on-page SEO

Yoast
Price: Free! There’s a $90 premium version too.

I use it. Everyone uses it. You should too. It’s awesome for on-page SEO. ‘Nuff said? Nuff said.

Keyword research and/or competitor tools

Ahrefs
Price: Starts at $99/month, but see below for a hack!

It’s expensive, but absolutely amazing for serious SEO bloggers.

  • keyword research
  • content planning
  • backlink analysis
  • SERP tracking
  • Site audit tools
  • way more
It’s what I use 🙂

Here’s an expensive SEO software pro tip:

99% of bloggers do NOT need these tools 12 months a year.

Instead, spend one month’s worth, and do enough keyword research and content planning for several months–then cancel!

You can always renew for another month down the road.

Google Keyword Planner (Free)

There are LOADS of SEO tools out there for keyword research, Google competition analysis, etc. Moz, Ahrefs, Market Samuria, Keyword.io…all these are great (but most are expensive).

Google’s keyword tool is the top blogging tools for beginners. It’s free, (fairly) easy to use, and contains all the data you would ever need.

Use it till you can afford Ahrefs, then go Ahrefs.

Soolve
Price: free

I love this tool, and use it every time I create content.

It basically suggest keywords (just like the actual Google search bar), but for multiple search engines at once(!). Use it!

solve blog tool
Soolves my SEO struggles, get it?

KWFinder and SERPWatcher (Free and Pro Versions available)

As far as really well-done keyword research tools go, Moz, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Majestic, etc, all cost over $1,000 a year for their cheapest plans.

Give the Mangools apps a try:

  • KWFinder
  • SERPChecker
  • SERPWatcher
  • LINKMiner

For a smooth $30/month, you get access to ALL of these tools. Keyword research, domain and keyword tracking, competitor analysis, backlink miner. It’s crazy how good these are, and it’s less than HALF the cost of other SEO tools 🙂

Site audit and broken backlink tools

We’ll talk more about site speed below, but managing broken links, redirects, etc, is important!

Broken Link Check – Free

It takes a hot minute to scan your site, but it also provides handy links straight to your content–so you can dive in and fix broken links!

Dr. Link Check – Free

Essentially the same thing.

SEO Web Page Analyzer – Free

This is a cool blogging tool. This little page analyzes a TON of stuff on any page–yours or any other site.

site speed optimization tools

Website Optimization and Site Speed Tools

In this category we have

  • image compressors (already discussed above)
  • cache plugins
  • CDNs

WP Rocket – Cache plugin
Price: $49

  1. Install and activate the plugin
  2. Switch on a few settings
  3. BOOM. Your website is now WAY faster

No, it’s not free–but it’s cheap and far superior to other cache plugins I’ve tried (and I’ve tried them all). It’s the most user-friendly cache plugin I’ve found.

WP Rocket is worth it. One of my “mandatory top-5 plugins” for bloggers.

Free cache plugin alternative: W3 Total Cache

If you’re a seriously casual blogger and really just want a speed increase on the cheap, try W3.

It’s complicated to set up optimally and has too many features, but it can give speed increases “out of the box” as well.

Cloudflare – CDN
Price: Free!

  1. It’s easy to set-up (just requires ONE new cname record added to your cPanel account–tutorials of which are plentiful in a quick Google search)
  2. It’s 100% free for one website
  3. It leads to amazing speed increases

There’s no reason not to use a CDN with your blog! There is no downside at all.

FAQ: What on Earth is a CDN?

Content Delivery Network = a network of servers all over the world.

Instead of your website files (images, etc) being held on JUST YOUR SERVER, some of the files are distributed to multiple servers everywhere.

When somebody lands on your site, the CDN will pull your files NOT from your server, but from the server closest to the reader!

Those files get there quicker = speedy load times!

Here’s a handy guide to setting up Cloudflare as your CDN.

social media sharing automation tools

The Best Tools for Social Media Management & Automation

SmarterQueue
Price: Starts at $20/month w/ a 30-day free trial.

I’ve tried Hootsuite, meetEdgar, and Buffer…..and NONE of them compare to SmarterQueue.

I NO LONGER spend 30-60 minutes a week loading up my queues. I set up scheduled times, content groups, and now I ONLY have to add new content.

The rest is done for me. It “recycles” evergreen content. 

  • Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest? Check!
  • Split-testing share images and copy? Check!

I HIGHLY recommend you try it out for 14 days (Use my affiliate link for 30 days free!).

(Also, I wrote an entire review of SmarterQueue here)

Buffer
Price: Free and paid plans available

Buffer is free and functional.

Given SmarterQueue is paid only, I feel the need to recommendation my favorite free tool for scheduling a social media queue.

The free plan on Buffer is fantastic, and covers the basic needs for 99% of bloggers!

It doesn’t have content groups or evergreen “recycling,” however, so it’s not nearly as powerful as SmarterQueue or Meet Edgar.

Tailwind – for Pinterest sharing and automation.
Price: Starts at $10/month

Pinterest user? Tailwind is essentially the ONLY tool you need.

  • Automate your pins,
  • Analyze your profile, board, and group board stats
  • Chrome extension to share anything from anywhere (to multiple boards, groups, tribes, etc!)
  • Tailwind Tribes access

(P.S. Use my affiliate link here and we BOTH get $15. That’s a full month free) After you have it, go listen to Alisa from Tailwind on the podcast! She drops awesome Pinterest traffic bombs 🙂

Note: I don’t recommend Hootsuite or Meet Edgar or Social Bee for bloggers. These are great tools, but do not fit the needs of bloggers as well as SmarterQueue and Buffer.

site security backup tools

Site Security and Blog Backup Tools

WordFence – Security Plugin
Price: Free (or $99/year)

Protecting your blog from attacks is a REAL threat.

Luckily, there are free (and cheap) solutions for this, and WordFence is my favorite. It’s largely plug and go, with minimal set-up.

If you’d like to learn a TON more, you should check out my entire blog post on-site security and backups here.

Updraft Plus – Site Backup Plugin
Price: Free & paid versions available

Updraft is the ONLY backup plugin I’ve seen that has 3rd-part backups (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc), available in their free version.

Woot!

email marketing software

Email Marketing Tools & ESPs (Email Service Providers

Out of everything I do here at Do You Even Blog, THIS is the blogging tool question I get most often:

Which email marketing software is right for ME?

-all of you in the DYEB Tribe

Below are my honest–but controversial–recommendations for bloggers.

The Best Email Service Providers for Bloggers:

Mailchimp – Best for *completely new beginners.*
Price: Free up to 2,000 email subscribers.

Even in the age of ConvertKit, Drip, ActiveCampaign, etc–Mailchimp is simply too free–and therefore makes the list of all-time best blogging tools for beginners.

Is it easy to use and scalable? Nope.

It is the quickest and free-est way to start collecting emails and send newsletters? Yes.

Beginners should start collecting subscribers with Mailchimp, and migrate to ConvertKit after 500-1,000 subscribers…after you figure out what you’re doing.

That’s my honest opinion.

However….

ConvertKit – Best for Bloggers who can afford to pay for email marketing
Price: Starts at $29/month

For experienced bloggers, ConvertKit absolutely takes the cake. It was created with bloggers in mind, and it shows.

It’s powerful, intuitive, and still fair-priced. Give it a go if you’ve got a solid grasp on email marketing and lead gen.

ActiveCampaign – Best for advanced bloggers who need powerful automation
Price: Starts at $17/month

If you have complicated email marketing funnels–your options are Drip and ActiveCampaign.

I used to use–and recommend–Drip.

Then they unexpectedly jacked up their prices without telling anybody. They switched their focus to serving big ecommerce companies, and left the rest of us high and dry.

So I’m moving to ActiveCampaign!

ActiveCampaign’s automations are best in class.

Their product is nearly as powerful as Drip’s–better in some ways–and they have great pricing and customer support.

Alternative ESP for Beginners: MailerLite (0-1,000 subs is free!)

Why? It’s incredibly easy to use, and also comes with some landing page software as well (similar to ConvertKit above).

While it does lack some of the more powerful features for email marketing, it’s definitely a solid choice for new folks.

Tools to level-up your Gmail (or Outlook, etc)

Outreach, productivity, email tracking, etc:

All of these tools do roughly the same thing:

  1. email tracking analytics
  2. email scheduling
  3. templates
  4. organizational features

FYI – if you’re looking for some beginner tactics to grow your email list–here’s my full guide.

content and writing tools banner

Blogging Tools to Help Create Better Content

Writing apps:

Bear – Writing App (Mac and iOS only)
Price – Free (or $15/year)

Bear is lightweight, pretty, distraction-free, and an AMAZING tool to compose in.

I use this to…

  • Take podcast interview notes
  • Draft blog posts
  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Keep track of my daily to-do’s
  • Save content to read later (the Chrome extension is amazing).

Windows? Just use Google Docs! It’s the easiest way to write similarly to MS Word–and offers cloud backup/storage.

Various blogging tools that yield better content:

Coschedule Headline Analyzer for creating amazing headlines (Free)

We all know headlines are important, yes?

This tool is great for working through different headline strategies, and it’s also addicting and fun 🙂

Also, I wrote an entire headline analyzer guide for using the CoSchedule tool, as well as another favorite, the AMI Emotional Headline Analyzer.

Hemingway App for crafting short and compelling language (Free)

This software was literally created to be a super fun (and slightly addicting) way to potentially make your writing a lot more crisp, clear, bold, and maybe way more impactful.

Oops, guess that last sentence should’ve been:

A fun (and slightly addicting) software to make your writing crisp, clear, bold, and way more impactful.

Grammarly for spelling & grammar (free)

This is a MANDATORY blogging tool for writing.

Grammarly will pop-up in most applications, browsers, and apps, and tell you what you’re doing wrong (and gives you an easy way to fix grammar errors!).

grammarly for bloggers
Grammarly in action

Social Warfare – Social Sharing Plugin (Free and cheap paid version)

This plugin makes it easy for people to share your content–a must-have in blogging.

productivity tools bloggers

Blog Organization, Productivity, and Project Management Softare

Asana – Editorial Calendar & Organization
Price: Free

Thanks to Matt Giovansci–who has an awesome course on how to use Asana for bloggers–I know run my entire business/content from here.

Asana is organized by projects

Related: How to Make a 12-Week Blog Plan You’ll Crush?

Alternative: Trello (free)

Trello is similar to Asana in that it’s a project management tool–but it is organized completely differently.

TextExpander – Exactly what it sounds like kinda.
Price: $30/year

If you find yourself typing things repeatedly–email signatures, URLs, phrases, etc, you need TextExpander.

It allows you to create shortcuts for bunks of text.

Example: I simply hit “hhdd” and out pops https://doyouevenblog.com.

Freedom.to – Blocks addicting websites
Price: Roughly $20/year

This app works on both mobile and desktop, and allows me to selectively block Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, IG, etc, so I won’t even be tempted to be distracted.

Freedom Pro Tip: Sign up for their free trial, and DO NOT upgrade right away. They’ll send you discount codes ?

Misc. Productivity Tools

Voxer (Free mobile app) – It’s half texting/messaging and half walkie-talkie app! I use this instead of texting for most of my online relationships–including Team DYEB.

Lastpass (Free) – My password manager of choice. It’s absolutely amazing and I think e ery human should use it.

Yoink (Mac & iOS only. Roughly $7 in App Store) – I had NO CLUE I needed something to make dragging-n-dropping files better–but I did. I use this every day.

Scanner Pro ($4 mobile app) – Makes scanning paper-ish things a SNAP–and can also create multi-page PDFs.

Alfred (Mac only. Free & Paid) – It’s like an insanely functional search bar for your Mac. I use it no less than 50 times a day.

Rocket (Mac only. Free) – Makes it easy to insert emojis! ?

Wi-Fi Sweetspots (Free mobile app) – I use this to find the best wi-fi spots when I travel to different coffee shops, public places, etc.

monetization tools

Tools That Help You Monetize

Gumroad – Selling anything from your blog.
Price: Free (and $10/month)

This is NOT an e-commerce or store option–like WooCommerce or Shopify.

Rather, Gumroad is stand-alone software to sell digital or physical products from just about anywhere–from embeddable buy buttons, links, etc.

The reason Gumroad gets my recommendation is because of its simplicity. No reason to stress over software design, APIs, payment processors, etc. Just sign up, create a product, embed buy button, and BOOM. You’re selling something.

Thrivecart – Advanced checkout pages
Price: $600 lifetime

I have to mention this for advanced bloggers with established courses, etc. This is what I use to process ALL my transactions these days.

E-commerce solutions:

WooCommerce (WordPress plugin. Free, but not really)

It’s still a great product, but a bit hard to set-up and make “perfect.” Also, while the core plugin and functionality is free–you have to shell out $$ for even basic expansions.

Shopify (Stand-alone. Starts at $29/month)

If you can front the $29/month price tag, Shopify is a fantastic stand-alone e-commerce platform. I know several bloggers who have separate Shopify shops in addition to their main site.

For more on monetizing your blog, check out our mega-guide here.

landing page software

Landing Page Software

Elementor
Price: Free (and $50 lifetime)

There is no better page-building plugin for WordPress.

Period.

You can use it for opt-in pages–like my New Blogger Bootcamp landing page, or even blog posts–like my manifesto–or even widgets/headers/more.

I do NOT recommend Leadpages. It’s too expensive, clunky, and does half of what Elementor does.

Interested in learning how to USE Elementor? Click here to read my comprehensive tutorial!

The Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers

StudioPress (or any Genesis Framework theme)
Price: $50-$150

StudioPress makes amazing WordPress themes that are…

  • fast-loading
  • clean
  • easy to design
  • easy to learn/configure
  • affordable

YES–there’s a learning curve when you first pick up a Genesis theme, but it’s like riding a bike: If you ever switch themes, you’ll already be comfortable with design, helping you get up and running ASAP.

Any default WordPress theme
Price: Free

At the time I’m writing this, I’m currently on the Twenty-Nineteen theme, and I love it!

You can’t go wrong with a default WP theme. They’re simple, fast, and clean.

WARNING: Stay away from Divi!

Divi is a page builder framework, and also has a broad “theme” that you can highly customize.

The problem?

  1. Divi themes are notoriously slow
  2. If you ever decide to switch AWAY from Divi, you are in for a world of hurt.

Stay away!

blogging courses

Blogging Courses That’ll Help You Grow

Do You Even Blog Courses!
Price: Courses from $37 to $300+

  • Wide variety of courses based on your interest
  • Flexible payment plans
  • A world-class community of students for support
  • An insanely handsome creator

No, I’m completely NOT 100% biased.

Just kidding. It’s my platform!

blogging hardware

My hardware tools

Not to be a complete tease, but I compiled these ENTIRELY in a separate post!

Click to read: Inside My Blog Bag (December 2018 Edition).


Extra random blogging tools!

Justgetflux.com for adjusting screen colors for nighttime blogging (Free)

Flux helps save your eyes! It prevents strain by altering the natural screen light from your computer, based on the time of day.

Snip.ly for getting a bit of extra traffic when you share other people’s content (Free and Pro versions available)

A fun little traffic tool. Here’s how it works:

  1. You find an article you want to share (someone else’s, not your own!)
  2. You “snip” it, creating a small Call-to-action widget.
  3. You share the article w/ the world
  4. When someone clicks on the link, they see the article you shared w/ YOUR call-to-action on the page.

Feels a little bit like hacking. Try it out and let me know if you see any cool results (seriously. Email me and let me feature you?)

ColorPick Eyedropper for identifying any colors on any website (Free)

Chrome extension that lets you hover over any website page, and snag the color code!

I’m ashamed to say I’ve tried dozens of these tools, and this one is my favorite. (lol)

What are some of your blogging tools, apps, etc? Let me know in the comments!

That’s a wrap! Did you enjoy these? Discover something new? Want to add something?

Drop me a comment!

60 Responses

  1. Awesome suggestions, thank you for sharing. I tried godaddy hosting once and the speeds were terrible. Went to inmotion and they put you on SSD servers and don’t cram 100 sites on 1 node.

    1. Yeah, I also use InmotionHosting! It’s really great! But compared to others a little bit more expensive. However, if you are serious about blogging you should invest in yourself and your site.

    2. I use inmotion for my main blog as I too started out with bluehost as that’s what everyone said to use. But by the time the site hit 3k page views a month I was having problems. Inmotion is more expensive but I have never had a problem with the service or customer service!

  2. That’s really a great and honest list!

    What I’d like to add:

    CoSchedule: It’s a paid and actually expensive tool (I think it costs about $30/month). It’s an editorial calendar with drag’n’drop functionality. You can plan all your social media as well as your blog content, webinars, etc. and automate it. I think the headline tool you’ve recommended is also integrated. This is definitely the first tool I get when I reach this monthly revenue.

    WP Broken Link Status Checker: It’s exactly what you think it is. It checks your website for broken links. As I have created the most beautiful 404-error-page (not yet online), it’s sad that users will probably never see it. However, it’s a free tool with the ability to save some of your users time as well as some of their frustrations.

    1. “Check My Links” is a Chrome extension I use. Can be used on anyone’s site. And I’m with you on CoSchedule! Might be checking it out soon 🙂

  3. Thanks for the streak suggestion. Headline Analyzer used to be free, now it’s baked in to the paid service… I think. I’m a tool junkie. Trying to use fewer tools better. Evernote is doing God’s work… so good?

    1. Agreed. And the headline analyzer is still free, just behind an email opt-in now :/

      Only reason I know is cuz I’m a cheap bastardized and spent an hour with it today.

  4. I am a complete newbie and I really havent used much of these tools yet. I will certainly use the Google Keyword Planner tool. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Great list! As a newbie it can be so hard to wade through all of the referral links to see if something really is worth getting. I fell into the ConvertKit trap from the get go and for someone just starting out and not having time to use it to its full potential it definitely wasn’t worth it.
    Will check out Snappa, Soolve and Sumo now.

  6. This is awesome!! And no Bluehost, haha!

    When I first started looking into starting a blog, I honestly thought Bluehost was my only option. The day before I went to start, I happened across a blog post on Siteground and had to pause everything to look up the differences. All I could find once I started looking harder were poor reviews of Bluehost, and recommendations for Siteground. My blog is still in its early, simple stages, but I’ve had no issues with Siteground so far. Plus I hear their customer service is really great.

    I’ll be checking out some of your other recommendations, for sure! 🙂

  7. I never understood every all the people pushing bluehost – reviews were pretty poor and their $3.95 per month was only if you paid in full for 3 years. Siteground is 3.95 for one year and has much better reviews. Thanks for sharing all of this!

    Also, as a personal observation – I don’t mind sponsorships on your site or on the podcasts. I expect that if people are giving me valuable content for free, then they should make money somehow. Don’t worry about “offending” people with sponsorships if they are sponsors you believe in. Your “real” audience won’t mind you making some money! You put out great stuff and am thankful for it! Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, RVP! I’ve gotten a bit better about that the past few weeks.

      I also couldn’t agree with you more. Siteground and Namecheap are easily my top 2 recommendations for people these days. One can literally get 1 year of hosting, domain name, AND SSL for $12 on Namecheap. That’s insane.

    1. Hey thanks Veronica! Appreciate that.

      Just be careful when using Snip.ly with Buffer, it can be a bit funky sometimes and you’ll end up sharing your own content with sniply CTAs. Can look odd 🙂

  8. Ok, so I’m commenting again (haha) but I have to say, Snappa is awesome. I started to use it to make Pinterest graphics and it’s SO EASY!! No learning curve, and I love that there’s no drop down menus (darn it PicMonkey!). Canva gets glitchy sometimes. Also, Snappa’s templates are better for bloggers. I think I’m going to stick with Snappa as my graphics tool! And I’m just using the free version right now 😀 Thank you Pete for recommending Snappa! I would’ve never heard about it otherwise.

    1. Oh I’m totally with you lol.

      I splurged for Snappa a long time ago, and use almost every single day. It paid for itself real quick.

      I’m so glad you like it Veronica 🙂

  9. Holy awesome! There’s at least five tools on this list that I am immediately going to read about and implement! I always find it amazing to learn how much I don’t know, haha.

    Thanks for the knowledge bomb.

    1. The headline analyzer is amaaaaazzzzzing.

      Send me a tweet next when you think you’ve got a winner, and let’s compete 🙂 Pretty much a game to me now lol

  10. Great list, Pete! And it was great to meet you at FinCon. Quite a few of these are new to me. Snappa looks interesting. I have Adobe CC but the programs are all ridiculously fiddly. I’d love a simpler tool.

    Also, $77/month seems like a lot to me for email though. I just switched from Bluehost hosted email (free and actually quite good if you just use mail clients instead of the lousy web interface) to Zoho (free, but I’m encountering some notable bugs).

    I had to leave Bluehost email because I’m cancelling their hosting. I just switched from Bluehost to DreamHost and my server response time improved from 7.2 seconds (Bluehost) to 700ms (DreamHost). Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool tells me I should get it under 200ms, but I was pretty impressed by that improvement with only a host change.

  11. Yeah, I got a bad vibe from BlueHost and went with SiteGround… not at all sorry! I’m in my first few months of blogging and my one “indulgent” purchase so far has been SmarterQueue… best decision ever! I figure I couldn’t get a VA to give me more than 3 hours of work for what I will pay the whole year for the service, and it’s way more valuable! But I will say I’m a die hard Canva user… Canva for Work will probably be pretty high on the list for me when the blog starts actually generating money because I use it for every image both for the blog and for my IG prep on my phone (this is only slightly annoying because I’ve had to memorize 2 brand hex codes to manage from the phone). Thanks so much for the post- you also had several I had never heard of like the soolve. I definitely need to get a handle on the whole keyword research thing soon!

    1. Good timing. I actually JUST went back to Canva yesterday for some printable needs, and loved it. Much improved from when I first used the platform a few years back.

      Glad you’re enjoying SQ, I love those guys and gals!

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  12. I mega loathe all the Bluehost affiliate recommendations – especially from people who don’t even use Bluehost! Interesting tidbit – Bluehost offered to pay me $100 per referral if I recommended them instead of SiteGround – so I would bet they’re paying people a whole lot more than that for the ones that send a bunch of referrals their way.

    Also, ditch Sumo and check out a plugin called ConvertPlus. It is amazing. One payment (I think it’s like $29 or something, you can buy it off Envato Market) and it does everything from Welcome Mats through to subscription boxes in content and modals and everything. The only thing it doesn’t do is social sharing like Sumo does, but for that I prefer Social Warfare like you suggested. They are fantastic.

    I have to respectfully disagree RE ConvertKit, to some degree. If you’re serious about growing your list and growing it fast, CK is worth the investment. Cut out your takeaway coffee for a month and invest in CK, and there’s a few reasons why:
    – If you’ve got some skin in the game you’re going to work harder to make sure that investment is getting a return
    – MailChimp forms suck, to make them look any good on your site you’re going to have to either purchase another plugin or subscription or spend time shopping around and trying to find something.
    – For all the time you spend learning MailChimp (I’m relatively savvy with this stuff and MailChimp confuses me), then finding a plugin to make the forms appealing on your site, only to then leave when you hit 500 or 1000 subs to learn ConvertKit is such a waste of your valuable time. Learning CK is fast, plus the support is incredible.
    – You’ll grow your email list with CK so much faster.

    Okay, so that totally sounded like a mega ad for CK but just wanted to add a different perspective. I wouldn’t start with a service if your intention is to leave it relatively quickly. But that’s just my two cents 🙂

    1. Haha you’re in good company. I use CK (but thinking about going to drip actually). The only reason I like Mailchimp is it’s free, and for a brand new blogger who doesn’t know what they’re doing and might lose interest, I like free things. 🙂

      You’re totally correct though. MC is damn confusing and does lack a few core features for bloggers.

      I’ll definitely check out your social recommendation, though I actually just purchased a new sharing plugin yesterday (haven’t even installed it yet lol).

      Thanks for this, these are awesome!

  13. +1 on the “Not Bluehost” sentiment. Shared hosting in general is a very bad idea for several reasons, but Bluehost deserves the same lousy rep that GoDaddy has. Personal/client experience here.

    At WordCamp last weekend a ridiculous percentage of attendees showed up for the 2nd day wearing Bluehost t-shirts, because that’s what you had to do for a chance to win the TV they were giving away. Gaaahhh…

    On a positive note, this post makes me want to go play with Snappa all day instead of writing my weekly e-mail. ?

  14. I love this page!! Thank you for this great list. Can I make a blog suggestion? For links leading internally it is OK to not open a new tab, but for links leading people out of your blog set it to open a new tab. This makes it easier for us to check out one of your external links but then come back easily to check another one. The first time I used this list I clicked and used your suggestion, but it took me a while to figure out who suggested it. So glad I found this the second time.

    1. Totally true. I’ve been doing exactly that for a while now, but this post is a bit old!

      It needs a major update, which I’m doing soon. Thank you Bonnie! 🙂 🙂

  15. Thank you for the great recommendations and tips! I’ve read a lot before choosing a hosting plan for my blog because I wanted to find reliable services which will keep my website up and running. I’ve read that solid-state drives improve the loading speed of a website, and that content delivery networks improve the speed of delivery. So, after comparing various hosts, reading reviews and so on, I’ve finally chosen one of BGOcloud’s web hosting plans. It includes all the necessary features necessary for improving the speed and performance of a blog. Now my blog is a lot faster and my bounce rate has significantly reduced.

  16. This page is GOLD! You have mentioned some of these tools in your podcast, but to have all in one place in writing?!? SOLID GOLD! Consider this page bookmarked – I’m sure I keep referring back to it as I grow as a blogger.

    1. Great question. I don’t use one at all at the moment, but >> Restrict Content Pro << has always been my go-to!It's what I used to use for Blogger U.

  17. Hello Pete, thanks for sharing those wonderful blogging tools for bloggers out there! You post is really very informative and the tools you included are really very helpful and useful for bloggers indeed. Keep it up!

  18. This is truly fantastic! As a new blogger, who has NO IDEA where to even begin, this was so helpful! Straight to the point. And super easy to follow. Thank you so much!

  19. One of the tools I love the most is ahref, this is something I can’t work without. Even if I work without it, would take a lot of time. I also love using outreach based tools to ease up my guest post process. Thanks for the blog post, worth reading !

  20. I’m here again! lol
    Thanks for sharing your views on different tools for blogging and as always it didn’t disappoint.

    “Stay away from Divi!” lol. I was planning on getting it as my first paid theme.
    Glad I visited your site. I think I need to read some reviews on Divi before jumping onto it.

    I love Canva I prefer it over PicMonkey. But the thing with Canva is, like what you said– the paid images are so annoying! So, I better take a look at that Snappa.

    1. Haha noooooooooooo to Divi. Glad you found me 🙂

      And you can always download stock photos from pexels.com, etc, and upload them into Canva (as long as you don’t mind the extra step).

      Probably cheaper and easier than switching from a tool you’re used to using.

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