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Below is NOT a huge list filled with every blogging tool under the sun…
These are the battle-tested solutions I use daily for my blog & business.
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%.
Should you blog on Blogger.com, Medium.com, etc?
Or should you blog on your own website using WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace? Etc?
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…
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 new to blogging and want to learn how to set WordPress up, check out the beginner guide to starting a blog.
The downside is that these limit what you can do with your site! Far less customization.
FYI – WordPress is a software. WordPress.COM means that software on THEIR website. WordPress.ORG means the software on your own website.
Where can I see if IReallyLikePuppies.com is available?
If it’s taken–where can I generate awesome domain ideas quickly?
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!
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!!
A website is really just a collection of files (like the files on your computer).
A hosting company simply “hosts” your website’s files on their server so people everywhere can access them!
They have my recommendation–for new bloggers especially.
In the past, I did NOT recommend 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 still recommend Siteground for established bloggers who have experience navigating cPanel & installing WordPress, but for new bloggers, I’m recommending Bluehost 110%.
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.
That said, here is my affiliate link to Bluehost. I’m happy to promote it.
Some other great hosting options:
I do NOT recommend hosting your site with Godaddy, Namecheap, or Hostgator.
Use these tools to create incredible looking pin, share images, and graphics!
I’ve used every tool you can imagine, including PicMonkey, Snappa, etc, and Canva wins for 2 reasons:
For those who prefer to edit using software NOT in the browser, or who find Canva a bit clunky, you can now export to PowerPoint for further edits.
Pro Tip: Canva has REALLY great pre-made templates. I stole 10-15 Instagram templates, exported them to PowerPoint, and proceed to edit those as normal.
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.
There are a metric ton of stock photo sites, but here are my recommendations:
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.
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 – 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 ShortPixel, you
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 is a browser-based image compression alternative (FREE)
Drag your image in, it compresses it and gives you a download link.
Not as simple as a WordPress plugin compressor like ShortPixel, but still easy and free.
Looking to grow organic SEO traffic? Use these tools to conduct keyword research, produce epic content that gets backlinks, and grow.
There are several different functions for these tools!
Yoast – Free! There’s a $90 premium version too.
I use it. Everyone uses it. You should too. It’s awesome for on-page SEO.
Will getting all of Yoast’s little green lights guarantee ranking in Google? NO. But it IS still a handy tool for gently optimizing blog posts (especially for beginners).
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 🙂
SO much more affordable than the big names (even though I actually use Ahrefs. Full disclaimer, but it IS expensive).
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 KWFinder or Ahrefs.
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.
Soolve – 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!
Keywords Everywhere – Free Chrome extension!
This tool is incredible! Simply activate the extension, and Keywords Everywhere will start to show you search volume in Google search results, using Soolve, Answer the Public, and more!
Pro tip: you can’t rely on the exact numbers! Paid keyword tools will likely be more accurate–but this is a great starting point considering it’s free!
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.
Image compressors (already discussed above), cache plugins, and CDNs!
Tools that’ll make your website load faster and make readers (and Google) happy.
WP Rocket – $49 Cache Plugin
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 – Free CDN!
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!
Use these to put your social media sharing on autopilot!
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
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.
I HIGHLY recommend you try it out for 14 days (Use my affiliate link for 30 days free!).
Free alternative = Buffer.
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 = $10/mo for Pinterest Sharing and Automation.
Pinterest user? Tailwind is essentially the ONLY tool you need.
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.
These tools will make sure your website stays nice and safe–free from hackers and bots 😉
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 is the ONLY backup plugin I’ve seen that has 3rd-part backups (i.e. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc), available in their free version.
P.S. Many premium WordPress hosting providers ALSO include some sort of backup tool. I know Siteground, Bigscoots, and Kinsta provide this!
Grow your email list? Complicated email marketing funnels?
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?”
Below are my honest–but controversial–recommendations for bloggers.
Why? It’s incredibly easy to use, also comes with some landing page software, and actually offers more features (and is cheaper!) than ConvertKit.
While it does lack some of the more powerful features for email marketing, it’s definitely a solid choice for new folks.
If you have complicated email marketing funnels–your options are Drip and ActiveCampaign.
I used to use 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!
Do you recommend ConvertKit?
If you’re making enough from your blog to cover $29/month, and all you really need is…
ConvertKit is for you.
Their editor is incredibly easy to use, and you can create as many opt-in forms, landing pages, and email sequences as you desire!
However, their automations are FAR behind those of ActiveCampaign, and the fact that they don’t have a free plan puts them behind Mailerlite.
Also, I do NOT recommend Aweber.
All of these tools do roughly the same thing, but Right Inbox is my fave:
Use these to produce better, more engaging content that’ll have your readers sharing, commenting, and buying 🙂
Bear –Free Writing App (Mac and iOS only)
Bear is lightweight, pretty, distraction-free, and an AMAZING tool to compose in.
I use this to…
Google Docs – Free
At the end of the day, Google docs is simply to easy, and too FREE to leave out.
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 🙂
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!).
These blogging tools help you get more done, faster, and better.
Trello – Free project management tool
Trello is INSANELY simple to use, and organizes tasks and projects in a highly visual format (kanban boards!).
I pretty much stink at organizing and planning out operations for my team (and creating a content calendar), but even I’ve found using Trello handy.
Pro Tip: “Butler” is a specific “power-up” you can enable for Trello boards, allowing you to do some helpful automations. Check out a video on that here.
Asana – Also a free project management tool
My buddy Matt Giovansci–actually has an awesome course on how to use Asana for bloggers–he runs his entire business on the free plan.
If you like the more “list” visual aspect, Asana is very powerful 🙂
TextExpander ($30/year) – If you find yourself typing things repeatedly–email signatures, URLs, phrases, etc, TextExpander allows you to create shortcuts for bunks of text. Example: I simply hit “hhdd” and out pops https://doyouevenblog.com.
Freedom.to ($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.
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.
Otter.ai (free) – Hands down the best audio transcription tool on the internet! Great for quickly taking voice notes and seeing transcriptions–or for podcast transcripts 😉
These tools make it simple for you to market, sell, and deliver your own products (or help sell affiliate marketing products!)
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.
I have to mention this for advanced bloggers with established courses, etc. This is what I use to process ALL my transactions these days.
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.
Quickly build landing and sales pages for your blog!
There is no better page-building plugin for WordPress.
I do NOT recommend Leadpages. It’s too expensive, clunky, and does half of what Elementor does.
You need a theme that WORKS, looks great, loads quickly, and works with other plugins.
StudioPress makes amazing WordPress themes that are…
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.
Alternative – the default WordPress themes (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.
Divi themes are notoriously slow
If you ever decide to switch AWAY from Divi, you are in for a world of hurt.
These are random tools that add value to my career as a blogger, podcaster, course creator, etc 😉
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:
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)
So what are your favorite tools??
That’s a wrap! Did you enjoy these? Discover something new? Want to add something?
Drop me a comment!