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

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.

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 - What Website/Software Should I Blog on?​

Should you blog on Blogger.com, Medium.com, etc?

Or should you blog on your own website using WordPress, Weebly, Squarespace? Etc?

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?
wordpress

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.

Is there a free blogging platform I can use?

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

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.

Tools for Creating Domain Names and Finding Their Availability.

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!

instant domain search
I recommend purchasing domains through either Godaddy or Namecheap–even if you’re using another provider for hosting! Other cool domain name tools: You can also use the widget below to search right here on this page 🙂 🙂

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!!

What's the best WordPress hosting company?

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!

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 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!

bluehost dashboard

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:

  • Siteground – I’ve used them in the past, and they’re fantastic! My top recommendation for bloggers w/ over 20,000 pageviews/month
  • Bigscoots – This is my current host. They’re…ok.

I do NOT recommend hosting your site with Godaddy, Namecheap, or Hostgator.

Image and Graphic Design Tools

Use these tools to create incredible looking pin, share images, and graphics!

Canva (plus PowerPoint!)- Free and Pro Versions ($10/month)

I’ve used every tool you can imagine, including PicMonkey, Snappa, etc, and Canva wins for 2 reasons:

  1. Their free version is still A+
  2. You can export to PowerPoint!
canva to powerpoint

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.

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 (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 – Free quota of compressed images a month, paid options available.

shortpixel

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

  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 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.

SEO tools (Search Engine Optimization Software)

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!

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

WordPress Plugins for on-page SEO

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).

 

Keyword research and/or competitor tools

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
kwfinder
KWFinder is incredible for the price!

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 🙂

  • keyword research
  • content planning
  • backlink analysis
  • SERP tracking
  • Site audit tools
  • way more

SO much more affordable than the big names (even though I actually use Ahrefs. Full disclaimer, but it IS expensive).

ahrefs

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.

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.

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!

soolve keywords

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.

Introducing 60-Minute SEO - A Free Email Course

Looking to start ranking in Google?

Click here to learn more about 60-Minute SEO!

60-minute SEO

Website Optimization and Site Speed Tools

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

  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.

wp rocket

Cloudflare – Free CDN!

  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.

The Best Tools for Social Media Management & Automation

Use these to put your social media sharing on autopilot!

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

SmarterQueue – 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!
smarterqueue social media tool

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)

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.

  • 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 and Blog Backup Tools

These tools will make sure your website stays nice and safe–free from hackers and bots 😉

WordFence Security Plugin – 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 – 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!

P.S. Many premium WordPress hosting providers ALSO include some sort of backup tool. I know Siteground, Bigscoots, and Kinsta provide this!

Email Marketing Tools & ESPs (Email Service Providers)

Grow your email list? Complicated email marketing funnels?

Check 👍

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.

The Best Email Service Providers for Bloggers:

MailerLite – 0-1,000 subscribers is free!

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.

activecampaign
ActiveCampaign’s automations are best in class.

ActiveCampaign – For advanced email marketers who need powerful automations (starts at $17/mo)

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…

  1. Easy to use email editors, and
  2. Landing pages and opt-in forms

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.

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

Outreach, productivity, email tracking, etc:

right inbox
Right Inbox is sweet!

All of these tools do roughly the same thing, but Right Inbox is my fave:

  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.

Blogging Tools to Help Create Better Content

Use these to produce better, more engaging content that’ll have your readers sharing, commenting, and buying 🙂

Writing Apps

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…

  • 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).

Google Docs – Free

At the end of the day, Google docs is simply to easy, and too FREE to leave out. 

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.

Blog Organization, Productivity, and Project Management Software

These blogging tools help you get more done, faster, and better.

Tools to manager your content calendar (and various projects)

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.

trello for bloggers

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 🙂

Misc. Productivity Tools

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 😉

Blog Monetization Tools

These tools make it simple for you to market, sell, and deliver your own products (or help sell affiliate marketing products!)

Gumroad (Free and $10/mo) – Quickly selling any product from your blog.

gumroad bloggers
I used Gumroad to sell t-shirts. Was incredibly easy.

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 ($600 lifetime) – Advanced checkout pages!

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

  • Quickly get product checkout pages set-up and optimized
  • Upsells
  • Bump offers
  • Cookied countdown timers on carts
  • Affiliate management
  • GREAT integrations
thrivecart

Full 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

Quickly build landing and sales pages for your blog!

Elementor (Free and $49/yr) – Drag-n-drop page builder!

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!

elementor blogging tool
This post (and this entire site) was built with Elementor 🙂

The Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers

You need a theme that WORKS, looks great, loads quickly, and works with other plugins.

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.

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.

The problem?

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

Extra random blogging tools!

These are random tools that add value to my career as a blogger, podcaster, course creator, etc 😉

Also, if you’d like to see my HARDWARE tools, you can check out my Blog Bag post here!

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)

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!

67 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.

  8. Awesome post, Pete!!! I’m definitely going to have to try Snip.ly. It looks really cool and I have so many ideas now on how to use the CTA 😀

    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 🙂

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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 🙂

  13. 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!

  14. +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. ?

  15. 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! 🙂 🙂

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

  20. 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 !

  21. 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.

  22. Hi Pete, you have been helping so much for so long. How can we help you back apart from using affiliate links if we need to buy a product or two. We have reviewed you already on Podcast, anything else we can do to help you?

  23. Hi Pete, this is an incredible, informative and educative tutorial you have shared. Honestly, had it been I knew of all these tools ( well, some of them were not existing that time) when I started blogging 4 years ago, I think I would have achieved faster success much more than now. I think new and upcoming bloggers ( even with people like me) needs to be grateful and show appreciation for this tools you have mentioned. For example, canvas is very good and the sniply you mentioned is pretty new to me. Many thanks

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