17 Best Blogging Tools for Beginners and Beyond
In this article, we’re going through the 17 best blogging tools, software, and resources for beginners and beyond!
- Some are free.
- Some are paid.
- All are awesome.
When Lauren and I started blogging, we tried every blogging tool, software, gimik, webinar, launch, and hoenanny you could think of.
It was a time of learning and mistakes, and it was 100% necessary for our business.
Thankfully for you, during that time we learned a lot about what makes a good blogging tool and what does not.
The following is the best of the best from what we found in the growing and creating of our successful health and fitness blog, Avocadu.com.
These are not only the tools that we use for our blogs, but what many of our fellow successful bloggers use as well.
Without further ado, our 17 best blogging tools for beginners and beyond…
75.6 million bloggers can’t be wrong. WordPress is the platform we use, love, and think the world of as experienced bloggers. Why?
- Ease of Use – The beginning of using a WordPress blog may be confusing, but once you’re used to the platform, the ease of use is incredible.
- Clean Content Editor – Makes editing and perfecting blog posts easy
- Tools and Resources – Because 75.6 million bloggers use it, there are literally hundreds of thousands of themes, tools, plugins, and resources made to work with WordPress.
- Community – Great community support forum where you can get your questions answered.
- Multiple Users – Easy to use and have multiple users on the interface. We hire people occasionally who can access the backend of WordPress without messing up our blog.
- Professional – It’s what the blog pros use!
WordPress is the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) when it comes to creating blogs and websites. Don’t buy the hype or shiny new things when testing software.
Trust us when we say this -> Go with the tried, tested, and true.
Before you set up your WordPress site though, you will need hosting (below).
Bluehost ($2.75 per month)
I’ve tried Siteground, Hostgator, GoDaddy, and Bluehost when it comes to blogging. Often my websites were constantly crashing and on the fritz from the influx of traffic we had. Moving to Bluehost ended up being on of the smarter decisions we made. It’s…
- Fast – Blogs have a need for speed that Bluehost provides.
- Affordable – $2.75 a month? I don’t think I can buy a latte for that these days. Note that this is a special discount that Bluehost has given us and is only available through our link!
- Makes it EASY set up WordPress – Bluehost and WordPress are like best buddies, and they have an easy step-by-step system for setting up your blog. It’s so simple I showed people how to do it in 10 minutes. Trust me, the more basic the concept this is as a new blogger, the better off you will be!
- Comes with a free domain name.
- Customer support is fast and reliable – I like the fact I can get on the phone with a native English speaker when things are not working. Other customer support teams are helpful, but it’s not every day that I can just call someone for help.
Bluehost, like WordPress, is the number 1 choice of millions of bloggers, and for good reason.
Let me say this again: You don’t want always be trying out the “hot new thing” when it comes to software and blogging tools. You’re running a blog and don’t have time for those headaches. You can sign up with Bluehost or check out our article on how to start a successful blog that will walk you through the step-by-step process.
For some strange reason, bloggers and people with websites are still not taking Pinterest seriously and roll their eyes when they hear me talking about it. They think it’s all cute photos and fashionistas… It’s easy for me to just smile at this when we generated over 500,000 unique organic page views from Pinterest last month.
More free traffic for us, I guess. 😛 If you’re reading this, let me tell you right now: Pinterest is an absolute GOLDMINE if you have a blog and unique content to share with the world.
It takes time to master and get good at, but that time is well worth it. Our article on Pinterest for Business has every resource we have written on the subject of Pinterest, organized into easy to navigate sections.
Oh, sweet, sweet Canva. The yoga Pinterest pin is one that Lauren designed in Canva. No longer do you have to pay thousands of dollars to have professional designers and companies to make graphics for your blog. No more back and forth over design specifications for days on end!
You can do it yourself with an incredible tool that anyone can use. We have used Canva to make all kinds of graphics for our sales pages, but we’ve used it the most on our Pinterest pins!
It helps you create beautiful designs that put your pins above all the rest!
They offer a limited number of stock images for free, but most of them are $1. We haven’t used these because we have a different paid stock photo plan for our images. Visit Canva.com, and create an account. It’s free!
Email collection is the name of the game, blogging friends.
It’s not changing anytime soon because there are people right now making $10k+ running launches to small lists of less than 1,000 people.
The thing about collecting and getting email addresses is that there are a lot of different systems and ways to do it.
LeadPages allows you to create beautiful, high-converting landing pages for collecting email leads. It allows you to customize your pages far more than most other software and definitely way more than you can just on WordPress.
The cool thing about these pages is that you can link them anywhere from your blog but also on social media. We link Pinterest pins straight to landing pages like this one for our Free Blog Monetization eCourse.
We also have a post on how to build an email list and collect leads in which we discuss how to use software like LeadPages and integrate it with your blog and your email marketing service.
Yoast SEO (Free)
Yoast advertises itself as the #1 WordPress Plugin for SEO, and I have to say they are 100% correct.
If you’re a new or somewhat experienced blogger, you will probably look to get traffic from Google at some point. Initially, Lauren and I just focused on using social media to drive traffic, because trying to rank in Google searches in the health and fitness niche is damn near impossible due to the competitive nature and the size of the niche.
It’s just not worth the time or resources, so we focus on dominating Pinterest instead. We ARE looking to rank in Google searches for Create and Go though and Yoast has become more and more useful in that process. It will help you:
- Optimize blog posts for certain keywords
- Show you the what missing from those posts for Google SEO
- Get a better understanding of how Google selects pages it brings to the top
- So much more
Remember what I said about WordPress and the tools they have? This is a prime example of this. You’re not going to find Yoast on any other platforms. If you’d like any amount of Google SEO love, it’s a must-have plugin!
Readability Checker (Free)
Sooooo, people on average read at a 7th-grade level these days. (That’s legit info by the way. I didn’t just make it up._ I’m not going to cast any judgments or make any general observations about society, but here we are! (Since I probably write at a 7th-grade level, this is good for me I guess).
Unless your blog caters to the extreme intellectual, you want to make things as easy and simple as possible for degenerates like myself to read.
The great news is that with this free readability tool, you can see exactly how to simplify your blog posts for your audience:
It also tells you the number of complex words in your post, words per sentence, and rounds up all your scores on various readability indices.
The simplest and most user-friendly way to track traffic to your blog or website hands down. When talking about blogging tools, most bloggers rave about Google Analytics.
Yes, Google analytics is very professional; however, it is abysmal to get the hang of. It is single-handedly one of the more frustrating and overly complex of all the tools Google provides. I know it pretty well and still loathe using it.
Compare this to the simplicity of Jetpack.
- Simple breakdown of the most important stats
- Breakdown of where page views are coming from
- Can see where people are clicking once on your blog
- All of this happens in the WordPress dashboard so no need to log into any external site.
We’re big fans of simplicity here are Create and Go so for easy management of site stats – use Jetpack.
Email Marketing Platforms (Prices Vary)
As stated before, if you want to make a real 5 or six-figure income from blogging then the most important tool you’re going to need is an email list. Here’s why:
- It is your only pure business asset – Platforms, social media, Google, and everything changes constantly and can even be taken away from you. By having a list, you have a continually growing asset that you can continue to market to over time.
- Provides stability – Our website could get hacked and deleted tomorrow, and we would still survive. This is because we have a list of customers interested in what we offer.
- The best place to turn prospects into customers – The better the relationship you have with your audience, the more likely they will be to buy. An email list is an important place where you should be fostering that relationship with your readers.
- LEVERAGE – On the shoulders of our email list and in a few blog posts, we grew our popular Youtube Channel, The Health Nerd, from scratch. The Youtube channel is completely self-sufficient now, but having a list we could email to access the followers OFF the channel itself was the foundation it was built on.
There are 3 email marketing services that are the best for different stages of bloggers:
Total beginner blogger: Start with MailChimp They give you 1000 free subscribers and are a good tool. Once you hit your first 1,000 subscribers, you will want to more to a more professional platform (below).
Mid-Level/Advanced bloggers: ConvertKit is the only company that we personally use and recommend. We have tried out MailChimp, GetResponse, ActiveCampaign, and others, but ConvertKit is the best option for bloggers, in our opinion.
Their platform is SIMPLE, and the most annoying part about emailing people is the complexity of most platforms. I can send an email to my list in half the time with Convert Kit, simply because of the way the platform is set up.
It’s by far the best solution for storing, sharing, and cross-editing files with team members. Let’s say that you want to hire a copywriter to create an amazing sales page for your new product, “The Mom Drone.”
This new drone is designed to follow your child around when you’re gone and hover over their shoulder so you don’t have to. 😉 You have hundreds of megabytes of photos, videos, and files about your product, but have no way to share this information seamlessly with your new copywriter.
With Dropbox, you can easily open up a new file/folder with this person and share all relevant images and files with them so they can easily access everything. Plus, anything else you add will notify them in case you want to make changes. This is the beauty of Dropbox.
We personally use this blogging tool every day as dropbox syncs with the files on our computers. I write an article on Word, place it in our Create and Go Articles folder within Dropbox, and Lauren easily accesses it and makes the content beautiful and blog-ready. Check out Dropbox.
It’s free if you use less than 1TB of data.
Stock Photography (Varies)
The downside of stock photography is that it can look cheesy… That goofy one of Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco is a stock photo bit made for their upcoming movie, Unfinished Business (image courtesy of Adweek.com).
If you’re a professional photographer who wants to take the time and produce amazing photos for your blog – go for it!
They look MUCH more personal! For many of you, you will be more like us and not have the time or the resources to add incredible personal photography to every post.
Here are a couple places you can find great stock photos:
- BigStock Photo (Paid plan – What we use after switching from Shutterstock)
- Pixabay and Unsplash (Two best options for freebies)
The real deal is that free stock photo sites will come with serious limitations, while paid stock photography will come with thousands of different options for your blog, products, social media campaigns, etc.
Bottom line: We recommend getting a paid plan, but find one that meets your needs. We use BigStock Photo across all of our businesses, so we need a plan that offers a lot of image downloads.
This tool was originally recommended to us by a guy that we hired to optimize our website and sales pages to make them faster.
It’s FREE, incredibly simple to use, lightning fast, and it generally reduces the file size of your images by around 70%. Simply save the photo to your desktop or downloads folder, drag it to Optimizilla.com (or upload it), and then download it again after it has been compressed. Then upload it to your blog or sales pages AFTER it has been compressed!
Lauren does this for EVERY image that goes up on our blog or sales pages.
Clickfunnels ($97 per month)
If you want to sell a product and/or create a killer landing page, Clickfunnels is the best software around for bloggers. I have used pretty much every drag and drop editor known to man and have been pretty disappointed with most up until I found Clickfunnels.
The drag and drop editor allows for TOTAL customization of any page you create, which gives you absolute freedom to make your web page look just how you want to.
It’s the landing page editor we used to create:
I did an entire review on Clickfunnels (the good and the bad) for building sales and landing pages, if you’d like to know more about it.
Note: This is what we use to host and sell our digital products on Avocadu. On Create and Go, we use Teachable to sell and host our courses. We find that Teachable is a much better option for any online program where people have to continuously login to consume the information.
Keyword Research Tool – Moz ($137/m)
If you’re trying to get posts to the top of search engines, you’re going to need to figure out what people are searching for.
Understanding the proper keywords you have a chance of ranking for will change the way write blog posts.
The best keyword research tool for accuracy and long tail keywords is Moz Keyword Explorer hands down!
It’s simple to use, accurate, and incredibly helpful. If you are trying to get SEO traffic from Google, you should also try out Google’s Keyword Planner (Free).
The advantages are that it is free and simple to use. The disadvantages are that it’s less advanced than Moz and only gives a very basic assessment of volume.
Y’all, this one is awesome! As a blogger, there are going to be nights where you burn the midnight oil. For all of you working late at night, there’s a free software you should check out for your eyes: https://justgetflux.com/
Being a health and wellness blogger, I am always thinking about the impact blogging makes on my health. One of the problems with using the computer late at night is the interference with the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin specifically is regulated by light and was designed to work with the sun. When the sun goes down, your levels of melatonin are supposed to raise up signally to the body that it’s time for sleep.
Unfortunately, the artificial lights we use in our life (especially staring into a computer), disrupt this hormone and greatly disrupt the quality of our sleep.
Here’s the cool thing: Flux helps GREATLY with this. It adapts your computer’s display to emit a softer light based on the time of day. That way during those late nights pumping out blog posts, your sleep will remain reasonably unharmed. Did I mention it’s free?
Yep, grab flux today and thank me later. You will notice an immediate difference in how your eyeballs feel at night.
Google Page Speed Insights (Free)
Every second it takes for a page to load, a greater and greater percentage of people will bounce from your page.
In fact, according to Kiss Metrics, 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. Use Google’s Page Speed insights to get a better idea of how fast your pages are loading and how to speed up the load time.
If your pages are loading particularly slowly, you should take steps to optimizing them and speeding them up. Many of the minor tweaks can be fixed by hiring someone on Upwork for $100 – $200 for the less tech-savvy.
Community support groups. (Free)
Blogging tools, software, and resources are going to be continually added and updated as blogs progress forward.
One of the better methods I have seen to get support and guidance for your own blog or website is with closed Facebook community support groups.
These groups allow you to bounce ideas off of other bloggers and get some creative feedback on what you’re doing! It’s also a great way to connect with others in your niche.
You can also join our free blogging community on Facebook for more blogging tips, tools, and more!
Create something awesome today!
Co-Founder, Create and Go
P.S. Any blogging tools I missed? Leave your favorites in the comment section below and let me know if this helped you!
Alex & Lauren
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