17 Best Blogging Tools for Beginners and Beyond – 2017
Look for the best blogging tools for 2017? Look no further! 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. Enjoy…
17 Best Blogging Tools for Beginners and Beyond for 2017
Blogging Tool #1. WordPress (Free)
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).
Blogging Tool #2. Bluehost ($2.95 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 – $2.95 a month? I don’t think I can buy a latte for that these days.
- 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 everyday that I can just call someone for help.
Bluehost, like WordPress, is the number 1 choice of millions of bloggers, and for 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 signup with Bluehost or check out our article on how to start a successful blog that will walk you through the step-by-step process.
Blogging Tool #3. Pinterest (Free)
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.
Blogging Tool #4. Canva (Free)
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 Shutterstock plan for our images. Visit Canva.com, and create an account. It’s free!
Blogging Tool #5. Thrive Leads
(Currently $19/m for a unlimited site license, $97 for a 5 site license, $67 for a single site license) 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.
And if we’re talking about the best online blogging tools for beginners, there is one software that stands shoulders above it’s competitors. Thrive Leads. With this single plugin, they provide you 10 different ways to collect leads on your blog posts
- Scroll mats (slides in from the top)
- Multiple choice forms (yes, no)
- Content Lock (lock content behind email gate)
- Screen filler overlay (fills screen)
- Slide in (bottom right of the page)
- Opt in widget (sidebars)
- In line forms (in blog posts)
- Popup light box (basically a pop up window)
- Sticky Ribbon (top of the page that scrolls with you down the page)
Basically every singe way you can collect an email, they have it. The versatility and editor are what makes Thrive Leads such a powerful platform. Using thrive leads was one of the bigger catalysts that led to our success with blogging.
Plus, they are constantly updating the software and making everything better. Shane and the team over there are top notch and I can appreciate the work they put in.
Blogging Tool #6. 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!
Blogging Tool #7. 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.
Blogging Tool #8. Jetpack (Free)
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.
Blogging Tool #9. Email Marketing Platforms (Prices Vary)
As stated before, if you want to make a real 5 or 6 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 or Active Campaign We currently have Active Campaign for most of our businesses, but we have recently tried out ConvertKit one one of our businesses as well and are most likely going to make the entire switch over to CovertKit.
Both are great platforms, but I think ConvertKit is better for bloggers. 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.
Blogging Tool #10. Dropbox (Free)
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.
Blogging Tool #11. Stock Photography (Varies)
The downside of stock photography is that it looks 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:
- Shutterstock (Paid plan – What we use)
- Adobe Stock (10 Freebies – The rest is paid plan)
- Pexels (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 Shutterstock across 3 of our businesses, so we need a plan that offers a lot of image downloads.
Adobe Stock has reasonable prices for far less images if that works better for you.
Blogging Tool #12. Optimizilla (Free)
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.
Blogging Tool #13. 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 give you absolute freedom to make your webpage 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.
Blogging Tool #14. 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 on volume.
Blogging Tool #15. Flux (Free)
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 GREATY with this. It adapts your computers 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.
Blogging Tool #16. 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.
Blogging Tool #17. 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.
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!
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