The best blogging tools will save you hours of time & effort and allow you to do things that would otherwise require you to hire the services of writers, marketers, graphic designers, and tech experts.
But with so many blog tools vying for your attention, how do you know which ones are the best? In this blog post, I’m going to list the actual blog tools I use to run my blogging business.
With these tools, I’ve been able to quickly grow multiple successful blogs in the finance, health, and marketing niches.
I’ve already done the work of trying everything and eliminating what works and what doesn’t, what you need, and what you don’t. This list of the best blogging tools will save you time, money, and even your sanity.
Ready to get started? On with the list! On with the list I say!
Best blog writing tools
I’m not gonna lie, my grammar is atrocious – but it would be so much worse if I wasn’t using Grammarly.
The free version is good for spelling mistakes, using words in the wrong tense, and missing commas. However, it’s the pro version where this tool helps you become a better writer.
I use it to eliminate wordiness and run-on sentences. It also helps me rid my content of weakness and uncertainty.
For example, it will change:
“I think we should be able to solve this issue.” to “We can solve this issue.”
And it will help you find better words:
“I was very happy when I learned that Grammarly can help my writing get better.”
“I was thrilled when I learned Grammarly can help improve my writing.”
You can use Grammarly on more than just your blog content, you can use it to craft powerful headlines. Headlines are so important I even devoted an entire blog post on how to write headlines for your blog.
2. Google Docs
Google Docs, as I’m sure you know, is a word processing app similar to Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. The difference being that Google Docs doesn’t exist as an app on your computer, but is accessible through your browser. That means your docs are with you wherever you go.
Google Docs is good for writing because it auto-saves your files as you write and keeps your revisions so you can go back to a previous version.
Here’s how many bloggers use Google Docs:
- Write your blog posts, then copy + paste your article into WordPress.
- To accept or submit guest (or sponsored) posts.
- To write an ebook or guide and save as a PDF.
- Google Sheets for spreadsheets to keep track of sponsored ads, blog income and blog growth.
- Google Slides for creating the slides for digital eCourse presentations.
While new bloggers often want to stick to free tools, it’s a big mistake. Many bloggers can’t justify spending money on tools when they haven’t made money with their blog yet. But the reality is that it’s hard to grow your blog if you don’t invest in the best tools.
Best tools to start a blog
When you start a self-hosted blog with WordPress, you’re going to need a domain name and a hosting company.
I recommend starting your blog with Bluehost. When you sign up for a hosting account here, they’ll cover the first year of your domain registration fees and install WordPress for you. It’s by far the fastest and easiest way to start a blog in 15 minutes or less.
4. Astra Pro
To design your blog using WordPress, there are plenty of free themes out there to choose from. With all the free blog themes out there, how do you know which one to pick?
Well, luckily for you, I have tried a ton of blog themes over the last 15 years, and I’ve found the best blog theme ever built. That’s none other than Astra Pro. It’s the only blog theme I trust, and it’s the theme I use on Do Six Figures as well.
But if you have a free WordPress theme, you need to use a page builder like Elementor.
When you use a page builder, you can turn boring text/images blog post into one with rich elements like rating boxes, thumbs up or down, click to tweet, etc.
Best graphic design tools
6. Canva Pro
I use Canva to design all my Pinterest pin images. It’s incredibly simple to choose a template, make your changes, and have a pin created in minutes.
You can drag an image into your design, add some text overlay, change the font and color, and it is done.
I have Photoshop but never use it anymore. It’s just not necessary when I can get the same result in Canva much faster.
You can’t just use any image you find on Google Images on your blog. There are copyright laws and you don’t want to be caught using an image without permission.
To avoid all this, stick to using stock photos only.
There’s plenty of stock photo sites, but by far my favorite is Pexels. It has everything you need, a fast website, a search bar, and oh yeah, boatloads of royalty-free images!
I use Pexels for all of the pictures you see on this blog (other than screenshots of course).
If you’re doing any kind of visual marketing (like Pinterest pins or running ads on Facebook), you will want to use DepositPhotos instead. That’s the premium stock photo site I recommend for finding images nobody else is using.
If you need simple fast image editing, use BeFunky. It’s a web-based app you use right on your browser for simple image editing.
I’ve found it is the fastest way to crop and resize a picture, much faster than using an external program or doing it on WordPress itself.
Here’s my image editing workflow:
- Download a stock image from Pexels
- Open the image on BeFunky
- Resize to 1000 pixels
- Crop the height to 650 pixels (usually)
- Save the image as a jpg with an image quality of 80.
They have a pro version where you can make additional customizations, but I don’t use it. I just need it to resize and crop before uploading to WordPress.
9. PDF Escape
I use PDF Escape to edit my PDF’s for free. You don’t need to download an app, you can do it all from your browser. To use it, you need to have a PDF file to start with.
To create a PDF file in the first place, you can create an image in Canva and save as a PDF. You can also create a PDF using a word processor like Word or Pages. Just save your file as a PDF instead of a doc.
But that is the extent of what you can do on those programs.
With PDF Escape you can bring your PDF file to life by making text boxes fillable, checkboxes clickable and more. Adding these elements bring a level of interaction to a PDF file that would otherwise just be static.
Best email marketing tools
It’s very difficult to make money directly from your blog. After all, readers don’t know you nor do they trust you.
By starting an email list you’ll start building a tribe of followers who trust you and ultimately will buy from you.
Focus on building your tribe of followers every day, they will be your business’s best asset.
11. Thrive Leads
In case you haven’t gotten the memo, nobody joins newsletters anymore. This doesn’t mean that email marketing is dead. You just need to create an enticing offer to get people to sign up.
This offer is called a lead magnet. It’s just a file (usually a PDF) you send to new subscribers. It can be an ebook, a cheatsheet or even a free course.
You also need opt-in forms that are a little more “in your face”. We’re talking welcome mats, exit intent lightbox forms, two-step opt-ins, ribbon forms (that stay on top), and slide ins.
This is why I use the lead generation plugin Thrive Leads. The opt-in forms you see on Do Six Figures were made using this plugin.
I go over more ways to get more email subscribers here.
The best feature of Thrive Leads is the ability to conduct A/B testing. Now you can truly compare two optin forms and see which one converts best.
The correct way to conduct an A/B test is to only change one thing on the form (the call to action, button color, lead magnet or headline). Then wait until you see which one works better.
Then, change something else and start another test. You keep running tests until you find the design and offer that converts best on your site.
Best marketing tools for bloggers
Tailwind is the Pinterest scheduler I use to automate my Pinterest marketing. Tailwind has four main sections.
Pinterest wants you to be active on the platform, pinning every day. With Tailwind you can batch pin and let Tailwind share your pins on a schedule.
You can set up your pins to be shared for months in advance if you want.
See which pins are performing the best and which ones are duds. Plus, you can see which boards are doing well too.
Analyzing your Pinterest stats is important for developing a solid Pinterest marketing strategy.
With Smartloop you can recycle your older best-performing pins and loop them back to the top of your Pinterest boards.
A community is a group of users who actively share each other’s content on Pinterest.
ThirstyAffiliates is a WordPress plugin that hides your long ugly affiliate URLs. Here’s why this plugin is a must for any blogger doing affiliate marketing:
- Cloaking. Turns a long affiliate link into one like this: https://www.dosixfigures.com/go/thirstyaffiliates/
- Security. Hides your affiliate code so malware can’t replace your affiliate ID.
- Centralization. You can change an affiliate link one time at the source.
- Categories. Organize your affiliate links into groups.
- Statistics. You get detailed stats on who’s clicking on your link and from which page.
I use Social Pilot for my hands-off social media marketing approach. With this tool I schedule tweets and Facebook updates for months in advance.
I just upload a spreadsheet full of my messages, one per line, then upload it to SocialPilot. Then, I choose my accounts, choose how many per day and let them do the rest.
This way I only spend about 5 minutes every few months setting up my social media updates. Doing this lets me focus the rest of my time and energy on creating new content, updating my courses and on Pinterest marketing.
Best SEO tools for bloggers
SEMRush is the gold standard when it comes to getting accurate data from Google search. With this SEO tool, you can find profitable keywords to target and write about.
Before you ever write a thing, always start with keyword research. Otherwise, you will waste a lot of time writing articles nobody is searching for.
Using Google to search for a keyword and seeing what autocompletes is a good way to get an idea over what keywords are popular in your niche. You can do the same for Pinterest and their search engine.
But we need some more data first before deciding whether it’s a keyword phrase worth writing about.
Knowing how hard it is to rank for a keyword is also important information.
For example, the last thing you ever want to do is write a generic weight loss article. While the search volume is high, it’s downright impossible to rank well for that search term.
With SEMRush, you can get an idea of volume and difficulty to rank for a keyword. It’s also useful for getting related keyword ideas.
You can also use it to get content ideas by seeing what other bloggers who target that keyword have written about.
Building a strong internal linking structure is important to let Google know which pages are most important on your website.
A typical structure is Homepage > Cornerstone content > Supporting content.
In this example your supporting content link to each other and all link to the cornerstone piece of content.
I used to do all of this manually – and it was a pain.
Now I’m using the LinkWhisper WordPress plugin to recommend internal link opportunities. I can also add links from old content to my new posts easily, which is what makes the plugin so useful to me.
Another benefit is the data the plugin lets you see. I can see how many internal (and external) links any given article has.
This is helpful because if I have an article that is important to me, I want it to have plenty of internal links pointing to it.
Broken links leading to 404 pages are a bad user experience. They can also hurt your Google ranking. And yet broken links are inevitable, especially if you’re linking to 3rd party sites in your blog posts.
LinkWhisper can also scan your entire blog, look for broken links, then remove or fix them.
Slow-loading sites are a pain. Google doesn’t like them either. Do a quick check of the top 5 search results for any given search term and you’ll see all of those sites load fast, really fast.
You can test your site speed on Pagespeed Insights. Rather than focusing on your score, look at the recommendations to improve your site speed.
Here’s exactly how I get my site to load fast:
- Fast hosting: I use WPXHosting
- CDN: I use WPX Cloud
- Lightweight theme: I use the Astra blog theme
- Caching plugin: I use WPRocket
- Images: I use ShortPixel for image optimization
I wrote an entire article solely on how to speed up your WordPress blog right here.
Note: Don’t go overboard trying to land a perfect score. The goal here is to have a fast loading blog, not reach a specific number.
Page speed is one of those blogging rabbit-holes you want to avoid wasting too much time on.
Another way to speed up your WordPress blog is to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like Cloudflare.
What is a CDN?
A CDN is a network of servers spread around the world who work together to provide fast delivery of your content. A CDN will cache copies of your website across their servers, which improves page load speeds.
Note: I don’t use Cloudflare’s CDN, I use WPX Cloud, the CDN offered by my host.
Best tools for selling digital products
A great way to make money online is by selling online courses. You can sell a course on just about anything, but the most popular course topics are:
- Making money online
- Web design
- Personal development
While there are many online course platforms, I run my courses using Thrive Apprentice. You can see it in action on blogging courses page. It’s easy to start a course and add lessons. It’s about as simple as creating and publishing a blog post.
If you’re going to sell digital products, the gold standard for shopping cart software is ThriveCart.
Aside from being able to design your checkout pages, you can also add bump offers, upsells, and downsells. These marketing tactics are the secret sauce for making more money online.
You can even run an affiliate program with ThriveCart and have others sell your products for you.
Want to see it in action? Click the Buy Now button on any item on my Shop page.
I use SendOwl as the intermediary between my courses and the payment processor.
SendOwl allows you to sell digital goods like online courses. It connects with Stripe (so you get paid) and then automatically delivers the product to the buyer.
For my courses, once a purchase is made, SendOwl automatically redirects the user to the paid course.
It’s $9/month which is a good price to pay to fully automate the process of selling digital products.
In order to collect credit card payments on your blog, you need a credit card processor. I use Stripe for my course sales. They charge 2.9% plus 30 cents for every order. So on a $100 order, you end up with $96.80.
I also like the lack of a payment lag. I get paid 2 days after every sale, direct deposit into my bank account.
Many users prefer to pay with Paypal instead of their credit card – totally understandable. That’s why if you’re offering something for sale, you need to add Paypal as a payment option.
Paypal is also the preferred way to accept payments for sponsored posts or ads on your blog and to send invoices.
Best blog organization tools
We can all use a little help from time to time. I use and recommend Fiverr to hire the best freelancers to help you with your blog.
I’ve used Fiverr primarily for writing gigs, but there are lots of other types of projects they can help you with, such as:
- logo design
- video or audio editing
- WordPress help
- custom CSS
- virtual assistant and more
I use Meistertask for “project management” and use it in all sorts of ways, every single day. Meistertask is my to-do list app in addition to being a place where I store blog post ideas and reminders.
I like using Meistertask to visually map out ideas and processes. With it, I can add cards to a list, then drag and drop them around. It’s the one tool I use to help me see the bigger picture in things.
I use Meistertask to map out my courses, figuring out how to separate the modules, and moving the lessons around. I use it to write my email sequences, moving around the email subjects in the right order. Finally, I use it to map out a customer journey or sales funnel I’m creating.
Meistertask is actually meant for teams to collaborate on ideas, assign projects, and track their progress. But I’m a one-person show here so I don’t use most of their advanced features.
I use Dropbox to keep a copy of my files wherever I go. I have my everyday iMac, but also have a MacBook laptop I rarely use. Then there’s my iPhone. Well with Dropbox everything is synced so I can work on one device and pick up where I left off on another.
Most of what I do is just done online though, through the tools listed on this page. So the way I use Dropbox most is just to store important copies of files I don’t want to lose. For example, I’ll keep a backup of my blog on there. I also keep past courses and ebooks I’ve purchased.
Dropbox has file recovery and even a version history so you can roll back to a previous version of the file.
With Dropbox Basic you get 2GB of storage and can use it on up to 3 devices. I only have 3 so the free plan is all I need. You also can get half a gig more for every user you invite to Dropbox. I’m up to almost 10GB for free.
I use LastPass at least 20 times a day, if not more. LastPass is a password management app you can use on your phone and computer. You can store your passwords there so you won’t have to remember any, except for your LastPass one of course.
We’re all signed up to a ridiculous amount of accounts and using the same password everywhere is a recipe for disaster. With LastPass I can have a long password automatically generated, filled out and saved for me.
When you want to log in, I have the LastPass browser extension automatically sign me in so I never even see a log-in screen, a username or a password.
As much as I use it on my computer, I use it on my phone even more. It logs me into WordPress or any other website I visit with Face ID which is pretty neat.
I use Zapier to connect some of the tools I use so they can communicate with each other. For example, when I make a sale on my blogging course, Do Six Figures Bootcamp, I have Zapier add the customer’s email to a spreadsheet on Google Sheets and send me an email.
There are hundreds of apps you can connect together to help you automate some processes.
Best WordPress tools and plugins
29. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is much more than just a caching plugin for WordPress. This beginner-friendly plugin lets you implement powerful speed optimizations to improve your site speed. With the help of this plugin, I’ve been able to get page loading times of under 1 second.
If you want to provide a good user experience, you need a fast blog. And to have a fast-loading blog you need to optimize your images. Badly optimized images are the number one cause of a slow-loading site.
Not only is it annoying, it can destroy your Google rankings.
Luckily there’s a really easy way to optimize your images. You can download the Shortpixel image optimizer plugin and let it do all the work in the background.
Simply upload the image to your blog and the plugin will optimize the image automatically. There are no extra steps you need to take.
31. Social Warfare
This is the WordPress plugin I use to add social sharing icons to my blog posts. You can also choose to add share counts for social proof. I choose to add share icons at the bottom of every blog post, but there’s an option to add them as floating icons too.
In addition to share icons, you can also use SocialWarfare to add a Pinterest save button on your pinnable images.
While I don’t use that feature, I do, however, upload a pin image to set as the default for Pinterest sharing.
You need Google Analytics installed on your blog, like yesterday. You need to know who’s coming to your blog, how they are getting there, and what they’re doing once they get there.
These data points are crucial to building a successful blog because you need to know what’s working – and what isn’t.
For many beginner bloggers, navigating Google Analytics is a bit of a minefield. There’s just too much data to sift through to get just the information a blogger needs.
To make Analytics easier to consume, I use ExactMetrics to display my blog traffic data directly on my WordPress dashboard.
WordPress is pretty good about preventing you from losing your work. If you accidentally delete a post, it’s recoverable in the deleted posts section. And if you mess up on a blog post, you can go back to a previous revision.
But what if your site is hacked and everything is deleted? What if you update some PHP code, and everything goes bonkers? In that case, you’ll need a recent backup to restore your site.
You need to make routine backups of your blog, just in case. Some hosting companies, like Bluehost, run daily backups automatically for you. With others, you’re on your own.
Backing up your blog manually is just not a good use of your time, especially when there’s a free plugin that will do it for you.
With the UpdraftPlus WordPress plugin, you can back up both your database and all your WordPress files on a schedule. You can either download your backups or send them to a cloud service like Google Drive or Dropbox.
UpdraftPlus is included in my list of the best WordPress plugins for new blogs here.
Wrapping it up
Did you learn about any new tools here? Let me know which ones!
And… if there are any blog tools you use, let me know too. I’m always on the lookout for the best blogging tools to add to my workflow.
Until next time,