There are a ton of blog tools out there - and I've tried out a ton of them. After trial and error I've settled on a group of tools that are essential for running my blog business.
If it has an asterisk*, it means it's a resource I'm currently using on this blog.
If you want to start a blog and make money with it, you can't go wrong with Bluehost. It comes WordPress pre-installed and you get a free domain name too.
Really fast hosting. Costs a bit more than the other web hosts - but you're not going to find a faster host at this price point.
I've used SiteGround off and on for the last 15+ years for small projects. Their main attraction to me is their SG Optimizer plugin to help with site speed.
This WordPress host is the costliest out of the bunch, but they've got an impressive client list that includes Instacart, Under Armor, Ticketmaster, Dropbox and Microsoft.
Real fast and affordable blog hosting. With site speed being a major SEO ranking factor, an upgrade here may be worth it.
Entry-level shared hosting. I have used them in the past to take advantage of a discount they were running at the time.
Another host I've used in the past. They have very attractive introductory offers.
This fast-loading, ultra-light blog theme is easy to set up and is my #1 recommend theme for WordPress.
Thrive Theme Builder*
I built this page using the Thrive Architect page builder. Now they've taken their page builder and turned it into an ultimate website/blog builder!
Full control of how you design your blog. You can use their free templates to start and then edit it to your liking.
With these themes, you first install the Genesis framework and then choose a child theme. These themes are SEO optimized and built for speed.
Visually design your blog posts using the most popular page builder for WordPress. Over 4M users.
I use Thrive Architect to build blog posts and pages (like this one) on this blog.
This website builder lets you build a great looking website without having to write a single line of code with their drag and drop editing tool.
I use them to collect email subscribers, tag them, and send them to an email sequence. A must-have for all bloggers.
Easy email marketing platform with email automations and built in email templates to get you started.
Their main benefit over ConvertKit was that it was free. But this edge became obsolete once ConvertKit launched their free plan.
LEAD GENERATION PLUGINS
I create my opt-in forms with this plugin. The best features are the different opt-in form types, A/B testing and detailed analytics.
Very good piece of software to help you get more email subscribers. Does cost a bit more than competitors however.
This lead generation plugin was created by the team at Elegant Themes.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING
I use this daily to schedule my Pinterest pins. Simply put, I would not have a business without this tool.
I use this to automatically schedule my social media posts (Facebook/Twitter) for months ahead. Just takes a few minutes to set up every few months.
This is who I use for the beautiful social sharing icons I have on all my blog posts. Loads fast, updated often and is super cheap.
This is a widget you can add to your blog that slides up a social media profile to help you grow your following.
IMAGE EDITING TOOLS
While I have Photoshop, I create 99% of my graphics on Canva. This includes logos, social media images and other design elements.
I do most of my cropping and resizing on Photoshop, but this is a free alternative for those quick image editing tasks.
Premium stock photography site. Most new bloggers can get away with using free stock photos at the beginning.
If you want to get more attention on your images (on Pinterest or social media), you're going to want to invest in a paid stock photo site like this one.
My preferred affiliate program. I promote Tailwind, Grammarly, incfile and a few other programs here.
I use Amazon Associates on my other websites. Regardless of your niche, you can find products to promote on your page here.
Lots of products/sites to promote here. The benefit of joining an affiliate program is your payments from all companies are combined into one check.
300+ programs to promote here including StubHub, Swagbucks, Decluttr and Etsy.
SELL YOUR OWN PRODUCTS
If you are going to sell anything, you first need a Stripe account to process credit cards.
You need this tool to sell your own products. With SendOwl, when someone makes a payment your product is automatically emailed to the buyer.
I use this on my courses page to sell online courses. You will make more money selling a course than an ebook, even though they're very similar.
This is the most popular solution for creating and selling online courses. Most bloggers use this platform.
Helps you write better content. This lets me get all my thoughts out and then I let Grammarly suggest how I can better get my points across.
I run my entire blogging business in Meistertask. This is where I keep article ideas, important reminders and everything else biz-related.
I keep everything on Dropbox, including automated website backups. Gives me peace of mind and has saved me quite a few times.
No need to remember passwords anymore. With LastPass your passwords are stored and auto-filled on desktop and mobile.
OTHER USEFUL BLOGGING TOOLS
WP Rocket is the set it and forget it way to speed up your WordPress blog. It's by far the most beginner-friendly speed optimization plugin.
Gives you blogger-centric data about your blog right on your WordPress dashboard. It connects to Google Analytics to do this.
Premium keyword research tool to help you find the best keyword phrase to target in your blog posts.
Register your blog name as a business here. At the moment, they aren't charging anything - you just pay the required state fee.
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