Recently I have received a number of emails and comments asking for recommendations on the best tools to use for blogging.
As a result I have compiled a list of all the blogging resources and tools that I use personally to run my business or that have come highly recommended to me.
On top of this I will try my hardest to keep the list up to date as I come across better additions to the list to save you from shopping around for the best tools and resources.
The domain is something you can shop around a little for but there is no reason to pay more for a domain name than you have to. Try not to purchase the domain through your hosting because if you want to switch hosting service in the future it becomes more difficult.
NameCheap – This is my favourite and a very reliable cheap service.
OVH https://www.ovh.ie/ – Generally has a sale on so you might be able to find a bargain.
Godaddy – Possibly the most famous domain name register available.
Again there is a lot of solutions available and it can be overwhelming to choose a hosting provider but it is important for the speed of your website and ultimately search engine rankings. You also want long-term stability so I suggest you pick a large hosting company.
A2 Hosting – Recent studies have highlighted that A2 Hosting is one of the quickest hosting providers on the market which will help your website get off to a quick start.
SiteGround – They offer a lot of low cost shared hosting plans for bloggers who are just starting.
Bluehost – WordPress actually recommends Bluehost and with the support and low costs Bluehost is a great option for your first website or blog.
My recommendation for blogging platforms would be WordPress. I have tried other services including Drupal but WordPress is by far the easiest and most functional option available to you.
WordPress – Free hosted platform with one click installation through hosting options which include CPanel
Blog Design / Themes
There are a ton of themes available for WordPress and I have switched through a few different free themes in my time blogging and my one main piece of advice is if your serious ensure you pick one which is updated regularly for holes in security.
As a result I have now gone with a paid version as these are safer and updated more regularly.
Below are a few recommendations I have worked with in the past.
StudioPress – This is built on the Genesis WordPress platform and is trusted by over 191,000 website owners. It allows you to quickly and easily build a reputable website with responsive designs.
MyThemeShop – They have a wide variety of themes which will fit every bloggers need and the one I am currently using.
Themeforst – This is a market place with thousands of WordPress themes from a variety of different designers so you can find something which exactly meets your requirements.
ElegantThemes – They offer 87 different themes alongside a number of plugins and for $39 a year you can have access to all of them.
As much as I would love to spend hours designing images from scratch I save a lot of time by using the tools below to help me create unique graphics for my website.
Canva – This is my favourite tool which I use often because of its variety of templates and because someone like me who is not very artistic can create cool images.
Snappa – This is possibly the easiest graphic design tool you will ever use and is great for creating highly engaging images.
PicMonkey – Another great option which not only allows you to edit pictures but has touch up and collage features.
99designs – Slightly different but this option allows you to easily find professional designers to create images for your business.
Finding affordable high quality images can take a lot of time so limit your searches to one or two sites.
For a large list of all the websites offering free stock images read my blog post:
Bigstockphoto – Their prices are inexpensive and it has an easy search facility.
Shutterstock – More famous than the previous option but both are run by the same people. Shutterstock offers no daily download limit and one of the largest range of images.
Email Marketing Tools
Building an email list should be every bloggers focus and the following tools will enable you to start building that list.
If you need some tips on how to increase the number of subscribers you have read through the following blog post:
Mailchimp – To kick start you can start with a free version of Mailchimp which is what I have done and as your list grows upgrade onto a paid version for extra features including autoresponders.
AWeber – A very popular chocie within the blogging industry and offers all the functionality you could need for your email marketing campaigns.
GetResponse – Another popular choice which also offers a free trial option if you are still unsure and includes 500+ pre-designed templates.
ConvertKit – This was built by bloggers and although I have not used it myself it looks brilliant with a number of cool features.
Email Opt-In Tools
Most of the email providers will offer opt in forms but if you want to be clever and target people landing on your website one of these features will quickly add more subscribers to your list.
OptinSkin – Compatibly with WordPress this allows you to add gorgeous opt-in forms and social share boxes.
SumoMe – More famous tool which allows you to collect emails from a varity of popups including hello bar, welcome mats and scroll boxes.
OptinMonster – This has just been updated with an extended range of templates and has a comprehensive list of targeting options.
LeadPages – Possibly the most famous on the list and is a powerful tool to create landing pages for all purposes with tried and tested template designs.
Instapage – Still powerful but slightly cheaper than LeadPages but also offers the ability to create engaging landing pages for your website.
Social Media Scheduling
You will start to understand where you followers and target market hang out on Social MEdia.
Buffer – This tool allows you to schedule links from your blog and other relevant bloggers in your niche across a range of social networks.
Sprout Social – this allows you to manage the day to day running on Facebook and Twitter.
Creating an understanding of the competition and the situation is very important for being productive and successful. I use the following tools to keep on top of things and ensure I target the correct keywords for the most profitable results.
SEMrush – This provides you with competitive analysis
Buzzsumo – A great tool for analysing what content has gone viral and what your readers are interested in.
Open Site Explorer – Allows you to do backlink research and find opportunities for link building.
Ahrefs – This tool offers a number of features which allows you to analyse any domain across the web and its content.
If you are interested in studying where you rank on google there are a number of tools you can use including Webmaster Tools.
SerpBook – I believe this is the best as it is very accurate and the one I have felt most comfortable using.
This guide will change and be updated as I find new and exciting tools so ensure you come back and check out the post for any updates.
If you have a question about any of the tools mentioned then post your question in the comments below and I will try get back to you with some help.
Alternatively if you have used a tool and want to offer people some feedback or if there is a tool you have used and think should be added to the list then please also comment below.