“A bad workman quarrels with his tools,” says one old proverb. Yes, that’s true in all walks of life, including blogging. If you’re a new blogger, you might experience a challenge in making money online as you had thought and probably start shifting blames.
But, wait! You don’t have to ‘quarrel with your tools’ because blogging isn’t hard to do, especially if you have the appropriate assistance.
You need to understand the several blogging tools and resources available for your use; some are excitingly free!
These tools will make publishing the blog, getting it online, and promoting it possible. Hence, if you enjoy blogging, you’ll enjoy these tools.
See also: Best Marketing Tips For Etsy Store.
Below is a list of some of the free blogging tools for every blogger, and especially for a beginner:
There are several paid blog platforms to choose from, but some of the most popular and free (cheap) ones include; – Wix, WordPress, and Blogger.
1- Blogger (free by Google)
As one of the oldest free blog sites, Blogger is perfect for people who want to write and aren’t concerned about owning their websites. You can choose this option for personal blogs rather than professional ones.
It offers a choice of numerous themes to work with. Using the platform is simple, and it has a similar interface to that of a Google+ profile. Plus, you can also get ad spaces.
Check the video below to start in 12 minutes, from zero to an entire blog.
WordPress (often known as self-hosted WordPress or WordPress.org) is a free blogging platform and excellent website builder.
WordPress, the king of all blogging platforms, is free, but users need to build their sites mostly by themselves afterward. They also need to host the software themselves. While you can opt for some free hosting, paying a moderate amount for a solid WordPress host is better.
Doing that yourself gives you full control over how the site looks and functions and how money is made from the site.
Here’s how to use WordPress to create a blog:
- Sign up for web hosting (we suggest Siteground).
- Choose a domain name for your blog.
- Install free WordPress blog software.
- Log into your WordPress back end and start writing your first blog post.
- Decide on your blog design by selecting a theme.
- Install a few essential plugins (no more than four plugins)
If you are considering choosing a hosting, I encourage you to read this article where I compare Siteground and Bluehost and concluded Which One Is Better?
Use Wix, the free website builder you can manage from the front end. The advantage of using Wix is that even non-techies can use it. Its drag-and-drop options eliminate the need to handle anything back-end.
Wix’s design is in-built and modern, enabling both beginners and pros to use it easily. Getting a custom domain name only requires upgrading to a paid plan that starts at $13 monthly, but users can also get a free domain name for the first year.
The platform also provides free hosting. You can learn more about it at Wix.com.
Blog Hosting Options
You need to get the best blog hosts to make your blogs count. With the numerous hosting providers available, it can be challenging to pick the best. However, use these two of the best options – Bluehost and Dreamhost.
It is among the utmost blog hosting options both for budget and efficiency. Bluehost has varying hosting plans, with some primarily pitched towards WordPress users.
In addition, Bluehost is the least costly sensible WordPress hosting available, with the basic plan starting at only $2.95 per month.
Just pay that and let Bluehost set up WordPress for you and provide you with an excellent suite of advanced functionality.
Here is an excellent article on how to get started with Bluehost.
The hosting platform has a large network of more than 1.5 million sites and has been operating for over two decades.
Dreamhost is the perfect hosting option for you if you’re a developer. Its beneficial features are a reliable uptime of 99.95%, a load time of 719ms, a free domain, provision of unlimited bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, fast SSD storage, and pre-installed WordPress.
The video below walks you through the entire process of starting a blog with Dreamhost.
Check out the 10 Freelance Online Jobs For Beginners.
Tools for Graphic Design
Graphic design tools are software applications and online graphic design services that help people to create, edit, store, and manage photos, images, videos, and other visual formats. Some of these tools are expensive, while some are free. They include, among others, Canva, Adobe Illustrator, 99Designs, and Inkspace.
Canva is a tool with an attractive and user-friendly interface. It is browser-based and has over 8,000 free templates, design grids, photo enhancers, and drag-and-drop features.
Designers and non-designers can sign up for Canva and create highly attractive designs, including web and print media designs.
As the best free online graphic design tool, Canva allows you to edit images, form logos, and design other graphics using numerous templates.
Have you ever heard of 99Designs? Well, it’s among the best logo designers that offer high-quality designs.
The sign-up is free, though you’ll have to pay for the services/projects, depending on each.
99Designs has numerous design options, including web and app design, landing page design, and logo and brand identity pack.
How to get started with 99Designs:
- You can get started with 99Designs by launching a contest among the designers by submitting your requirements.
- You will give the designers feedback and direction to help them present their best work through two rounds of competition.
- And you will pick a winner.
Inkspace is free software, even for commercial use. It’s ideal for vector graphics and has several filters and nice effect tools.
The software also has excellent features and tools; it provides a valuable mechanism for vector imagery design and helps illustrator designers create beautiful designs and themes efficiently.
Inkspace also provides flexible drawing tools having broad file format compatibility. It’s also perfect for beginners as it avails numerous modern tools and effects, such as node editing, path-based text, and bitmap tracing.
You can use it on both Windows and Mac devices.
Check out the video for how to use Inkspace.
The list of blogging plugins (a piece of software with various functions that can be added to a website) is endless. The plugins can extend functionality and offer extra features to the site.
They are classic resources, enabling a site to do things it wouldn’t do. Here are some blogging plugins to use:
1- Contact Form 7
A contact form is vital for creating a blog readership and community. One such form is Contact Form 7, which is available for free from wordpress.org and is a complete form builder having optional reCAPTCHA from Google.
You can use it to create simple and efficient contact forms for a blog, and it can handle several contact forms on the same site.
The good news is that Contact Form 7 is free and easy to configure, everyone can use it, including those in personal blogging.
2- Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights
MonsterInsights is rated the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress blogging. You can use it to monitor blog traffic and other crucial stats within the WordPress dashboard.
Expert bloggers utilize analytics to know their audience, get better blog post ideas, and earn more from their blogs.
Proper analytics can help you easily spot what’s working and make data-driven decisions to grow a blog.
3- Social Warfare
This plugin entails social sharing since getting traffic to a blog can be challenging. When you get a visitor, you need to make them give additional traffic.
But they can only do that if there is a way to share the content. When web visitors see social media icons on a site, they can easily share its content on those social media platforms.
And that is why you need Social Warfare – it will allow you to include professional social media icons on your posts and pages.
Check out the video below for how to easily setup Social Warfare plugin.
3- Yoast SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is significant if you want to promote brand awareness, and that’s where Yoast SEO comes in to help.
Yoast SEO covers all the bases of SEO, checks every part of your site based on the available keywords to make it searchable, grades your content automatically, and tags areas needing improvement.
Obtain Yoast SEO free from the WordPress plugin directory or opt for a premium plan for added options.
How to set up Yoast SEO:
- Log in to your WordPress website. You will be in your ‘Dashboard’ after you log in.
- Click on ‘Plugins.’ On the left-hand side.
- Search for ‘Yoast SEO.’ and click on ‘Add New’
- Install the plugin and activate the plugin.
Tools for Email Marketing
Email marketing is an integral part of small businesses and blogging sites and is one of the cheapest marketing strategies.
To succeed in this marketing strategy, you need to use effective tools, including Sendinblue, ConvertKit, LeadPage, and Optin Monster.
Sendinblue is an SMS and email marketing software with an easy-to-use platform. It has all the needed tools for creating striking and highly engaging emails.
It contains email automation tools to help you create workflows for follow-up emails, segment users, and send transactional emails.
Sendinblue also has cutting-edge features like live chat, landing page builder, and Facebook ads integration, most of which come from free plans.
ConvertKit is an ideal email marketing tool. It offers a drag-and-drop email builder and a few pre-built templates.
It has more than 70 third-party integrations and provides incorporation with e-commerce platforms, membership sites, and landing pages.
You can use it to keep your subscribers list in one place, allowing you to add tags manually or instantly based on behavior to send personalized emails. You can choose a free or paid plan starting at $29/month.
Check out the video below on how to properly set up ConvertKit on your website.
Some people blog as a hobby or career, but regardless of our reason, we all want to learn the strategies to boost our blogging and make it interesting. Using the right tools is crucial, especially if you’re blogging for money.
And from the list above, you can see the kinds of blogging tools available. There are many other categories of such tools, including blog monetization like AdSense and social media management tools like Hootsuite.
Please check out more of them that you can utilize to be a better blogger. I hope you will find the tools discussed above helpful for your blogging journey!!