Whether you’re a beginner just starting to blog or an old pro looking to grow your site, the huge number of blogging tools and resources out there can be overwhelming.
That’s why I keep things simple.
This list is short. It’s filled with only a handful of categories. And I only mention the best blogging tools — those I use myself or recommend to my subscribers.
In this guide:
- #1: Web Hosting
- #2: Email Marketing Tools
- #3: Lead Generation Services
- #4: Domain Registration
- #5: WordPress Themes
- #6: Writing Tools
- #7: Page Builder
- #8: Logo Creation
- #9: Keyword Research Tool
- #10: Social Media Tools:
- #11: Images For Social Media Tools
- #12: SEO Tools:
- #13: Content Research
- #14: Graphics:
- #15: Productivity Tools
- #16: Blog Monetization Tools
Disclosure: If you grab any of the blogging tools I mention using my referral links, I’ll get a small commission, at no additional cost to you. But I only recommend tools and services that we’ve tested and stand by.
#1: Web Hosting
Without a dependable web host, your blog will be slow, your readers will be frustrated, and Google will push your content to the bottom of search results.
My Pick for Most Bloggers:
Bluehost is like one of those hole-in-the-wall restaurants that’s both affordable and really freaking good, and it’s the WordPress host I recommend.
Shared hosting plans start at $5.95 per month for a monthly plan. Get Bluehost Hosting
Other Great Web Hosting Platforms
DreamHost is ranked as one of the best for very good reason- their hosting plans offer the best combination of extremely affordable, fast, and reliable features
The company is one of the longest-running hosting providers on the Internet, having been founded in 1996.
As with all other aspects, Dreamhost’s pricing for their web hosting plans is also in a class of its own—starting at just $3.95/mo (for an annually billed plan), especially their industry-leading 97-day money-back guarantee.
With impressive load times of around 0.719 seconds and strong server response times, your visitors will have a great experience on your blog.
And the third?
HostGator is so popular because of the fact that their web hosting plans are very affordable.
Because of their 60% discount that’s available through select affiliates like me, their hosting plans are almost always priced between $2.75/mo and $5.95/mo.
#2: Email Marketing Tools
Ask fifty bloggers for their biggest regret, and most will tell you they wish they’d started building their email list sooner.
The lesson? If you’re not already capturing the email addresses of your readers, you need to start immediately. Here’s what you’ll need:
- An email marketing service, and
- A lead generation tool.
Here are my recommendations:
Email Marketing Service for Serious Bloggers:
Talk about value, and ease of use, you can’t go wrong with Aweber. That’s what I use.
Unlike other platforms that add features and capabilities for plans at different price points, AWeber offers all of its features with every plan. NO limitations.
Pricing is based strictly on the number of subscribers on your list. So you’ll get the same features whether you have 20 contacts or 20,000 contacts.
Their pricing is cheap starting at 0 to 500 subscribers for just $19, 501 to 2,500 subscribers for $29, and it goes on.
Remember; for every $1 spent on email, it generates at least $38; 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.
AWeber is an industry leader in email deliverability rates. They make sure that your content is optimized to reach your subscribers’ inboxes where you need them to be.
You can try AWeber for free.
Best (Free) Email Marketing Service:
I used to recommend MailChimp to my audience, but unfortunately, their free plan no longer supports automated onboarding. Now I recommend MailerLite
MailerLite is free if you have fewer than 1,001 subscribers. You’re able to send up to 12,000 emails per month for free.
And when your site grows, you can either upgrade to one of MailerLite’s paid plans or switch over to Aweber. Get MailerLite
#3: Lead Generation Services
Favorite Lead Generation Plugin:
To turn blog traffic into leads, you need a way to capture the email addresses of your readers. With an email list plugin like Convert Pro or Sumo, you can strategically place opt-in forms and pop-ups throughout your website.
Convert Pro isn’t free, but its drag-and-drop editor is very user-friendly and suitable for creating attractive pop-ups. Get Convert Pro
#4: Domain Registration
Once you’ve found a great domain name, you’ll need to register it before it’s snatched up by someone else. To do that, you need a domain registrar.
Our Pick for All Bloggers:
Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies in the world, and they are an official WordPress hosting partner. As part of their web hosting service, they also offer domain name registration.
Basically, you can get started for $3.95 per month, and get a free domain name.
#5: WordPress Themes
Content is indeed king. But if the design of your blog is unsightly and amateurish, most readers will never give your blog content a chance.
If You Want a FREE WordPress Theme:
Astra was the name that came back again and again when I asked experts for their pick for the best free WordPress themes. Astra also ranked high in my breakdown of the best themes for Elementor.
If You Want a Premium WordPress Theme:
Astra Pro takes everything experts love about Astra’s free version, and turns them up.
It costs $47 annually, or for a one-time payment of $249 you can get lifetime updates. And you get a lot for the money: WooCommerce integration, more site layout options, better header and footer designs, 1-on-1 customer support, and more. Get Astra Pro Theme
#6: Writing Tools
Need a helping hand while you hone your craft? These writing tools can assist you while you’re learning the ropes.
Google Docs is one of the most popular apps in the suite.
Google’s suite of Docs, Sheets, and Slides allows you to create and edit documents online, for free. What if I told you this guide was written using Google Docs?
The rich capabilities in Google Docs are why its use is on the rise. Google has done a great job of rapidly building out its features, in order to gain market share in enterprise and education.
To err is human, but when you’re trying to make a good impression, grammatical errors and typos undermine your work.
Grammarly is a digital editing tool that uses AI to highlight spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in a text document.
Grammarly is quite a useful tool for bloggers, journalists, and authors. It can be used on the web (check out their free browser extensions like the Grammarly Chrome extension), in Google Docs (my favorite place to use it), in the Grammarly Editor, desktop app, in Microsoft Office on Windows and Mac, on iOS and Android mobile devices, and on Grammarly for iPad. They have you covered for every device.
Grammarly helps you create more effective and error-free writing wherever you write, and as a blogger, that helps you make a good impression on your readers.
HubSpot Blog Topic Generator
With the HubSpot tool, you can enter three keywords, and HubSpot will give you five titles—a week’s worth of content—to work with.
Other writing tools:
- The Hemingway App can help you improve the readability of your posts. If your content is too complex (or even passive), Hemingway will tell you.
- Want a tool that’ll help you write better headlines? The Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule will rate your headline and tell you how well it will do.
#7: Page Builder
Optimize Press (If You Want an Advanced Page Builder)
Not only do you have to create fresh content for your website, but you also have to manage various social media outlets, or even manage a remote team.
But let me ask you this: Who is building your landing pages, sales funnels, or membership sites? Because running an online business requires that, too.
Hiring a web developer is one option, but that would cost a fortune. But fortunately, there is an alternative, a tool called OptimizePress. It is the best I’ve ever used.
Where the other page builders focus primarily on formatting blog posts and pages, OptimizePress is different. While you can format posts and pages with it, its focus is on building things like:
- Landing pages
- Sales pages
- Launch pages
- Membership sites
- Sales funnels
- Checkouts when selling products and services
As you can see, OptimizePress can build versatile content, and that’s what makes the product so exciting.
Elementor Pro lets you create landing pages, design high-quality pop-ups, and customize every aspect of your WordPress site with a slick drag-and-drop editor.
Among its numerous features, you get a dedicated set of 80 design tools that’ll let you fine-tune to your heart’s content.
Personal plans start at $49 per year. There’s also a free plan with limited features. Get Elementor Pro
LeadPages Landing Page Builder For WordPress:
LeadPages: One of the most trusted landing page tools for WordPress or any other blogging platform. You can use this great tool as well.
#8: Logo Creation
Logo.com has a suite of design tools you can use to create a beautiful, memorable brand to help your blog stand out from the sea of competition.
What’s particularly great about Logo.com, is that you can get started by quickly typing in details about your brand, goals, color palette preferences and then watch their logo maker generate an unlimited number of logo designs.
From there, you can customize your logo color, icon, design, font, and more—resulting in an optimized logo file. You can even download social media and advertising images featuring your logo, to make promoting your blog that much easier.
#9: Keyword Research Tool
You can get pretty far as a blogger or freelance writer with know-how, grit, and determination.
But to compete with those big blogs and websites you’re chasing in Google’s search engine results, you need a tool that can help you think like Google.
My Pick for All-in-One Search Engine Optimization Toolset:
It provides everything you need to grow your Google search traffic, perform in-depth keyword research, and monitor your competitors.
Their SEO Toolbar (a Google Chrome extension) is one of my favorite blogging tools — in any category.
Ahrefs plans start at $99 per month, and they offer a 7-day trial for $7 if you’d like to take them for a spin. Get Ahrefs $7 Trial
#10: Social Media Tools:
Want a tool that will let you schedule tweets, Facebook shares, Pinterest pins, and LinkedIn posts in advance?
If social media is a big part of your promotion arsenal, using one of the scheduling tools listed below could save you lots of time.
- Buffer’s Publish tool has several pricing tiers, but its free plan offers 3 social accounts, 10 scheduled posts, and 1 user.
- Like Buffer, Hootsuite’s free plan also includes 3 social media accounts and 1 user but allows 30 scheduled posts.
- MeetEdgar isn’t free, but it’s packed with features. You get 25 social media accounts and continuous posting. Load your posts and MeetEdgar will continue to publish and reshare them — even once you reach the end of your queue.
- ClickToTweet: Create a single link to tweet. You can use it within your blog post to increase your number of twee
Social Sharing Icons:
Want to turn your existing audience into advocates? Social sharing buttons let readers tell their friends and family about your posts with two quick clicks or taps.
- Social Warfare is a WordPress plugin that lets you add lightweight, professional-looking social share icons to your blog content. At only $29 per year for a single site, it’s an affordable upgrade too.
#11: Images For Social Media Tools
- Stencil: Create beautiful images and download or share them directly to your social media channels. Easy to use and requires zero experience.
- Canva: The most talked-about social media image tool. Offers images of various sizes based on specific social media platforms.
- ReduceImages: Online tool to resize JPG, PNG, GIF, or BMP images, selecting the new image’s size and quality. This way you will get lighter images, easier to upload to websites, send by e-mail or share with friends.
- Pictochart: Infographics are the most shared content type on social media, and Pictochart is the best free Infographic tool available right now.
- QuotesCover: Create visually appealing quote images.
- Vid to gif: .gif images increase CTR, and sites like Facebook, Twitter support .gif images. Use this tool to create a .gif from any online video.
#12: SEO Tools:
If you want your content to rank well in Google’s search engine results, you need to be SEO-minded. These tools will help.
- The Yoast SEO plugin is the gold standard of WordPress SEO plugins. No matter your level of expertise, it’ll help you with your search engine optimization. Yoast SEO has both free and premium versions, but its free version will suffice for most users.
- One of the Yoast SEO plugin’s features is letting you know whether your headline and meta description is too long. But if you want more detail, if you want to see precisely how your blog post will look in Google’s search engine results, the free tool SERPsim is one you’ll want to bookmark.
- Google offers a variety of free SEO tools. In addition to the aforementioned Google Keyword Planner, Google Search Console lets you discover and fix errors on your site (which can hurt you in SERPs). And to see how your SEO efforts are paying off, Monster Insights lets you track your website traffic.
- KeywordFinder: Want solid keyword suggestions when you carry out keyword research? KeywordFinder is your best bet. The free plan lets you make 5 searches in 24 hours, which is pretty neat. Moreso, you can get access to their premium plan while paying little for so much value.
#13: Content Research
Why create content you hope will connect with an audience when you can discover what types of content are already making connections?
- BuzzSumo is a content marketing research tool that lets you see how popular a keyword, blog topic, or specific URL is on social media. It also lets you find popular influencers on social media, which is very handy when you’re doing email outreach.
- Another free tool from Google, Google Trends lets you check what keywords people are searching for all over the world. If you’re looking for new blog post ideas, it’s a nice resource.
Images can complement your words and turn run-of-the-mill blog posts into eye candy. These tools will help you make the most of yours.
- I use Canva every day for anything graphics. It can be used to create social media graphics. It’s powerful and easy to use. Their free plan has all the bells and whistles most bloggers will need, but if you need more functionality, the Pro plan is well worth its $9.95 per month price tag.
- Large images slow down your blog, which makes Google push you down in search engine results. The free Smush Image Compression and Optimization plugin by WPMU DEV will optimize your images as you import them into WordPress. You can also “bulk smush” up to 50 images at a time. If you use lots of screenshots and stock photos in your content, you’ll appreciate this plugin.
#15: Productivity Tools
Productivity tools aren’t sexy, but they’re necessities. Here are my favorites:
- G Suite it for emails, business calendars, and every blog post begins life as a Google Doc (where version history lets us review every change and every comment). It’s possibly the blogging tool I use most often, and I highly recommend it.
- Spike is another conversational email service; it’s just simple and classy.
- When the day comes where your blogging team of one becomes a blogging team of two or more, you’ll need a collaboration tool. Slack is as good as it gets.
- Most people live inside their inboxes. As a result, tools that help them be more efficient with email is worth its weight in gold. One such tool is Right Inbox, which lets you set reminders, schedule follow-ups, and more — all right inside your Gmail account.
#16: Blog Monetization Tools
- Google AdSense: The best contextual advertising network. It’s easy to manage and pays on time.
- Media.net: An ad network by Yahoo and Bing. High-quality ads just like AdSense.
- Properllerads: A good alternative to Google AdSense with a lower minimum payout.
- VigLink: Perfect for bloggers who use commerce-related words in their articles. Search engine friendly, and lets you earn money from an outbound link.
Before wrapping things up, here’s a quick rundown of great blogging tools I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them.
So Which Blogging Tools are Right for You?
Other miscellaneous blogging tools
- PushEngage: Enables web-push notifications for your blog. A new and innovative way to let users subscribe to your blog updates.
- Google apps: Create a domain-specific email. Powered by Google & you will get access to all Google products. Also helps in getting AdSense approval fast with a domain-specific email address.
- Speechpad: Offers transcription services for audio or video.
- GtMetrix: Check your desktop & mobile site’s loading speed. It also suggests how to improve loading time.
Wherever you are on your blogging journey, you now know the tools needed to take you to the next level.
I’ve done the research and explored all the dead ends (so you don’t have to). Now it’s up to you grab the tools you need and get to work.
If you have a question regarding a particular tool, post it in the comments below.