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Must-Have Apps, Tools and Resources to Grow and Monetize Your Blog!
Using the best blogging tools and resources in blogging can help you with efficiency, productivity, and ultimately- earn more money. Let’s face it, 95% of the blogging community wants to earn money, even if it’s just to cover the cost of blogging or even to pay for little Suzie’s new dance class.
But, there are just SO MANY TOOLS out there to have to decide first, what they do, and second, if they are even useful.
Lucky enough, I’ve compiled this list over a lot of trial and (a lot of) error to come up with the best of the best. Having these resources have been instrumental in growing my blog and ultimately, my business.
Some of the resources I’ve listed are free, while others are definitely going to be considered an investment into your blog.
Keep this post bookmarked or Pinned for the future so that you can come back as you need to! I will be updating this list as I continue to review new and exiting tools in the future!
This is a long one, so if you’d like to skip ahead, check out the table of contents to jump to the category you are looking for.
Best Blogging Tools for Beginners
Ultimate Blogging Toolkit for Beginners – I designed this free toolkit to give new bloggers an overview of how to get started blogging as a beginner as well as some marketing tools and thoughts for growing your blog as a business.
If you need a little more help getting set up and prefer a walk-through version to help you, check out the Blogger’s Best Bundle. This is JAM-PACKED with amazing value for a new blogger and covers WordPress setup, discovering your niche, choosing a great blogging name, and introduction to creating content and some ways that bloggers acutally make money (plus a TON of bonuses).
Free Blogging Resources – Sign up for all my free blogging resources here.
WordPress – If you want a money-making blog, WordPress is definitely the way to go. If you aren’t familiar with what WordPress is or what the difference is between WordPress .org and WordPress .com, check out my blog post describing the whole confusing thing.
LyricalHost – I recently made the switch to LyricalHost because my renewal rate with SiteGround was insane. LyricalHost has had hands-down, top-notch service levels with renewal rates that don’t skyrocket. They also have free speed analysis and monthly plans that don’t break the bank. You can also bundle and get your domain name there as well!
SiteGround – SiteGround’s incredible introductory web hosting rate at less than $4 per month makes this recommendation a no-brainer for me. They also have incredible customer service, free SSL certificates and a free transfer on some plans. AND…. my site has NEVER been down as a result of their hosting.
Weebly – This is a high-quality drag and drop website builder that is perfect for new or hobby bloggers just starting out. However, if you are wanting to run your blog as a money-making business, I suggest WordPress .org through self-hosting.
StudioPress – Beautiful and responsive themes for WordPress (all are compatible with the Gutenberg editor as well).
Google Analytics – This is a free tool that will allow you to track all your analytics within your blog including demographics, number of users and sessions, average page views and bounce rates and where your referral traffic is coming from.
Legal Bundle – Every blog should have at least three legal pages – privacy, disclaimer and terms and conditions. These legal pages were written by a lawyer and are offered at a fraction of the cost of others. I did an interview with the writer, Amira from ASelfGuru.com a while back which you can check out here.
Best Blogging Tools for Increasing Productivity and Organization
CoSchedule – This app has seriously saved my life. As well as blogging, I work a full-time job and have a very busy family so finding a good scheduler became a real necessity. I trialed a few others but it was CoSchedule that filled all the checkmarks. Not only can I curate and schedule in content to all my social media channels, but it integrates directly with WordPress so that when I have finished a post, I can set a pre-designed social media schedule that publishes out my post with one click. I wrote a full review when I found it (which also saved me 50% of the cost for the first year!!) here if you’d like to learn more about why I love it so much.
Tailwind – As a new blogger, I realized really quickly how important Pinterest was going to be in keeping a steady line of traffic coming to my blog while I was building my SEO rank. Trying to keep up with pinning enough relevant content to my boards and increasing the number of eyes on my pins was very time consuming until I found Tailwind. Now I can schedule out a month of pins (at 40-50 per day) within 2 hours. My reach has increased from practically nothing to over 150,000 viewers in less than 5 months, which is incredible. You can try Tailwind free for the first 100 pins too!
Batch Blogging Content Creation Mini-Course – I created this free course out of necessity for my own magpie mind. I needed a way to keep on track and write content that made sense, increase my audience and that helped with the Google SEO target. This course does just that. Learn how to create one month of content in just one week.
Zapier – Zapier is a webhook tool which means that it connects two or more apps together to make things work smoother. For instance, I have a Zap that when a Google Form is filled out with a guest post submission, it automatically ads it as a pending post in WordPress. One less step for me! There are literally thousands of apps that Zapier can connect and it makes my life so much easier. There is a free plan available as well!
Trello – This is a must-have in my book for keeping everything organized. It’s basically like using digital sticky notes. Not only do I use it as a platform to communicate with my 1:1 clients, but I use it for content planning, organizing my Facebook share threads, blog schedules and more.
Best WordPress Plugins for Performance
Akismet Anti-Spam – This great little plugin will reduce spam comments from your blog. This is no longer a free plugin but if you got it as part of your theme, you’re golden. If not, check out the next plugin.
AntiSpamBee – Another great plug-in to reduce those spammy contents on your blog. A must-have so that Google knows you are keeping up with maintaining and caring about the quality of content on your blog.
FTC Disclosure – If you are doing any affiliate marketing on your blog, you will need to have an affiliate disclosure on any page that you have affiliate links. Using the FTC Disclosure plugin will automatically add this to the top of every page so that you are covered. What I like is that you can customize what the disclosure says as well as link to your Privacy page for more information.
W3 Total Cache – Helps to increase the speed and loading time of your blog which decreases bounce rates.
Cloudflare – This is a free off-site caching tool that is great for site speed and performance. I will admit, this one is a bit too techy for me but you should be able to get your site host to help you get it configured.
Fast Velocity Minify – If your site speed is suffering, this plugin will reduce HTTP requests, and minify your CSS and JS files.
Insert Headers and Footers – If you are not very tech-savvy and get confused every time an app or site asks you to add HTML code into your header or footer, this is a perfect app. Think Pinterest and Google Analytics. I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t keen on messing with code so this was a great option.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer – Graphics are one of the big reasons a site will be slow. Using an image optimizer like ShortPixel can help to compress those images and speed up your site. They have a decent free plan and a pro version if you have a lot of graphics that need attention.
Wordfence Security – This is definitely a must-have for bloggers as it acts as a firewall and prevents malware and security hacks on your site.
Best Blog Writing and Content Tools
WordPress Editorial Calendar – This is by far my favourite way to organize all my future content in one place. The plugin, accessible through the Posts section once installed, shows a list of all draft topics that you can drag and drop in a calendar. You can see a video of how I use mine here.
Stackable Blocks – Another block add-on to help you pretty up your posts.
Atomic Blocks – This is an add-on to the Gutenberg block editor and gives some additional pre-made blocks to work with for variety and sprucing up your blog posts.
Answer the Public – If you are doing research for your blog posts (and you really should be!), Answer the Public is a great place to find out what questions people on the internet are asking that center around your keyword. Answering some or all of the questions can help you to increase your SEO juice and help you rank faster.
Grammarly – Not only is this an amazing real-time spelling and grammar checker that you can add to your browser, but if you register (even as a free version) and write and submit a post to their website as a review, you can make $25!!
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer – This amazing free tool will help you create the best possible headline to catch your audience’s attention and get them to click through to your post. It checks the length of your headline, use of power and emotional words and overall strength. This is also p
Editorr – Access online professional editors to proofread your content within minutes. If English is your second language or you really need to make sure that your content is written well, this is a great tool.
Portent’s Content Idea Generator – If you are stuck for content ideas, this fun tool will let you pop in a subject and the idea generator will instantly create some ideas and titles for you.
Blog Ideas Generator by HubSpot – Simply enter a noun or two and click on “give me blog ideas” and you’ll get a year of blogging ideas on that topic that you can download as a spreadsheet or access instantly
Hemingway Editor – This is a great place to check the overall readability of your posts. The app will also help with sentence structure, spelling and grammatical errors. You can easily copy and paste in the content and it will immediately check and offer suggestions to make sure your writing is clear and readable.
WebFX Readability Test Tool – Gives a score of the readability of your blog post. Did you know that most people prefer to read at a grade 7-9 level? Whewwww! Lol
Blog Title Generator by SEOPressor – All you do is insert your keyword into the field, choose a describing term and it will create tons of catchy titles and topics that you can use.
Online Character Count Tool – If you’re writing a guest post or need to keep your social media copy within a certain limit, just copy and paste in this tool to check your word count.
Plagiarism Checker – This is a handy tool if you accept guest posts and want to make sure that the article has not been published anywhere else.
CommentLuv – CommentLuv is a plugin that allows your readers to include their most recent blog post links with their comment. This is great for encouraging readers to comment and boost your traffic a little.
Best Software for eMail Marketing and Getting Subscribers
MailerLite – Out of the tons of email marketing options, MailerLite is becoming more popular, especially for new bloggers. It is free up to 1000 subscribers and offers everything the other big companies have including campaigns, segmentation, automation, forms, and landing pages. I’ve been using it since the beginning and it has been great! There are lots of tutorials and if you are less than tech-savvy, their support group is amazing and can walk you through it.
Interact Quizzes – Using fun things like polls and quizzes to get new subscribers is super hot! Since I added it, my Quiz, Where are You on the Blogging Roadmap has gathered 225 new subscribers and they are all segmented so that I can offer them the best value for where they are at now.
Hello Bar – Hello Bar is an amazing free blogging tool that helps you to add a variety of lead capturing forms on your website like a sticky announcement bar, pop up, or scroll mat. There’s a free version and it’s super easy to install and modify to fit your website.
What Would Seth Godin Do (WWSGD) Plugin – This is a great little marketing technique based on Seth Godin’s idea that you should treat a new reader differently than a returning one. It’s an easy plugin to install and set up to let your new readers know that you have an offer and to welcome your recurring readers back.
Kartra – This is an all-inclusive solution that is cheaper than some of the larger email marketing solutions without all the extras. It includes landing pages, sales pages, upsells, downsells, cart ability and more. It also has the ability to offer affiliate programs for your products which is fantastic for advertising.
Best Blogging SEO Tools
RankMath – I found RankMath about a year and a half into blogging. I made the switch over from Yoast and found that it was an incredibly intuitive blogging tool. You can easily check to see if you are maximizing your potential for your focus keyword and the plugin will give reminder suggestions for basic SEO, additional optimization like keyword density, internal and external links and using your keyword throughout your subheadings.
Yoast SEO – Probably one of the most commonly used plugins to assist with figuring out SEO, Yoast is easy to use and gives you all the basic tools and suggestions that you need to get your posts on the right path. It uses a simple green, orange, and red stoplight to let you know if your posts are generating enough SEO juice. Although there is a paid version, the free one is more than enough to get you going.
Ubersuggest – This is a great, free tool created by the SEO guru, Neil Patel to help you research keywords for your blog posts. If you are struggling with SEO, you really should be following anything he’s doing.
MozBar – This is another free tool that you can download to your browser that will provide keywords and their popularity within a search window. It will also tell you the Domain Authority of any website, which is helpful for finding good quality external links.
KeywordsEverywhere – This is another browser add-on that shows a ton of information for each browser search, including additional keywords and phrases that you can download. This is very helpful in coming up with a variety of long-tailed keywords and phrases to make sure that your posts sound natural while still adding ranking words. This used to be a free resource but now offers only limited searches before you need to upgrade to a paid subscription.
Best Blogging Resources for Content Marketing
Pinterest Pin It Button – Adding this plugin helps your readers to easily share your content to Pinterest.
Tasty Pins – This should actually be mandatory for every blog that uses Pinterest. The reason? Using Alt Text to fill your Pinterest description means that users that are visually impaired now hear that text instead of text intended to describe the picture to them. Tasty Pins allows for a separate Alt and Pin description so you get the best of both worlds. You can make sure to have a great description for Pinterest SEO and you can ensure that your blog is readable by all audience members.
Better Click to Tweet – This is a great plug-in to add an extra way for your readers to share your content. It also helps to break up your post a little for a better reading experience.
ViralContentBee – This is a site dedicated to helping people share useful content in their industry. Basically, you add your content in and it’s reviewed by a team to make sure that it’s quality and not spammy. Once you’re approved, you share other’s content in your niche to earn credits to allow your own content to be shared. This is all on the free plan but you can buy additional credits to get your content listed on the first page for more eyes.
PromoRepublic – Another one I found on AppSumo (Check out the best office tools at the end for more info). This is a content scheduler that allows you to add all your platforms in one place and then create and schedule them out. The coolest feature is the access to hundreds of premade (and editable) designs MADE FOR YOUR INDUSTRY. So this means you’ll never be stuck for ideas. Woooohooooo
Missinglettr – Missinglettr is an incredible content creation software that intuitively curates social media content directly from your blog’s RSS feed. It will automatically pull together written content with your graphics and create nine individual posts and circulate them through your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter feeds for A WHOLE YEAR! This is a perfect way to recirculate your evergreen content on autopilot. (It’s also looking at incorporating Pinterest soon!)
Best Resources for Making Money as a Blogger
Ultimate Bundles – The Ultimate Bundles affiliate program is a MUST for new bloggers. There are a variety of bundles to choose from if you are in almost any niche and the discount that they offer is almost impossible to refuse, so sales are easy! I made almost $200 with my first blogging bundle sale and they provided everything I needed to market the bundle including graphics, what to say and even video training. It was an amazing experience and I will definitely be partnering with them again in the future. Read more about how to become an affiliate with Ultimate Bundles here.
Affiliate Master List – I’m sooo excited to announce that my great friend Cate Rosales from Sweetandsimplelife.com has released an Affiliate Master List with over 1000 affiliate companies to join in tons of different niches! All organized by niche with links so you can easily find the perfect ones to get started with.
Awin – This is a directory for tons of companies with affiliate programs like HP, Hyatt and Etsy. It’s fairly easy to get accepted, and most new bloggers are accepted quickly. To register, you just need to fill out the application, pay a $5 fee (you get it back on your first payout) and start searching for some companies to promote.
Ad Inserter – Probably my favorite way to run campaigns on my site. This free WordPress plugin allows me to place up to 16 ads (either my own or affiliate) anywhere on my site. You can designate if you want them to appear within a post, page, sidebar or within a specific category, which is great for adding value to the right readers.
ShareASale – This is another large directory of companies with over 3900 affiliate programs and is easily joined. This one doesn’t have an application fee. The payout is on the 20th of each month and has a minimum of $50.
Pretty Links – No need to hunt around for your affiliate links or links to landing pages anymore! With Pretty Links, you can create links that work off of your domain so that they are easy to remember. For example, instead of www. thisisyouraffiliate/772643q744, you can create a link like www. everydayshessparkling.com/thisismylink. It also tracks clicks on the links created which is great for reviewing how effective the link is.
VigLink – This directory is a little different in that instead of applying to each affiliate, VigLink can promote hundreds of programs all at once like WalMart, Target, eBay, Microsoft and Michael’s. The cool thing is that it can convert content you already have into affiliate links automatically which is great for bloggers just starting out. You’ll have to install some code to get it activated but the support page will walk you through all of it. This one may not be for everyone as it can sometimes look a little spammy if there are too many links.
Amazon Associates – Outside of GoogleAdsense, this is probably one of the first affiliate programs that most beginners start out with. This is probably because there are so many products available in Amazon that there is something for EVERY NICHE, making it an easy fit. There are few requirements to join, but there are quite a few restrictions once you join so be sure to read the agreement carefully.
Social Bluebook- Will help you determine values of your sponsored post material based on your social media stats, which is great if you are creating a media kit or services page.
Activate – This is an Influencer Marketing Network that helps you to match with brands that are looking for sponsored material.
TapInfluence – This is another Influencer Marketing Network like Activate where you fill out all your details and they try to match you with brands for sponsored posts.
Fiverr – Fiverr is an amazing place to find almost anything you can imagine in terms of help with your blog. You can find someone to write your marketing material, assist with social media, or even create a logo for you. Also, if you are looking to make some extra money, you can offer your services as a virtual assistant, Pinterest marketing assistant, freelance writer or 1000 other things on this platform.
Etsy – Etsy is a great forum to sell any digital and/or physical products that you may have.
Best Sites for Stock Images
Unsplash – Easily searchable with thousands of free and beautiful images, Unsplash is a really popular site to snag free images. Attribution is not required on most pics but is considered a nice gesture.
PixiStock – PixiStock has an incredible variety of beautiful, feminine stock photography which is perfect for creating any social media graphics and pins. She also has a great selection of packages sorted by colour to easily compliment your brand.
Styled Stock Society – Another great place to get beautiful images for your blog. She also sends out monthly freebies if you are on her mailing list.
Pixabay – Pixabay is another great free option for finding stock images to use in your social media graphics.
Best Blogging Tools for Creating Graphics & Video
Canva – Canva has become one of the most popular go-to products for creating amazing graphics, pins, printables, and even logos. There is a free version that has a ton of options and you can add a paid plan to access additional options like branding colours and fonts as well as folders for organizing all your creations.
Stencil – I picked up this great blogging tool from AppSumo and it’s awesome! Similar to Canva, you can resize your designs, add branding and edit. But the best part? It integrates directly with WordPress so you can create graphics on the fly. How cool is that?
Loom – If you do any tutorials at all, you’ll want to check out Loom. It is a free video recording software that has screen-sharing capabilities.
RelayThat – This is another one I snapped up from AppSumo during a steal-of-a-deal. (Check here to see if it’s back on a deal) It’s a marketer’s dream You basically load all your branded elements into a style board and it creates tons of marketing material for you to use in one place including social media covers, templates, and ads. Watch this short tutorial I did for my Facebook group here:
PicMonkey – PicMonkey is another great option for creating graphics and has a lot of different options to make your graphics stand out.
Adobe Spark Post– Adobe Spark Post is super fun to use as you can create a graphic with branded colours and then you can spin the document to try out a variety of layouts. You can also create designs that are animated.
WordSwag – WordSwag is an amazing little app that you can get on your phone to add fun text to pictures. I actually used it to create the ESS logo!
Multi-Device Website Mockup Generator – This is a great tool to show a mockup of your landing page or website. Just enter the URL and it shows it on a bunch of devices automatically. Then just use your snipping tool to save.
Free eBook Cover Creator by Adazing – Have an opt-in or new product that you want to put on a spiral-bound notebook or device? This is a great tool for doing that! And, if you stay on their email list, they will sometimes send you extra ones to download!
PostCron Image Splitter – This is great if you make or are thinking about making Instagram puzzles! They are super easy to do and you can get a template and learn how to make one free here!
BeLive – BeLive is a great Facebook video streaming tool that allows you to interview guests, add your personal branding and do screen shares. There’s a free and paid plan for more features.
Krisp – If you have a lot of background noise to deal with when recording your videos and can’t afford to invest in expensive mics or dedicated rooms, Krisp is a paid download that will reduce those noises. It does a fantastic job!
Best Blogging Tools for Creating Products and Courses
Membervault – If you have lots of different courses and freebies or you want to start a membership site, consider Membervault. The platform just underwent a huge transformation (and it’s so spiffy, I might add!). It’s an offsite hosted platform so it won’t slow down your site and the team there is incredible to work with. And – it’s a fraction of the cost of most other sites. I host all my freebies and courses there. You can check out my Membervault site and snag my freebies here.
SendOwl – SendOwl is great for selling digital downloads like eBooks and courses in PDF form. They offer checkout features, easy integration,
Teachable – Teachable is a very popular resource for creating courses to sell. It’s very easy to set up and use and has email integration as well. This is also a great place to set up free courses as there are no fees if your course is free!
Designrr – This is a great program for creating opt-in books from your existing blog pages (I have one for this post that I use in an upsell!). It even has some abilities to convert your videos into words so that you can repurpose your content super-fast!
Best Courses for Beginner Bloggers
Blogger’s Glitterati VIP Hub – You’ll find everything you need to get your blog started in 30 days here including a calendar with a handy checklist and video tutorials in the hub and all for a crazy low monthly price!
Becoming a Blogger – Becoming a Blogger was one of the very first courses I took when I started blogging and is really an all-encompassing course for beginners. It covers everything from starting your blog to making money. Cate has some amazing insight on affiliate marketing, working with brands and other ways of monetizing that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Pinterest Ninja – As a beginner blogger, Pinterest is one of the key areas of focus for most and so it is critical that you figure it out quickly to get the most bang for your buck. Megan’s incredible course covers everything you could possibly know about upping your Pinterest game – my very own Pinterest views and engagement grew over 1000% from this course alone.
Social Media Crash Course for Businesses and Network Marketers – If you’ve just started your blog or business and have no clue where to start with social media marketing, this is a great FREE course. It’ll give you some tips on using each platform effectively.
Launch Your Blogging Biz – Once you have got your blog up and running and you are ready to move on to the next level, this course, started by two six-future bloggers, can help you get where you want to go. It’s an invaluable resource for all things monetization.
Ultimate Bundles Genius Bloggers Toolkit – When you’re new to blogging, it can take a while before you start to make money, but investing in yourself is still really important for growth. The annual Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is an amazing valued bundle of products, courses, ebooks, and memberships all sold together at a CRAZY insane price (think $7000 worth of products for $97!).
Udemy – Udemy is a platform where you can learn a ton of info at a fraction of the price of most online courses. Like literally, you can learn anything. I’ve taken courses on creating an Alexa skill, law of attraction, and creating a six-figure business.
Best Blogging Tools For Testing Website Performance
Pulno – You can get 200 random pages for two sites analyzed for free on Pulno. It reviews your site speed, metadata, internal and external links, and content and then gives you a breakdown of your major issues with suggestions on how to fix them. You can even download the report to work on later as well as re-analyze to see if the changes you have made are working.
Pingdom – Pingdom will quickly give you a website speed test for free. It will analyze your site and give recommendations for making it load faster which will help visitors stay on your site longer.
Nibbler – Nibbler is an amazing tool that will analyze several random pages and rate your site based on accessibility, experience, marketing, and technology. My favorite part is that it will also give tops priorities and recommendations for website improvement and reasons why you scored low or high on each category so that you can work on the results.
Best Blogging Office Tools
AppSumo – This is seriously one of my secret tools that I think every blogger needs in their toolkit. One thing about blogging is that it can start to get expensive as all the monthly subscriptions start adding up. AppSumo showcases apps for bloggers, content marketers and businesses for a fraction of the cost of the regular monthly fees and they are usually a lifetime deal. I’ve been watching these closely to see if I can replace any of my month-to-month stuff and I’ve found some incredible deals.
Acuity – Acuity is an amazing scheduling tool if you have a service-based business. You can create your own products and individual schedules and can even take payments on the paid version. There is an option to create custom links and embed it on your site to make it easier for your clients to book with you anytime.
Erin Condren’s Life Planner – Ahhhh. What would life be like without a pretty planner by my side? CHAOS. I have been using her planners for the past three years and they are simply the best. Compact enough to fit in my oversized purse and of course they are pretty and inspiring at the same time. I love that there is enough room for me to fit my business stuff along with my personal life as well.
Creative Market – Creative Market has a ton of creative developers that create logos, fonts, backgrounds, themes and so much more! They offer 6 free products every Monday and I have found a ton of great graphics this way. This theme also came from there for under $100!
QuickBooks Self-Employed – Keep all your payments, invoices and expenses in one place and ready for tax season with this handy tool. It is inexpensive and has an app so that you can see all your transactions at a glance.
CookiePro CCPA – With the new regulations from California on data privacy and protection, this is an easy way to inform your audience of their right-to-opt-out. You can learn more about the new CCPA regulations here.
You’ve reached the END!!
As you can see, there are a TON of resources for bloggers. Sometimes the hardest part is deciding which ones to use out of the thousands available. Hopefully, this post has helped you to narrow down some tools for your blog to help it grow and thrive!