Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
As a long-term blogger, I utilize a ton of different tools and resources each year to make sure that I can continue to stay up and running. These tools help tasks to be completed much quicker, which gives me more time to create new content and interact with my audience (you guys). There are many tools listed here, but all are useful and help me each year.
I decided to share my favorites today, to make it easier for new bloggers to get started and to also give those who are debating about starting a blog an inside look as to how they can hit the ground running.
See Also: How to Stay Organized as a BloggerCheck out this list of tools & resources all bloggers should know about! #Giveaways4Mom Click To Tweet
If you have been reading my blog since conception, you know that over the years I have had a ton of different looks. At first, I was hiring website designers, which was a huge drain of money, and then I advanced to learning basic website skills myself to save some cash.
Therefore, with the skills I have learned, I am now able to use themes and customize them to my liking on my own.
NOTE: When first starting out you may want to go with a free theme until you are sure blogging is a good career choice for you and you have the funds to pay for a premium theme, which usually runs anywhere from $50-$200.
See Also: Important Pages All Bloggers Need to Have
Studio Press has a ton of Premium WordPress Themes available. Therefore, regardless of your niche, you will be able to find the perfect theme that suits you. Additionally, they also have plugins available that you may find help the appearance and functionality of your blog.
I didn’t use them until I purchased a Genesis based theme from another website and needed the framework for the theme to work. At first, I was mad, but since I needed my website to look professional I went ahead and kicked out the dough, I made the investment back the same week.
NOTE: Most Premium WordPress Themes will require the Genesis Framework. Therefore, be prepared to spend about $60 on that, but it is worth it if you are serious about blogging.
Pretty Darn Cute
Pretty Darn Cute is another website where I like to get my themes from. As the name hints, these designs are mostly aimed at female bloggers. However, they are very clean, so you can have your site looking fresh and neat in no time at all.
Themes here run from about $50-$75. What I like about this provider is she has a member area, so once you download your theme you can get assistance setting it up and there is also a forum where you can ask questions and find answers to questions that you have.
I purchased my first premium theme through Pretty Darn Cute and it was a breeze getting things set up.@Giveaways4Mom recommends @lindseyriel for WordPress Themes. Check them out in this post! Click To Tweet
Errors happen when you’re writing, and sometimes I write so fast when trying to finish a blog post to share with all of you that I make silly mistakes. That is why I always take the time to use a proofreading tool – to fix what I don’t catch myself.
Grammarly is a savior sometimes. It checks more than 250 different points of grammar to make sure you’re using the right words in the right ways. If you use some words a lot in a piece, it notices that too. The best part is – it’s free!
What I like about Grammarly is it not only helps me when writing my blog posts but whenever I am typing out emails or commenting on social media or forums it catching my errors then as well.
If you don’t try any of my other recommendations from this list, make sure Grammarly is one that you don’t skip. They also have a paid version of this tool for those who find they need more help beyond the free version.
NOTE: If you do sign up for the paid version of Grammarly, make sure you sign up for their affiliate program so you can recuperate some of your expense, if not all.
The Hemingway App helps make content more exciting. If you write a long, complex sentence, it will tell you. You’ll get some suggestions to fix the sentence so that it is more readable. It also shows you how to use the right verbs and adverbs to make your content more direct and powerful.
Creating a feature or main image for content is vital for bloggers. Finding royalty-free or copyright-free images is easier with these tools in your arsenal.
PicMonkey is a free photo-editing tool that I love. It is easy to use; you can customize any image and add text. There are fun borders, overlays, and formats to choose from. If you need to make a collage of photos, PicMonkey is the easiest way to do it.@Giveaways4Mom recommends @PicMonkey to #bloggers who want to take their photos to the next level! Click To Tweet
They also have a paid version, which I currently utilize myself. It is $5 a month and it allows you to unlock the premium features to help you take your photos to the next level.
Pixabay is a free image resource. Search using keywords, so the most relevant images will be shown. If the image owner has not disabled downloads, you are free to use these photos as you wish, and you don’t even have to give an image credit. Therefore, you can manipulate the photos to suit your needs.
Free Digital Photos
Free Digital Photos is a resource, that allows you to download the images. There are instructions for giving credit to the site for use of the images. When you select an image, you are sent an email to download your photo for editing.
I always use them after checking Pixabay because I find it kind of a hassle to have to enter captchas and wait for the email to arrive before being able to download the photo and receive the photo credit.
Blog Visitor Analytics Tools
Do you know what time of day your readers are looking at your content the most? Do you know what they’re reading or sharing the most? Analytics tools provide you the data you need to build your audience, increase engagement, and produce content your audience wants to read.
Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool for bloggers, major brands, and websites everywhere. You are told how many people see your content and where they viewed it, how long they stayed on your website, what pages they visit, and more.
If you want to be serious about blogging, Google Analytics is one of the first things to set up on your website.
Sometimes bloggers might get a request from a sponsor or client and you just don’t have time in your schedule. Using outsourcing websites helps you find someone that is qualified to complete your task in the time you need it done.
Fiverr allows you to search by keyword for qualified contractors. You can also hire contractors to complete things like banner advertisements, website designs, and special projects you can’t fit in. You can also pick up extra work on Fiverr if you need to earn extra cash.
Tasks I have successfully outsourced on Fiverr include graphic design work, WordPress error correction, and newsletter advertising. My trick is to always aim for Top Rated Sellers and to read both the good and bad reviews to make sure that I have a higher chance of having my expectations met.
Upwork is a platform where reliable freelancers are available. You can search through profiles and invite specific contractors to bid on your available job. You can also hire directly if you wish. This is another resource for earning extra cash as well.
Staying productive is a task sometimes, so I must make sure that I have the right tools to make sure my daily to-do list doesn’t get away from me.
Anytime I have an idea for a blog post or need to set a reminder to complete an article, I use Evernote. It keeps me on time and I can view my tasks from my computer or iPhone.
When I need to share a file or have one shared with me from a client, I like to use Dropbox. It is a secure system that only allows those with permission to access the files to be shared.
Maintaining a proper work/life balance is what saves us bloggers from feeling overwhelmed. RescueTime looks at my daily online habits – especially when I get distracted, and helps me stay productive and focused.
I love that it sends me weekly reports so I can see where I am spending most my time, how long I am spending on the computer each week, and whether or not I am meeting my weekly goals that I have set for myself.@Giveaways4Mom recommends @rescuetime to #bloggers that want to stay #productive each week! Check them out in this post. Click To Tweet
Trello is great when you run an assignment-based group. It auto-adjusts to all time zones so there is never a question about when something is due. It is beyond easy to use and is completely customizable to meet your needs.
I use Trello the most for my writing business. However, when I am working with a group of bloggers on a campaign, Trello is my go to tool.
Slack is great for keeping a team together. You can create private and group public channels to keep all your discussions in order. You can upload and download files, pin items, and send direct messages. They also have some sweet integrations to add on, which makes it fun and keeps you on task.
Like, Trello, I use Slack primarily with my writing business, but when collaborating with other bloggers I find that it is better for communication than emailing back and forth.
Social Media Management Tools
Who has time to schedule individual posts on social media? These tools help me publish my posts on multiple social media outlets from just one screen. Not all tools work with all social media platforms, so you are likely to need at least these two.
Sprout Social lets you make “accounts” for all your clients. You can have up to 10 accounts on a Premium account. You are shown analytics and performance data from your posts.
It works for me well since I have multiple social media accounts to manage for myself in addition to clients. In the platform, I can access all account feeds from one dashboard, which makes it easier to reply to important things.
OnlyPult is great for Instagram post scheduling. You can schedule several weeks of posts in advance by using the calendar and choose what time of day you post. Analytics are provided here too, so you can see what time of day is the best for you to post.
I love this tool because unlike other tools you post directly to your Instagram account from your computer!@Giveaways4Mom recommends @Onlypult for #bloggers who want to make #Instagram scheduling easier! Click To Tweet
Affiliate programs are a great way to network, earn residual income, and alert your audience to new or helpful products.
With Shareasale, you can sign up for affiliate programs. Once accepted, you can use links to products and promotions per the individual company’s rules. It is important to read the link using policy of every affiliate.
The best part is some companies offer small bonuses in exchange for putting banners on your website or mentioning them in a blog post.
See Also: 50 Companies to Join on Shareasale
Escalate Media is the leader in pay-for-performance campaigns for lead generation. I love this company because they only believe in promoting ethical offers. Therefore, you can trust that you are only sharing legit opportunities with your audience.
Are you an Amazon affiliate? You can earn a small residual income when you become an affiliate and your audience makes purchases from links you use in your content.
Bonus Tools & Resources I Use as a Blogger
I know your eyes are probably tired if you have made it to the end of this post, so before I go I am going to leave you with a few more of my favorite tools and resources that I love as a blogger below.
- Pitch Session – Write Better Emails
- Blog Strategy Plan
- How to Make Income with Your Blog
- Hip Media Kits
Final Thoughts on Tools for Bloggers
Now that I have shared some of my tips and tricks with you, which do you think are the most helpful? Sure, blogging really is a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to feel like one. These tools keep me on time, productive, and organized so that my blog runs as smoothly as possible.
What tools do you use for your blog?