Looking to grow your blog and explode your traffic? Here are the 15 best online resources and tools for bloggers to grow their business and earn more income!
The thing they don’t tell you about blogging is that it’s a lot of work.
Seriously. As a blogger you’re not only a writer, but also a photographer, graphic designer, coder, content creator, website analyst, and a million other titles.
Us bloggers wear A LOT of hats.
So with that being said, I’m always searching for tools and resources (preferably free) that will help take the extra load off my shoulders.
I created a comprehensive list of tools and resources that have helped me (and many others) in conquering the blogging world.
Online Resources and Tools for Bloggers
Self-hosted site with Bluehost
First and foremost, if you’re looking to earn money with your blog you NEED to have a self-hosted site.
This is the #1 biggest mistake newbie bloggers make.
It’s vital that you move from a free blogging service (ahem, Blogger and WordPress.com…) to a premium site like WordPress.org hosted with Bluehost.
The problem with free blogging sites like Blogger and WordPress.com is that it’s very difficult to make money since you don’t necessarily own your site or work. Instead, the platform does.
This means if a free hosting platform were to shut down, you would lose all your work.
Bluehost is the best hosting service for beginner bloggers wanting to start their own site. They have a solid reputation with over 2 million bloggers using their service, and is such an easy platform to use.
Bluehost takes care of the installation process within minutes so you don’t have to touch a thing. Once everything is installed, you can start focusing on content creation!
They also have a fantastic 24-hour live chat and support team to answer any questions you may have along the way.
You can start your blog for as little as 3.95/month when you sign up using my link.
If you don’t have Google Analytics… set it up NOW! Seriously, open a new tab, set it up, and come back to finish reading this post. It’s THAT important!
Google Analytics tracks a ton of valuable information regarding your blog and its activity. Like, how many visitors you’re getting each month, your top posts, and where most of your traffic is coming from.
This information will come in handy when you need to present your numbers to brands or to figure out what content your audience likes best.
It’s very simple to set up. You can find the instructions here.
Professional website theme
A beautiful and responsive theme is vital for any blog to succeed. When your site looks polished and put together, brands and your readers take your blog more seriously.
The theme I use, Captivating from Restored 316, has HANDS DOWN been one of the best investments for my blog. Not only does this theme showcase my content in a visually appealing way, but it’s also mobile-responsive and designed with SEO in mind.
My favorite part of owning a Restored 316 theme is the ability to customize my site to fit my brand. There are so many different options to choose from when customizing, such as colors, fonts, layouts… everything!
Each Restored 316 theme comes with a series of how-to videos explaining the installation and customization process. This was SO valuable to have, especially as a brand new blogger that didn’t know anything about WordPress or how themes work.
It’s so user-friendly that if I can do it, you can too!
And if you’re ever stuck or have a question, they have an awesome customer support team and Facebook group! (I get an answer within a matter of hours!).
I can honestly say that my Restored 316 experience couldn’t have been better. I love having peace of mind knowing that this theme can grow with my blog from beginner to full-time.
So if you’re looking for a professional, responsive, easy-to-use theme, Restored 316 is the way to go.
Whether you’re a new blogger or seasoned pro, I highly, HIGHLY, recommend joining and taking advantage of the Amazon Associates program.
I’ve made the majority of my blogging money with Amazon Associates. When you link to an item on Amazon and a buyer purchases that item (or any other item), you get a commission off of that sale. This comes at no extra cost to the buyer.
While the commission is small, it’s so motivating to see the value add up, especially if you’re a new blogger!
No matter how often you write or how advanced your grammar is, we all make mistakes. Grammarly has saved me countless times from publishing a blog post with spelling and grammar errors.
It is absolutely FREE to use! You can download Grammarly here.
This is a must-have for writing–especially if you want your blog to come off as professional for your audience and potential brand partnerships.
If you plan to run giveaways on your blog or social media accounts, Rafflecopter is one of the easiest and best ways to manage entries.
I like that I’m able to add additional entry options (such as “follow me on Instagram”, or “comment on my blog post,” etc.) and customize each entry on a point system. So more entries = more points.
Rafflecopter also collects emails when people enter into your giveaway which can be connected to your newsletter account and grow your email list.
Speaking of email services, I can’t stress enough how important it is to start building your email list ASAP!
Your email list gives you a solid audience that you can form a relationship with and keep driving back to your blog.
Mailerlite is a fantastic option for bloggers looking for a user-friendly service to grow their email list.
With Mailerlite, you can embed sign-up forms onto your site, create landing pages, send freebies, and so much more!
I love that it’s free up to 1,000 email subscribers, making it the perfect choice for brand new bloggers.
Tailwind has been a total gamechanger in my blogging journey. I can honestly say that If you invest in ONE thing for your blog, invest in Tailwind.
Tailwind is a Pinterest approved automated scheduler that pins content at your optimal times. Essentially, it automatically pins when your audience is online and when you’ll get the most engagement.
This smart scheduler does all the heavy lifting on Pinterest and optimizes all of your pinning times so you can keep consistently pinning (which is the #1 rule for growing on Pinterest).
To put this into perspective, before I used Tailwind I brought in around 64K monthly viewers on my Pinterest account.
While this number was decent, I wanted to drive more traffic to my blog and see my pins reach a broader audience.
That’s when I implemented Tailwind.
Just by signing up for Tailwind’s free trial, my monthly views skyrocketed to over 175k! The dramatic increase in visitors on my Pinterest was a tremendous push to keep going.
I’ve since upgraded to Tailwind’s paid version because it’s just THAT powerful. And I can honestly say that I’ve seen a huge difference in both my Pinterest AND blog traffic.
Not to mention all the time I’ve saved with not having to manually pin and individually upload my pins to Pinterest—what a pain!.
Having everything automated and ready to go has been a dream for blogging.
Tailwind is completely free to try (I wish I would have tried it sooner!) and absolutely one of the best tools for new bloggers to get the ball rolling.
Evernote is a great resource for writing blog posts on the go or jotting down ideas and inspiration.
I like the voice memo feature for when I have an idea or a blurb I want to get down before I forget.
The best part about Evernote is you can access and manage your notes from any device and even offline… no wifi needed!
If you don’t want to take your own pictures for your blog, stock photos are the way to go.
Now you may be wondering “why can’t I just Google an image, slap it on my site, and call it a day?”. This is illegal because the majority of those photos are copyrighted.
Think about it, would you want someone stealing your photos and posting them on their site without your permission? Probably not.
So this is where stock photos come in handy!
My favorite place to get beautiful, high-quality stock photos is Ivory Mix. They have a wide range of photos that are different from the generic ones that you’ve seen about a million times (you know, the cheesy “girl-smiling-while-eating-salad” pic??).
You can customize these stock photos by overlaying text and shapes. So versatile and a staple for all bloggers.
Social Bluebook helps you determine how much you should charge brands for sponsorships.
You simply link your social media accounts and Social Bluebook generates an estimate based on your accounts’ analytics.
It’s completely free to sign up and see your estimated valuation. This will come in handy when you start collaborating with brands and want to figure out “how much should I charge?”.
If you plan on selling courses or ebooks on your blog, Teachable is the most popular site that bloggers use.
It’s very user-friendly and simple to learn. You can create free courses or start monetizing your blog with paid courses.
Teachable takes care of the technical side so you can focus on creating content.
There are a few different plan options to choose from, such as Basic, Professional, and Business.
Keywords Everywhere Browser Extension
This is a browser extension that you can download straight to Google Chrome. It lets you find alternative keywords that people are using to search for related topics.
Incorporating alternative keywords and phrases helps your blog posts rank for those intended keywords.
So, if you’re writing a blog post about “Pinterest strategies,” Keywords Everywhere will give you suggestions based on related phrases, such as “Pinterest strategies for bloggers” and “Pinterest Growth”. You can then incorporate these keywords while writing your blog post.
I’ve found this method to be useful when trying to target a specific topic, whether that be blogging, food, or travel.
*Keywords Everywhere used to display the search volume of each keyword but has since been moved to the paid version.
Canva is a beginner-friendly graphic design software that the majority of bloggers use to create pins and graphics for their site.
I use Canva for nearly every pin, logo, and graphic displayed on my site. The customizable templates have really helped my pins stand out and get more clicks on Pinterest, and I love that I can create beautiful graphics without being a professional graphic designer.
Canva has tons of optimized social media templates for you to choose from and is simple to use with a drag and drop system (way easier to master than Photoshop—NO coding involved!).
You can create SO many different types of content with Canva. I think if you’re only focusing on Pinterest and basic designs, the free version should be enough.
But you may want to upgrade and try Canva Pro if you want to offer your audience downloadable PDFs, freebies, printables, or opt-ins. Canva Pro allows you to store your brand colors and upload your own fonts to make creating your graphics easier and faster.
Definitely one of the most powerful programs to help accelerate your blogging career.
Having a good calendar and planning system is key for running a successful blog (or any business… or life for that matter!). That’s why I use Google Calendar. I seriously could not run my blog without it!
Every few months I plan out and schedule posts and content ideas. It’s such a time-saver to know what you’re going to be writing about and when certain posts will be published.
I found that I take my blog more seriously when I began using a calendar system, and Google Calendar is easy to use and completely free.
Social Warfare Plugin
If you scroll to the top or bottom of any of my blog posts you will see social media icons. These social media icons allow your readers to share your blog post and in turn, drive more traffic to your site.
I love the social warfare plugin because:
- It’s free
- You can easily link any of your social media accounts to your blog
- They look visually appealing and non-distractive
- It’s Responsive to mobile
Best Tools and Resources for Bloggers
I hope you got something out of this blogging resource list. Odds are if you’re implementing these onto your blog posts, you will be on the pathway to success!
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