Here is a list of blog tools and resources that I currently use, have used in the past, or that have come highly recommended.
In full disclosure, many of the links for these blog tools are my affiliate links – which means that I do stand to make a small commission (at no cost to you) should you make a purchase. Read my full Disclosure Policy here.
SiteGround Web Hosting
One of SiteGround‘s specialties is WordPress hosting. They offer quick installation, excellent customer service, and daily backups at a very affordable price.
StudioPress Sites – Managed WordPress Hosting
As my traffic grew, I knew that I wanted more of a managed WordPress hosting solution. So, I moved this site over to StudioPress Sites.
They take care of the technical back end so I can focus on creating new content – and blogging, which is what I do best.
WP Engine – More Control, More Power
Many large companies trust their hosting to WPEngine. They are the WordPress experts because that is all they do.
When I switched hosting, WPEngine was a serious contender. They offer great support at an affordable entry price. Not only that, you can try them for 60 days – money back guaranteed. So, there really is nothing to lose.
Genesis Framework and StudioPress Themes
The Genesis Framework for WordPress and the StudioPress child themes have been the only WordPress themes that I work with – for several years now. They are SEO friendly and have powerful features. But most importantly, Studiopress is a solid developer that keeps their themes updated. This is important to make sure that they work with WordPress as it evolves.
Restored316 – Feminine WordPress Themes
I have a confession to make – I am totally obsessed with WordPress themes from Restored 316. Totally. Obsessed. Did I say that?
If I wasn’t so comfy wearing the Brunch Pro theme right now – I would totally switch. Made the switch to the Refined Theme from Restored316!
Social Warfare is one of my favorite premium plugins. You use it to add really nice looking sharing buttons to your blog. But the most powerful feature of Social Warfare is the ability to specify which image size should be shared on the different social media platforms.
Pretty Link Pro
People use the Pretty Link Pro WordPress plugin to redirect their affiliate links.
Usually, affiliate links are a bunch of gibberish and look kind of scary – they certainly don’t look inviting enough to click. The Pretty Link Plugin let’s you clean up those links so that they look something like your-website dot com/Target (or whatever place you are linking to).
Yoast SEO Premium
I think of the Yoast SEO plugin as kind of the gold standard and it is one of my essential blogging tools.
Use the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize your website for the search engines, create a sitemap, designate images for social media (if you are not using Social Warfare), find and fix broken links, and create redirects (Premium version only.)
Email Marketing Tools
ConvertKit is an email marketing service that was made with bloggers in mind. It uses both lists and tags, and makes it dead simple to create sequences of emails that are automatically sent out when someone signs up for one of your lists.
My new favorite email marketing service is MailerLite. They have a generous free level that includes automations – so it is perfect for beginner bloggers. And once you hit 1,000 subscribers the pricing is very reasonable.
Social Media Tools
So, I loved CoSchedule, but I left CoSchedule, and then I went crawling back. Seriously. This social media scheduler and editorial calendar has saved me so much time. Combine it with their Requeue feature and your social media is all set.
Tailwind for Pinterest
Tailwind is a powerful scheduling tool for Pinterest. Schedule your pins and other people’s pins right without ever leaving the Pinterest interface. In Tailwind you can use the Tribes feature and also follow your favorite pinners. The analytics are really good too.
Website Graphics Tools
PicMonkey is one of my favorite photo editing tools. It is so flexible for creating font overlays for the photos that I use on this blog. There are 3 levels to choose from – free, Premium, and Supremium.
Stencil is a wonderful photo editor that is not as well known as some of the other bigger names. So, consider this our little secret – Stencil makes it super easy for you to resize images for different social media platforms. When I saw that – I was sold. Stencil also is very easy to use, so when I need to create a graphic quickly – this is where I turn.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Sometimes you just can’t do it all yourself. If a VA is not in your budget, then a trip to Fiverr may just do the trick. If you are not familiar, you can hire someone on Fiverr to design or create almost anything that you need for your website, starting at a 5 dollar price tag. From logos to infographics to book covers – they’ve got you covered. Just be sure to read the reviews and do a little due diligence before you hire.
Xero® Accounting Software
If you are looking for a Quickbooks alternative – Xero might just be the thing for you. It has a sleek and fun to use interface that makes the task of bookkeeping a bit more tolerable. 😉
The great news is that they offer a generous free trial period – so you can take it for a spin before you commit.
Blog Training Courses
Elite Blog Academy
Elite Blog Academy is a comprehensive blogging course that covers everything from soup to nuts. It was the first blogging course that I took, and it helped me learn exactly what to do to create what you see here today. But the doors only once a year. Right now, the best thing to do is grab a spot on the wait list and take advantage of some of the freebies that Ruth shares throughout the year.
Food Blogger Pro
If your goal is to create a food blog – this course is a must. Food Blogger Pro covers everything from blogging basics to creating appealing food photography and videos. I have learned a lot from this course. The doors only open a few times per year, so be sure to grab a spot on the waiting list.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Learning how to blog is important – but you also need to learn how to make money from your blog. This course shows you exactly that. The creator of this course – Michelle Schroeder Gardner makes over 100k per MONTH from her blog, so you know she knows her stuff.