Here is a list of blog tools and training programs I, and many other bloggers use to make our blogs better.
I curated the list to include things that I have tried personally or have heard good things about from trusted sources.
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.
The products listed are those that I have either tried personally or that have come with a strong recommendation. I will tell you in the description whether I have tried the item or not, and I will link to a review if I have posted one. If I have a current coupon code to offer you, I list that as well.
SiteGround Web Hosting
One of SiteGround‘s specialties is WordPress hosting. They offer quick installation and daily backups at a very affordable price.
When I migrated this site over to SiteGround, they made it so easy.
Setting up a brand new WordPress install is simple – read this SiteGround tutorial to see how easy it is.
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.
Migration is easy, via a simple plugin.
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.
Currently, my site is wearing the Brunch Pro Theme for WordPress – which does run on the Genesis platform as well.
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.
Restored316 offers customizable themes that don’t require rocket science to set up. Take a peek and see what you think.
There are a ton of WordPress plugins to choose from. They make WordPress so amazing. Just like themes, some WordPress plugins are free and some are premium. And just like my warning above – sometimes you get what you pay for.
I try to stick with reputable plugins, premium plugins, and free plugins that also offer a premium version (this way I know that the developer has skin in the game. Also, when the time comes that I need the added functionality of premium – upgrading should be easy.)
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.
For example, for Pinterest you a long, vertical image does best, but for Facebook a wider image looks better.
Using Social Warfare, you just upload these images to your media in WordPress and indicate which one you want when someone clicks a share button.
And the cost is reasonable – starting at $29 per year. Sweet!
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/Amazon (or whatever place you are linking to).
There is both a free and a premium version of Pretty Link.
I think of the Yoast SEO plugin as kind of the gold standard and it is one of my essential blogging tools.
You can use Yoast to optimize your website for the search engines, create a sitemap, designate images for social media (if you are not using Social Warfare), and find and fix broken links (Premium version only.)
See more WordPress Plugins here.
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.
You can read my ConvertKit review here.
ActiveCampaign also uses lists and tags for email marketing. It hugely flexible and I am a big fan. But because of all the possibilities, it is easy to get carried away and a bit disorganized in the process.
You can read my ActiveCampaign review here.
Social Media Tools
PostPlanner is one of my favorite blog tools for social media scheduling. It is different from many of the others, because it actually curates content that you can share. This is helpful, because you don’t have to run all over the internet to find great info.
PostPlanner also uses a queue system, so you can schedule a bunch of things to share, and when it gets to the bottom of the list, it starts at the top again. You also have choices as to how often you want to share and when.
Website Graphics Tools
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.
Blog Training Courses
What Blog Tools Do You Use?
We all have some favorite blog tools that we can’t live without.
Tell me about the ones you use, and why you love them so much.