Want to set your blog up for success so you can take your business to the next level? Whether you’re a new blogger or you’ve been blogging for a while, this list of the best blogging resources will help you stay organized, maximize productivity and save you time so you can focus on creating quality content to grow your blog and scale your business.
As a professional writer, I work with clients and businesses to create compelling content to drive traffic to their sites. I’ve written about a variety of topics, including travel, fashion, marketing, branding, empowering women in business, and even the construction industry. (Check out my writing portfolio here.) I’ve learned what strategies work for me so I can save time and focus on creating compelling content for each project. To save you time from doing all the research, I’ve put together these productivity tools for freelancers and bloggers to help set your blog or business up for success.
Best Blogging Tools And Resources
Blogging can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. There are so many new things to learn, and there’s a lot of information out there. If you want to start making money, it helps to use the right tools from the start. These are the resources, tools, and apps that I use and highly recommend to help you streamline your business and cut through the bs.
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How to Start a Successful Blog
A lot of people like to focus on growing their audience on social media. But here’s the thing, you don’t own that. If all of a sudden, those sites went away, your followers and content would go with it. When you host your blog, you’re in control, and you OWN the site. I use Siteground for web hosting because it’s fast, secure and I can get 24/7 support when I need it.
If you’re serious about making money online, self-hosting with Siteground is an important step to get started. Once you host your website or blog, you can build and customize your site, create SEO optimized blog posts and landing pages, and get tech support when you need it. Whenever I have a question about something on my site, I just email Siteground, and they fix my issue within minutes.
Branding Your Blog – How to Get Started
People connect with brands with personality. What’s your brand story? To define your brand identity, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What problem do you solve?
- Who do you serve?
- How are you going to provide value to your audience?
Once you’ve figured that out, you can start to position yourself as an authority in your field, and build a connection with your audience.
To learn more about branding and blogging resources, read this:
Design a Blog Theme that Fits your Brand
If you’re using WordPress themes, customize your blog around your brand. Decide what colors, fonts, logo, and tone you want to use for your site to keep your branding consistent. Canva is a great resource to create graphics and a logo for your website.
Content Writing Tools
Google Docs – I love writing blog content on google docs because it automatically saves my work, and I can access my content from any computer. I don’t have to hit save constantly, and I can work from anywhere. I also use Google Docs to submit all my work to my clients, and they can leave feedback for updates.
Grammarly – Grammarly is a free writing tool that checks spelling and grammar errors. The pro version is a lifesaver. I use the plugin to get instant suggestions as I type. I use it to check blog posts, emails, and social media content before I hit publish or send.
Headline Analyzer – If you want people to read your content, you need compelling headlines to draw them in. Sharethrough Headline Analyzer is a free tool that breaks down how strong your headline is and offers suggestions on how to make it more engaging.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization Keyword Research
Keyword research is an important step in your content strategy. It helps you identify what people are searching for, so you know what content to write. Writing blog posts takes time. Don’t waste time creating content that nobody will read. Do your research and use long-tail keywords in your niche. Site speed and building backlinks should also be part of your long term strategy. Look for guest posting opportunities and avoid overloading your site with anything that slows it down.
There are many tools for keyword research. These are some of the ones that I use.
Keysearch – I use Keysearch to look up long-tail keywords, discover search trends, and check out search engine keyword suggestions. I pay $118 for the yearly plan. One of my favorite features is the Content Assistant because it helps me identify the top keywords and shows what questions people are asking about for each topic.
Free Blogging Resources: How to be a Successful Blogger
Keyword Planner – Keyword Planner is a free Google tool to help you identify keywords and see how they might perform.
Yoast SEO is a free WordPress plugin used to optimize your site. It gives you suggestions to optimize your content, titles, and meta description to help you rank on Google.
Ubersuggest is a free SEO tool that gives you access to what keywords your competitors are ranking for. With the free version, you are only allowed a certain number of searches per day, and you won’t be able to see all the data. You can also get info on the top-performing pages for each site and backlinks. If you’re still trying to figure out how to optimize your website, Neil Patel has great resources on his blog and Youtube channel to help you start implementing a strong SEO strategy on your blog.
LSIGraph – Have an idea, but not sure if that keyword will drive traffic to your blog? LSIGraph is a free keyword generator to help give you ideas. It also shows you the volume and provides a list of links to the top-performing sites for that keyword.
Best Blogging Resources – Dive into the data
Analytics – Get all your website data in one place. Learn what pages are driving traffic to your site and where your traffic is coming from. Bloggers can also get data on what content people are looking at on their sites. There is so much information about your site here, and you can use this data to create Media Kits and more content around the topics that are performing well.
Google Search Console – Search Console provides data and analytics to help improve your site’s performance in Google search. This is a free tool that can help you Identify search terms or keywords for your blog.
Create a Content Strategy – How to Stay Organized
Content Calendar – Once you’ve done your keyword research, you’ll be able to narrow down the topics that you want to write about. I use Google Sheets to create a content calendar full of keyword ideas that I want to write, so I don’t have to waste time thinking about what topic to blog about next.
Asana – I don’t know about you, but if I don’t write things down, I’ll forget what’s due and what I need to work on. Asana helps me keep track of my daily to-do list. I like to organize my list the night before, so I know what I need to get done first thing in the morning.
Professional Photos for your Blog
Stock photos – If you need an image for your site, Unsplash is an online resource full of beautiful free photos you can download for any project. You can search by topic and choose between horizontal and landscape images.
Social Media Marketing
Pinterest – Searching for free blogging resources to grow your blog? Use Pinterest! If you stick to a consistent pinning strategy, with fresh pins, you will start to see results. This visual search engine lets you look up ideas for what to post and what’s trending online. I use Canva to create graphics for my blog posts. Pinterest Analytics gives you access to details on what templates and topics are performing well.
Grow your Blog Traffic with Pinterest – I took the Pinterest with Ell Course, and once I started to implement the tools from the course, I saw a significant increase in my blog traffic. The course is easy to follow and packed with actionable tips.
In the course, you’ll learn:
- how to start a Pinterest account and properly set it up to bring you the most reach possible
- Pinterest strategies that will bring you a higher click-through rate
- how to make affiliate sales through Pinterest
- what it takes to make your blog traffic grow & target the right audience!
Sign up for Pinterest With Ell Course here to grow your blog traffic!
Start your Email List, Yesterday!
Email Marketing is another valuable tool to help get your message to your audience. Start building your email list before you launch. Create a freebie for your subscribers, so they know they know they’re getting value when they give you their email address and sign up for your list. When it comes to email service providers, there are many options. I use Mailchimp to send a welcome email to new subscribers and newsletters to share blog posts and updates.
Best Blogging Resources: Content Scheduling
Save time by using a content scheduling app to batch your social media content. You can post new and old blog posts, photos, and updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn and other social media channels.
Planoly is one of my favorite tools for scheduling Instagram content because you can visually plan out your feed.
Buffer is a free tool that lets you schedule content ahead of time. With the free version, you can add three social media platforms and schedule up to 10 posts at a time.
Know When It’s Time to Outsource
To create a successful blog, you have to wear many hats. From blogging to branding to creating graphics, you might quickly realize that you prefer not to do everything yourself. There are so many talented graphic designers, virtual assistants, and content writers who can help you take your blog to the next level. Instead of doing things you don’t like to do, focus on doing what you love, and know when it’s time to outsource.
Affiliate Links – Make Money Blogging
If you love a product and love telling your friends about it, contact the brand or company and ask if they have a referral program. Instead of randomly adding a bunch of links to your site, focus on creating quality content that helps your audience make a decision about the product, or solve a problem. Be honest and transparent with your audience.
Ideas for Affiliate Link Content:
- Create content around these products that solves a problem.
- Compare two different products in a review post.
- Create a gift guide that includes affiliate links.
- Get to know the product better than anyone else and share helpful tips.
- Use email marketing to promote.
Conclusion – Best Resources for Blogging Success
We hope you found this ultimate guide for the best blogging resources helpful. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a seasoned blogger, there are many resources out there. Focus on creating a content strategy with long-tail keywords to optimize your site, avoid creating thin content, and invest in self-hosting from the start. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send us a message.