When it comes to running a successful blog, you don’t need an overwhelming number of blogging tools.
In fact, just a few key tools in various categories can make a significant difference.
From web hosting and domain name search to keyword research, SEO, web design, analytics, content creation, graphic design, and email marketing, we’ll streamline the essential blogging tools in this article.
Our goal is to save you countless hours of research and help you make informed choices.
It’s worth mentioning that most of the tools we recommend are free.
So, let’s dive in and discover the tools we use to power our blogs.
Table of Contents
Essential blogging tools for beginners
Here’s a breakdown of the essential blogging tools and services you’ll need for each category:
1. Domain Name
Despite the belief that all the cool domain names are taken in this day and age, there are actually numerous incredible options waiting to be discovered.
That’s where Namelix comes in – one of the best domain name generator tools out there.
Let’s say you’re passionate about fishing and want to start a blog on the topic.
You can enter keywords like ‘fishing,’ ‘angler,’ or ‘hook’ related to the niche and hit generate. Namelix will present you with a variety of options.
The link below will provide you with the step by step process of getting a domain name for your blog and also teach you how to use namelix.
Managing all your domain names in one place, like Namecheap, provides flexibility and ease of changing web hosts without disruptions.
It’s a good practice to separate domain registration from hosting services, ensuring smooth transitions in case you ever decide to switch hosts.
2. Web Hosting
A good web host primarily revolves around two critical factors: speed and server processing.
First and foremost, speed is of paramount importance. The hosting provider’s bandwidth plays a significant role in determining how fast your website loads for visitors.
A host with scalable bandwidth ensures that your site’s data can be transmitted quickly to users, leading to a smoother and more enjoyable browsing experience.
Secondly, the type of server processing offered by the web host is crucial. Opting for a hosting package that utilizes powerful and efficient servers will directly impact your website’s performance.
When your site is hosted on a robust server, it can handle higher traffic volumes and deliver content promptly, even during peak times.
3. Content Management System
When it comes to content management systems, the market offers various options like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, and many others.
However, if you ask for my personal recommendation without a doubt, I would always choose WordPress.
WordPress is incredibly user-friendly, making it suitable for beginners and advanced users alike, regardless of the size of your blog.
Its extensive library of plugins and themes caters to all web design and functionality needs.
That’s precisely why renowned brands such as Sony, TechCrunch, Time Magazine, Disney, and many others rely on WordPress to manage their blogs.
Considering all these factors, I highly recommend choosing WordPress as your content management system for your blog.
4. WordPress Themes
When it comes to choosing a WordPress theme, I look for specific attributes that are essential for my needs – customizability and lightweightness.
Out of the thousands of available themes, I have narrowed down my options to six that meet these criteria.
- Astra: A long-standing competitor to GeneratePress, Astra provides several customization options even in its free version. Like GeneratePress, the real power of customization comes with the Pro version. It offers an Elements module called Custom Layouts, allowing you to add custom design layouts to different sections of your website. Astra is more beginner-friendly compared to GeneratePress, and both themes boast fast page speeds, though GeneratePress is slightly faster.
- Neve by Themeisle: Another strong contender alongside Astra and GeneratePress, Neve offers similar customization capabilities. It allows you to add custom design layouts to different parts of your website, making it a versatile choice for customizing your site.
- Kadence WP and Blocksy: These two themes are relatively new but have quickly become strong competitors to the more established ones. Both Kadence WP and Blocksy provide good customization options without relying on custom design layouts, making them excellent choices for those seeking free themes with decent customization capabilities.
Now that we’ve covered themes, let’s dive into keyword research.
5. Keyword Research
Here is the list of my recommended keyword research tools for bloggers.
Google Auto Suggest: By typing in keywords on Google search, you’ll see suggested phrases as you add more alphabets.
You can also use an underscore in the keyphrase to generate additional keyword ideas.
The “People Also Ask” section and “Related Searches” at the bottom of the search results page provide more insights.
Google Keyword Planner: This tool allows you to discover more keyword ideas and provides insights into search volume and competition for each keyword.
Competitor Analysis: You can use the “Site Colon” method by typing “site:competitorwebsite.com” into Google to see the topics your competitors are targeting. By visiting their sitemap.xml or sitemap_index.xml, you can gather keyword ideas based on the descriptive text of the links.
Answers.com: This platform offers a wealth of information where you can find questions related to your keywords and gain insights into what people are asking.
AnswerThePublic: By entering a keyword, this tool generates a visual map of questions, prepositions, and related queries that people search for, helping you identify relevant keyword ideas.
Ahrefs’ Keyword Generator: A comprehensive SEO tool that provides keyword suggestions, search volume, and keyword difficulty scores to help you target the right keywords.
ChatGPT: The newest addition to the list, ChatGPT can generate a vast number of keyword ideas through creative conversation and prompts.
When it comes to SEO, there’s no other tool I would recommend more than Rank Math.
Even with its free version, you get access to dozens of features. The “Monitor” tool helps you keep track of your site’s pages, and you receive five free credits for the “Content AI” feature.
The Content AI uses their proprietary AI system to analyze top-ranking articles based on your topic and provides smart suggestions to enhance your own writing.
The “Image SEO” feature allows you to easily add missing titles and Alt attributes to images based on a defined variable.
With the Pro version, you can even find and replace text in Alt text, title, and caption fields for existing images, saving you time, especially for larger sites.
This is just a glimpse of what Rank Math can offer in terms of SEO; there’s much more, including instant indexing, analytics, and more.
Grammarly is another valuable tool we recommend. Even the free version provides excellent grammar suggestions for your articles.
Installing Grammarly’s free Chrome extension ensures you receive grammar checks in the background while writing, helping you maintain proper English and produce high-quality content.
By combining Rank Math and Grammarly, you can significantly improve your SEO efforts and produce well-written content for your website.
7. Graphic design
I prefer using Photoshop for graphic design tasks, but did you know there’s a fantastic free alternative called Photopea?
The best part is, you don’t need to install any software as it runs directly in your browser.
Photopea works similarly to Photoshop, making it an excellent option for those familiar with Photoshop.
When starting a new project, you can choose the canvas size, and there are numerous cool templates available to customize images, making them unique for your blog.
If you ever wanted a free version of Photoshop, Photopea is the perfect solution.
Another popular graphic design tool that many of us are already familiar with is Canva.
It offers a vast array of free design templates to choose from. With Canva, customizing the design template is easy, allowing you to create unique images to enhance your blog posts.
Both Photopea and Canva are powerful tools that can significantly elevate your graphic design capabilities, even if you don’t have access to premium software like Photoshop.
With these free alternatives, you can create stunning visuals for your blog without any limitations.
8. Custom Domain Email
If you’re looking for a free custom domain email, one that includes your domain name instead of using a generic service like Gmail, I highly recommend using Zoho Mail.
When signing up for a free account to create a business email, Zoho Mail may prompt you to subscribe to their services, but don’t worry, they also offer a free plan for those who only need a simple business email address.
Simply click on “Try Now,” add your existing domain, and follow the steps as directed. Before you know it, you’ll have a custom domain email up and running in no time.
9. Analytics and Tracking
For serious bloggers, Google Analytics is an essential tool.
Setting up an account with Google Analytics allows you to track all your site visitors and their interactions, providing valuable insights into your blog’s performance.
By knowing which pages or articles receive the most visits and how long visitors stay on each page, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your site’s performance accordingly.
Analytics plays a significant role in the success of your blog, and I strongly advise utilizing Google Analytics.
10. Displaying Ads
When your blog is new, you don’t need to worry about displaying ads right away because certain content thresholds must be met before being approved for ads.
I recommend having around 20 to 30 niche-related, long-form articles on your blog before considering submitting it to Google AdSense for approval to display ads.
Once your site is approved for ads, you may not want Google to automatically place ads for you.
In such cases, manually placing ads on every page of your site can be time-consuming.
To streamline this process, you can use a WordPress plugin called “Quick AdSense“.
After installing this free plugin, you can easily determine the number of ads to display on each page and decide whether they should appear on posts, pages, or both.
You also have the flexibility to display ads on your homepage, categories, archives, and other sections of your site.
Additionally, you can disable ads on certain parts of your website and assign specific ad positions for each post or page.
Quick AdSense plugin is an excellent tool for beginners to efficiently manage ads on their sites without the need for manual placements.
Google Translator, also known as Google Translate, is a widely used language translation service provided by Google.
It allows users to translate text, documents, websites, and even speech between different languages quickly and conveniently.
Two popular WordPress plugins known for translating entire sites into different languages are Weglot and TranslatePress.
These plugins seem to be helpful and efficient options for managing multilingual content on your WordPress website.
12. Caching & Content Delivery Network
Caching is an essential tool for speeding up your blog, and if you are using one of the shared hosting services I mentioned earlier, you can easily set up caching using the LiteSpeed Cache plugin.
However, it’s important to note that the LiteSpeed Cache plugin is only suitable for web hosting platforms that use LiteSpeed servers.
If your site is hosted on a LiteSpeed server, this plugin offers a wide range of optimization options, such as enabling or disabling caching for specific user groups like logged-in users or mobile users.
You can also set the duration for which the server should keep the cached version of your site before generating a new one.
However, if your site is not hosted on a LiteSpeed server, the next best option for caching and speed optimization is WP Rocket.
WP Rocket is a premium plugin that offers similar caching features as the LiteSpeed Cache plugin but is compatible with any type of server, including Apache and LiteSpeed.
In other words, you can use WP Rocket on any WordPress site to achieve caching and speed optimization benefits.
In addition to caching, web security is crucial, and one of the most reliable tools for web security is Cloudflare.
By pointing your domain name to Cloudflare and then to your web host, you add an extra layer of security, as Cloudflare detects and removes security threats quickly before passing the traffic to your web host.
Cloudflare’s vast network of sites also acts as a Content Delivery Network (CDN), allowing elements of your site to load faster for international visitors.
13. Email Marketing
Email marketing can be extremely effective once your site starts generating a good amount of traffic, as it can build loyalty, trust, and rapport with your site visitors.
Therefore, we recommend starting email marketing campaigns once you have at least several pieces of useful content to share with your audience.
There are three email marketing tools that we highly recommend: MailerLite, Sendinblue, and FluentCRM.
The reason for recommending these three tools is that they offer free plans that allow you to grow your subscriber base without any initial cost.
Additionally, all three platforms have an email automation builder that enables you to send automated responders to your subscribers based on specific actions they take.
Among these tools, FluentCRM stands out because it offers a unique advantage.
While MailerLite and Sendinblue have limitations on the number of subscribers and outgoing emails in their free plans, FluentCRM does not impose any such restrictions.
Since everything is hosted on your server’s database, you can have an unlimited number of subscribers and send unlimited emails with the free version of FluentCRM.
This becomes particularly valuable as your subscriber base grows, making it a cost-effective choice compared to other platforms that become expensive with increasing subscribers.
The Pro version of FluentCRM offers additional features like email sequencing and email marketing automation, allowing you to send a series of emails based on specific conditions.
This flexibility and lack of limitations make FluentCRM an excellent option for those serious about email marketing.
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Entrepreneur, Writer, Digital Marketer, Web Developer, Insightful Teacher and Blogger…