There’s no shortage of awesome tools available to help you grow your blog, automate your social media, and improve the experience for your readers. In fact, there’s so many that it can be overwhelming. What tools are available? What do these tools actually do?
This massive list of tools and resources for your blog is going to be useful to you as you grow and find yourself in need of more tools to accomplish your every day blogging tasks.
🖥️ Blog Setup & Design
These are the basic tools needed for blogging. I recommend you check out my post How to Start a Blog that Actually Makes Money so that you too can build your blog on the best foundation possible.
I recommend buying your domain name separate from your website hosting. It’s just the smart thing to do just in case you ever decide to switch hosting companies or change your URL. More importantly, it’s an added layer of security. Here are some places to buy domains:
They run frequent sales and have great every day prices as well.
I like that it’s all connected to my Google account.
I’ve done all the work for you. I have over a decade’s worth of experience with 4 popular hosting companies (I’ve compared them for you). Here are my favorite places for hosting your website:
Affordable hosting with excellent customer service and up time.
Perfect for WordPress users! I love all of the user extras they include.
Love them for experienced bloggers who need a lot more space and functionality.
▪️ WordPress Themes
Hello You Designs
Gorgeous, feminine WordPress themes that are well-coded and fun to customize. In fact, all of my websites use a Hello You Designs theme!
Modern, feminine themes with a large selection to choose from.
Minimalist, modern themes.
Nice selection of feminine themes for various niches.
Feminine, but also flashy.
Modern and neutral (they also make nice Squarespace themes).
▪️ WordPress Plugins
There are soooo many plugins available. How do you know which ones are safe? Which ones are useful? What the heck do they all do!? There’s legit a plugin for pretty much everything you could think of (and then some), so here are my recommendations based on a typical user’s need for security and usability.
Anti spam plugin that checks your comments and contact form submissions against a global database of spam to protect you and your site from malicious content.
Security plugin which helps you fight against bruteforce attack by blocking login for the IP after it reaches maximum retries allowed.
WPS Hide Login
Adds a layer of security for your website by allows you to change the URL of the login form page.
An endpoint firewall and malware scanner identifies and blocks malicious traffic.
The best tool for search engine optimization.
A fantastic commenting system that allows users to log in using various social media platforms or via their email. It looks great on any website!
Easy to use control over the nofollow tag.
Performance optimizations provided by SiteGround.
📷 Stock Photography
I love using stock images for my website because frankly, I’m not the best photographer. You should always take pictures of any products you talk about yourself, and images that include you are certainly a wonderful and personal touch. But sometimes… you just need some professional images and there’s where stock photography comes in.
There are some nice royalty free stock image websites you can check out – ones that allow you to use images for personal or even commercial use without needing to credit anyone. Just be sure that whatever image you use, that you have the appropriate permissions.
I feel like it’s so underutilized, when honestly it’s by far my favorite stock image subscription. There’s no shortage of images for every niche and style – and it’s super easy to sort through them too. In addition to the regular search, you can sort by color so you always find images that match your branding.
Strictly feminine style photography including curated sets of flatlays, lifestyle images, food, fitness, celebration, floral, tech, product mockups, and more. You can search by category, color, and orientation so it’s very easy to use and find what’s available. It’s a very popular stock photo membership choice and new images are added monthly.
Mostly feminine style photography, but also includes more gender neutral sets. You can search by color to find curated sets that are on brand, or find sets by niche. I like that you have the option of signing up to become a member (thus getting access to everything – totally worth it!), or you can choose to buy packs of images individually.
Grab yourself the free images offered and you won’t be disappointed. Your membership gets you access to thousands of feminine stock images, Canva templates and Instagram graphics to instantly download for your business.
One of the largest libraries of feminine stock photography, including a special “Social Squares” segment designed specifically for Instagram. You can shop by color or collection including image categories such as Desktops, Stationary, Seasonal images, Food, Lifestyle, Florals, and more.
Kate Max Stock
More than 3,000 stock images for you to filter through including simple backgrounds for text overlays and social media images, as well as fully styled scene sets. You can search by category or color and 30+ images are added every month.
More than just home to packs of icons, fonts, themes, and other assorted graphics… Creative Market has a large library of premium stock photos that are easy to search through.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose. Super easy to use – search through images using various filters, categories, orientation, and even color.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose. They upload 10 new photos every 10 days. You can register to receive new images via email.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose. They upload 5 new images every day.
Travel Coffee Book
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose. Offers a one-click download of all images available. All of the images are on one page, so there is no search function.
Collections of free images that are easy to search.
Good Free Photos
Especially nice if you are looking for travel based photography.
Designed specifically for helping creators with Pinterest image design. You can only get images by using the search function.
Death to the Stock Photo
Register to receive a monthly pack of images via email, including stories that go with them. They also offer a premium plan for $15/mo.
You can register for receiving new images via email that can be used for personal or commercial projects. This site is really easy to search.
Images specifically taken with an iPhone for personal or commercial use.
Nice selection of images with easy search function.
New, higher resolution images are added weekly that you can use for personal or commercial projects.
Free for legal use. Difficult to search.
Photography by Jona Nilsson offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose.
Easy to search images.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license by photographer Jay Mantri making them free to use for any purpose. Search is a little difficult on this website since it’s hosted on Tumblr.
This website hosts both free and premium images for use. Be sure to click on the Free Photos section.
All images are specifically food related.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose.
New Old Stock
Vintage style photography taken from public archives that are free of copyright restrictions.
Some photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose while others require credit.
Life of Pix
Really easy search function.
In addition to free images, they offer downloadable image packs with a “name your price” function.
Register to receive 7 new images in your email every week. Search is a little difficult on this website since it’s hosted on Tumblr.
Contains premium images in addition to those offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
Not nearly as scary as it sounds… honest. Hundreds of thousands of images – some premium, some free. This website is difficult to search.
Free images for personal or commercial projects. This website is easy to search based on categories.
Offers a large selection of photos and even video.
All photos are offered under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, making them free to use for any purpose. This website is easy to search based on categories.
Free images for personal or commercial projects.
Want to just get the easy to use spreadsheet instead? Sign up below and I’ll send the list of 30+ Free Stock Photography sites along!
🖌️ Graphic Creation
In order to be a successful blogger, you need to spend some time honing some graphic design skills. You’ll find yourself needing to create Pinterest images, feature images for blog posts, banners, etc… and these programs will help you get it done.
Okay, so it may not be a free tool, but at $10/mo (seriously, you can get Photoshop + Lightroom for only $10/mo), it’s worth it. Adobe sets the industry standard as far as graphic creation is concerned and it’s a lot easier to use than people think. There’s no shortage of YouTube tutorials for it and projects that could benefit from its tools.
Another browser specific tool similar to Canva, PicMonkey lets you create your graphics with a lot of help from templates. It’s a helpful tool if you don’t have design skills.
📱 Social Media Automation
To be a great blogger, you need to work smarter… not harder. These tools will help you make the most of your time spent on social media (and other types) networks so that you can increase exposure to your brand and grow your blog traffic more efficiently. Note that there are dozens of tools available, but these are ones regularly used that I recommend.
I personally use SmarterQueue for its really neat Content Find feature. It’s really awesome for Twitter because it helps me find content to schedule that’s on topic for my business. So my account is always active and useful! I also use it to schedule my Facebook posts for pages and groups. You can use it with other networks as well.
You need this if you ever hope to make Pinterest work for you. Imagine being able to schedule your pins at the best times – set it and forget it! In addition to it being the best option for pin scheduling, Tailwind has what’s called “tribes” – a way for you to work with others in your niche to regularly pine each other’s content and constantly find a new audience.
My favorite Instagram feed planner and scheduler. It has a gorgeous, easy to use drag n’ drop interface that makes planning your Instagram feed lots of fun. I love that I can store groups of hashtags for me to copy into my posts!
👥 Groups for Bloggers
There are no shortage of groups on Facebook aimed at bloggers, but you really need to find the one that best fits you. Here are a few of my favorites based on my experiences with them. I’ve chosen supportive groups that I’ve been able to learn from and feel comfortable asking questions in.
Of course there’s my own Facebook group. If you’re looking to learn the ins and outs of being a blogger… it’s totally the group for you! This group is all about answering questions, receiving feedback, supporting others, and being involved in a safe, positive space for sharing your triumphs and failures.
Grow Your Blog
The best reciprocation group for bloggers looking to expand their reach on social media and improve their traffic. Connect with like-minded bloggers and become involved in a large share for share environment.
Becoming a Blogger
A kind, incredibly helpful community of bloggers, this group is aimed at helping “newbies” find their way in the blogging world. It’s for people that are motivated, positive, and ready to make an impact in the world.
Oh She Blogs
Bloggers share writing, social media, and blog monetization tips with one another. Discussion is primarily about ideas and techniques for making money from blogging.
Blogging Like We Mean It
A member of my group told me it was her absolute favorite group (aside from mine, of course 😘) so I checked it out to see if it was worthy of this list. I approve! This is an active and helpful support group for bloggers looking to get serious about their blog!
✨ UNLIMITED COSMIC POWER! ✨
Okay, not quite… but at least now you have some amazing tools and valuable resources so you can get started making the most of this venture we call blogging.