Whether you’re a beginner blogger or blogging is your full-time business I think you will find some gems in this list of blogging tools and resources.
Travel blogging has been my full-time job since 2012 and I couldn’t get by without some of these websites.
Some of these resources will help you improve your blog while others are a great support for a blogging business.
Everything mentioned here is tried, tested, loved and recommended by me and I update the list regularly with new websites for bloggers as and when I find them. I also delete those that fall out of favour.
So let’s get stuck in.
Top 5 Tools I Couldn’t Blog Without
- Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram scheduling
- Canva for creating blog and social media graphics
- KeySearch for SEO
- Freeagent for managing invoices and expenses
- Dreamhost for reliable and affordable web hosting
Best Resources For Bloggers
Social Media Management
Buffer – Buffer is great for scheduling Tweets as it makes it easy to add images and you can quickly reschedule popular content to go out at peak times. (Remember to tweak the text now that Twitter is cranking down on duplicate content.)
On a free account you can schedule up to 10 posts at a time or upgrade to the ‘Awesome’ plan for $10 USD a month and you can queue up to 100 posts across 10 social accounts. (Buffer also has Facebook and LinkedIn integration – find out more about the features.)
Tailwind – Tailwind is predominantly a pin scheduling tool that makes it easy to upload pins in bulk and schedule them for optimised times of the day/week.
My favourite feature is the interval button which allows you to post your pin to several personal and group boards spaced out over a period of up to 90 days. Another handy feature is that you can see the engagement rate of group boards – so you know which ones are worth pinning or ditching. Find out more about Tailwind.
KeySearch – Keysearch is a really simple to use keyword research tool that also offers link analysis and rank tracking. I like that you can track at a glance how your keywords are performing and see what positions you’ve gained or lost.
The KeySearch Starter plan costs $17 USD per month and includes 200 Daily Searches and 40 Rank Tracking Keywords. Get a 20% discount with the code KSDISC.
Accounting & Finances
FreeAgent – I’ve used FreeAgent since I first went freelance in 2012 and it’s been a lifesaver. This online resource allows you to store client’s contact details, issue invoices, log expenses and keep track of who has (and hasn’t) paid. It’s a Godsend when it comes to end of year tax returns and is very useful for people who work in multiple currencies.
The price for sole traders starts at just $20 USD per month + VAT and if you sign up via this referral link you’ll receive a 10% discount.
TransferWise – If you operate in multiple currencies or spend a period of time living overseas you might come to rely on TransferWise like me. TransferWise offer a fast and reliable way of transferring funds across international accounts – I can move money from my UK bank account to my Aussie one within days. They use real mid-market exchange rates and charge a small flat fee for each transaction, so you know exactly how much money is going to arrive at the other end.
Web Hosting & Maintenance
Dreamhost – I’ve been a Dreamhost customer for 8 years and moved over to their dedicated WordPress hosting as soon as they launched it. I haven’t experienced a single issue with Dreampress *touch wood*, which comes with daily site backups, seamless service upgrades and email/chat support – even on their basic package. Dreampress starts from $17/month for 10k visitors, find out more.
Chris at RTW Labs – Chris is not so much a tool as a legend! Chris is the WordPress and SEO guru who does all the bits on my site I don’t understand. He offers blog management, blog migration, website optimisation and malware removal. Visit his site to find out more.
Unsplash – My number one site for free, high-res, royalty-free photography is Unsplash. They have a fantastic library of images you can use however you wish, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer. (Although it’s nice to credit if you can and they supply an embed code to help you do so). You can now save images into a collection so it’s easy to find photos on a certain subject at a later date.
Canva – Not a professional designer? Nope, me neither. Enter Canva. Canva makes graphic design amazingly simple for everyone, by bringing together a drag-and-drop design tool with a library of more than 1 million stock photographs, graphic elements and fonts. From eye-catching Pins to blog graphics, presentations and business cards, Canva have a library of templates and design tutorials to help you put together amazing, professional-looking images. It’s free to sign up, with just some premium images charged at $1 a pop.
PicMonkey – A quick and easy way to edit photos and create awesome collages for blog content and social media marketing. I’ve been using PicMonkey for years: there’s no software to download, and no registration required. A wide range of fonts and effects are available for free or by subscribing to a premium membership you gain access to even more features. A premium account costs $12 AUD per month or $107.88 AUD for the year. You can do a 7-day free trial to test it out.
Admin Bits & Bobs
MailChimp – Many of the small businesses I’ve worked for use MailChimp to send out their email newsletters and I’ve recently started using them for my email subscribers too. (Cheeky reminder to sign up here for email updates!) If you have less than 2,000 subscribers the service is completely free – wahoo!
Genius Scan – A super handy FREE app for those of us who operate from a mobile office. Genius Scan turns pictures taken on your mobile into pdf email attachments – super handy for sending signed agreements back to clients without the need for a scanner . Also great for creating a back up of your important documents such as passports and driving licenses.
Moo – I’ve been ordering my business cards from Moo since I first started blogging. They have a range of pre-filled themes as well as the ability to upload your own image or logo. The quality and finish of the products are always impressive. The service is fast, reliable but, best of all, affordable. Save 10% off your first order by using this link.
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