Recommended Blogging Resources & Tools

ProBlogger resources and tools

I am regularly asked for recommendations on different tools, training, resources and services available to blogging. People particularly want to know what tools I use to run my blogs.

As a result I’ve put together a list of recommended blogging resources that I’ve either personally used (in most cases) or which have come highly recommended to me by people I trust.

I will add to these lists as I come across new blogging resources that I recommend.

Blog Platforms

WordPress

My recommendation for blogging platforms is pretty clear – WordPress.org. For the last 10 years I’ve not build a blog on any other platform and it is also the blogging platform of choice of most other bloggers today.

A couple of other platforms exist of course including:

  • WordPress.com – a free hosted blogging platform
  • Blogger – another free hosted option – owned by Google

Recommended Reading: Choosing a Blog Platform

Hosting

There are many hosting services available for bloggers.

If you’re just starting out or have a smaller blog I highly recommend you check out BlueHost who have put together a special discount offer for ProBlogger readers.

BlueHost – WordPress has been recommending Bluehost for web hosting since 2005. With 1-click WordPress installation, 24/7 support, and a super affordable rate, Bluehost is a great option for building your first website or blog.

Learn more about how to start a blog in this step by step tutorial.

Note: On my blogs I currently use Web Synthesis for hosting. However my blogs have a lot of traffic and this service would probably be overkill for many blogs which is why I recommend starting with Bluehost.

Update: Bluehost is great if you’re just starting out but we’re also hearing a lot of very good things about WPEngine if you’re looking for hosting of an established site with more traffic (or want to position yourself for that in the future). They are more expensive but are WordPress specialists and are doing some great things for bloggers. Use this link and you’ll get 2 months free when you sign up for an annual plan.

Blog Design/Themes

There are tens of thousands of blog themes available for WordPress blogs. My only word of advice is to choose one that is updated regularly for holes in security as you do not want to get your blog hacked with a poorly designed template.

The premium theme supplier that I have used over the years and highly recommend is StudioPress (aff). I’ve used their themes in the early days of numerous blogs and love their design but also support.

If you’re looking for a really easy solution, check out the new StudioPress Sites, a fully hosted, all-in-one WordPress website builder that will give you:

  • The Genesis Framework – Industry Standard Design Framework that makes WordPress easier, without sacrificing power or flexibility
  • 20 Mobile-Optimized HTML5 Designs – sleek professional designs that provide beautiful frames for your content
  • Fast Loading Cloud Performance – cloud infrastructure that’s optimized specifically for peak WordPress performance
  • Zero “Hosting” Hassles – with a fully hosted website that will grow with you and your website traffic
  • One-Click Install of Included Plugins – Never wonder which plugins are trustworthy, thanks to your StudioPress Site’s repository of one-click solutions for the functionality you desire.
  • Rock-Solid Security
  • Advanced SEO Functionality
  • Automatic Plugin and Theme Maintenance – Many WordPress site owners spend $$$ every month to have an outside service keep things updated and safe.
  • World-Class Support – friendly support team standing by 24/7

Tools for Graphic Design

  • Canva – an online graphic design tool that even someone like I can create decent visuals for my blog with! Great for creating graphics for social media.
  • PicMonkey – another useful tool for creating visual content for your blog
  • 99designs – need some graphics, a logo or some other design element created by a pro? Check out the services offered by the thousands of designers at 99designs.
  • 24slides – are a team of professional presentation designers who specialise in building awesome PowerPoints, Keynotes and more. An efficient service to make you look good.

Tools and Services for Email Marketing

  • Drip – the current email service provider for ProBlogger
  • AWeber – a email/newsletter management tool that I used on all my blogs
  • MailChimp – another email provider that I use on a couple of my blogs – very reliable with some great features and the most popular service among our readers.
  • ConvertKit – a tool we’re just starting to experiment with that looks very promising. Built from the ground up for bloggers.
  • Feedblitz – a great tool for managing your RSS feeds and email
  • SumoMe – a tool to help you collect email addresses through a variety of popups, hello bars, welcome mats and other innovative tools.
  • OptinMonster – a similar tool to SumoMe
  • LeadPages – a powerful tool to create landing pages for your blog.

Tools for Social Media Management

  • Edgar – a social media tool that has revolutionised the way that I approach my social media strategy. It’s very powerful and allows you to make the work you put into creating your tweets and social updates to keep working for you indefinitely.
  • Sprout Social – a tool that manages most of my day to day social media interactions on Twitter and Facebook.
  • CoSchedule – A tool that we first started using to help us create an editorial calendar for ProBlogger but which does so much more including scheduling some of our social media messaging – all from within WordPress.

Tools for Productivity and Team Management

  • Evernote – where I manage a lot of my brainstorming, note taking, capturing of ideas, writing of blog posts and much much more!
  • Slack – the tool we use for our team’s internal communications.
  • Trello – another tool that we use internally for communications and project management
  • Fantastical – a great calendar app for Macs and iOS.
  • Wunderlist – my todo list application

Other Blogging Resources and Tools

  • BuzzSumo – a fantstic tool for analysing how well content is being shared on your site (or anyone else’s)
  • MarsEdit – a little Mac blog editor that allows me to write content and upload it to my blog without actually logging into WordPress
  • Easy Digital Downloads – a fantastic solution for you to use from within WordPress if you’re selling products from your blog. It’s what we use to sell our eBooks here on ProBlogger.
  • E-Junkie – another solution for a shopping cart if you’re selling products from your blog. It’s not as powerful as Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) but is very simple to set up and use. We have used it on both of my blogs over the years but are now shifting to EDD.
  • Auphonic – a great little online tool that we use in our production of podcasts to level out different tracks and levels.
  • Zoom – a tool that we use for webinars but also to broadcast to Facebook Live video that allows bringing on guests and screen sharing.
  • ScreenFlow – a tool for recording Screencasting
  • Grammarly – a very cool Chrome extension that checks your spelling and grammar for you!
  • Google Analytics – a great free metrics/statistics program. It’s an industry standard, you need to have it installed!

Blog Monetization

There are many ways to make money blogging – many more than I can cover in great detail on our resources page. But a few networks and services that might be a good starting point include:

  • AdSense – Googles Ad network – one of the most used monetization strategies for bloggers.
  • Amazon Associates – make money recommending products from the biggest online store.

Recommended ReadingHow I make Money Blogging

NOTE: many of the links on this page are affiliate links and will earn ProBlogger a small commission if you signup to the services. This adds no cost to you but helps keep ProBlogger sustainable. It’s also worth noting that almost all resources mentioned on this page are resources that I’m a signed up, paid up and regular user of.