Where would we be without awesome and super helpful blogging tools amiright? Today, I want to share what I believe are the 5 best blogging resources for new bloggers, and coincidentally they are all free!
You may be aware of most, if not all, of these tools but in case you are not or you just want some reasons to use them, I’ve got you covered!
I use tools that are designed for WordPress.org websites (self-hosted), as this is the only Content Management System (CMS) that I have ever used. WordPress is currently powering 30% of the websites worldwide.
I love using WordPress, and I am getting very proficient with it after months of use writing blog posts! There are numerous plugins for optimizing images, spam filters, SEO, social sharing, page setup, website backup and on and on.
There is also a forum dedicated just to WordPress.org, as well as countless tutorials on the web. The software is free and open source and you have full control of your website.
The most important part, at least for me, is the ability to monetize your website. Affiliate marketing is the backbone of earning a living with a website, so you must have a site that allows this. As well, if you want to get your pageviews up and have access to better ad companies, you will want to be able to put their ads on your site as well.
Free Stock Photos
I was using Pixabay and Pexels for the longest time, and then one day I clicked a link that I thought was mine (based on a picture) and it was someone else’s blog post. Bummer.
Now that I regularly participate in online blogging courses, I am getting offers for free stock photos as a bonus with sign-up, so be sure to check any courses that you take for a bonus of stock photos!
Many stock photography sites offer free photos and will send them to you once a month. I admit that most of the sites that I have been too are targeting women and they promote “feminine” stock photography. Sorry guys!
I am currently signed up with Haute Stock, Basil & Bark, Pixistocks, and SC Stockshop to name a few. I also purchased some stock photos through Creative Market, so that I would have some that were specific to my brand colors. It was totally worth the whole 10 bucks that I spent!
Creative Market also has free stuff every week, usually at least one free font and at least one free set of stock photos, if not more. Using new and different fonts is another way to brand your website differently than everyone else.
There is also collections, like all the paper items that you would need for a wedding. Just sign up for their newsletter and every Monday they will send you the link to the freebies! No purchase necessary.
Remember that you can move the photos around in Canva and perhaps only use a corner of the photo, which gives you a lot of mileage out of your stock images. And your website images will be uniquely yours!
Canva is an amazing photo editing program that is free to use for anyone. At first, I did not see the usefulness of this product, but now I use it daily. I am not a graphic designer, but once I found the right tutorial for what I wanted to create, it was easy! I have my own tutorial of the basics here.
You can make beautiful blog post banners, Pinterest pins, photo collages (great if you are a food or craft blogger!), infographics, announcements, e-books, PDF lead magnets, banners for social media and the list goes on and on.
If you are not making your own banners for blog posts, I recommend that you start thinking about it. It is a simple way to make your blog look unique and adding your own personal style will set you apart from other blogs like yours.
*My link to MailerLite is an affiliate link. If you sign up or purchase something, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. MailerLite is free to 1000 subscribers.*
I switched over to MailerLite while taking an email marketing course, and I am happy that I did. MailerLite has a free for the first 1,000 signups plan, so the price is right.
You can create as many forms as you like and all are customizable to suit your brands. Add thumbnails of your freebie into your signup form and you are good to go. You can host multiple free opt-ins on all of your blog pages (and you should!).
You also have choices for your campaign types; not quite ready to send out personal newsletters? Go with RSS and send your subscribers your recent blog posts until you are ready for a more personal approach.
Their Automation tab will allow you to create a series of emails (a Workflow) that welcome your new subscribers and let them know how you are going to help them.
You can get an email from MailerLite every time someone new subscribes to your blog. You can segment your subscribers into different groups depending on which parts of your blog may be more interesting to them.
This is helpful for lifestyle bloggers who blog about more than one niche topic. Segment your list and send them newsletters tailored to their needs!
MailerLite also has support/help right on every page and they are quick to respond. MailChimp did not have that. Word on the street is that MailChimp is working hard to catch up with other free ESP’s but so far they do not have the options that MailerLite has.
New bloggers with less than 1000 subscribers can safely stick with MailerLite, and even if you have to pay for it in the future it is still a better deal than most other Email Service Providers (ESP). You get all the benefits of some of the pricier programs without the price tag!
Headline Analyzer from Co-Schedule
I just found this program and it is AM.A.ZING!!
You do not have to sign up for the free 14-day trial of C0-Schedule, but I have not found out how to sign up for just the headline analyzer without this option. Which means that you have to sign up every time that you want to use it. Or just keep it open on your desktop.
You also get recommendations for helpful free downloadables with cool word lists to help you craft great headlines. And a nice list of 100+ headline templates for your swiping pleasure!
How was I living without this? I do not know, but it is all good now. Super handy item.
You may be tired of me banging on this drum, but it remains true. Pinterest is an amazing source of free organic traffic. Get your email opt-in sorted and then direct pinners to click on your pin and go straight to your opt-in offer. This is a seriously simple way to get your helpful content into the right hands.
Any subscribers that you get are a clear indication that you are on the right track with your freebies.
A/B split test your pins to see which one converts best by giving new pins a month to collect data.
I am currently getting 85-90% of my traffic from Pinterest, with new email subscribers daily!
Follow me here.
30 Day List Building Challenge: I am only a few days into this course, so I am not ready to judge its effectiveness yet, but I want to add it for those who are looking to get into email marketing and are not sure how everything about that works. This is a totally free email course. I will update this post when I am finished the course and I will give you my thoughts, but so far it has good information.
You may still need a paid course by the end of it, but it is nice to see how to set goals and set things up. Again, I am only putting it out there for total newbies to take a look and see so that you are not fearful of setting up email. Many top bloggers regret not getting into email marketing sooner. Do not be one them!
The Only Paid Item on My List
Ultimate Bundles Genius Bloggers Toolkit (this is an affiliate link. If you purchase something, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.)
The reason that I am mentioning it this week is because I post on Tuesdays and if I wait until next week you will only have a couple of hours to research and see if this bundle is a good fit for your blogging.
I am getting questions about this, as this is obviously an awesome deal for bloggers and the bundles that they offer are only available for a short time.
Ultimate Bundles is offering a flash sale for this amazing collection of products. This collection was originally available last October for five days only (where was I??), and now will only be available for two days on May 14 & 15.
There are 91 products in the bundle and over 50% of them are blogging courses. This is not junk from around the net. There are quality products in these bundles.
What most intrigued me about this bundle – besides how I managed to miss out on it last October – was Carly Campbell’s “Pinteresting Strategies” which is about manual pinning. I think that if I have to pay for a scheduling tool, then I only want to pay the bare minimum for it. If I manual pin most of my Pinterest work, I am happy if I pay Boardbooster $5 a month to do the rest.
As well, Blog Traffic Bootcamp by Lena Gott was on my list of course to buy, as was “Brand Yourself Like a Creative Hustler” by Steven Picanza which is an almost $400 course on creating your brand and story to evolve over time.
Yes, pricey, but included in the Toolkit? Amazing! I am a sucker for bundles like this because there are so many things that interest me about developing my blog into something better, so now I have the tools sitting in a folder on my desktop.
I know that if you are new(er) to blogging, it might be a bit much to swallow the $97 price tag for a bundle, especially if this is the first time hearing about them.
I just want to say that I have heard of at least half of these bloggers/writers/influencers just since I started upping my Pinterest game. I am following their blogs and newsletters because these are the people who are teaching me how to give the best that I can while doing something that I love.
I can only hope that you will benefit from this bundle, which is why I am promoting it. I do believe that it is helpful to all bloggers, and I believe that there is value in having the tools that you need at your fingertips, ready to be used!
Okay, these are my basics for successful blogging. A great content management system like WordPress, great photos, an awesome free photo editor, and a great,free way to get traffic.
Really, you just have to add amazing content!
Until next time…Happy Blogging!