“There are just too many blogging tools and resources out there. Do I really need them to build a successful blog? If yes, which one should I choose?“
Sound familiar? Is that what you felt too?
Okay, I hear you loud and clear as I’ve gone through the same thinking process as well.
To simplify things, I’ve put together a list of my recommended blogging tools and resources below for your easy reference. These are the tools and resources that I’ve personally used or are highly recommended to me by the people I trust.
I hope this list could make you aware of the great blogging tools / resources available out there and help you to build a better blog, where appropriate.
- Blogging Platform
- Domain Registrars
- Web Hosting
- WordPress Themes
- Graphic Design Tools
- SEO Tools
- Email Marketing Tools
- Social Media Management Tools
- Productivity Tools
- Security Tools
- Other Tools / Blogging Resources
1. Blogging Platform
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform used by professional bloggers today. If you asked me, WordPress is the only blogging and web building platform that I would recommend. It’s very user-friendly and I learnt it from scratch to build all my websites, including this site.
There are 2 versions available:
WordPress.com – this is the free version where your blog will be hosted by WordPress. It has some limitations but you can try this if you’re blogging for fun and have no intention to monetize your blog.
WordPress.org – this allows full flexibility when comes to customizing or monetizing your blog. The WordPress platform is free for download. You just have to install it on your own hosting account together with your own domain name. Not to worry on the WordPress installation part as most of the hosting companies nowadays come with a one-click WordPress installation feature when you sign up their hosting package.
2. Domain Registrars
Other than those free domain names provided by the hosting providers, these 2 big registrars are where I registered all my other domain names.
Namecheap – a fast growing domain name registrar where you can get cheap domain names with first year free privacy protection (WhoisGuard).
GoDaddy – the world’s largest domain name registrar. Choose this if you prefer the registrar to have a local support team. Likely they will have one in your country.
3. Web Hosting
Though there are a lot of bad hosts around, there are still many reputable hosting providers who are providing great hosting services. Personally, I used these 2 hosting companies and was very satisfied with their services.
iPage – I started my first website with iPage. It’s one of the best budget hosting providers where you can start your blog for as low as $1.99/month with great support services and hosting features.
InMotion Hosting – this site is currently hosted on InMotion Hosting. I chose them mainly because of the high recommendation from my friend for their excellent server speed performance and hosting services. Experience with them is awesome thus far. For more details about the host, you may read our reviews on InMotion Hosting here .
4. WordPress Themes
As WordPress has been updating its platform constantly, I’d suggest you to look for a WordPress theme that is updated regularly as well. Your site will be susceptible to security risk if you choose an outdated theme.
The place where I got my WordPress themes was at:
Themeforest – it’s one of the largest WordPress theme marketplaces today. What I like about Themeforest is you’ll get lifetime update of the theme for free once you made a purchase.
Just take note that not all themes in Themeforest are of high quality. It’s a marketplace for designers at different levels to sell their themes. Personally, for me to make a purchase, the theme must meet the following 3 requirements:
i) Users’ rating – at least an average of 4-stars rating;
ii) Author’s rank – at least with Elite Author badge (i.e. sales >$75k);
iii) Recent update – updated at least once in the past 12 months.
5. Graphic Design Tools
Canva – a web-based tool that helps to turn your ideas into stunning designs. Free & premium versions available. Some limitations but it’s easier to use as compared to Photoshop.
Photoshop – widely used by graphic design professionals. Trial version is available. It has a lot of features but it takes some time to learn. Choose this if you can’t find your ideal design features at Canva and you’re on tight budget.
99designs – this is a do-it-for-you option. It’s one of the largest graphic design marketplaces which includes logo design, web design etc. If you’ve some budget for graphic design, just launch your contest and you’ll get dozens of designs from professional designers for your selection.
6. SEO Tools
Yoast SEO – We used this plugin to optimize our WordPress site from XML sitemap creation, on-page optimization to permalink settings and more.
Ahrefs – one of the top-notch SEO tools to track / check backlinks. We used this to track our domain ranking and backlinks profile to ensure that our SEO efforts are on the right track.
Google Keyword Planner – a free keyword research tool that allows you to find the right keywords to target. A great source to identify high search volume keywords.
KWFinder – this keyword research and analysis tool helps you to assess the difficulty in ranking for the targeted keywords and suggest for alternatives. Its free version allows you to check 3 keywords per day.
7. Email Marketing Tools
MailChimp – used by more than 14 million people around the world. Our newsletter subscription form is riding on this tool as well. Worth to note that it’s free until you achieved more than 2,000 subscribers or 12,000 emails per month.
8. Social Media Management Tools
Buffer – a simple and user-friendly tools to manage our social media accounts on a consolidated platform. Its free version allows you to schedule up to 10 posts.
Hootsuite – one of the top social media management tools with over 10 million users. You can schedule unlimited posts and connect up to 3 social profiles on their free plan.
9. Productivity Tools
Evernote – a handy tool to jot down ideas whenever it strikes your mind, capturing images, articles and more. The beauty of the tool is you can share / access whatever that you’ve saved on any devices.
10. Security Tools
Askimet – an industry-leading spam defense service for WordPress that protects millions of WordPress sites from comment and contact form spam. We used this to filter out spammy comment / contact form submissions.
Wordfence – it’s one of the most downloaded WordPress security plugins. We used it to strengthen our site’s security from being attacked.
11. Other Tools / Blogging Resources
Google Webmaster – this is a must have tool to understand how Google sees your site, from search appearance, traffic, google index, crawl statistics to security issues. Don’t ignore this, link it up! It’s free!
Google Analytics – another must have tool to get free traffic data / metrics / statistics of your blog. You need that to understand your blog’s traffic better.
CodeCanyon – a marketplace where we bought most of our WordPress plugins there. Similar to Themeforest, you’re entitled to lifetime update of the plugin once you bought it. If you’re looking for some fantastic plugins to uplift your blog features, check them out!
Note: Many of the links above are affiliate links which we’ll earn a small commission if you make a purchase through those links. There is no additional cost to you but it helps keeping The Blogging Tips sustainable. Having said that, rest assured that we’ll not put our blog’s reputation at risk for recommending inferior tools / resources.