Recommended Blogging Resources You Need to Succeed at Every Step

 

I've had 2 blogs before this but they all failed.

Part of the reason why the blogs failed after just a few months of launching was  - I was hesitant to invest in the tools that would help my business.

Today, I trust in my abilities to make smart decisions for my website.

I’m sharing my list of recommended blogging resources that I use and highly recommend to Writing Doozy readers or tools that I don’t use, but have been recommended to me by top industry players that I trust.

These tools are full of crucial features.

I will keep updating this page whenever I find something incredible that I’ve not listed.

 

If it's your first time visiting this site, then start here.

And, if you are a regular visitor of Writing Doozy, I suggest you keep checking this page to discover new resources.

If you have questions about any tool that’s been listed here, feel free to post in the comments.

You can also join my Facebook group where many other helpful writers are willing to answer your questions.

When you’re ready to take blogging seriously and avoid making the mistakes I made with my failed blogs, these are the recommended blogging resources I'd strongly advice for beginners and beyond.

Web hosting is one of those things you have to get right because it can make or break your success as a blogger.

Many new bloggers opt for free hosting plans and regret later. What they fail to realize is that free hosting plans come with low bandwidth and little to no technical support. Low bandwidth results in slow loading times and a downtime every time your blog experiences a surge in traffic.

Bluehost is very reliable and has arguably the best plan for bloggers starting out. For starters, you get unlimited bandwidth and a FREE domain. Why register a domain name and pay for it when you can get one for free?

Secondly, they are also very affordable. Their hosting plans start at $3.95 per month.  

Thirdly, they offer awesome customer support. You can online chat with someone 24/7. Your calls will not go unanswered as is the case with most service providers.

Fourthly, with a one-click installation, they make it really simple and easy to get your blog up and running.

I highly recommend Bluehost when you're just getting started.

WordPress too has recommended Bluehost for its users since 2005.

Don’t confuse WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  They are actually two different platforms.

WordPress.com is a free hosting platform that gives users limited control over their website. However, WordPress.org is self-hosted but gives users total control of their site. I’m talking about the later.

And there are a number of reasons I personally prefer this platform.

First, it’s totally free and very easy to use. You’re good to go once you buy a hosting plan and a domain name.

Second, with a myriad of WordPress plugins at your disposal, there’s plenty of room to extend the functionality of a Wordpress site. And the best part is: you can do this without any inkling of programming.

Third, Google has even gone ahead to recommend WordPress for websites! As a blogger, you always want to be on the good side of Google in order to have your site indexed.

Forth, WordPress is very popular and is used by about 75 million sites. Among many other things, this means that there are thousands of WordPress developers and designers that you can reach out to for help if you get stuck.

That being said, there is no guarantee that your blog will be successful just because you are using WordPress.

Yes, WordPress is a great platform and even widely considered as the industry standard. However, your success will be more about how you use the recommended blogging resources than what tool you’re using.

WordPress is not just popular for its plugins, there’re also thousands of themes available for it.

And when you are selecting themes, you want a premium theme that will help you stand out from the crowd and one that’s regularly updated such that all security holes that a potential hacker may want to exploit are sealed in a timely manner.

Of course, there are many free themes that you can use if you are on a budget. However, they come with issues. They are poorly designed, not regularly updated, often lack of support and might end up being abandoned altogether!

On my websites, I've used the Genesis Framework.

I love it because, for one, it’s highly customizable and easy to use.

Secondly, it has built-in SEO. What this means is that once you install it, your blog can rank higher in Google search results.

Thirdly, it is highly-secure. The senior WordPress developer (Mark Jaquith) who improved it considers its security as the best of its class.

Fourthly, you can update to a new version of WordPress without losing any of your customizations.

The icing on the cake, especially if you run or plan to run multiple blogs, is that with a one-time payment, you can use it for all blogs under your name.

In general, I consider StudioPress as the best place to buy themes. I absolutely love their support and their themes designs.

Many bloggers don’t use visuals, forgetting that humans are visual creatures. If you weren’t aware, amazing images attract readers and can boost traffic to your blog. For best results, you need a seamless combination of words and visuals.

I usually get my images from pexels and picjumbo. Another good, paid place where you can find awesome images is at big stock photo. Then I use Canva to design them.

Canva is a free design platform (with premium options) that contains a broad array of editing and publishing tools not available on any other single graphic design platform. You’d actually need to use a couple of design software to get the results that you’d get with Canva. On top of that, Canva has its own comprehensive image collection.

You can use Canva to create shareable images in blog posts and also design regular custom visual content for your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages of your blog.

It’s generally an easy platform to use. If you have any trouble, there are a number of free tutorials on the website that will come in handy.

If you are wondering whether landing pages are important for bloggers, they sure are. You want to catch a reader’s attention the moment they visit your blog; especially if you are offering an online course, selling a product like an eBook or you’re marketing yourself as an SEO expert or a digital marketing expert.  

Leadpages is, without doubt, the best landing page builder. They have high-performing and mobile-responsive templates that you only need to drag and drop onto your blog. For $37 a month, Leadpages will help you host webinars, create opt-in pages within your blog posts, create landing pages opt-in forms, host videos and build an email list.

However, don’t mistake Leadpages for an email marketing software. It only helps you get subscribers but it doesn’t send out emails. If you need to send regular emails to subscribers, you’ll need a separate software.

EMAIL MARKETING

MailChimpYou need to implement an email marketing strategy on day one of starting your blog.

MailChimp has great features and is my top recommendation for email list management.

They offer a free plan for users with less than 2,000 subscribers. No credit card is required. With this plan, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month. It’s a fairly easy tool to use.

Optinmonster uses innovative tools to convert visitors into subscribers and can help you grow your email list for just $9 per month.

Sumo, previously SumoMe is a great alternative to Optinmonster and has a free option for 500 subscribers and below and a $29 per month plan for unlimited subscribers.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT

Through social networks, you can promote your blog and build a substantial audience. However, running multiple social media is time-consuming. A social media management platform can do the work for you and help you focus on blogging.

With Buffer, you can manage all your social media accounts in one place and save a lot of time. Moreover, you don’t need to worry that you’ll forget to publish your posts. You can schedule them in advance and Buffer will automatically publish them. Their free version allows you to manage your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts with up to 10 updates in your scheduler. However, I think their $10 per month plan is more appropriate for the long haul because you can manage up to 12 accounts and have an unlimited number of updates in your scheduler.

Coschedule is another tool that can help you manage your social networks and share content for $40 a month. But best of all, through powerful analytics, you get stats to see exactly what’s working and what’s not and therefore adjust your strategy accordingly.

PRODUCTIVITY

Productivity tools are there to help you organize and manage your ideas and thus make the most of your time.

Through a cloud-based storage tool like Dropbox, you can back up important files, share files faster, and access files from anywhere. You can use Dropbox for free for up to 2 GB of storage space.  

Grammarly is your ideal proofreading tool. A free version will help you fix simple grammatical and spelling mistakes. To fix advanced issues such as poor sentence structure and incorrect use of words, you’ll have to part with $11.66 per month for an annual subscription to a premium account.

Evernote is a handy app that you can use to brainstorming, save notes (both audio and text), manage your photos, set reminders and so on. The features of their free version are highly slashed. Therefore, you may want to buy the premium version for $69.99 a year to fully unlock the power of Evernote.

Hemingway App makes you a better writer. For instance, it highlights any excessive use of adverbs and complicated words and calculates a readability score. You can use it for free online.

MUST-HAVE PLUGINS

As I’ve mentioned before, there are thousands of plugins available for WordPress. Wondering what to install? Here are my recommendations for must-have plugins.

Akismet is an anti-spam WordPress plugin that filters out any spammy comments. This plugin is free for personal sites and affordable for commercial sites.

Yoast SEO optimizes your blog for search engines. To be more precise, it helps users create content that is both SEO friendly and useful to readers. There is a free version. The premium version goes for $69 for one site.

MonsterInsights, formerly known as Google Analytics for Wordpress, keeps track of what visitors are doing on your blog. It analyzes this information and displays it on your admin dashboard in a way that is easy to understand. This information puts you in a great position to know what changes to make to improve your site. This tool is free to use if your monthly impressions do not exceed 5 million.

W3 total cache is arguably the best WordPress caching plugin. By caching pages and posts, drastically cuts down page loading time. This optimizes overall site performance which is important for SEO. W3 total cache a free plugin but its premium version has 4 extra extensions.

Wordfence Security is a free security plugin that will protect your blog against malware and hackers.

You need to back up your blog. Either UpdraftPlus or BackWPup will automatically back up your blog. There are free and premium versions for both. I’d advise you to try each then stick with the one that impresses you the most.

Broken Link Checker is a free tool that notifies you on any broken links in your blog.

COMPETITOR RESEARCH

Did you know that analyzing your competitors’ site can give you fresh insights to improve your blog and give you an edge over them? Here are 5 competitive analysis tools that I’d recommend for you.

Buzzsumo is popular as a tool for blog post ideas but also shows you who is paying attention to your competitors and their most shared post on any social network. The paid version is $99 per month.

Keyword Competitor can help you beat your competitors because it shows you important keywords that your competitors may be ignoring. It gives you access to the most current keyword data on the web, including the keywords that your competitors are using. You start with a 30-day trial then premium subscription starts at $29 per month.

SEMrush doesn’t merely help you conduct competitive research on any domain name; it also helps you use the data to optimize your content marketing strategy.  There’s a free 7-day trial before you get to decide whether you want to upgrade to a monthly subscription option starting at $99.

Ahrefs is a powerful tool and worth every penny of the $82 monthly subscription fee. It identifies your competitors, gives you access to their key content stats such their most viewed, most shared and most linked to content. You also get access to the largest database of keyphrases.  

KEYWORD SEARCH

Google’s Keyword Planner helps you find the most pertinent keywords to use in order to improve your SEO campaign and reach your target audience. Since it’s a Google AdWord tool, you’ll need to create a Google AdWord account to use it.

A worthy alternative to Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io is also designed to help you identify your competitors’ keywords when you comb through their blogs

BLOGGING IDEAS

If you are still making up your mind about what to blog about, I’d recommend two tools.

Buzzsumo (I’ve already listed it under competitor research) is great if you have an idea that needs fleshing out. It also helps you find that right angle to approach your posts especially when it’s proving elusive.

With Hubspot blog topic generator, you don’t have to worry about coming up with titles for your blog posts. You just need to type 3 keywords and the tool churns out related topics. Paid options start at $50 per month.

BLOG MONETIZATION

As a blogger, the ultimate aim is to monetize your blog. That’s what makes every dollar spend in setting it up and running it worth it.

Here are two ways you can monetize your blog.

In a nutshell, Google Adsense is a cost-per-click (CPC) advertising program that Google uses to publish targeted images, video or interactive media ads on sites in its network. It’s free to join and Google pays you for clicks on ads displayed on your site.

When you join the Amazon associates program, you recommend Amazon products and earn commissions through successful conversions.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

The first thing I recommend to all readers of this website is to start a blog, and this article can help you start one in 20 minutes or less.

There are many reasons why you should own a blog.

For starters, if you love writing, a blog becomes that creative outlet that you use to tell your story.

Through blogging in a niche that you like, you can attract an audience, establish yourself as an authority in that niche, monetize your blog and even earn a living purely from it.

After, you have your blog up and running, here are other articles to help you start a successful blog.

*This page contains affiliate links, and so I'll earn a small commission if you use them. I've used most of these products and I only share what I believe you’ll find helpful.*

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