So your blog is up and running, now WHAT?! That’s what I asked myself a year ago after I published my first blog post. I had so many great blog ideas but I had no idea how to make my blog posts look professional and get the views that I wanted. When I started my blog the number one priority for me was a positive ROI. I knew I needed some tools to run my blog but I also knew these tools had to be very cheap and or free! I researched, and I tested and I tried A TON of free and very cheap tools and finally found the tools that I couldn’t live without. This roundup of the best free resources for new bloggers is the top 5 tools that I absolutely can’t live without!
I recently had a phone call with a college friend of mine who was interested in starting a blog and wanted to know all the ins and outs of blogging. We chatted for an hour and a half about what tools I use, how I make an income, the time investment, ALL OF THE THINGS. I got off that call and knew exactly what my next blog post had to be. I took my notes from that phone call and immediately began this blog post.
Sharing blogging tips and resources is a passion of mine. This list of tools will help every new blogger successfully operate their blog, on the cheap!
Free Resources For New Bloggers
Professional and aesthetically pleasing graphics are a must for all blogs! Most of my blog marketing happens on Pinterest, and Pinterest users go wild over a beautiful graphic. I can write the most informative, in-depth blog post but if it does not have a beautiful graphic it will not perform well on Pinterest.
My favorite free graphic editing programs are Canva and Fotojet. These sites are so easy to use and I can make beautiful graphics in a matter of minutes. I created my media kit on Canva and it was so easy! Every time I need to update my media kit, I am able to update, download and send out all in minutes. My media kit looks so professional and it was all free to make!
Did you notice that graphic at the top of the blog post? I made that graphic on Canva in under 3 minutes! Seriously! I used one of their pre-existing templates and edited to make it fit the theme and colors of my blog and tada, I have a blog & Pinterest graphic! Canva is a must-use tool! The graphics below are all made on Canva or Fotojet, these tools are the real deal!
My entire professional career I have worked closely with graphic designers so I always had access to beautiful graphics. When it comes to my blog, I am the graphic designer. Instead of spending tons of money on Adobe Illustrator or InDesign, I just hop on over to Canva or Fotojet and prepare professional-looking blog graphics in minutes!
There is a myriad of scheduling tools out there. Scheduling tools are platform dependent but a few examples are HootSuite, Buffer, CoSchedule, I mean the list goes on and on. I religiously use Tailwind, and I am obsessed!
Once a week, I sit down and schedule 50 Pins on Tailwind and repin 100 Tailwind tribe member pins. I have over 550K views on Pinterest using that simple technique. This might sound like a huge task but I dedicate less than 2 hours a week to Pinterest and 50% of my blog views come from the site! You can read more about how I use Pinterest and how much I love Pinterest here.
So technically Tailwind is not free BUT I have a code for you to get one free month. I promise that once you take advantage of that free month you will pay the $9 a month to continue using this service, it’s that crucial to your blog!
SEO, every new blogger’s nemesis. When it comes to SEO, you can read 25 books about search engine optimization or you can install Yoast. My blog traffic has increased by 100% by installing Yoast and optimizing all blog posts, including all old blog posts. If you are like me and host your blog on WordPress, Yoast is a free plugin.
As you can see by this screenshot, Yoast provides tips and tricks to improve your blog post to increase your search engine ranking. By the way, this screenshot is the actual Yoast SEO analysis from this blog post.
Another great free SEO tool is CoSchedule. CoSchedule helps you develop a very strong headline for your blog post. CoSchedule is a great tool if you need help developing headlines that will drive traffic to your blog.
I broke down SEO for beginners here, its a must read for all new bloggers!
I wish I had an entire team here to help write and edit my blog but that’s not my reality! My sweet husband helps edit sometimes but he is an engineer and his English skills are well that of an engineer. My background is in B2B marketing and Grammarly has been a go-to tool of mine for ages. It is a great resource in my professional career and a wonderful help to my blog. My background is in B2B marketing so Grammarly has been a go-to tool of mine for ages.
Before I publish anything I make sure my posts are error free by running it through Grammarly. Recently, I was reading a blog from a very popular blogger (she has a half a million Instagram followers!!) and in the very first line of the blog post there was a major error. I immediately thought, man she should have ran this blog post through Grammarly. If you are writing and editing all of your blog posts, install Grammarly now, the perfect extra set of eyes!
There are affiliate programs for all types of bloggers, most of my posts are fashion and beauty related so I joined a program that best caters to that. I am a member of RewardStyle, best known by its customer-facing app, Liketoknow.it, and I love it! The ease of use, the community, the tools they provide; all of it, I love! Below is an example of a Liketoknow.it post
For new bloggers; ShareASale is a great affiliate program and perfect for new bloggers. Amazon Associates and ShopStyle are also great affiliate programs for new bloggers.
In my experience, Affiliate programs are the quickest and easiest ways to monetize your blog. Days after joining RewardStyle, I began to see financial results. I was shocked at the turnaround time but also VERY pleased!
What are a few must use tools for your blog? Tell me in the comments, I would love to add a few more tools to my arsenal.
Next Up: Instagram for New Bloggers
My next blog post in this blogging series is going to be about everyones favorite social media site, Instagram. I have two different ideas for that blog post, and I need your help deciding! Would you rather see the tools I use for Instagram or how I hit 20K in less than a year? Let me know!
Let’s Be Besties!