It can be challenging to sort through all the information available online to find the best blogging resources. The following list is a guide to the programs I use the most for blogging – both free and paid. I only recommend tools here that I use and love and I’ll keep this list current as I discover new resources.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you) should you click through and make a purchase. Learn more.
About 3 months ago, I switched my website from Bluehost to Siteground after experiencing excessive website downtime. I wish I had gone with Siteground from the very beginning! My website speed has increased and I have not experienced any downtime since the transfer.
Their tech support is also phenomenal! I’ve had a few issues with plugins accidentally “breaking” my site and every time I’ve reached out to tech support, they have been incredibly nice and able to solve my problem quickly.
If you’re in the market for a hosting provider, you can use my link to get started with Siteground for just $3.95/month.
I’ve been using the free Grammarly program for years and love it! The free version offers guidance on basic spelling and grammar, which is plenty, depending on your needs and writing ability.
My absolute favorite feature is that it integrates into my web browser so that no matter where I’m typing, Grammarly is there to make sure I don’t sound like an idiot on the internet.
Just recently I purchased the paid version so that I could access the advanced issues. So far, I’ve found that these recommendations are often related to repetitive word use and suggestions on word choice. This feature saves me time as I no longer have to bury myself in a thesaurus as I edit!
But if you don’t have a large budget to work with, you can just as easily use the free version of Grammarly and spend a little extra time editing yourself.
Photos + Graphics
I’m obsessed with Canva. I find new ways to use it every day to help me grow my blog. I started with designing Pinterest images and now use it to create social media headers, personalize my Pinterest boards, create documents, and more. The list of things you can do with Canva is seriously endless.
The free version is great – there’s no limit to what you can create, all your designs are saved in your account, and you can sync your data across multiple devices.
I recently switched to the paid version, Canva for Work, and the key difference is that there are more templates to choose from, AND, my favorite, you can save your brand colors. This makes it SO much quicker to whip up graphics because I don’t have to constantly look up hex color codes and add them to each graphic individually.
If I could only choose one tool on this list to have a paid plan for, this would be it!
This is a free photo editing app that I use on both my phone and iPad. It has a ton of features to get your photos looking polished and professional. Even as an amateur photographer, I’m able to create images that I love without paying for photo editing software.
If you’re new to photography, I highly recommend using this app to learn the basics. You can always move on to paid software when you’re ready to level up your skillset.
This is my absolute FAVORITE resource for stock photos. I recommend signing up for the newsletter first to have free stock photos delivered right to your inbox. If you fall in love with the style (like I did!) invest in the paid photo membership.
Seriously, this was hands down the best decision I’ve made for my website design and branding – and I’m not just saying that because I’m an affiliate! I truly LOVE these photos.
Productivity + Organization
This is the holy grail of blogging (and life) organization. You can do literally EVERYTHING with this program. Need an editorial calendar? Check. Wish there was an easy way to connect your calendar with a blog post checklist, images, content upgrades, affiliate links, and everything else that goes into creating the perfect blog post? CHECK.
I’ve been hunting for the perfect calendar/to-do list app to sort all of my blogging tasks, but nothing did quite what I needed it to. And then I found Airtable. It does everything you want and more. The best part? It’s COMPLETELY FREE. You can use ALL of the amazing features without paying for a thing.
There’s a reason everyone raves about this program. It’s perfect for capturing and organizing your thoughts. Plus, you can sync your account across multiple devices, so your notes are always in one, easy-to-find place.
The free version allows 60 MB of uploads per month. I mainly use Evernote to jot down content ideas, so I’ve never come close to using this much space.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard of Yoast. Even if you know nothing about SEO, you can simply install this plugin and get started optimizing your content.
Yoast integrates into the page and post editor on WordPress. This means you can set keywords for every single piece of content on your blog AND edit the metadata. The only downside is that the free plan only allows you to choose one focus keyword per page/post.
The best part is that Yoast gives you tips on SEO and readability for every single thing you publish. It guides you through polishing your content for the best possible results.
Trying to keep up with social media for my blog is overwhelming. As an introvert, I find it extremely difficult to even think about logging in to each platform every day, multiple times a day, and sharing great content. BUT I also don’t want to pay for a social media scheduling app.
Later is the one tool I’ve found that offers a completely free plan that’s worth your time. With Later, you can connect Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest – other social media schedulers I’ve used only let you connect a few accounts with their free plan.
Later does limit the number of posts you can schedule each month. Luckily, if you reach the limit and need more, it’s only $9 per month to upgrade to a bigger plan!
I found it difficult to find free social sharing buttons that matched my blog’s theme. Sumo is the only app I’ve found that allows you to edit the size, color, and exact placement of social sharing buttons on your blog – for FREE.
While I’m currently only using Sumo for its social sharing tools, it’s primarily an email list-building tool. It has powerful customization options for creating opt-in boxes, popups, welcome mats, etc. and easily integrates with the most popular list-building websites.
I use the Phoebe Theme and absolutely LOVE it.
I’m embarrassed to admit how much time I wasted hunting down free WordPress themes. When I purchased this theme, I was immediately blown away by how easy it was to create the beautiful design I had in mind.
If you’re struggling to find a free theme that meets your needs, I absolutely recommend investing a premium design.
RELATED: Do You Need A Premium Blog Theme?