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June 13, 2021

The Best Blogging Tools For Beginners 2021

Looking for the best blogging tools for beginners 2021? Enjoy these tried and tested essential blogging resources.

The Best Blogging Tools for Beginners and Beyond

Blogging has changed a lot since I began, back in 2008. Previously, you could make do with a handful of tools but now every professional needs a full arsenal of sophisticated software.

However, when you're starting out, it pays to keep things simple. Learn the ropes on free software where possible and only choose to upgrade one tool at a time.

This list of the best blogging tools for beginners 2021 includes every single one of my recommendations for people who want to learn how to make money blogging. 

However, unless you have a lot of money to invest, I don't recommend that you sign up to everything right away. 

Upgrade to paid hosting and WordPress.org as soon as possible. Take an introductory course to get the basics right and subscribe to KeySearch.

Make your first priority building your blog. Then, master your craft through learning more about writing and photography skills. Then videography, and so on. 

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The Best Blogging Tools and Resources

The Best Blogging Tools for Beginners 2021

The Best Blogging Tools for Building Your Blog


WordPress

WordPress.org remains the most robust blogging platform out there. Each of the tools I use integrates with WordPress. There is a free version, WordPress.com but you won't be able to do everything you need to do with that. If you are brand new, play around with that first. Then, move to WordPress.org as soon as possible. It's a versatile content management system with plenty of free blogging tools alongside the paid versions.

Seriously, don't waste time with any other blogging platforms. Other free blogging sites will leave you with more headaches further down the road. All blogs should be WordPress blogs!


Themes

In terms of what your site looks like, you'll need a WordPress Theme. There are hundreds to choose from. I use Thrive Themes because they offer such flexibility and have always been fast to respond to queries. They are designed with business in mind and you won't need separate software for landing pages, quizzes, courses or headline analyzers.

If you're worried about creativity, don't be. Despite the rather functional look of their website, you can create all the hipster cool and arty designs you want using their easy drag and drop software.


Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers the most in detail reports about who is looking at your blog, which pages, from which country and more. These are the stats that advertisers and partners will want to see when you come to make money from your blog. It's a free blogging tool and one you should always have in place.


DOMAIN NAME

You will need your own domain name if you plan to blog for business. A domain name is what you type in as a web address, for example www.insidethetravellab.com

Setting this up can be complicated but it's a one time task. You will need to pay an ongoing subscription for your website to have a home and a domain name. I now use a custom provider from a colleague I've known for years, Assistant (Formerly RTW Labs.)

Email Marketing Tools

Possibly the biggest mistake I ever made involved putting off delving into email software. It's now one of my most important blogging tools. And while it doesn't come cheap (around $50 USD per month) my email marketing tool is so very powerful. Don't stumble around in the dark! Learn from my mistakes and start building your email list now!

Many bloggers start with the free options, such as MailChimp or ConvertKit's free options. But soon enough, you need your email to be able to do more. 

I've written a full review about ConvertKit vs MailChimp vs Ontraport over here, as I found it needlessly complicated to work out which suited me best. 

For me, ConvertKit was the easiest to use and suited blogging perfectly. The others suited small businesses with shops and appointments - I didn't need that and nor will most bloggers. 

You can try ConvertKit for free here before upgrading to use its full features.

Photo Editing Tools for Bloggers

Simply put, you need to have excellent photos and video these days. In the early days of blogging, readers were forgiving and enjoyed the rough and ready, raw and, well, whatever other polite word we can think of to describe "bad" photos. 

Not any more. 

  • You either need to invest in the tech, the kit and the skills to produce great images and video yourself. Or you need to legally use someone else's. These are known as stock images and you can find some for free on sites like Pixabay and Unsplash. Or pay for them from Shutterstock and Adobe.
  • You also need to be able to edit your photos and videos. Not just to make them look pretty but also to be able to resize them so that they don't slow down your blog. 

Adobe: The Gold Standard

The best blogging toolkit for this is Adobe. Unfortunately, like almost everyone else, they have moved to a subscription model. 

However, you will find different packages, so you don't need to pay for everything. There is a photo only subscription, as well as a more in depth one that includes their video editing software Adobe Premiere and Adobe Rush. Premiere gives you the level of control that Hollywood uses. Adobe Rush is great for putting together social video on the run. 

Lightroom is a fantastic piece of kit for editing and resizing photos. I'm on it every single day and it syncs nicely with images on your phone so you can edit on the go. 

For super in depth editing and polishing, Adobe Photoshop remains the industry gold standard. 


Canva

Canva.com offers incredibly intuitive templates and editing tools for graphics. I'm not sure what I'd do without it. Incredibly, it's also free for the most part. The paid version allows you to quickly resize designs and allows teams to contribute. But the free version works so well for designing images for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and the rest, it will cover you for all beginner and intermediate needs. 

Not sure you want to buy so many blogging tools? Hold back on this one for now. Learn how to use it for free first. 


BlogStomp

Blogstomp is a much cheaper alternative to Adobe and much easier to learn how to use. You can use it to create collages or resize images with various presets, or as a batch. To be honest, I sometimes still use it when I'm in a rush and creating small pics as it's so fast. 


PHOTOSHELTER

After a while, you'll find two problems emerging: where to store your best images and how to share them with sponsors or clients in a professional, restricted manner. Enter Photoshelter, a purpose-built tool for photographers. You can easily create different albums with different permissions.

How is this different to Dropbox? It's set up for people to be able to browse through your images and choose which they need. Dropbox is more of a job lot transfer. 

Also, Photoshelter looks much more professional and comes packed with creative articles and tips to help you as well.

Discover the best blogging tools for beginners with this collection of essential wordpress plugins, email software and more. Don't waste money, use the free tools when available and know when to pay more to upgrade. #blogging #tools #beginners

SEO Blogging Tools for Beginners

SEO means Search Engine Optimization and it's a mix of strategy, tech and rewriting your work so that the search engines like Google can find and rank your blog posts more easily. 

There are many pieces of software out there that churn through people's searches and websites, looking for the secret sauce. 

Knowing how to use keywords can really increase your blogging success, but it's certainly not an intuitive process for creatives. 

To help you get started, I'd definitely recommend:


Make Traffic Happen eBooks

Written by successful bloggers, the Make Traffic Happen series cover SEO, reviving old content and now how to increase your page speed.


Keysearch

After that, one of the best entry level keyword research tools for blogging SEO is Keysearch. This allows you to search and save for keywords as well as analyse the "strength" of your competitors. It's no exaggeration to say that this has been a revolution for me in terms of understanding (and benefiting from) SEO.

Note: Google Keyword Planner used to be a great free blogging tool but it's more geared towards advertisers now.


SEMRush

SEMRush is a bigger beast with even more keyword search facilities, a social scheduler and a content audit of your blog. If you've been blogging for a while then a number of broken links, dead links, out of date content and weird technical glitches will have crept in to your work. 

It's near impossible to crawl through all this yourself: SEMRush does it for you. It's not perfect and it's not cheap but it will turbo charge your blogging efforts. 

Ad Networks

There are so many different ways to make money blogging but one of the easiest has to be through online advertising. Mediavine is the big name in blogging but if you want to get started sooner, then check out Ezoic. 

Ezoic accepts blogs with 10 000 views per month, as long as they are in good standing with Google.

The Best Blogging Courses & Resources

It is entirely possible not to spend a single penny on training and learn everything you need to know about blogging and social media through free resources on the web. But, and it's a big but. It takes a lot of time. A lot of internet street savvy. And a lot of dead ends. 

I'm a big believer in education and truly value the clarity and time that a good instructor or book can bring. 

There are many blogging courses out there. Most really aren't worth it! I've tried almost them all and here are the ones I'd recommend:

The Genius Blogger's Toolkit

The Genius Blogger's Toolkit is one of the best blogging tools for beginners because it is a huge collection of blogging books, PDFs, courses and audio recordings.

It only goes on sale twice a year but I can give you the heads up when it's ready if you subscribe to our newsletter.

THE BLOGGER COURSE

Monica from the Travel Hack runs a fantastic introductory course to blogging. She is just back from maternity leave and has opened up The Blogger Course again. It's a step by step approach to the whole strategy behind blogging.

WRITE BETTER, RIGHT NOW

Write Better, Right Now. Erm, that's right. My course. It doesn't focus on the tech side of blogging but the core features of writing well. From headlines to SEO, art to craft, it teaches you the secrets that published writers know.

Travel Blog Prosperity

Travel Blog Prosperity is a little different to the other offerings here. It's a monthly membership programme and it's very hands on. As well as monthly training sessions on Zoom, you can access the back catalogue of training and receive regular updates about opportunities for paid work.

Registration only opens a few times each year but you can skip the queue and access your first month for only $9 if you use the code TRAVELLAB when you sign up. Sign up for that deal with Travel Blog Prosperity here.

The Best WordPress Plugins for Beginners

Everyone has their favourite list of WordPress plugins. But the fewer you use, the better as a general rule for the health of your site. Here's my collection. 

  • Yoast SEO - This is the gold standard WordPress plugin to help you with SEO. There is a free and paid option and both are great.
  • Akismet Anti-Spam - time trusted anti spam plugin. 
  • Broken Link Checker - over time, broken links will appear on your blog. This blogging tool helps to identify them so that you can weed them out. 
  • Dynamic To Top - I love this plugin! Inserts a small button at the end of your articles that allows readers to zoom right back up to the top.
  • Geo Mashup - perhaps only useful for travel blogs, this plugin allows you to add a location to each page or post.
  • Grow by Mediavine - the latest version of the Social Pug sharing plugin. Helps share your articles to Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and so on.
  • Redirection - as your blog grows, you may need to change the URLs of some posts. This plugin will help you create a redirect to compensate for this.
  • Search exclude  - can prevent certain posts or pages appearing in the search results on your site. Useful for product sales. 
  • ShortPixel Image Optimizer - helps to reduce the speed of your wordpress site by optimizing image files.
  • The Blog Fixer - helps to keep your affiliate links clean and content up to date.

FREE 4 Day Course on Making Money Blogging

Sign up for this FREE 4 day online course and turn your blog into a money pumping machine. Or, you know, earn money the usual way from a blog.

The Best Free Blogging Tools 

If you really have no money to spare at all, then these are the best free blogging tools for beginners. 

The Best Free WordPress Plugins for Beginners

  • Yoast SEO - This is the gold standard WordPress plugin to help you with SEO. Start with the free version and use the premium version later.
  • Akismet Anti-Spam - time trusted anti spam plugin. 
  • Broken Link Checker - over time, broken links will appear on your blog. This blogging tool helps to identify them so that you can weed them out. 
  • Dynamic To Top - I love this plugin! Inserts a small button at the end of your articles that allows readers to zoom right back up to the top.
  • Redirection - as your blog grows, you may need to change the URLs of some posts. This plugin will help you create a redirect to compensate for this.
  • Search exclude  - can prevent certain posts or pages appearing in the search results on your site. Useful for product sales. 

The Best Vlogging Tools for Beginners

I've written an in depth guide to what I consider essential vlogging gear over here, for beginners to intermediate bloggers. 

If you don't want to get into all the detail about those video blogging tools, I've also gathered together the kit over on a handy list on Amazon for you.

Plus, we have free training sessions on speaking to camera and an entire guide to make you feel comfortable speaking to camera.

The Best Blogging Tools for Beginners 2021: Summary

So what did you think of this guide to the best blogging tools for beginners 2021? Please share, bookmark and leave a comment and all the best for your own blogging career! After that, it's time to work out how to promote your blog.

Remember, you can have the best blogging tools but if you don't get moving, you'll never get anywhere ;-) Best of luck!

Best blogging tools for beginners and intermediates and pros. Find blogging software to supercharge your blog. #blogging #tips


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