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Blogging professionally is one of those things that can be hit or miss. Some bloggers struggle for years to make a dime while others seem to come out of nowhere instantly making six figures a year. Personally, I earned very well pretty much from the jump, but it still took almost 5 years of blogging before I broke six figures a year. As you continue your blogging career, you will very likely try different tools to help you manage things. You’ll also very likely leave many of those tools behind.
I wish that I could tell you that from the very first blogging tool you’ll use, you’ll hit on something that you like and that works well. Unfortunately, I can’t. The truth is that the tools that I currently use are the ones that I have found after years of trying. It took many failures to find ones that worked for me and chances are really good that it will take you more than one attempt to find ones that you like and will stick with. The other thing to keep in mind is what works for me may not work for you. When you’re blogging professionally, you’ll learn that a lot of what you will do to grow your blog really will be trial and error.
12 Must Have Blogging Tools for Bloggers
The 12 blogging tools for bloggers below are the ones that I personally use to manage this blog, my travel blog and several clients that I do virtual assistant work for. They have helped increase my traffic to almost a million views per month, increase my income to well over six figures (pre-expense), have helped me grow both my social media accounts and email lists by leaps and bounds and help to keep me organized as much as possible. I could not and would not even attempt to manage everything that I do on a daily basis without them. If you’re not already using them, I highly recommend that you give them a try.
Bluehost/Liquid Web –
Having a great host is a must have if you’re going to blog professionally, but you’ll want to make sure that the host you have fits your traffic and other needs. If your blog is still a smaller blog and does not need its own server, Bluehost is a fantastic option. At $3.95/mo for hosting , they are perfect for smaller blogs and sites. Another thing that makes them great for smaller sites is that when you create your Bluehost account, you are given a free domain name. Once you’ve purchased your hosting, you’ll need to setup your Bluehost account. I have a quick tutorial to help you learn how to set up a blog on Bluehost that you can take a look at if you need.
For Pinterest management, Tailwind is a must have. Not only will it allow you to schedule pins, but it will also give you access to very important analytics that your Pinterest account can’t provide. You can use these analytics to help grow your account the way that you want it to grow. The great thing about Tailwind is that you don’t have to have a paid account to have access to those analytics. You can sign up for a free Tailwind account and still have a few of them without spending a dime. Tailwind also just recently introduced their “Tribes” feature which allows you to share pins with other people so that they can pin yours and you can pin theirs. This feature is fantastic for growing your traffic.
My single favorite thing on my list of tools for bloggers is BoardBooster. It allows me to set my own content up on a specific schedule of my choosing. Having that ability really allows you to maximize how your own content is promoted. BoardBooster is incredibly cost effective too. You will pay just $0.01 per pin. Plus, when you sign up for BoardBooster, they’ll give you 2 weeks or 100 pins free. When I combined BoardBooster with Tailwind on my own account and that of my clients using a very specific strategy, we all saw massive follower growth and huge traffic increases. I started 2016 with 12,000 followers on Pinterest. On November 18, 2016, I broke 70,000 followers. They are completely organic and I have done zero work to actually gain followers. (Looking for someone to set up BoardBooster and Tailwind? How about full account management? I offer that as a service! Find out more info and place your order in my store.)
CoSchedule is another scheduling app that I couldn’t live and it is my second favorite blogging tools. Unlike a social media management tool, CoSchedule is mainly for your blog posts. It functions as an editorial calendar, social media scheduler and more. For me, it saves me countless hours each month from having to schedule my Facebook pages, groups, Twitter and G+. I have mine integrated with Buffer and can schedule my networks out for months with just a few clicks of my mouse as I am publishing or scheduling a post. Plus, when you sign up for a CoSchedule account, they will give you a free 14 day trial to check it out and see how amazing it is.
Rarely do I pay for a social media scheduler a year at a time, but with Buffer, I did. In other words, it is one of my favorite blogging tools hands down. Buffer is what I use for all of my social media networks except Pinterest and Instagram. It has taken what used to take hours each week and has knocked it down to about 30 minutes each week. You can sign up for a free Buffer account, but it may not be enough to do what you need to do. If you do have to pay, it will run you just $9.99/mo.
If you have an email list (and as a blogger you should), you’ll need an amazing mailing service to handle it. Convert Kit is by far the best that I have found. I have the ability to easily create and manage multiple lists, easily tag subscribers, set up drip campaigns and more. Convert Kit is the third email list management service that I have used. I see no reason that I would have to leave them since they offer everything that I need and want in an email management service.
Quickbooks Self-Employed –
Taxes are a necessary evil in all of our lives and keeping track of your income and expenses as a professional blogger is incredibly important. I personally use Quickbooks Self Employed to do my bookkeeping. They have an app that helps you track mileage for business trips and makes it easy to put in expenses that happen while you’re on the go. You can choose two options, one that just allows you to do your bookkeeping and another that allows you to integrate with TurboTax. The price is pretty affordable too and a lot of the time they’ll offer a special when you sign up for your account.
If Quickbooks Self-Employed won’t work for you, check out FreshBooks. A lot of bloggers really like it over anything else.
Bloggers need stock photos like the one above for their posts sometimes and while you can find them free? Sometimes it is best to purchase the rights to use them. I personally love Depositphotos for mine. The subscription price is great, I can usually find offers for credits from places like AppSumo and the quality of the photos is better than I’ve seen most places. They don’t always offer this, but sometimes they’ll offer a free trial with free pics when you sign up for a Depositphotos account.
Genesis Framework by StudioPress –
If you’re blogging on WordPress, you need to be on your own custom theme for security, customization options and more. For me, that means using the Genesis Framework. Genesis allows much more customization to your design and to the function of your blog through child themes. It is also loads more secure than any free theme on the market and a lot of the paid themes as well. Finally, the Genesis Framework has built in SEO functions which is great if you’re not too familiar with SEO in the first place. When you buy your copy of the Genesis framework, you will also be able to choose from one of their free child themes or to purchase one of their paid child themes as well.
Another one of my favorite tools for bloggers is the affiliate network ShareASale. There are a lot of reasons why it is one of my favorites, but mainly it is because of the sheer number of programs that I can promote with them. In addition, they pay Net 25 unlike a lot of other affiliate networks which means that I get my money faster. When you sign up for a ShareASale account, you’ll need to click on merchants and apply for the different ones that you want to promote.
ShopHer Media –
Back before I rebranded, ShopHer Media was one of my main affiliates. A year has passed since the rebrand and they are the only CPA network that I can still earn from on a regular basis. They offer a pretty decent variety of offers that will pay you when your readers sign up which means there are many different ways for you to promote them. Before you sign up for a ShopHer Media account, make sure that your blog is at least 6 months old.
Finally, my last favorite tool for bloggers is Flex Offers. It is another affiliate network like ShareASale but the companies that they have are much different. I use Flex Offers at least three times a week and absolutely love them. Again, when you sign up for a Flex Offers account, you’ll need to go through their list of advertisers and apply for the ones that you want.
Want a bonus blogging tool? Zaycon Foods has a brand new influencer program for bloggers only that is separate from their regular referral program. You’ll earn cash instead of credit which makes it a very, very good thing in my book! You can check it out HERE if you want to sign up.
Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!