People make blogging seem harder than it really is. It’s not. With a computer and an internet connection, you can start right away. Here are 20 tools you need to start your own blog.
1. Domain Name
To start your own blog, you need to get your domain from a reputable hosting company such as Namecheap or Bluehost ie www.yourname.com. When you buy hosting from most companies though, you get a free domain for the first year. The catch is when you need to renew and they charge you an insane $25 for a $15 domain. So get your domain separate from the hosting.
Namecheap Domains seem to be the best place to get cheap domains, and is less than $10/yr for the first year. Renewals are less than $20 too.
2. Good Hosting
Everyone knows I am a fan of Inmotion hosting, because their basic SSD package starts from $4.99 which is way cheaper than Bluehost and Godaddy — in the long run —, but do your research and make your choice. A simple google search can do wonders. You can also decide to run on a free hosting like wordpress.com or blogger.com. You can get started by clicking below:
3. Bloggin Software
There are 2 main platforms most blogs run on — WordPress or Blogger. The Nigerian blogger, Linda Ikeji ran on Blogger for a looooong time, and her domain was lindaikeji.blogspot.com. If you’re familiar with the gist, because she was on her own domain and hosting plan, when she ran into trouble online, Google was able to shut her site down for days, costing her tons of $$, so as an advice, DON’T USE BLOGGER. Luckily she has wizened up and now has her OWN domain name. So after your buy your own hosting and get your domain name, you need to install WordPress.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) available and it’s perfect for blogging. WordPress powers over 74 million websites and is particularly popular among businesses.
- …. Recommended Reading: How to move your posts from Blogger to WordPress
- …. A Total Newbie’s guide to WordPress
- …. Major Blogging Platforms
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Sumo is one of the free blogging tools out there and it’s really useful to help you start your own blog. It allows you to add social sharing buttons, email capture forms, and various analytics to your blog. There’s also a paid version that gives you access to more advanced features. After all you want your readers to be able to share what they read from your site, right?
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you see it, blogging isn’t all about writing. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to add a few images and customize them to make them look fine, right? Then Canva is the tool you need and this will aid you in your quest to start your own blog.
But we all know that not everyone is a Photoshop guru. That’s where Canva comes in. Edit media and create great-looking designs in minutes with Canva. This design platform inhabits a space somewhere between Microsoft Paint and Adobe Photoshop and Brands of all sizes rely on the tool to create social media images without needing to rely on professional designers. Check it out!!!
Now you have your site/blog up and running with a nice design. Where’s the content? What do you write about? There are websites that can help you with this as deciding a niche when you start your own blog is the faster way to stay long in the game. So why Quora? The website can help lead you to the types of questions that real people are asking, questions that you can answer in-depth with a blogpost. Search for your keyword, and follow topics related to your blog’s focus.
Tip: Keyword in search engine marketing terms. A Keyword is a word or phrase – typically a phrase of two or three words – which has been identified as one which potential customers use when they are searching the internet.
7. Google Trends
This is a necessary tool to create well-optimized content. Is your blogpost idea a popular one? Run the topic through Google Trends to see search volume for the different keywords and phrases you’re considering using. This will tell you whether to abandon post or stick to it. 🙂
8. Keyword Planner
We talked about keywords in number 6 above. Check for popular keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner lets you enter a series of keywords, and Google returns results on search volume and popularity as well as related keywords that might spark an idea for you. I also use this.
9. Portent Title Maker
This tool measures title tags according to pixel length, not character count, just like the search engines do.
Titles are everything.
Still on giving you tools to start your own blog. BuzzSumo is different from Sumo in (4) above but acts more like a keyword finder and content analyzer. Enter a topic or a URL into the BuzzSumo search box, and you’ll get information on the content that performs best for social media sharing.
BuzzSumo can be super useful for fleshing out an existing idea to find the perfect angle or in taking a broad look at the content that does well (and the blogs who do it best) in your niche.
Once your article has been published, one important thing you need to do is make certain your audience can read this. You can set up an easy sharing schedule with Buffer. Schedule your new article to go to your social channels multiple times with different headlines or images attached to each update.
12. Newsletter App — Mailchimp
Now that you’ve started your own blog, you need to find a way to collect user data and this can help you to optimize your posts better. I recommend Mailchimp. MailChimp is one of the biggest and best (and free – up to 2k subscribers) ways to send email to your list of contacts. You can set up automated campaigns that deliver each new post that you write, or you can create campaigns from scratch. MailChimp offers free accounts for those with fewer than 2,000 contacts in their list.
13. Jetpack by WordPress
Jetpack is amazing. Jetpack is a plugin suite which combines essential WordPress features into one large plugin. It is the simplest and most user-friendly way to track traffic to your blog or website hands down. Easy to set up. You can easily find it in the plugin section of your dashboard on wordpress.
14. Google Analytics
This is another tool necessary to start your own blog.
Google Analytics offers an easy and free way to track and analyze visitors on your website. You could have thousands or even millions of visitors every month, but those visitors are practically meaningless if you don’t know anything about them.
16. Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast SEO plugin helps you fine tune your idea into a specific keyword or phrase that will help with search results and help keep your blog focused. To start your own blog, get Yoast’s plugin, and type in the keyword that you’re after, and then Yoast tells you how many different spots on the page the post appears and a nice green dot for when you’re ready to go.
Just like Bufferapp, Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets you manage Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from one dashboard. I love it because it allows you to add RSS feeds so you can auto-tweet blog posts, both your own and on other blogs. The free version lets you add two RSS feeds and will give you an idea if it’s worth spending a small fee each month for the professional version.
The free FTP solution for both client and server. Filezilla is open source software distributed free of charge. FileZilla is a powerful and free software for transferring files over the Internet. It is a very popular FTP client and is used by webmasters from all over the world. You need it so you can easily backup your blog without paying anything for a plugin.
Trello is a blogging tool critical for companies and marketers that create a large amount of content or for those who work in teams. It is essentially a project management tool focused around improving your workflow.
You can create tasks, set due dates, add multiple team members and do almost everything you need to manage your entire blogging process.
Something that bloggers aren’t aware of is that you can actually create a blogging editorial calendar in Trello. Here’s a template you can use to get started. Organization is key for bloggers, so Trello is definitely something worth adding to your list of blogging tools.
20. WP Super Cache
We recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better blogger but your blog won’t annoy your visitors. (For users of WordPress)
Toggl lets you add a task, push the Start/Stop button, and check back in to see a full dashboard of stats on how you spend your time. It is useful for bloggers who want to focus on the time they spend writing, researching, and editing. You’ll love it.
The blogging tools we use at Pishon Design Studio
These are the tools that we currently use here:
- KW Finder (Before I start on any topic)
- Yoast SEO plugin for optimizing blogposts
- Buffer, Hootsuite, and MailChimp for sharing the blogpost to social media and email lists
These tools are absolutely necessary in order for you to start your own blog. The more time you invest into life as a blogger, the more the profits. Follow the links and bookmark this post. You never know when it may come in handy.