Welcome to the Top Blogging Tools page. Here’s where you’ll find a curated list of the very best blogging tools to help you get your blog and business up and running quickly.
You’ll see that in addition to providing my current top choices, I’ve also linked to alternatives so that you can compare services before choosing the best one for your needs.
In the interest of complete transparency I should mention that some (not all) of these links are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through my link I may make a small commission.
Alrighty, let’s get on with it!
STEP 1. Get Your Website Up and Running
PLATFORM: WORDPRESS (SELF-HOSTED)
If you’re just starting out, it might be tempting to start a simple blog or website using a hosted solution such as WordPress.com, Wix, or Squarespace. However, my recommendation is to choose a self-hosted WordPress installation instead. When your business starts to grow (and hopefully it will grow quickly!) chances are good that you’ll want to use a specific theme, plugin, or service to boost your business. A self-hosted WordPress installation will give you the ultimate freedom to take your website and business in any direction you desire.
DOMAIN REGISTRAR: NAMECHEAP
The first thing you’ll need to do when setting up your self-hosted WordPress site is buy a domain name. I’ve tried Register.com, Gandi.net, and one other company that is so scammy I won’t even mention their name. Namecheap is what I use currently, and I am very pleased with their service.
WEB HOST: SITEGROUND
After purchasing a domain name, you’ll need purchase a web hosting package. I use SiteGround, and I am very happy with them. They have good page load speed, site speed, and customer service. Bluehost and Stablehost are decent choices for novice bloggers, but I have found that my website loads the quickest on SiteGround.
THEME: GENESIS BY STUDIOPRESS
Over the years, I have tried free WordPress themes, Divi, Beaver Builder, ThemeForest, and Thrive Themes; I always go back to Genesis by StudioPress. What I like about Genesis is that their themes are coded well, and they don’t produce errors whenever WordPress is updated. Note that Genesis is actually a framework; in addition to installing the Genesis framework, you’ll also have to install a Genesis “child theme.”
P.S. If you dislike messing with code but want the ability to customize your Genesis theme, I highly recommend checking out the Design Palette Pro WordPress plugin.
STEP 2. Optimize Your Website
LANDING PAGES: LEADPAGES
Leadpages is the gold standard when it comes to high-converting landing pages. You can create attractive landing pages for selling products, growing your email list, social media promotions, and more.
SOCIAL MEDIA BUTTONS: SOCIAL WARFARE
Need to add social media buttons to your site? Be sure to check out Social Warefare. Although there are plenty of free social media plugins out there, Social Warfare is my weapon of choice because it allows me to specify custom text and images for each of the different social media platforms.
STEP 3. Create Amazing Content
Sure, you could use Word or Pages for writing, but what’s nice about Scrivener is that you can easily move sections around, jump from section to section, and keep track of resources. It’s a truly wonderful tool for writing ebooks, scripting presentations, and other longer length documents. There is a learning curve, but once you get past it, you’ll never want to go back to Word again.
STEP 4. Build a List of Raving Fans
Drip is a fantastic email marketing tool for those who want a little more functionality than a basic service like MailChimp, but don’t need a full-blown CRM tool such as Infusionsoft. What I like about Drip is the use of visual workflows and lead scoring. Other alternatives include ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, and AWeber.
STEP 5. Share Your Content with the World
SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING: BUFFER
One of the best ways to save time while promoting your business is to create an editorial calendar and schedule all of your posts and tweets ahead of time. This way, you can sit down once a week, get your promoting done, and save the rest of your time for creating valuable content. There are several scheduling tools out there, but Buffer is my top pick because it is simple and very easy to use; a slightly higher priced alternative is CoSchedule.
MANAGING INCOMING SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGES: HOOTSUITE
The other component to social media promotion is interacting with your followers. If you have multiple profiles on the same platform, it can be downright confusing to constantly have to sign in and out of all of your various profiles. Hootsuite, while also providing social media scheduling, shines at helping you keep track of multiple accounts on multiple platforms. Sign in once and see all of your mentions, direct messages, etc. all in one place.
STEP 6. Organize Your Business
Wave is an excellent tool for solopreneurs who want to keep their business finances separate from their personal finances, but aren’t ready to invest in a comprehensive tool such as Freshbooks or Quickbooks. I like Wave because it is not as overwhelming to use as other software, but note that it is not a true double-accounting system.