We all know that there is more to just writing when it comes to the blogging business.
There are so many tools and resources that are available online, it can be overwhelming and confusing for a new blogger.
Moreover, many of us are running a blog as a side hustle while holding onto a full-time job or busy caring for our kids. What we want to look for are useful tools that are pocket-friendly!
Therefore, I have come up with this list of FREE blogging tools that I have used and found incredibly useful.
I have also explained in each of them, why it is so important for you to use these tools and how they are helpful to you.
Here we go!
Tool 1: Grammarly
What is Grammarly?
Grammarly is a free application that you can download on both your mobile devices as well as your laptop.
Why is Grammarly useful?
If you are using Grammarly on your laptop, it will automatically help you check for spelling errors and grammatical errors in your writing as long as the writing is done online, for example when you are writing an email or blogging.
You can also open up the Grammarly application and upload any saved documents or copy and paste your written work in order to run a check on the application.
If there are no errors found, you will see a small green dot at the bottom right-hand corner of each paragraph.
If there are errors found, the errors will be underlined in red and the corrected suggestions will pop up when you click on the errors.
Grammarly is certainly very easy to use! It is almost as good as having a proofreader right by your side! It really saves you a lot of time editing your work and checking through for errors.
If you choose to subscribe to the paid plans, Grammarly will help with making advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and even provide vocabulary enhancement suggestions, and check your work for plagiarism.
For the purposes of blogging, I really think the FREE Grammarly application would suffice.
After all, what matters most is that you want your readers to have an enjoyable reading experience, and that would include making sure your articles are not fraught with typo, spelling or punctuation errors.
Tool 2: Werdsmith
What is Werdsmith?
Werdsmith is a writing application that can be downloaded on your mobile devices and also accessed on your desktop.
Why is Werdsmith useful?
With my busy schedule as a mom of three, sometimes it is very hard for me to sit at my desktop to write for one good hour.
Therefore, I find it very useful to have the Werdsmith app on hand so that I can write on the go!
I could write during the 10 minutes that I am waiting in school for my boys to be dismissed.
I could write if I’m stuck in a queue.
I could write at night when my kids want me to be their room with them until they fall asleep.
During those times, it may not be possible for me to write on my iPad or laptop, so being able to write on my Werdsmith app is indeed a great time-saver for me!
Your work on Werdsmith is saved automatically and you can easily export it via email or even save it as a PDF file.
What I like most about Werdsmith is that it automatically shows me the word count of my article.
Ideally, you should write a blog post that is about 1500 to 2000 words, especially if your post is an informative one that helps your readers to solve problems relating to certain technical issues or learning a particular skill.
For lifestyle blog posts which are more entertaining or inspiring with the intention of being a quick read for, the guideline is to write about 600 to 800 words long.
I also regularly write paid book reviews which require my reviews that are at least 100 words long
Therefore, keeping track of my word count is very important to me and Werdsmith is a great help!
If you subscribe to the paid plan for Werdsmith at $6 per month, your account will be synced across all devices and you can simply pick up your writing where you left it on a different device.
To be honest, using the free Werdsmith service is good enough for me!
Pin me please
Tool 3: Pinterest
What is Pinterest?
I’m sure this would not be the first time that you are hearing how powerful Pinterest is in helping you grow your blog traffic.
Pinterest, contrary to popular belief, is not really a type of social media.
I would refer to Pinterest as “Google in Pretty Pictures”!
We all know a picture speaks a thousand words. Pins on Pinterest can be so much more powerful in conveying a message and attracting a reader’s attention, as compared to looking through a list of headlines of articles on Google.
Pinterest users are on the constant lookout for ideas and products and are, therefore, much more likely to purchase something as compared to the regular user on Google.
More importantly, Pinterest users save their pins for the purposes of referring to them in the future and that is much more effective than bookmarking pages.
After all, who doesn’t like to look at pretty pictures while searching for information?
Why is Pinterest useful?
I started my blog in February 2018 and invited many friends to read it. My subscriber's list was stagnant at a miserable 15 readers for over eight months! Not to mention, 90% of these 15 subscribers are my friends!
Yet in the mere two months that I started using Pinterest, my blog traffic skyrocketed and my subscriber's list grew to over 400! In LESS THAN two months! My mind was totally blown!
The BEST NEWS about Pinterest for new bloggers is that it is fair game!
As long as you apply the correct strategy and put in consistent effort, you can conquer Pinterest and grow your blog traffic RAPIDLY through Pinterest!
On the other hand, trying to rank for Google SEO for a new blogger is ALMOST impossible.
Want to learn how I grew my subscriber's list over 2500% and my blog traffic by 1500% in less than two months on Pinterest?
Stay tuned for my Pin to Win Masterclass!
Tool 4: Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Social media can be a wonderful tool to grow your blog traffic but you have to use them in the right way.
More importantly, you need to know your objective and the desired outcomes for using each of the social media platforms.
One really simple way of growing your blog traffic is to set up a Facebook page and invite all your friends to ‘like’ and follow your page!
Then proceed to post on your Facebook page 1 to 2 times every day!
Facebook is a great tool for building a community.
If you want to connect with your audience and find out what they like and help them solve their problems, Facebook is a great tool to use for conversations, group discussions, and sharing of blog links that serve to help your audience solve their problems.
Twitter only allows you to post up to 280 characters each time. If your message isn’t succinct or eye-catching enough, your tweet will easily be drowned in a flood of Twitter messages!
Because it is so easy and takes only a matter of seconds to tweet, it also means that the turnover rate of the tweets on your feed is very high.
Therefore, in order to have sufficient eyeballs on your tweets, you probably need to tweet at least 25 times each day.
Instagram is filled with beautiful photographs all the time. If you are trying to promote certain products, Instagram is a great platform for you!
It is rather easy to get likes and followers on Instagram as long as you add in a sufficient number of popular hashtags on your Instagram post. Needless to say, your Instagram picture has to be BEAUTIFUL!
For Pinterest, the recommended number of hashtags is three to six. However, you go up to 10 to 15 hashtags for your Instagram post without being considered spammy!
Based on my experience, as much as it is rather easy to grow Instagram ‘likes’ and ‘follows’, they don’t naturally translate to growing blog traffic for me.
Yet I still have all three social media accounts. It is helpful to link all your accounts together so that it makes it much easier to post articles and pictures on all three platforms with the effort of only creating one post!
Tool 5: Stock Photography
What is stock photography?
Stock photography refers to the supply of photographs that are for creative and business uses without you having the need to hire a professional photographer directly.
Why is stock photography useful?
Beautiful photographs are a must on Instagram. It is also very useful to include professionally taken photographs within your blog posts and on the pins that you create.
Beautiful pictures can make your blog posts more attractive and attention-grabbing. They can also make your otherwise normal pin become highly attractive and go viral!
Photography is certainly one thing in your blogging business that you can easily outsource! And you should!
Instead of spending so much time taking photos on your iPhone and then editing them on some mobile application, why not just find FREE stock photographs?
Here are four FREE stock photography sites:
Tool 6: Creative Market
What is Creative Market?
Many people know that you can buy beautiful digital products including graphics, photos, themes and fonts on Creative Market at very affordable prices.
But do you know that you can also get FREEBIES from Creative Market?
Why is Creative Market useful?
Very often, the free design goodies are fonts, patterns, and backdrops that you can use for your blog and in designing your pins.
Remember to set up a Dropbox account to facilitate the download of all the Creative Market freebies!
Pin me please
Tool 7: Dropbox
What is Dropbox?
Dropbox is a platform for secure file sharing and storing. If you use various devices in your blog business, then you should have a Dropbox account!
The Dropbox Basic account offers you 2GB of cloud storage.
Having the Dropbox mobile app allows you to have access to your files on all your different devices. This definitely makes blogging on the go more productive!
Why is Dropbox useful?
Many applications that you use for your blogging business use Dropbox for the purposes of file sharing.
As mentioned above, you can download Creative Market freebies and photos from various stock photography sites directly to your Dropbox account.
Streamlining these processes are always a good time-saver in your blogging business!
Tool 8: Google Drive
What is Google Drive?
Google Drive, like Dropbox, is also a secure platform for storing photos, files and videos. Each Google account comes with free 15GB of cloud usage.
Why is Google Drive useful?
As you can see, Google Drive offers much more FREE cloud storage than Dropbox. Needless to say, Google is very easy to use and easily accessible on various devices as well.
I use Google Drive to upload files and create shareable links for my digital products.
Pin me please
Tool 9: MailerLite
What is MailerLite?
Many bloggers would recommend ConvertKit. I don’t doubt that ConvertKit has been very helpful to these bloggers.
Why would they recommend ConvertKit instead of MailerLite?
Because MailerLite is FREE! You cannot earn through affiliate marketing for a free service, right? (Get it now?)
The lowest plan for ConvertKit is at $29 per month for up to 1000 subscribers. If you have 1000 to 3000 subscribers, you would need the plan that is priced at $49 per month.
On the other hand, you can enjoy a very reliable emailing service through MailerLite for FREE if you have less than 1000 subscribers! For 1000 to 25000 subscribers, the paid plan for MailerLite will cost you only $15 per month.
Why is MailerLite useful?
MailerLite allows you to send email campaigns, automate workflows, and embed sign-up forms. The email templates provided are beautiful and easy to use.
Basically, for a new blogger, I would strongly recommend you to use MailerLite instead of ConvertKit. Get the hang of your emailing process and figure out how you want to nurture your list before deciding on which premium plan you want to ultimately invest in.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You will need to set up a domain email before you can use both MailerLite and ConvertKit.
Tool 10: Canva
What is Canva?
Canva is a design application that allows you to create graphics and documents.
With Canva, it is SO EASY to design beautiful pictures for use on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, blog posts, emails and any other purpose you need them for!
You can also design flyers, Ebooks, resumes, brochures, invitations, and business cards using Canva!
Why is Canva useful?
There are thousands of templates available for all the different purposes stated above. There are also many free stock photos available in Canva that you can use for your creations.
With Canva, you no longer have to worry about the optimum picture size for the respective social media platforms. Just select the type of design that you are trying to create and complete a beautiful design in minutes!
Your designs can be saved as JPEG, PNG or PDF format.
You can also access Canva on both your mobile devices and your laptop. Just log into your account and have access to all your designs anywhere!
Do note that the Canva mobile app is still the older version, whereas you can access both Canva 1.0 and 2.0 on your laptop.
Canva used to allow you to save your logo design with a transparent background for FREE. However, now this feature is only available for Canva For Work accounts.
Does it mean you need to pay for Canva For Work?
Simply sign up for their 30-day free trial and create your logo during the free trial period!
So make sure you plan your logo creation to maximize your free trial period and remember to cancel your subscription before the trial period ends. That's certainly one way of saving money for new bloggers and still getting stuff done well!
Tool 11: Excel
I think everyone knows what Excel is but only a small percentage of us know how to fully utilize all the awesome features of Excel.
Why is Excel useful?
Excel is a wonderful tool in managing your schedules, keeping track of your finances, and also create beautiful printables!
Printables are awesome as a lead magnet to grow your subscribers list. You would be happy to know that you can create beautiful printables just by using Excel!
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on Adobe Photoshop and then hours figuring out how to use Photoshop, just use Excel!
It definitely takes practice to increase your competence in using Excel and improving the designs of your printables. But the learning curve for Photoshop is very much steeper than Excel!
If you want to learn how to create your own beautiful printables using Excel, check out this course by Laura Smith. Laura is one of my favorite bloggers and she makes beautiful planners!
Well, there you have it!
The 11 wonderful FREE tools that all bloggers, especially NEW BLOGGERS, SHOULD HAVE!
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