Starting a blog isn’t as simple as writing a post and sharing it with the world. Blogging is a fantastic hobby and a great way to make money on the side, but growing your blog takes a lot of time, energy, and resources.
You need a variety of tools to create a blog that makes money. Here are the best blogging resources to start and grow a successful blog.
What Are Blogging Resources?
Blogging resources are the tools and materials you need to start a blog, grow your blog, and succeed. Resources include things you need, like hosting, and things that aren’t mandatory but will help you become successful as a blogger, like training courses.
In this post, we will cover the basics you need to start a blog and the professional blogging tools that will help you grow.
What Materials Do You Need to Blog?
If you want to blog, you need a computer and an internet connection. Next, you need a domain name, hosting, and a WordPress installation. Although you can host a personal blog on blogging platforms like blogger, if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger and monetize your blog, you need your own domain.
You can find a great domain name using GoDaddy’s domain name finder. It’s essential to consider your niche and what you want to write about before settling on a name, and then consider whether the social media accounts for that name are available.
The best host in the business is Big Scoots. It’s a little expensive for a beginner but well worth it if you want a professional blog that makes money. Everyone talks about Bluehost, and yes, they are cheap, but they also have long contracts and a lot of outages.
Finally, you need to install WordPress. Although there are other platforms available for blogging, WordPress is the best and most well-known. There are thousands of WordPress plugins available that offer a wide range of customization options. It’s also free!
These are the primary resources anyone needs to blog, and you can find more information on how these work in our epic post on how to start a blog.
What is the Best Tool for Blogging?
There are so many great blogging tools available that it’s hard to pick one that is “the best.” Therefore, I’ll pick the one that offers the most value.
If you are serious about growing a successful blog, you need to join the Money Mix Insiders. It’s a blogging mastermind group and tool kit all rolled into one. They offer SEO tools, plugins, themes, coaching, marketing opportunities, and so much more. Your subscription to the Money Mix Insiders program provides you with many of the tools discussed on this list as part of your membership.
Blogging Resources for Beginners
I understand that if you are just starting, you may not see the benefit of paying $185 a month for a mastermind group (though they offer a three-month trial for just $1 – if you want to check it out!). If you are new and don’t want to spend much money, consider these free and cheap resources.
Insiders Facebook Group
One way to get a sneak peek of the Insiders’ benefits is to join the Facebook group. People post questions and collaboration requests in the group, which may help you network with other bloggers and participate in roundups. It’s not as active as the Slack channel for the real membership, but hey, it’s free.
Niche Facebook Groups
Facebook, in general, is a great place to meet other bloggers. Many Facebook groups are dedicated to blogging that can help you grow your social media accounts or get expert advice on your pressing blog questions.
One thing to remember, though, is that not everyone is an expert. People do their best to answer Facebook questions, but they may be biased against a particular idea or may not have considered other, better ways of accomplishing a task. Take the advice from these groups with a grain of salt and test ideas on your own.
Google Search Console And Google Analytics
Google offers website owners a host of tools to help them understand what’s happening with their websites. Every blogger needs to set up two: Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
Google Analytics tells you information about who is visiting your site. You will see your page views, what page people are on, where they are coming from, and when they left. This valuable data helps you understand your website’s visitors and how they find you.
Google Search Console offers a wide range of information on how your website is performing in Google’s search engine. You can see your average position, click-through rates, and the number of impressions you get and can drill that down to the page level. The search console also provides valuable information about your core web vitals, which is essential for ranking.
Grammarly is a software system that enhances your writing. It spots grammatical and spelling errors in your posts and helps you correct them. The professional version also checks your tone, style, and voice. You’d be surprised by how often you write in the passive voice rather than active!
If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, your writing must be grammatically correct and easy for readers to understand. One slight limitation of Grammarly some bloggers struggle with is that the program isn’t a fan of prose. Some bloggers have a more narrative style and want to add flair and flavor to their words. Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, Grammarly doesn’t always like it and will often ask you to change your flavorful sentences to something easier for readers to understand.
As a blogger, you must balance your love of prose with ensuring that readers know what you are saying. Grammarly will help you do that and will help ensure your writing is tight.
Although blogging is about writing, if you want to be successful, you will need some graphics. Every blog post should have a featured image, and visual blog posts like recipes and travels could use extra photos in the body.
This is where Canva comes in. Canva is a fantastic resource for stock photos and graphics. Although some free pictures are available, most bloggers will be better off with a Canva pro subscription.
Canva will help you create featured images for your blog but can also help you design Pinterest pins and Instagram posts. The platform will also help you create short videos for TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram reels. To be a successful blogger, you need to market yourself on these platforms, and Canva can help you create the perfect posts quickly and easily.
Although Canva is an excellent resource for creating posts and images, it doesn’t have a lot of options for free photos. This is where Unsplash comes in.
Unsplash is a giant reservoir of stock photos. Most photos on the platform are free to use, though the artists do appreciate credit.
One thing that new bloggers often don’t think about is an email list and provider. Email is not going away. You need to build an email list from the beginning, and Convertkit is one of the top platforms for managing your list.
With Convertkit, you can create opt-in forms, funnels, and automatic sequences. You can send your RSS feed to your list so that they get notified every time your post or a weekly digest if you post a lot.
Although numerous other email providers exist, I prefer Convertkit because they typically have strong deliverability. They are a little more expensive than some other providers, but if you don’t want to start with the fancy add-ons, you can start for free with under 1000 subscribers.
If you want to be successful, it’s imperative that you promote your blog. Social Media is one of the best marketing tools available for your blog. If you don’t have a Twitter handle, Facebook Page, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, etc., you need to get them now.
I understand that time is a limitation, and it’s impossible for one person trying to grow a blog to focus on all these platforms. Instead, grab the handles and focus on building one. When you are comfortable with the first platform and have a lot of engagement, you might want to branch out and focus on the next.
However, you don’t want to get huge as a blog and as a Twitter account only to find that someone else grabbed your desired Instagram handle before you did.
The Best Plugins and Add-ons for your Blog
The above resources are all off-page tools to help you grow and develop your blog. Next, we’ll talk about on-page tools and plugins that you need to succeed.
There are thousands of plugins available, but you don’t want too many because you don’t want to bog down your site with fancy extras. Instead, limit yourself to a few plugins that enhance your blog’s functionality.
Many of the plugins I mention are premium, but they are worth the cost. However, if you want them for free, you can join the Insiders SEO Hustle, which gives its members free access to many plugins they need to be successful bloggers.
There are two main SEO plugins on the market, Rankmath, and Yoast SEO. I started with Yoast and switched to Rankmath after indexing issues caused by a disconnect between Yoast and another plugin I use.
Every blogger needs an SEO plugin. It will help you focus on your keyword and give tips for the best on-page SEO to help you rank for that specific keyword. The pro versions of some SEO plugins even offer suggestions of related words and more tools to help you rank, but if money is a consideration, the free versions work fine.
Internal linking is integral to your SEO strategy. But after years of blogging, it’s easy to forget about related posts.
Link Whisper is the ideal solution. It showcases your internal linking opportunities when you publish a new post, conducts link audits, and helps you keep track of your external linking.
*Offered for free to members of the Blogging Insiders SEO Hustle!
Revive Old Posts
It’s important to continue sharing your older posts on social media, but who has the time for that? Revive Old Posts does.
The free version allows you to share on both Twitter and Facebook, while the pro version allows you to share on virtually any social media platform that enables link sharing. It’s a great way to continuously get your content in front of your audience without doing anything.
*Offered for free to members of the Blogging Insiders SEO Hustle!
WP Rocket (Site Speed Plugin)
Many of Google’s core updates have addressed core web vitals and site speed. If you want to rank on Google, you must have a fast site with a great user experience.
Numerous site speed plugins help accomplish this task. WP Rocket works with Big Scoot’s Cloudfare and offers all the caching options I need in a straightforward plugin. The only downside to WP Rocket is that it’s a premium plugin. You can find free caching plugins like W3 Total Cache, but they don’t offer the full range of functionality that WP Rocket offers.
*Offered for free to members of the Blogging Insiders SEO Hustle!
Blog images are giant resource hogs. If site speed is essential to you, it’s vital to reduce the size of your images. Imagify is a premium plugin that compresses your photos the second you load them.
The reduced photo size keeps your database lightweight and ensures a faster loading speed of all the images on your site.
Another consideration of a fast website is a lightweight blog theme. A theme creates the general look and feel of your blog.
I previously uses Astra Pro because it’s offered as part of the SEO Hustle Blogging Insiders group. It’s a simple, lightweight theme that doesn’t bog down my site and helps it load properly.
The downside to a simple theme is that you lose some of the “prettiness’.” I switched to Generate Press recently because it’s also lightweight but adds a little magazine-like flair to the homepage. Some themes sacrifice speed for design, and if you’re a designer or photographer, you may need to make that decision.
Information blogs that are more about the content than the design and pictures don’t need all the fancy add-ons. All they do is slow the site down, which hurts it in Google’s eyes.
Opt for a lightweight theme like Astra Pro or Generate Press to make your site as fast as possible.
Slickstream adds a bit of prettiness back to your site without sacrificing page speed. It’s a service dedicated to increasing engagement on your website with search options and related posts.
You may see a slider on this website with related posts, either at the top or bottom of the screen or embedded within the content. That is Slickstream doing its work.
The platform offers a variety of adds ons, including quizzes and games, designed to keep people engaged on your website. The cost is $10 a month for small blogs, but they offer a one-month free trial to see if you like it.
Blogging courses are a dime a dozen. Many creators realized they could make more money telling you how to do something than they can actually doing the thing. Other courses are giant ads for blogger affiliates that bring them even more money or funnels users into paid Facebook groups that don’t offer much value.
However, there are some great courses available. They may not be specific to blogging overall, but they have a lot of great content for particular parts of blogging and can help you grow your business.
Below are courses that I’ve actually taken that helped me grow my blog. I’ve taken other courses that have been less than helpful, and there are thousands of classes I haven’t taken.
Launch Your Side Hustle
Although Launch Your Side Hustle isn’t specific to blogging, it has a lot of great information about how to build your own small business. You need this course if you want to blog for income and have no experience making money online.
In it, you will learn about the tax implications of an online business and some of the legal requirements. Launch Your Side Hustle will also help you get started! Read a full review of the course!
If you plan to use Pinterest for blog traffic, you must learn how to use the platform. I’ve taken a few Pinterest courses in my day to try to master this constantly evolving social media network, and Pinterest Ninja is the only one that had any value.
While the other courses stressed “make pretty pins” without telling you how, Pinterest Ninja showcases the search engine aspect of Pinterest and shows you how to optimize your profile, pins, and boards for Pinterest’s search algorithm.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing will teach you the basics of affiliate marketing. It will help you understand how to find affiliates and add them to your website. If you are a brand new blogger unsure how to get started with affiliates, this course will help you.
However, if you have some experience with affiliate marketing and are looking for an advanced course on how to make sales, write copy, and drive traffic to your affiliate posts, this is not the course for you. I haven’t found a course that teaches all those things yet, but I can tell you that the more traffic you get, the more affiliate sales you will make.
Money Mix Insiders
Okay, this isn’t a blogging course. You don’t buy a video, watch it, and learn your blog. It’s an immersive blogging program and mastermind group with far more value than any course I’ve taken. Instead of spending $100 on a course, spend $3 on a three-month trial of the group and see the value it brings. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Blogging Tools to Grow Your Blog
These last few tools are extras you need to use to grow your blog and rank on Google. These resources are generally off-page tools that help you find and write great content for your blog.
Keyword Research Tool
To rank on Google, you need to do keyword research. I get it; you want to write what you want to write, right? I was like that too. But then I learned that I could achieve that goal while still considering what people were searching for with the help of a keyword research tool.
Although free options are available, the two best keyword research tools are Moz and Ahrefs. Moz is easier to use and has the metric many people ask about (Domain Authority, DA), while Ahrefs offers more data. I use Moz because I want a simple, easy-to-understand keyword research tool.
If you become a paying member of the Blogging Insiders group, you can choose between a Moz and Ahrefs subscription within the group. This alone almost covers the full cost of membership!
TF-IDF is a service that helps you write for SEO. Although it helps your on-page SEO, it’s not a plugin you can add to your WordPress interface. You need to visit a different website to use it.
TF-IDF compares your text to the top 20 sites already ranking in Google for your given keyword. It then gives you a list of related keywords those other sites are using that you are not. The goal is to help you rank higher by using more words and phrases related to your chosen keyword.
TF-IDF is a paid tool, but you can get it free as a Blogging Insiders member. Even trial members get to check it out for free!
Text Optimizer is very similar to TF-IDF. However, rather than comparing your words to the top 20 ranking websites, it tries to compare your text to what it thinks Google considers related keywords.
Text optimizer will give you an optimization score of 0-100, showing how well you optimized your content with related keywords. It will tell you if you have too much content about an unrelated keyword and will spit out a massive list of words you can add to your text to help optimize it better for Google.
Text Optimizer is also a paid tool, but you can get it free as a Blogging Insiders member. Even trial members get to check it out for free!
Page Speed Insights
We’ve mentioned site speed numerous times in this post, and that’s because it’s essential! Google created a website that will tell you how you are doing with site speed and core web vitals.
It’s free and easy to use, all you have to do is plug your URL into the box, and Google will tell you where you stand. Finding fixes for any issues is a lot harder, but if you use some of the plugins we mentioned, you should be able to get your site speed up.
Blogging Resources Make Blogging Easier
The blogging resources mentioned in this list will help you become a professional blogger. Of course, it’s not a matter of plugging the tools in, sitting back, and watching the money flow in. Running a blog is a lot of work; far more goes into it than the tools you use.
If you are serious about blogging, you need the right tools and need to put in the work. These are the right tools. Doing the work is up to you.
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.