Have you ever found yourself wondering what are the tools and resources other bloggers use to be more productive?

I know that I have.

So I decided to share with you what tools I personally use for this blog.

Starting your blog

In my experience, you can get a lot of great tools for free online. You can start a business with a very little investment, if you don’t have the means to fast-track the growth.

But is it possible to start a blog for free?

Not really, if you want to own your platform and be able to customize it as you need.

The only investment you can’t really avoid is paying for hosting. All other things can theoretically be done manually, it just takes a bit more time.

Hosting

Area IT: this is the hosting that I currently use. Generally, I recommend Bluehost as it’s more relevant to the US market. However, I live in Latvia, and this seemed like a good fit for my needs.

The main selling point is the price.

Bluehost is great if you are sure you commit to blogging and treat it like a business. You can get hosting for the price of a coffee each month – around $2-$3. The catch is that you’ll have to buy the 3-year plan to get a great price.

When I started blogging I wasn’t so sure about this hobby of mine and didn’t want to invest so much money upfront. You can’t really get an OK free hosting, but the pricing for Area IT seems quite reasonable. I started with a plan where I bought hosting for a year where the monthly price was around $1.5.

I’ve upgraded since then. But I still recommend this or similar hosting if you just want to try out blogging without a serious investment.

Sure, the site speed won’t be miraculously fast, but it will be good enough for a beginner.

Plug-ins

One of the best parts of WordPress is that you can customize it for your needs by adding plug-ins. Here is the list of plugins that I find essential:

  • Beehive Analytics
  • Grow by Mediavine
  • Hummingbird
  • Inline Related Posts
  • Loginizer
  • Pretty Links
  • SmartCrawl
  • Smush

Blog themes

I used to have a free theme on my blog. Over time, I just wanted something I could customize a bit more. A theme that looks professional and is not on every other blog.

So I got a paid theme from Bluchic. They offer several feminine, SEO-optimized, and fast themes for online entrepreneurs.

Currently, I have Victoria theme and it’s great.

Software

Mailerlite: I’ve chosen this email marketing platform as it is free to use until you reach 1000 subscribers – perfect for beginners. It also offers automation. This means you can set up a welcome sequence or a 5-day email challenge to be sent out automatically, which saves time and builds trust among the subscribers.

Canva: This is by far the easiest way to create any graphics online. It’s free to use and has a lot of options. Check out my Pin templates to get some inspiration on what you can create!

Pixistock: Stock photo subscription where you get several free stock photos each month right in your email.

IvoryMix: Free stock photos each month in your email.

Tailwind: Pinterest scheduling tool which I use to add pins automatically at the best time during the day. This tool helps to drive more traffic from Pinterest to my blog and allows me to focus on the content creation instead of manual pinning. Here you can try Tailwind one month for free.

LongTailPro: It’s important to write blog posts with some keywords in mind. This helps to rank in Google and drive traffic from the search engine to my blog. LongTailPro is a great tool for finding the best keywords – which drive traffic yet have low competition. With this link, you can get 30% off on any plan.

Keyword Surfer: This is a Chrome extension that shows directly in Google search results the estimated search volume for the term which you are searching along with some statistics on each search result. By using this tool I can see at a glance which keywords are worth going for and how tough the competition on the first page of Google is.

Blogging education

Ultimate Bundles: This is the best way how to get the most up-to-date blogging courses at the lowest price possible. Each year in autumn there is a Genius Blogger’s Toolkit bundle where you can find blogging courses and e-books valued to be worth several thousand dollars in a bundle costing less than $100.

It’s a steal.

I’ve purchased each bundle for a few years now. There is so much information! Of course, you won’t have time to go through all of the courses. But you can choose some of the most relevant ones and this bundle will still be worth the price.

You can sign up here to be notified when the next bundle is on sale.

The Secret Sauce to Skyrocketing your Blog Traffic: As the name suggests, this book gives all the strategies you’ll need to drive traffic to your blog. Read my full review here.

Amazon Affiliate Affluence: One of the best ways to make money online is through affiliate marketing. And Amazon is the most wildly used site for selling products as an affiliate because it has just so many products. Grab this e-book to start making affiliate sales and earn commissions now!

The She Approach To Making Pinterest Possible: Pinterest e-book which explains step-by-step how to set up and run a Pinterest account to drive massive traffic to your blog. Get $5 off using code “TSA5OFF”.