Key Free Resources Top full-time bloggers use. (even 6 figure earners.)
If you are planning a blog from scratch or relaunching your blog, having the right tools is crucial. You may also want to check out my free editable printable business plan.
I have also not included any plugins because I have already posted my favourites in my 18 must-have plugins for beginner bloggers.
This list comprises of all the other you will need to have your blogging business running like a well-oiled machine, for free!
Key Free Resources Top bloggers use.
Disclosure: All posts may contain affiliate links. This means that I get a commision for reccommended products at no cost to you. I am adamant that I will only write well researched content not influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. Keep in mind that I will only ever link companies and products based on quality and my personal experience.The decision will always remain yours on whether you buy anything.
Blog Build Out Tools
Themes: If you are using WordPress, My favourite free theme is Astra because it’s so lightweight and customizable. They must have done something right to be the most popular theme of all time, right? If you tech-phobic and looking for someone to set up your blog, I offer that as part of my services. You can learn more here.
Choose your Colours: If you are looking for ideas on a Colour palette or need some inspiration from thousands of beautiful colour schemes. Then check out Coolors. It’s really simple to use but be warned it can suck hours of your time because it’s so fun to play with.
Graphic Design: Your readers are visual beings and having eye-catching graphics do give you an edge when you are blogging. Canva is by far the most game-changing design tool for non-graphic designers like me. You need very little skill to use it and they thousands of free templates to help you design blog graphics, social media images, printables, ebooks. Every graphic on my blog has been designed in Canva. Its 100% free but you can upgrade to a paid version if you need more features. I touched on this in my how I plan to make 21000 per month from scratch this year.
Mock-Ups: Simplified, a mockup is what your final product will look like to your reader. Do you need to design MockUps without Photoshop? Pixlr will be the answer to that ho needs Photoshop when you have Pixlr? I use this tool to mock up eBook and my 3 ring-binder covers. You can also do small edits to photos. The free version is perfect and I don’t foresee a time that I would need to upgrade to the paid version.
If you don’t feel like playing around with Pixler then I would suggest Smart MockUp. This website is a smart mockup generator. You choose a free template and upload your image and it will do the mock-up for you. They have amazing free templates that you can use to showcase your products. The free version does have a watermark but its discreet and does not bother me.
Free High-Quality Images.
If you use Canva to design, you will have access to Pixabay and Pexels within the Canva tool.
Idea Generating Tools
When you start writing your blog posts you need to research your keywords so that you know that people are interested in it. Here are some tools to come up with topics to write about. I have 30 blog posts titles in my calendar from using these tools.
Pinterest is great for ideas. You simply put your keyword in the search field and you will get tons of ideas. You can do this with google auto complete as well.
Blog Topic Generator is another useful tool that will help you generate ideas.
Answer The Public – This is one that I use often as well. You put your keyword in and they offer you all the phrases that others search for. Check out this seach I did below using just the word shoes.
I like to use a mix of the Google’s Keyword Planner (you’ll need to set up an Ads account for this, but you can turn your example ad off before you pay any money), and Google Trends.
Keywords Everywhere is also great tool to use.
I found this highly-rated SEO course from Udemy for less than R200. This can really help you understand keyword planning for SEO. Over 60 000 others have taken this course.
Blog Writing Resources
Grammarly – This is one of the most popular tools for writing blog posts. It checks grammar and writing styles and helps you to be more concise. I would suggest downloading the extension and it helps you to write emails, social media posts right inside your Gmail or social media pages.
Hemmingway App – very similar to Grammarly where you can go to correct your grammar, fluency, and sentence structure.
Email Marketing Providers
I have already mentioned in my start my blog series that having a list is important, one could say crucial for your online business. You can build relationships that turn into clients with your email list. Better than any social media site.
MailChimp – They have some awesome templates and chock full of features. It may be a little intimidating if you are a novice. There are plenty of videos you can watch to learn. You can have up to 2,000 email subscribers and send up to 12,000 emails per month with their Forever Free plan.
Moosend – requires very little skill whatsoever. They have awesome ready-made templates. Their landing pages are really good if you have a sales funnel. I like the reports and analytics they provide so you can improve as you go.
MailerLite – The free plan limits you to 1,000 subscribers with no email sending limit. MailerLite is one of the best for beginners to quickly send email campaigns. It’s incredibly easy to use.
Tracking your success
It’s important to track what is working on your site. Google Analytics is the best place for this. You can see the behaviour of your readers. Which posts are doing well and leading them to read more and which posts are not gaining traction. That way you can plan better.
I also have the MonsterInsights plugin. I can now see my stats without leaving my website.
LastPass – I have so many passwords that it’s hard to keep track. I now use LastPass. They also have a browser add-on for desktops and app for smartphones.
Zapier – This tool helps you get stuff done. You can automate workflows with triggers. For example, one Zap could be: when a new blog post is published -> send a tweet, update a spreadsheet, and share it on Facebook. Its a game-changer.
Asana – I have been using this tool ever since I worked at my first digital marketing agency. Asana is a tool designed for project management. It’s totally free and you can use it to organise all your posts, tasks, to-do lists, launches.
My Hours – The perfect tool to manage your time and increase productivity. Especially important if you are working with clients. It’s great to see which tasks are a time suck.
Bit.ly – Not only is a long link visually unappealing it wastes characters on social media posts. Bit.ly the perfect URL shortener, but the best part is that also lets you easily track your URL clicks.
TypeForm. – If you are sending questionnaires Typeform is very easy to use and they have beautiful templates too.
I love PDF – I use this to compress my PDFS but you can edit, sign pdfs, split then and a whole host of other features.
PDFEscape – Not everyone has a printer at home. This tool is great for making them editable so that people can fill in your workbooks. I used this on my free blog launch workbook.
No matter what you decide to use. There are plenty of free options that can help you as a beginner blogger. If you have any questions or would like to add one to the list, comment below.
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Thanks for reading!
I hope this post inspired you or that you found it helpful.