No matter what kind of blog you’re creating,
it’s important to know which tools and plugins are the best.
We’ve had our fair share of trial and error with everything from hosting to themes to plugins and editing software. To help you out, we’ve curated the list below with our favourite websites, tools, apps and platforms. If you’re just getting started as a blogger or online content creator, use the list of publishing resources below to help get your started on your journey.
WEBSITE & HOSTING
We use Bluehost for most of our hosting needs. It’s reliable and they have amazing customer service!
We also recommend GoDaddy as a hosting service. GoDaddy is great for those who don’t want to get too bogged down with the technical side of hosting and really just want to get their site or blog up and running. The GoDaddy customer service is award-winning and you really can’t go wrong.
WordPress.org is the gold standard in content management systems (CMS). It’s used by more than 74 million sites that publish new posts every second. This widely used CMS has become a favorite among businesses because of how powerful of a tool it is.
WordPress is free, secure and SEO-friendly. Unlike other content management systems, WordPress is ready to use immediately after installation. You don’t need to find, install, and configure a long list of add-ons just to get many of the features WordPress considers core (comments, RSS feeds, revisions, etc.).
Because of the thousands of plugins and themes that WordPress has offer, with just one click of a button you can customize your site to appear and function as you would like. Plus WordPress comes with tons of support. There is an extensive WordPress community where you can troubleshoot any question or concern.
Squarespace is another great platform to create and host an amazing online presence. Whether you need simple pages, striking galleries, a professional blog or an online store, it’s all included. Best of all, everything is mobile-ready right from the start. They also have great customer services and helpful tips.
Creative Market is my go-to source for website themes, blog themes, templates, fonts, patterns and overall great ideas for designing and branding online content. For most of our clients, we use Creative Market.
Bluchic creates cost-effective feminine WordPress Themes for websites and blogs; with design-to-match business card, social media, newsletter templates and pre-made logos. If you’re an event planner, life coach, pastry baker, photographer or fashion blogger, you’ll be able to find a gorgeous theme that will perfectly suit your brand.
ThemeForest is one of the biggest collections of premium themes out there. They have everything from blogs to business themes. Plus once you purchase a website theme on Themeforest, you get free updates.
Elegant Themes is another pretty, classy option for WordPress themes. I’ve used their themes before as well, and they have many attractive layouts . If you’re a beginning blogger and specifically want something more “feminine” (though they have plenty of masculine themes, too!), this is a good place to go. Also, one payment gives you access to 85+ themes.
WordPress SEO by Yoast is an all-in-one SEO solution for your WordPress blog. Its features include SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs and much more. In addition to improving my blog’s rankings, Yoast also helps me write more SEO-friendly content. Yoast is comprehensive, user-friendly and free!
Google Analytics for WordPress makes it simple to add Google Analytics with extra search engines and automatic click-out and download tracking to your WordPress blog.
Jetpack supercharges your site with a collection of powerful features, such as site stats, email subscriptions, forms, social networking and more. The latest version of Jetpack introduced support for Multisite. In the past, super admins had to manage the connections on an individual site basis, even though Jetpack could be activated network-wide. Now you can administer all your connections from your super admin accounts.
Disqus (pronounced dis-cuss) commenting system works well for websites and blogs with lots of user comments. It is a third party commenting system, which means comments will not affect your server. It does not affect your site’s page speed and comes equipped with anti-spam filters.
Google XML Sitemaps will automatically generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With a sitemap, web crawlers can see the structure of your site and retrieve the results more efficiently.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Hootsuite is a social media scheduling service. Easily organize, manage and schedule your content across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
Later helps you manage content and schedule for your Instagram accounts. You can upload images from your computer, collaborate on your posts, manage one or multiple Instagram accounts and manage accounts with your team. A free plan provides you with 30 posts per month (the number of created posts), two social profiles and one user.
Planoly allows you to visually plan and schedule for Instagram. With Planoly, you can play with the layout just like a magazine editor. You can use either the web dashboard, or the mobile app to plan and schedule. You can also view your analytics and reply to comments as well through the same platform.
Better Click To Tweet is a great way to let your readers easily share your content. It allows you to easily create tweetable content within your blog posts or page. Using a simple shortcode, your selected text is highlighted and made tweetable.
Revive Old Post helps you keep your old posts alive by automatically sharing them and driving more traffic to them from Social Networks. It also helps you to promote your content. You can set sharing interval and number of posts to share to drive more traffic.
Mailchimp is the world’s leading email marketing platform. Mailchimp allows you to send marketing emails, automated messages, and send targeted campaigns. Plus detailed reports help you keep improving over time.
SumoMe is a free plugin makes it easy for you to gain email subscribers and get new customers. It also syncs with email providers like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.
PopupAlly is a free WordPress popup plugin. With built-in advanced features, this lightbox popup plugin allows you to build your list as people are about to exit your website.
IMAGE & GRAPHICS CREATION
Pic Monkey makes creative tools for photo editing and graphic design. This online platform has everything you need to make your ideas come to life — photo editing, collage making, graphic design.
Pablo helps you create beautiful images for social media sharing on every major network, with ideal sizes for Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
Vennagage allows you to create beautiful and engaging infographics quickly with professionally designed infographic templates. Visualize your data and information with charts and text. Enhance your infographic by adding icons and images. Customize your infographic design by changing the fonts and colours.
Pixlr has a very similar interface to Photoshop. This web browser app allows you to create your work in layers, replace colour, transform objects, and more. But all from your browser. No downloads or plugins are required.
PhotoPin is a free tool that helps bloggers and designers find beautiful photos with Creative Commons licensing. Download the photos and get attribution links already embedded.
Pixabay is the holy grail of free stock photo sites with over 270,000 images uploaded from different users. It is basically ShutterStock without having to pay. Licenses vary depending on the photographer.
Picjumbo has an extensive collection of high-res images for use with any web, commercial or personal application. Their photos cover a number of different categories, so it is worth checking out if you’re stuck for images. There is also a premium option that gives you access to even more photos.
JÉSHOOTS is a great place to go for colourful lifestyle images. If you are looking for food or nature related photos, you might just be able to find the right picture you are looking for.
Death to the Stock Photo is an email subscription-based service that sends you free stock photos every month. They are mostly made up of general lifestyle shots. They also feature a premium service that gives you access to more photos each month and access to past photos online.
WOCinTech is a Flicker photo album with free, high-resolution photos of women of colour in technical backgrounds, spaces, and work environments.
Evernote can help you keep all of your content ideas, topics, research, lists and notes organized. You can keep unique notebooks for all of your projects and collect notes, images, and reminders within that notebook. Plus it syncs from desktop to laptop to phone.
Dropbox keeps all your files safe, synced and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.
Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator is a great tool to use whenever you are stuck on topics to blog about. Fill in the fields with terms (preferably nouns) that you’d like to write about, and they’ll come up with a week’s worth of relevant blog post titles.
Content Calendar is a super-simple excel doc that will help you create, organize and manage your blog content. Join the See Girl Work community and get access to our blog editorial calendar template. It’s the very same template that we use to create and manage content for the See Girl Work blog.
FreshBooks is a cloud accounting software. Track your billable hours, client tasks and expenses. With Freshbooks, you can create project quotes and accept Paypal, credit cards and direct bank deposits.
Timely is perfect for freelancers and collaborative teams. It allows you to schedule and track the time you’re allocating for different tasks for yourself and each client.