I have learned two things when it comes to selecting tools and products for your blog:
1. Sometimes ‘THE BEST’ is a relative term subject to your situation.
For example, Convertkit may be the best email responder (which I truly experienced it to be) that so many bloggers use and recommend, but after a few months, the bills kept building up as a huge expense on my new blog’s pocket so I had to switch to Mailerlite (my next best option!) up until I could afford to get back to Convertkit. Mailerlite was the best for me when I had absolutely no money.
2. Sometimes you’ll really have no choice but to invest (aka spend money where your second best option will only be to wait till you do have some $$).
I HAVE SPENT $2500+ ON PRODUCTS BUT RECOMMEND ONLY A HANDFUL!!
Personally, I own above 40 paid products/tools that I could earn money with by putting their affiliate links… but I don’t.
That’s not what I’m trying to do here.
Here I am trying to grab you by the arms before you jump into making bloggy investments (with time or money!) and tell you using my own experience what IS worth your attention!!
Know this, that the time and money you DO invest in creating a quality experience for your people will eventually be paid back in the form of your audience’s trust and of course those dolla’ dolla’ bills!!
Disclosure: Some (not all, coz I love you) links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on any of those links and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you, but these are all products/courses/tools I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t researched well and/or personally used.
Price: startup $3.95/mo.
Why this: I refer them for the following three reason.
- They offer free SSL certificates. (You want this for being more authentic in Google’s eyes.)
- People (including myself) swear by their excellent customer service.
- Ever since I moved from Bluehost, my site speed is like vroooooooommm!!!
- If you want to move your site to their hosting, they’ll do the 1st one free for you.
I love how they describe themselves i.e. engineered for speed, built for security, crafted for WordPress. Feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with premium support is what they are most reputed for.
Note: There’s one tiny problem. Their start-up package is suitable for 10,000 visits monthly only and once you cross that, you have to upgrade to the $5.95/mo. package.
Why this: Do this free course by Imarkinteractive so you get the hang of WordPress before you do ANYTHING ELSE on your site. their FB group is great because you ask the kind guy any tech related question or suggestions, he’ll reply you instantly.
They have premium WordPress related services too, which they discount for the course members, in case you’re interested. I was extremely happy with the FB group and the free course, if there’s anyone in the online tech world me and my friends have experienced to be the most TRUSTWORTHY, helpful and kind, it’s Grayson Bell!
Price: Free (Premium Available!)
Why this: Sign up for this free tool to save yourself from most typos and grammatical errors on your blog, social media or in your emails.
I don’t know how I’d survive without it because it’s just so easy to see the red underlined mistakes shown by Grammarly opposed to own worn out mind and tired eyes’ proofreading.
Note: Robots will never beat that human brain you and I got! (Sits taller!)
Sometimes Grammarly does overlook my silly mistakes. While it is not a substitute for natural proof reading but it does do 80% of your work, which isn’t bad.
TRUE FANS’ GROWTH
Price: $ 19
Why this: If you do nothing, just go check out Meera Kothand’s blog at least and you’ll know what you were missing out on. I buy from people who give so much value for free because I’m sure what they give on payment will be a game changer.
This 100+ pg thorough guide will give you the exact mindset, action steps and templates you’ll need for creating an opt-in. Plus she over delivers, you learn to make landing pages too. It’s not theory, it’s all actionable steps.
I have purchased all digital products by Meera Kothand for one reason alone- she has filled info gaps. I haven’t read a perspective like hers anywhere else.
Price: Free 100 Pins – Then $10 – $15/mo.
Why this: A scheduler can save your blogging life some sanity.
This one is the Pinterest approved scheduler that most bloggers use and recommend. Its interface is exceptional, it’s very user-friendly and you can see growth within a week of scheduling your pins. Before moving to it, I asked many bloggers and found the majority using this alone and some using this in combo with Board Booster.
Update: I have now invested in an annual package since it saves money ($10/mo. instead of $15/mo.!) plus the analytics are indispensable for blog growth.
Did you know, Pinterest does not take payments from partners that they approve. They only approve those that comply with their usability and DO NOT approve those that don’t. SO do not use an unapproved scheduler because it definitely means they do something which is unauthorized by Pinterest and will harm your account today or when the time strikes.
(I also love Board Booster, the other popular one too, but I only moved to Tailwind for one and one reason alone, that Pinterest approves them! And that is why even though I joined the latter’s affiliate program, I haven’t linked it – because I don’t use it anymore. If they got approved by Pinterest, I’ll promote them from the roof top because Board Booster is awesome too. Along with many many praises for Board Booster, I have also heard a few stories about Pinterest accounts being suspended. I don’t know the truth of it but I can’t take a risk with mine. And will only recommend you what I did for myself.)
But along with many many praises for Board Booster, I have also heard a few stories about Pinterest accounts being suspended. I don’t know the truth of it but I can’t take a risk with mine. And will only recommend you what I did for myself.)
Update: I have moved to Mailerlite (free up to 1k subs) for now because their landing pages are so good you won’t need Leadpages, plus the cost for Convertkit has gotten unaffordable for me right now, even though they’re the best and most user-friendly if you got some $.
Mailerlite has every major functionality that a simple blogger like me and you can require, but their speed IS a tad bit slower. Nothing beats the ease of use Convertkit provides.
Nothing beats the dummy proof-ness Convertkit provides.
BLOG GRAPHIC DESIGNS
Why this: 100% free tool for designing blog graphics like pinnable images, featured images, sliders, FB, twitter images etc. Especially if you’re not a good designer!
People also praise Picmonkey. I’m a sucker for ease, so I find that one a tad bit complicated, not really so, just a bit. But it offers more functions just so you know.
And if you’re a hopeless case for designing pins, get these 21 beautiful customizable viral pin templates on a price unimaginable. (pay what you like!!!)
Why this: This site will reduce the size of your images. You don’t want to put large images up there which can slow down your site significantly.
Just upload your png and keep reducing the size using this site till your image is below 100kb which is the size you would want your image to have.
Why this: If you have just this, you can make money online, blog or not!
I completed this online course in two days and made my first sale in the first week, mostly because of how late I applied to the affiliate program. Michelle is one of the sweetest bloggers I’ve come across.
At the time of writing, she earned $160.2k! the previous month with the same strategy she teaches in this course.
Her FB community is very beneficial, especially for newer bloggers for all the support offered. She also has a tailwind tribe for her students which is a great growth opportunity for them- being in a tribe with bigger bloggers.
Pssst!! Don’t buy on the full price like me. The course goes on sale a couple times throughout the year and the price goes down to $169. Sign up and I’ll let you know +I offer awesome bonuses of my own too that are offered nowhere else.
Why this: This post I came across is a MUSSSSSTTT read blog monetization journey. The exact details for each month and what worked for the mommy blogger and what failed just blew my mind. Do get your hands on her book Blog by Number on the same topic (usually $17.9, but $10 if you can locate this book on any tripwire offer on her blog!).
BEST BLOGGING ALL ROUNDERS
Why this: Gosh, this bundle opens twice every year for two days only. You’ll find so many blogging e-books and courses at an unimaginable price. When I got mine, it had Productivity Guide by Ruth Soukup (value $97), Building a Framework ebook by Abby Lawson (now available as course value $97), Amy Lynn Andrews’ Knowt Book (value $25), Tasha’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers Course (enrollment currently closed, ebook value $39) and so many other valuable things.
Price: $795 (Enrollment Opens Twice a Year)
Why this: I’m currently enrolled in this course. It’s very expensive but it’s like Ruth’s holding your hand and walking you to your blog success. The mastermind FB community is the best one you’ll find, a very strong and supportive one. The efficacy of Ruth’s own blogs makes her a seven figure income.
The efficacy of Ruth’s own blogs yields her a seven figure income.
WHAT IF YOU COULD PICK ONLY 1…?!
If my own sis started blogging and asked me as a brand new blogger what to invest in (this is the sole parameter against which I test my heart before every product recommendation), keeping the following things in mind:
- ease of use
- the value in return for the money invested
- effect on blog biz growth
I’d recommend putting her money in and making the most out of this. The rest can be substituted with free options until the blog starts paying for itself. THIS E BOOK…
SMART WAYS TO SAVE $ ON YOUR BLOG EXPENSES
- The best times to buy premium stuff is around holidays like Christmas, Cyber Monday etc. That’s when almost everything goes on sale.
- Also, if you can make the extra effort to reach out and email the company when the discounted prices will be available, you might save money. One such email saved me 60% of a $708 animation software!
- If you have time, look for affiliates, sometimes they offer their own premium products for free if you buy through their links. When I signed up for Elite Blog Academy through BusyBudgeter.com, I got her Pinterest Strategy Guide (value $ 139), Core Affiliate Strategy (value $46) and more of her cool premium stuff for free!!
- Don’t buy into the hype and urgency. Check a person by how much value they give out for free. If that makes you happy, then you can be sure to get a good deal for the money you invest.
- You can further read this entire article on how to save money on your blog expenses.
…& THE BESTTEEESTT RESOURCE IN ALL THE WORLD
The best one is absolutely free and you already have it in your control.
Of all things, this is the most important one.
If I don’t have this but own all the rest of the goodies, I stand nowhere.
And so would you.
…This is EXECUTION POWER.
Don’t lose control and focus by disowning this one thing.
Implement what you learn.
Work ‘on’ your blog more than you work ‘off’ your blog.