The Best Website Tools for new bloggers who want results in 2022

A list of the blogging tools and resources I'd recommend to my best friend if she were a mompreneur

You don't have money to waste on podcasting or blogging tools

You can save money by doing it all yourself, right? 

Yes to the first statement, and no to the question that followed it.

You say you want your family to come first – but to do that, you have to use your time efficiently.  You can’t spend every waking minute on your blog or podcast. You can’t:

  • Refuse to spend any money on helpful tools AND
  • Put your family first

You have to Invest in the right blogging or podcasting tools and resources

While you should not waste money on podcasting or blogging tools, you should invest money into certain tools that will save you time and give you a quick financial return on investment.  This will allow you to grow your blog much quicker (both your income and impact) AND still give your best to your family.

I know what you’re thinking:

  • How do you know which tools are money pits and which tools will actually speed up your results as a podcaster/blogger?

Good news is:

  • Today, I’ll use my 12+ years of experience as a blogger + podcaster to tell you which tools are actually worth the investment of your valuable money so you can invest your valuable time with your family.

What you won't find in this list of Podcasting/Blogging Tools:

  1. You won’t find tools I don’t use myself.  
  2. You won’t find tools I don’t like, but could make a lot of money telling you to use.  You may actually be surprised by the things I don’t recommend that you see on other “best blogging tools” lists.
  3. You won’t find multiple options for each and every tool.  I keep things simple by not listing every option under the sun. 
  4. You won’t find free tools that require you to spend more time.  While many of the tools I recommend are free, I don’t recommend things just because they are free – they also have to save you time.  Time is not renewable.  You invest money into your businesses, but you spend time.  All tools I recommend (even the free ones) will help you spend less time on routine tasks so you can spend more time on actions that will have true impact on your influence and income.

disclaimer

I am an affiliate for many of the tools I list below.  This means that if you do choose to purchase that tool, I will earn a small commission.  This does not result in any increased cost to you.  In fact, it sometimes results in a decreased cost. I choose to be an affiliate only for products I love – products I can answer questions about because I use them regularly.

All affiliate links are clearly marked as such.  If it is not marked as an affiliate link, I am not an affiliate for that company – but I’m recommending them anyway just because I think they will be of value to you.  You can see my full affiliate disclosure here.

The best way to be successful in business is to put the needs of those who trust you ahead of your own

If I’m helpful, I’m sure you’ll pay me back somehow – you always do.  You may not pay me back by buying a blogging tool I recommend.  And that’s okay.

Maybe you’ll tell someone about my site. Maybe you’ll share this post on social media. Maybe you’ll comment and share an additional resource you love. Maybe you’ll link to this post on your own website. 

I know this – helping YOU is the best way for my business to be successful.

Quick Blogging/Podcasting Tools Reference List:

If you don’t need to know all the reasons why I recommend certain website/blogging tools and just want quick links, here you go!  If you purchase a tool with the word “affiliate” after it, I will earn a small commission.  More details here

Website Basics:

Design Your Website:

Legal:

Planning Content:

Writing Content:

Images & Graphics:

  • Deposit Photos (affiliate) – basic stock photos
  • Ivory Mix (affiliate) – beautiful stock photos
  • Canva (affiliate) – online design tool
  • Smartmockups (affiliate) – creating images of your digital products

All Things Email:

Social Media:

  • Tailwind (affiliate) – schedule Pinterest/Instagram
  • Smarterque (affiliate) –  Schedule everything else
  • Social Warfare (affiliate) – make your website articles sharable

Creating Video:

Podcasting:

Making Money:

Help/Support:

Fivver (affiliate) – logos, jingles, video etc

Ask Me Anything – submit a question, get a video answer

Tech School – WordPress tutorial videos

Ready To Get into the details?

For easier readability, I have divided the tools and resources up by phases. For example, if you’re past the point of getting your site online, simply scroll down to the phase that applies to your business.

Getting Your Site Online

Step 1: Purchase Your Domain

Your first step will be to choose a business name and a url (aka domain) to go along with that. (a url or domain is your online “address.” Mine is DesignedWithGoodness.com)

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

I recommend Google Domains (affiliate) for domains for the following 2 reasons:

  1. They provide free domain privacy. Without it lot of marketers will have access to your email and phone number.
  2. They don’t raise the cost of your domain the 2nd year.

Step 2: Purchase Your Hosting

Now you need to purchase a “plot of land” for the address (domain) you’d eventually like to build your website (house) on. Online, a “plot of land” is called a host.

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

I recommend managed WordPress hosting (meaning a company who only hosts WordPress websites).  I believe a quality host to be worth the investment. The quality of your host determines so many things.

Remember the “wise man built his house upon a rock” and “the foolish man built his house upon the sand” You wouldn’t build your house on sand would you?  I promise that investing in a quality host will pay you back financially.   First, you’ll spend far less time on the tech stuff.  You’ll also spend less time fighting hackers.  Your site will be faster so you’ll have more visitors stay.  I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point!

I recommend:

WPMUDEV (affiliate)  This is who I use.  The hosting itself is top notch – your website will be fast and secure and you will always have access to a recent backup copy in case something happens.  In addition, their hosting is one of the easiest to navigate and use.

But WPMUDEV stands out against other hosts for two reasons:

  1. It comes with free support not just for your hosting but for any tech issue you have with your WordPress site. 
  2. It comes with additional bonuses (called plugins) that will make your website faster than any other host.

Step 3: Setup WordPress

DO NOT PURCHASE/ create an account at WordPress.com

Your host will install WordPress FOR you!  They should also provide you with a username and password to log into the admin side of your WordPress website.

Step 4: Install a Theme

If you compare building a website to building a “house,” WordPress is the framing, roof and doors.  The site is there, but it doesn’t look like much.

A Theme is what applies colors, fonts, and style to your website.

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

If you want FULL control over the design of your website (the finish work that covers the framing and makes your “house” look nice), I suggest using the free Astra theme paired with the Elementor Pro (affiliate) plugin.

For just $49 / year, this will allow you to design your website in a fully drag and drop manner.  SO SO worth it.  

Step 5: Make Your Site Fast

While this blogging tool is not mandatory, I believe it is essential for new bloggers who want results for 2 main reasons:

  1. Fast websites turn up more in search results.
  2. People stay on fast websites longer.
WHAT I RECOMMEND:

If you signed up with WPMUDEV (affiliate) for your host, they have a fantastic plugin that does this for you. 

If you went with a different host, I recommend WP Rocket plugin (affiliate). 

Design Your Website

All WordPress themes are very difficult to fully customize without being a code wizard. Since hiring a code wizard to fully customize your site to look the way you want it to look is expensive, I believe one of the most important blogging tools you can have is one that allows you to customize your own site without writing code.

The reason I recommend you choose the free Astra theme is because it works perfectly with the #1 blogging tool I recommend – a tool that makes it possible for you to customize every square inch of your website.

Get a Drag and Drop website builder plugin

A plugin is something that you install on your website in addition to your theme that allows you to do something you couldn’t do with just your theme & WordPress alone. 

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

1)I recommend the Elementor Pro Plugin (affiliate).  I have used 7 different drag and drop type page builder plugins and I L-O-V-E Elementor the most.

  • It is more than just a page builder – it allows you to design your header, footer, blog posts, search results, 404 pages and more with the drag and drop system.  You can even set different headers, footers, etc for different pages or remove them altogether on sales / landing pages.  I don’t know of any other tool that does all of this.
  • It includes a drap-and-drop popup builder.  No need to purchase a separate pop up tool for cookie notices, email opt-in popups, coupon code pop-ups etc.  No need to pay extra for this like many bloggers do.
  • The pricing is incredible – just $49 per year!  WAY less than hiring a code-wizard!
  • It works Woocommerce – if you ever want to design a store for your blog.
  • It is FAST – sometimes page builders can slow down your site, but not Elementor.  I’ve tested this extensively on my own site.
  • The support is always spot on.
  • It’s easy to learn the basics thru their detailed tutorials.
  • I offer tutorials for it as part of Tech School and Website with a Purpose

2).If want to DIY a better-than-pretty website without all the tech tears, check out Website With A Purpose. I have created an e-course that walks you through the process step by step and it includes 4 full website templates.

For Your Legal Needs

 

Legal Advice

This is a step that too many of us put off far too long. You want to be legal from the start. Don’t know where to go or what you need? I love this Legal Needs Quiz (affiliate) from a well-respected attorney.

Sales Tax Help

I know, I know. This part is not fun. But, it is essential. Quaderno (affiliate) is my go-to for all things sales tax.

Mailing Address

You don’t want your home address out there publicly, but PO boxes are a pain to remember to go check.  Get a digital PO Box thru Anytime Mailbox (affiliate) instead.

Planning Your Pages and Blog Posts

fyi…if you are a podcaster, you should be subscribing your podcast episodes and adding each one to your website as a blog post!

 

Choose Your Keyword Phrase

If you want your blog posts to be found by search engines you need to pay attention to what people are searching for and then make sure those phrases (keywords) are found in your blog post.

My very favorite FREE keyword tool is Ubersuggest.

  1. Based on the topic you decided to blog about, google something related to that topic you think people might be searching for.
  2. Find a search result from a blog (not a big ‘ol business) that looks interesting to you.
  3. Type the blog’s domain into Ubersuggest.
  4. Scroll down to the botton and you’ll see all the phrases (keywords) that blog turns up in search results for.  Hopefully quite a few of these are related to your topic.  Now you KNOW what phrases people are searching for!  
  5. Choose 3-4 keyword phrases that fit your topic AND get a good amount of search volume.
  6. Type each of those keywords into Ubersuggest and it will tell you how competitive that word is.  You want to find a word with lots of searches that isn’t TOO competitive.

Create a Headline

Arguably, the most important part of your entire article will be your headline. 

Crappy headline?  No one will click to even read your post.  Plan to spend a good chunk of time on your headline.

My favorite tool for creating quality headlines is the free headline analyzer from Co-Schedule.  You do have to sign up for their email list to gain access, but the tool is worth it!

  1. Type in a title you think would work for the article you are going to write.  Make sure it includes your keyword phrase!
  2. Keep editing it and changing it up until your score is over 70.

If you need help finding emotional and power words, here are two lists: Emotional Words and Power Words

IMPORTANT – Make sure that when you actually write the post, you deliver on what the headline promised.  No Click Bait!

*Note – I use this tool to create my email subject lines as well.

Brainstorming

If you’re looking to do a serious mind dump and need something to help you keep it organized, try out Mindmeister (affiliate).

Writing your pages and blog posts

fyi…if you are a podcaster, you should be subscribing your podcast episodes and adding each one to your website as a blog post!

 

Write Your Blog Post for a HUMAN

Now that you have a general topic, a keyword phrase that you know people are searching for, and a great title, you need to write your blog post.

But before you write for a search engine you need to write for a HUMAN – imagine someone from your target market. Use real language.

FINDING THE RIGHT WORDS

The art of using the “right” words in a book or blog post or anything else that is written is called copywriting.

My very favorite copywriter is Courtney from the Rule Breaker’s ClubHer free tips and videos are jam packed with great info, but if you are considering investing in her workshops and / or courses, they are well worth it!

MISTAKE FREE WRITING

Typos and spelling or grammar errors look unprofessional.

My favorite tool for making sure my writing is error free is Grammarly (affiliate)  It’s a plugin you install on  your browser – NOT your website and I L-O-V-E it.  There is a free version and a paid version.

Optimize Your Post for Search Engines

Now that you’ve finished writing a polished post directed at your target market, you need to optimize it for search engines so that they can find it.

WHAT I RECOMMEND

If you chose to go with WPMUDEV (affiliate) for hosting, they have a great plugin for SEO called Smart Crawl that you can use as part of your membership.

If you are hosting your website with someone else, my very favorite tool  is the Yoast SEO Plugin.  There is a paid version, but I wouldn’t invest in it until you’ve mastered the free version.

Before you check the plugin, go back and see where you can naturally add in your keyword phrase – not too much – just here and there in places that are natural.

Make sure to put it in a heading or two and in your first paragraph if you can.

Now, use the free Yoast SEO plugin to see if there are any other ways you can improve the SEO on that page for that keyword phrase.

Learn all about SEO

While you can find plenty of tips on SEO on social media, blog sites and YouTube, I truly believe you do better when you have an expert guide you through the process.

WHAT I RECOMMEND

I have taken the Stupid Simple SEO (affiliate) ecourse from Pat Flynn and now I’m even having my assistant go through the course. It covers everything from understanding why you should care about SEO to keyword research to seeing what your competitors are ranking for.

Creating images for your site and social media

You may not think of an image as a blogging or podcasting tool – but it is!  A picture is worth 1000 words and getting your images right is essential.  Each blog post you write should have:

  1. A featured image inside of WordPress.  This is the image that will show up on your www.yourdomain/blog page.  
  2. At least one image for Pinterest (though I actually recommend 3-5, more on that in the next tab)
  3. Images for any other social media platforms you use (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc)

There are two steps to this:

1.Finding an actual image

While using images you take yourself is always best – including many images of YOU – stock images also have a place.

I get many stock images from Deposit Photos.  (affiliate).  Their search function is amazing!

I also have a membership to Ivory Mix. (affiliate)  Her search function isn’t as great, but her photos are AMAZING.  She also gives out free stock photos each month.

2.Making that image friendly for the various social media platforms (design)

I LOVE and use Canva (affiliate) to create the graphics I use for social media.  Canva includes hundreds of templates for each social media platform so even if you aren’t great at design, you can simply change the fonts and colors and you’ll have something that will work great.

I also use it to create the various pdf downloads you’ll find on my site as well.

There is a free and a paid version of Canva.  The free version give you access to 8000 templates and 2 folders where you can use 1 GB of storage.

I use the paid because time = money. I can have unlimited folders which helps with organization.  When I’m organized I can create graphics quicker.

I can save all my brand colors and fonts (including custom fonts) and 100 GB worth of graphics.

With the paid version, you also get access to 4 million FREE stock photos, icons and more.  No more hunting for or creating these myself  = saving time.

3. Create images of your digital products using Smartmockups (affiliate). They make it super easy to grab a screenshot of your ebook/ecourse/video/etc and insert it into so many mockups.

All Things Email

Building a quality email list is essential to seeing results as a blogger/podcaster. Your email list is the one list you “own.”

You don’t own the list of those who follow you on Facebook or Pinterest. Social media platforms can – and do – change their algorithms all the time which results in a loss of your followers.

But email is different. People on your list are warm leads (they choose to subscribe and typically have to then confirm that subscription so you know they are interested in what you offer) and you can reach out to them anytime you want or need to without a social media giant deciding which of your posts actually get shared.

Step 1: Create a professional email address

Many (not all) email marketing systems will require you to have an email address through your domain.

But this is smart for other reasons – if you want results from your blog, you need to appear professional – and a custom email address does that.

Don’t settle for yourdomain@gmail.com or yourdomain@yahoo.com. Instead, invest in something like yourname@yourdomain.com or support@yourdomain.com

My email address is Misty@DesignedForGoodness.com

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

I recommend GSuite (affiliate). Not only can you create your own custom email address for $6 / month, but GSuite (affiliate) comes with a whole slew of other tools you may find useful.  Plus, your inbox is just like a gmail address – and I love they way gmail is set up with folders etc.  Last, Gsuite is super secure.  You do not want your email to get hacked.

 

Step 2: Choose an email marketing platform

You can’t send emails to hundreds of people at once from your gmail or yahoo. It’s considered spam.

Instead, you need a email marketing system – a company that is allowed to send out many emails all at once.

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

I recommend Convertkit (affiliate)because they are the perfect mix of easy (enough) to use and yet robust (enough) to create passive income.

Step 3: Create email opt-in forms

Now that you have email marketing platform, you need a way to collect email addresses on your website.

WHAT I RECOMMEND:

I recommend  Elementor Pro. (affiliate) + ConvertKit

Elementor Prol will allow you to design build any beautiful opt-in form you can imagine through a drag-and-drop interface. 

  • A form in the middle of your blog posts
  • A form in your sidebar
  • A popup that shows up when people start to leave your site
  • A popup that shows up when people click on something
  • A bar across the top of your site that follows visitors down

It costs just $49 / year.  That is a crazy good deal – promise.

Inside the Elementor form, you can link it to ConvertKit with just one click – easy peasy.

Other helpful resources

If you’re looking to up-level your email marketing, then these two resources will give you that something extra.

  1. Bonjoro (affiliate) allows you to create a fun video welcome to send to all your email subscribers.
  2. Want to learn the ins and outs from a pro? I really like the Email Marketing Magic Course (affiliate) from Pat Flynn.

Promoting Your Blog Posts/podcast transcripts

Blogging/podcasting isn’t a “build it and they will come” sort of deal.  You have to TELL people your content is out there!

Sure, if you do your SEO right, eventually (months or years later) you will rank in search results and get some passive traffic.  And I am a HUGE proponent of taking the time to get your SEO right.

But social media marketing, while less reliable, can get you traffic much faster (especially Pinterest).  The downside to social media is that it can become SUPER time consuming and drain the joy from what you are doing.  In fact, one reason why many bloggers quit is they can’t stand being on social media 24/7.

#1.  Get a Social Media Scheduler

I solve this by using social media schedulers.  This means I create my social media content for an entire week in one sitting and then the schedulers send it out to my various accounts without me actually having to do so live.

My very favorite blogging tool for scheduling Pinterest pins and Instagram posts is Tailwind. (affiliate)

Not only does Tailwind help me schedule this content, it also:

  • Helps me find quality content to pin to Pinterest from others.
  • Analyzes when the best times are to pin / post for MY audience.
  • Allows me to have multiple links in my Instagram profile (you are typically only allowed 1).

In other words, it is a steal of a deal!

The first 100 pins are free, after that is it $10 / month for Pinterest.  The first 30 Instagram posts are free.  After that it is $10 / month for Instagram.

Need something for all the other platforms you’re on? Then Smarterque (affiliate) is the way to go.

#2.  Get others to share your content on social media.

Social Warfare. (affiliate) is a fantastic plugin for WordPress. With it you can add (and customize) social sharing buttons to each page and post on your website.  When a visitor clicks on one of these buttons, they can easily share it with their friends on social media.

What makes Social Warfare unique is that it allows you to control the image and text that gets shared when those buttons are clicked. This is so essential!  Especially for Pinterest.  Pinterest is a search engine and you want to make sure there are keywords (words or phrases people are searching for) in your pin descriptions.

Creating Video

Video can be a great tool for bloggers.  I use it on thank you pages, welcome pages, to teach how to use various tools and in ecourses.

I’ve also tried a BUNCH of different video hosting platforms and tools.

I have a few favorites that I use regularly:

  1. Loom.  This is free up to your first 100 videos. It allows you to quickly record your screen and / or your face (or both at the same time) and share it or upload it to your own website.  Loom is intuitive and easy to use, but it does not allow you to edit your videos or upload videos.
  2. Searchie (affiliate) is an amazing video host that transcribes your videos and gives you the ability to make them searchable.
  3. Demio (affiliate) is what I use to host my webinars. If you need some help on how to create and market an effective webinar, check out A to Z Webinar Course (affiliate).
  4. Streamyard (You’ll get a$10 credit if you use this affiliate link). If I want my video to have banners and images while I’m talking, I use Streamyard to record it.

Podcasting

Podcasting can be a wonderful option in addition to / or instead of blogging.  If you struggle with perfectionism when writing (like me), and are more comfortable teaching by talking (like me), then podcasting is a fantastic option!

I actually record my podcasts as videos.  I upload the videos to YouTube, the audio to my podcast host and add the transcriptions here on my website as blog posts!


Here are the tools I use to do this.  I will come back and update this with more details soon, but I’m getting this up here asap at the request of a friend.



Descript (affiliate)

I edit all my videos inside of Descript b/c they automatically transcribe them for me and then I can edit them by simply deleting (or even moving) the actual words around.


Buzzsprout (you’ll get a $20 Amazon gift card when/if you start paying if you use this affiliate link)

I use Buzzsprout as my podcast host (meaning Buzzsprout handles the actual files and stores them for me in a way that various podcast apps, like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, can access them automatically).


Fusebox

Fusebox is the podcast player I use on my website – so that people can listen to my podcast even if they don’t have a podcast app.


Powerup Podcasting Course (affiliate)

A step-by-step course to launch a successful podcast that gets found and grows. This is another resource from Pat Flynn – he knows his stuff!

Making Money

There are so many tools and resources available to help you with this part. Everything from helping you create funnels, courses, memberships and so much more. These are the ones I use and love:

  • Accessally (affiliate) – This is a plugin for your website that will allow you to create a course or membership.
  • Cartflows (affiliate) – An All-In-One WordPress funnel builder plugin
  • Have Them at Hello Accelerator (affiliate) – A comprehensive Facebook & Instagram ads training & community
  • 1-2-3 Affiliate Marketing Course (affiliate) – another favorite from Pat Flynn that will teach you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing. This is a 23 video series broken up into modules; go at your own pace.

Help/Support

I know you’re probably hoping that by this point you’re all finished and never have to touch your website again. Not true – Sorry! This is an ongoing thing for all business owners. For those questions that pop up along the way, here are some resources to check out:

  • Fivver (affiliate) is a great resource for freelance help. Everything from logos, jingles, video, etc.
  • Ask Me Anything is where you can ask me questions online and I will get back to you with a video answer. You simply fill out a form and I will show you the how. 
  • Tech School is your go-to resource for all things WordPress. A robust catalogue of tutorial videos to walk you through your tech needs.

Want More Help?

You Might Also Like:

The best website tools for Podcasters and Bloggers who want results in 2022

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