This page contains a list of the best tools for blogging and running an online business. To help you find the best tools for the job, I’ve included only those that I love and can confidently recommend.
In the spirit of full disclosure, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that I may receive compensation as a “thank you” for referring you, if you purchase through my links.
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My blog is hosted by Siteground and I could not be happier with them! The main reason I love Siteground is their 24/7 live chat support, which is a “must have” for me. They also answer the phone immediately if you prefer to call.
Every support rep that has helped me has been so patient and willing to answer any and all of my questions. They will also assist with technical tasks that aren’t so easy if you’re not comfortable making changes to the backend of your website. Even if they have a tutorial, they will usually make the changes for you.
The WordPress theme that I use on this blog is Extra by Elegant Themes. I had a custom child theme on Genesis before I started using Extra and I just could not understand how to use the customization options. If you’ve heard of Divi, Extra is another theme from the same company. I love how easy it is to showcase multiple blog categories on any page of your website. It’s perfect if you blog about multiple topics and it uses the Divi page builder. You can use the “classic” Divi Builder or the Visual Builder. Both are super easy to use, and you can make both your pages and your posts look exactly the way you want them to!
You might not think of images as a tool but having gorgeous photos on your blog or website is a must! My go-to resource for beautiful and affordable stock photos is Ivorymix. Every single month, Kayla sends an email with a link to free stock photos. And with the super affordable VIP membership, I get 100+ new photos every month. Most of the photos you see on this site are from Ivory Mix.
When I need a specific image for a blog post or a pin (instead of a styled image), I get it from Depositphotos.com. Stock photos can be expensive, but Depositphotos has two affordable options. Their flexible plan is just $29 per month for 30 high-res photos every month and additional images are only $1 each. The other way to get affordable stock photos from Depositphotos is to get on AppSumo’s mailing list and be on the lookout for their 100 photos for $49 deal that they offer from time to time, which works out to just 49 cents each.
The email service that I use now is Kartra. I also using Kartra for opt-in forms, email sequences and landing/squeeze pages. The thing that you should know about Kartra is that it is an all-in-one platform that includes done-for-you campaigns, a page builder for squeeze pages and landing pages, a funnel builder, tagging and email sequences, shopping cart/checkout functionality, membership sites, analytics, affiliate management and more! I’ve used other tools for most of these things and as you can imagine, the cost can really start to add up. If you plan to monetize your bog, I highly recommend you check out Kartra.
I use Social Warfare to get my content shared on social media. The main advantage of Social Warfare over other social sharing tools is the ability to upload a Pinterest-sized image and a Pinterest description containing Pinterest keywords. You can also choose the image and text that will be used when users share your content onto Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Podia is a platform I use to create, host and sell digital products (like my fill-in-the-blank email templates) and courses (like my free MailerLite Masterclass and my Blog Biz Shortcuts package). I love that you can literally create a product, add your content and start selling in a matter of hours. For a simple digital download, it would take even less time. Podia also has built-in affiliate management and the ability to set up and host memberships, all with zero transaction fees and unlimited everything.