Have you ever wanted to sneak into your favorite blogger’s computer and see what tools and programs he/she uses to make her website look so awesome? Well, I have. And I’ve stalked other bloggers trying to find the best, easiest, and inexpensive tools. So this is my blogging toolbox. Every single one of these websites are bookmarked on my status bar because I use them frequently. Are there some that I’m missing? Send me a message on Twitter and I’ll add it to the list!
- Favicon Maker: If you have a headshot or symbol you want to use for your website, import it into the Favicon maker and download the file (it’ll be a .cc file). All you have to do is upload that onto your server (some themes allow you to upload it via the WordPress dashboard).
- Image-Map: Have an image or picture you want to be clickable in different spots? Use the image-map tool after you’ve uploaded the file to your media library. It’ll spit out some code you can use in a widgetized area (it will not work in a post or page since the html gets screwy).
- Grab my Button Generator: Want to make a badge but don’t know how to write the html with that cute little box underneath it? Use the generator to make the code. It’ll do all the heavy lifting for you.
- PicMonkey: Most bloggers know about this tool, but if you don’t, you’re missing out. It’s a free image editor and collage maker. Doctor up all your images before you post or create a new header! There is a premium version for $4.95 a month that unlocks extra goodies.
- Infographic tools: If you don’t have time to spend in Photoshop, utilize a free infographic tool to create compelling images on your blog post. Infographics are easily shareable images that contain a lot of content in a small space.
- Write or Die: Having trouble getting that first draft out? Write or Die will force you to write…or it erases your content! You set the speed and rules of the game, and then you’d better start writing.
- Hootsuite: Use it to schedule all your social media blasts, and shorten URL links for more effective tweeting. I wrote a beginner’s guide if you aren’t familiar with the program.
- Click to Tweet: Do you ever have a catchy phrase in a post that you wish people would tweet out? Click to Tweet makes it easy to do it! For example…
“Fabulous Blogging taught me about Click to Tweet!” <Tweet This Now>
- GTMetrix: For people who are concerned with speed and performance, use GTMetrix to test the load time of your pages. It’ll give you reasons why your site is running slowly, and if you’re so inclined, long detailed instructions on how to fix it.
- Sucuri: You should always have a strong password and a backup plugin in case of malware attacks (there are various other hardening methods, plugins, etc. that are too techy for this post), but if you notice something funny on your site, run it through Sucuri’s free malware check. It’ll tell you if your site has been infected.
- Canva: A brand new fun and free graphic design tool for blogs, presentations, and more!
- PhotoPin: A great source for free images.
- FontSquirrel: A great source for free fonts, along with a webfont kit generator.
- Google + Hangouts: I’ve included this in the list because if you are a blogger who likes to do tutorials, the G+ hangout software will stream your broadcast live right onto YouTube.
- Design-Seeds: If you need any help with color selection, look no further than design-seeds. You’ll be amazed at the gorgeous color combinations available to breathe new inspiration into your blogging.
- EverNote: Keep track of your latest ideas and thoughts with EverNote. It syncs up via your phone and computer. Never lose a potential blog post again!
- Pinterest: You may think of it as a traffic driver to your blog, but Pinterest is quickly becoming my go-to social platform to find content to share and expand upon. Start using it as a visual Google search and you’d be amazed at what you find!
- Velvet Blues: This WordPress plugin is a must-have if you are migrating from Blogger to WordPress. It will globally update your permalinks once you are live with a new site. This is one of my favorite plugins of all time!
- MailChimp: Free up to 2000 email addresses, you can create beautiful newsletters and capture email addresses on your blog to build your email list.
- Blog Topic Tool: If you have an idea for a post, but just need a little help fleshing out the idea (and coming up with a title), try the topic generator. It asks for three nouns and then spits out five different ideas with great post titles.
- Pinterest Widget Builder: Embed your Pinterest boards and pins into blog posts to create more cross traffic between both your blog and your pinterest account (it must be a business account).
- WhoIs.Net: If you want to check on a domain name you’re interested in (but it currently taken), or if you want to double check that your private information is hidden from the public, the whois lookup will allow you to check!
- DNS Pingdom Test: This is a handy and free tool if you are moving your blog and have had to change nameservers. They take up to 48 hours to propagate and this will help you see its progress.
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