So here we are in March already of 2020. Are you on track to smash your goals so far? I kinda am. I’ve been learning new strategies and applying some of the new blogging tools I’ve come across recently and want to share them with you here.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times: blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. I see so many people in groups saying “I want to make money online fast”. Well good luck with that. Nothing in the blogging world happens fast.
Patience and persistence is required. If you don’t have either of those you’re doomed from the start.
Is blogging easy?
Hell no but it’s a poop ton of fun. Well I think so anyway. For me the challenge and reward is learning new things and applying said things to my online business. So much of it is trial and error. Throw in a few expletives and away you go!
Blogging is not easy. It requires a lot of work and a lot of research. Things change constantly (i.e. Google algorithms and Pinterest) and you need to stay on top of these changes. It can be frustrating but every time, you learn something new.
Knowing when to invest in your business
You gotta pay to play.
Ask any blogger out there and they will all tell you the same thing. It’s super important to invest in your blogging business, even if that just means you buy a little affordable eBook. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on something and got little out of it.
I’ve also spent $37 on a small eBook and it was jam packed full of all kinds of great little blogging tools.
It truly can be frustrating but I have learned one very important thing in my blogging journey. Find 2-3 really successful bloggers you know love and trust and buy their products. That’s all I do now. I won’t buy anything from anyone unless one of my 2-3 bloggers who I follow recommends it.
Yes sometimes we waste money on things that just plain and simply suck. It happens. I’ve done it many times. But I don’t anymore.
I have my 3 peeps who I follow faithfully and will buy the blogging tools they put out because I know they are amaze-balls.
They are Tracie Fobes, Debbie Gartner and Mike Pearsons. I love their no nonsense and genuine approach to all things blogging. It took me awhile to find them but I’m so glad I did!! My blogging and my online business has soared in so many ways.
So before you spend thousands of dollars on courses and eBooks that promise to deliver, find a few super amazing bloggers to follow and see what they are creating, promoting and buying themselves.
So without further ado, let’s get to the blogging tools I love, use and would highly recommend to anyone who is either just starting out or simply looking for a good course/product/eBook/etc to help explode their business, increase website traffic and….make more money!!
13 Cost Effective Blogging Tools to Help You Smash Your 2020 Goals
Before we get into the must have blogging tools I should mention a few things first. I feel it’s important to try to find good blogging groups to join that offer valuable information. I generally try to stay away from share threads in these groups as I feel I could use my time more effectively other ways.
My most favourite Facebook blogging group is Blogger Education Network. This group is spearheaded by Tracie and Debbie is a moderator in there. Both are super helpful and a wealth of knowledge combined.
Another good Facebook group is BTOP Ultimate Blogging Group. The admins are also super awesome and highly successful.
Find one or two groups, ask questions, stay involved and learn stuff!!
Let’s get on with this…
In no particular order of importance, here are the blogging tools I highly recommend!
Please note these are affiliate links so if you make a purchase I make a commission-affiliate disclosure.
No point in blogging if you know nothing about SEO. I was totally clueless up until about a year ago and I’m still learning. You’re always learning and tweaking. But SEO is so important to your online business growth and to help increase website traffic.
Below are my favourite SEO tools:
I don’t know how I lived for so long without this book!! This is Debbie’s and it’s mind blowing. The tips and tricks she shares are powerful. After applying some of her tips to my new blog (this one) this is what happened to one of my posts.
That’s top spot on Google baby! Can you imagine my surprise and delight?! Ooph. So ya, her book is that powerful! Grab it. You won’t be sorry.
Another amazing SEO course is from Mike Pearson. Though it’s not really cost effective it certainly is worth every penny. And if it’s in your budget then why not!
Mike is so down to earth and so helpful. This course only opens up a few times a year so at the very least, get on the wait list to grab it. He doesn’t miss a beat and goes into so much detail. Applying some simple tips from this course have helped many of my older posts on my other site (Amazing Me Movement) hit page 1 on Google.
I think he may even have a payment plan (but I could be wrong).
Another good one by Debbie. Backlinks are just as important in growing your online business. I really love Debbie’s books because she speaks in plain English. So easy to understand. And if you have any questions about anything, just email her or hop on over to the Blogger Education Network Facebook group and ask her in there.
You also have the option of buying both her books as a bundle deal. Here’s the link for that and I would highly recommend getting both anyway! With the bundle you get $20 off and that’s pretty damn good!
Here are a few of my absolute favourite blogging courses and eBooks. Yes I have bought them all and highly recommend them! ( I told ya I bought a lot of courses and eBooks :p)
Tracie Fobes is my go to girl here for my blogging courses. She’s just…omg I love her to the moon and back. She’s like your best friend you never knew you had. True story.
The following courses and eBooks I’ve purchased have helped me wrap my head around a lot of things blogging that I simply couldn’t quite get. Filled with bite size pieces of valuable information, these resources will help you take your blogging and productivity to a whole new level.
Trust me on that.
The most important thing with working from home is trying to stay on track and reach your daily goals. Even if you work full time outside of the home your blogging time at home is limited. Tracie’s got you covered.
I had no kind of daily planning in any way shape or form. To say my daily routine was a mess is an understatement. Tracie’s planner was just what I needed to make the most from my blog and my time. It’s super cost effective and worth every damn penny!
Do you have your blog and site details and direction mapped out already? Did you know that you need to do that? Ya I had no clue until I bought this course. WOW! So many little things that I totally was not doing and had no idea I should have been doing.
This amazing course leaves on blogging stone unturned. Everything from deciding on a blog name, to selecting a theme, setting up your site and writing good content! This is a powerful must have blogging tool for beginners.
Understanding the graphs and numbers and charts has always been a struggle for me. I hardly knew what any of them meant. As long as they were growing I was happy. But there’s so much to know about your blog and Google analytics.
This course breaks it all down so you can apply actionable steps to increase website traffic and help your online business grow.
Yes you can read a blog on analytics or ask some questions in a group but you won’t get all the answers you need that are easy to understand. This course breaks it down bit by bit so you won’t be left with even more questions!
And two more from Tracie before we move on to other blogging tools that are absolutely essential to grow your business.
If you’ve already been blogging for awhile you are probably at the stage now where you want to monetize. Whether it be ads, creating and selling your own products or affiliate links, making money online with your site shouldn’t be so hard, right?
These last two courses by Tracie have got you covered! Both, again, amazing.
I’m not quite done both courses yet but omg the stuff I’ve learned so far. I’ve already got a million ideas swimming around in my head for my next product and I can’t wait to start creating!
Other important and random blogging tools
So if you’re already blogging and desperately trying to grow your website traffic you should already know sharing your stuff and getting it in front of the masses is kinda important. Other things like web hosting and ad agencies are important too.
Let’s talk about ads first and then move on to the other blogging tools I feel are important and essential for your blog growth.
Like most bloggers I started with Google Adsense and when my traffic increased I switched over to Ezoic. I love Ezoic for many reasons but the number one reason is that they pay me way more than Mediavine did. I know, shocker right? But it’s true. I’m considered a rare case.
I tested out Mediavine for 3 months and my earnings bombed so Ezoic was happy to have me back. Phew!
You only need 10,000 page views to apply where with Mediavine you now need 50,000. I’d suggest applying anyway while you work your way up to 50,000 if Mediavine is your ultimate goal. No sense in making peanuts with Google Adsense when you could be making some decent ad revenue while waiting for the next level up.
There are many other ad agencies out there but in my opinion starting out with Adsense is fine, moving up to Ezoic is great and then Mediavine may be a hit or miss. AdThrive is also an amazing ad agency but you need 100,000 views to get there.
I’ve recently applied to AdThrive and been accepted (for my other site) but I will wait for them to do a site analysis before switching over.
Hosting is a monumental part of your site. Without a good host, you’re doomed. I was with Siteground for the longest time and loved them but as my site grew I needed more features and security while being affordable. I am now with Bigscoots and love them too.
Don’t cheap out on hosting. I hear so many horror stories from bloggers about how their site crashed and there was no help or support from their hosts. This is where you really need to do some investigating and spend the extra few dollars for a good host.
Remember your site is your baby and all your hard work is in there. You don’t want to risk losing it because you were too cheap to buy a good hosting package (sorry not sorry but that’s the truth).
Sharing and connecting
You have to share your stuff, right? I mean you want people to see what you’re reading and creating. The first and most important thing to do is find out where your peeps are. This will take some testing. I discovered my peeps weren’t on Twitter or Instagram. No sense in spending time on platforms if all your raving fans aren’t on them.
Test and test some more. This will take some time, yes, but it will save you a poop ton of time in the end.
Which brings us to Pinterest.
When I first started Pinterest I was absolutely clueless as to what the heck I was doing. I had an account, I think 4 boards and no pins. Nudda. Then a friend said, “Iva, start using Pinterest”. I went back over there and it all looked way too scary for me but I took the leap and started learning.
In December of 2017 I dove in headfirst to try to figure out this behemoth. This is what happened after I started applying some tools I learned. This was one month in.
Pretty cool right? I was determined to master this beast and I spent hours upon hours making pins and learning all I needed to know (though you’re never done learning anyway).
After a few months in, this is what happened.
Here’s from January to May of 2018.
A little over two years in now and I have over 130K followers, always over 10 million monthly viewers and my website traffic increased so much I was able to apply for AdThrive.
I wrote a Pinterest guide (and it’s just been updated March of 2020) to show you all the tips tricks and things I did to make my Pinterest account and website traffic increase.
Pinterest is my #1 source of traffic right now with organic traffic and referral traffic following a close second and third.
You need to share your stuff. You can do it all manually but that gets tiresome after awhile and a total waste of your precious time when you can just schedule all your pins and posts through one super awesome blogging tool, Tailwind.
The one thing I love about Tailwind is not only that it’s affordable but also in Tailwind you can join tribes and get your eyes in front of way more people by others sharing your stuff!
You gotta love that!
More sharing stuff
You’ve heard it a million times I bet ” the money is in the list”. I’ll be honest. I didn’t know what they meant until I started growing my email list and connecting with people that way. The money really is in the list. They weren’t kidding.
So you need an email list and an email provider. I started out with Aweber and they were decent enough but I recently switched over to Mailerlite and they rock my world.
SO friggin easy to use. It’s simple and they have awesome email features that I absolutely love. I’ve grown my list by over 2000 subscribers since switching over 6 months ago. Make sure you create a simple but valuable freebie for people so they want to bang that subscribe button.
One of my optins for my other site is literally just a pretty pdf with 15 life changing affirmations. It took me less than an hour to make it and poof! People sign up for it.
I used to be a big fan of Picmonkey. Now you gotta pay to play over there and while the monthly fee is low, it’s good for basic pin and image creating and editing. I’ve since switched over to Canva. I find them super easy to use and they have all the tools I need to make stunning pins and quote posters for my Facebook page and for my Pinterest account as well. I also love their video creating tool too!
Many people use Canva and they are still an awesome tool. You can use both for free but I use the paid version of Picmonkey which is under $10 a month because it just has more features that I love and use often.
A summary of all the best blogging tools to rock your business
So let me wrap this up for you and put all the links here for you again in one little easy block. These are all the tools I’ve used to take my dismal blog from 0 to wow!! I absolutely don’t recommend anything I haven’t tried or used first.
If you have any super cool blogging tools you’ve been using that are out of this world amazing please share down below!!
Blogging can be frustrating and exhausting yet rewarding and fun. Knowing that you are armed with all the right blogging tools is crucial for your success.
Please don’t forget to hit that Share or Save Pinterest button!