So, I know that blogging tools don’t quite fit into my emergency preparedness niche. However, I’ve learned so much through the process of building this site that I’d like to share my insights and recommendations with any other potential bloggers.
Creating this blog (in the middle of a pandemic) has been quite a journey. I have tried a lot of tools, made LOTS of mistakes, and learned a ton along the way. The result of that journey is this list of my favorite blogging tools.
I currently use every single tool on this list to run this site and I consider all of them to be vital. Interestingly enough, I discovered most of them after being unhappy with a competing product. So, you should know that a lot of hands-on research has gone into curating this list. I hope you find these tools helpful!
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. However, I only recommend products, services, and companies with which I have had experience and that I believe will be valuable to my readers. I really appreciate you using these links as they allow me to run this blog and provide free content to my readers. Read the complete Disclaimer.
My Favorite Blogging Tools
I wish I had discovered Cloudways sooner! Unfortunately, I started off with a different company that provides shared hosting. However, I soon learned that the single most important factor for website speed is good quality hosting. So, I signed up for a free test on Cloudways’ managed cloud hosting platform. It was so much faster that it blew my mind! I immediately switched my hosting and I have been so happy with their service ever since. If you are serious about starting a website, then you seriously need to consider Cloudways for your website hosting.
ConvertKit is more than just an email marketing system. Their emphasis is on being an "audience building platform for creators." With ConvertKit I can quickly create custom forms and landing pages for my site, create complex automations and tagging for organizing my contacts, sell digital products, and manage my email subscriber list. I have been very happy with their product and highly recommend them as an email marketing provider!
I love using SEMrush! I've tried all the major SEO toolkits and chose SEMrush because it gives me the most value for my money. With SEMrush, I get over 20 different tools for managing my SEO, content marketing, PPC, and social media. If that wasn't enough, I've also taken just about every training course they offer in their SEMRush Academy. I highly recommend SEMrush for any website owner!
Elementor Pro is my absolute favorite WordPress page builder! And it is the world’s most popular one as well. Its extensive toolset is intuitive to learn so I can focus on being creative while still maintaining the proper technical requirements. In fact, I constructed every aspect of this website from the ground up with Elementor’s Pro version using their Hello theme. And this was without any prior website design or development experience. I honestly could not imagine building my website without it. I highly recommend it for anyone using WordPress!
Rank Math is the most complete suite of WordPress Search Engine Optimization tools for your website. With over 15 customizable modules, Rank Math is a powerful all-in-one solution for traditional SEO, image SEO, local SEO, and e-commerce SEO. Among its many valuable features are some of my favorites, including advanced SEO analysis, bulk editing options, google analytics integration, rank tracking, schema generation, and seamless integration with Elementor. All this comes in a clean and straightforward user interface that is easy to set up. It practically configures itself! I highly recommend Rank Math for anyone who wants to optimize their WordPress website.
Do you feel the need for speed? Website user experience is all about site speed. And WP Rocket has been the answer for me! WP Rocket is a comprehensive WordPress caching plugin loaded with advanced features to increase your site’s performance. However, it is still beginner friendly enough to setup in under 5 minutes. These days website caching is essential for every website and, as far as I am concerned, WP Rocket is the best tool for the job!
Perfmatters is a WordPress performance plugin designed to speed up your website. It can be used either independently or as a compliment to a caching plugin. What makes Perfmatters different is that it focuses on removing unnecessary code, disabling unused plugins, and reducing HTTP requests. This results in decreasing the bloat in your website code and increasing the speed. While it has a multitude of cool features, the centerpiece of the program is its Script Manager which allows you to selectively deactivate plugins and scripts on a page-by-page basis. I highly recommend Perfmatters to make any WordPress website lean, clean, efficient, and fast!
MonsterInsights makes analytics effortless! Getting accurate analytics is critical for any successful website. MonsterInsights is a powerful and user-friendly Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It is easy to set up and requires no coding. But once installed, it will show you insightful information about your site right from your WordPress dashboard. You will be able to see exactly how visitors interact with your site. Plus, their technical support is awesome. In my opinion, MonsterInsights is the best analytics plugin and a must-have tool for any WordPress website!
“Save early, save often!” This old techie saying is even more true when building a website. So much work goes into building your website and having a regular backup system in place is critical to protecting yourself. Additionally, with WordPress, themes, page builders, and plugins all being constantly updated it is very easy for bugs and conflicts to develop on your site overnight. That’s why I love UpdraftPlus! Its automatic backup feature will automatically backup your site before any update. Personally, this plugin has already saved me several times and is well worth the price. UpdraftPlus is my website emergency plan and I wholeheartedly recommend it for any website!
Lasso is a WordPress plugin that lets you add, manage, and display your affiliate links from any program, including Amazon. It gives you the control to easily create and edit your affiliate links in a variety of attractive displays. And it will even help you increase your conversions by looking for new link opportunities. In addition, it is very easy to set up and offers excellent customer support.
Smart Slider 3 is a powerful WordPress plugin for creating beautiful sliders. I chose Smart Slider after researching multiple slider plugins for speed, efficiency of code, responsiveness, SEO optimization, and intuitiveness. And since I've been using it, I have been very happy with my choice. I recommend Smart Slider for anyone looking for a WordPress slider plugin.
Instagram Feed from Smash Balloon is the best way to add an Instagram feed to your website! It allows you to add multiple Instagram feeds to your website and customize exactly how they look. It is responsive, simple to set up, and always reliable. However, my favorite feature is that it optimizes and caches your Instagram images to speed up loading times. Smash Balloon really does a great job with their plugins and I can’t recommend them enough!
Who doesn't love a good online quiz? Quizzes are great lead generators while also providing users with a fun and engaging experience. Interact is a great tool for creating online quizzes that drive traffic to your website. They've made it easy to get started designing a quiz, hosting it on your site, and connecting it to your email marketing provided. Interact is a win-win and I highly recommend giving it a try.
Premio makes a whole bunch of really useful WordPress plugins that make my life easier. I currently use their "Folders" and "WP Sticky Sidebar" plugins. Their plugins haved worked great for me and I highly recommend them.
Premium Addons for Elementor is one of my favorite add-on packages for Elementor. I love how the 50+ widgets give me so many creative options, look stylish, and allow me to add a very high-end feel to my pages. I like that it comes with a nice mix of useful widgets like premium buttons, headings, and dividers along with more complex tools like parallax, scrolling tools, and particles. Yet, all the widgets are still very user friendly and their technical support is excellent. I think Premium Addons is a great addition to any Elementor site.