10 Essential Tools for New Bloggers

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Did you know that MissAdventuresinAdulting.com was not my first crack at blogging? A few years ago, I tried my hand at blogging on a different platform but quickly realized I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and did not have the time to invest in actually figuring it out.  I think I lasted maybe three or four months if that! Fizzling out due to not knowing what to do, seems to be a very common problem in the blogging world.  At the time, I definitely wasn’t ready, but I do wish I had kept the domain up so that I could at least still access the content!

When I decided to finally take the plunge for real a few years later, I still had no idea what I was getting into but at least had the foresight to do a lot of research before jumping fully in. I read article after article about how to start a blog, what all I would need, how much I would need to spend and quickly found myself very overwhelmed!

What I did realize was that if I planned to blog for any kind of income, I needed to treat my blog as my business and my job, which did mean I would need to make a little bit of an upfront investment. While that sounds crazy for something that usually starts out as a hobby for most, if you change your mindset from thinking of the blog as a hobby to a means to build future income, investing a little bit of money into yourself becomes a lot easier to do. I still, by no means, am a pro but thought I might share a little bit about the tools that I’ve found have really helped me get the hang of this whole blogging world!

***As a side note, I did not jump into each of these expenses all at the same time! They have all been carefully spaced out, and I spent time researching each one before I decided to spend money on it! Go at your own pace here, and don’t feel like you need to buy every subscription right away!

Start with the Right Courses

I’m a true believer in the fact that the right education will set you up for success, and that we are never truly done learning! I spent an entire month learning about blogging before I ever hit submit on claiming my domain name, let alone wrote my first post! I took a few free blogging courses and spent the money on a couple of paid courses as well, and quickly found that not all online blogging courses are created equal! Of course, you can never go wrong with free, but there were two paid courses that I wholeheartedly recommend.

1. Blogging Blastoff ~ It’s A Lovely Life

Over and over again in my searches, I found reviews for the Blogging Blastoff course by Heather & Pete Reese. I started by just simply reading their blog, and I loved how they wrote and the content they included. They really seemed to get their audience without pushing or selling something in every single article. I had just exited a sales career, and while I do want to make money on my blog, the last thing I want to do is write post after post directing people to buy something! Their blog spoke to me because it really seemed to have just the right balance.

I started with the Free 5-Day Email Course: How to Start a Money Making Blog, and signed up for the full paid course (both the Blastoff and Travel Blog course) by day three. You can read more about my experience with this particular course here! Their courses will teach you step-by-step, exactly how to your WordPress site (using Bluehost…see below)!

2. Ultimate Bundles

Ultimate Bundles is a unique site that will bundle and sell multiple products together to get you the max value on the subject matter you are after. From time to time they will run a flash sale on their Ultimate Blogging Bundle which is the one that I purchased first. In it was about $1500 worth of product for less than $100! I was able to listen to several successful bloggers speak about all kinds of subjects from setting up your blog, to successful affiliate marketing, and then was able to download an entire guide to walk me through the entire process!

Ultimate Bundles has bundles for all kinds of subjects from getting organized to photography and is really a great resource for someone just starting out! If you join my email list, I’ll be sure to alert you when the Blogging Bundle is available again!W

Now that you’ve studied up, let’s talk Website!

3. Bluehost

Did you know that you cannot just go online, claim a website and get started? Haha! There are literally hundreds of different portals that can host your website for you, and the one that I saw recommended time and again, and the one that I currently use is Bluehost.

Bluehost essentially is the server that you rent your website space though, and is one of the most affordable options out there! Yes, there are free options (where is where I started years ago) but if you’re in this to make any kind of money, or even really gain any kind of following other than your close friends and family, you need to have the right foundation for your website.

Here is where things start to get confusing, once you sign up for Bluehost, then you use their option to set up your website using WordPress (the tool you use to actually build the site). Say what? Isn’t that an extra step? Sure, you could set up your own site and bypass Bluehost, but unless you have a server at home to ensure your site loads adequately, you probably need the help of a site like Bluehost!

Get Organized from the Get-Go!

4. Tailwind App

If you think back to how you discovered 90% of the bloggers you follow, you can probably trace it back to Pinterest. While it is designed to be an ideas board, Pinterest has really become the search engine for bloggers! Like a recipe? The pin takes you to a food blog! See a cool kids printable? That one probably took you to a mommy blogger!

There are millions upon millions of Pins on Pinterest, so how do you make sure yours is shared enough to be noticed? That’s where Tailwind comes in! Tailwind works in two parts to help your pins get noticed. First, it helps you schedule your pins out, and even puts them on a Smart Loops so they’re automatically repinned throughout the year or at seasonal times! You get to pin it and forget it! Second, Tailwind allows you to join communities called Tailwind Tribes! These are groups of people who band together and agree to repin (or share) other’s pins in return for their’s being shared. If I put one pin on a Mom Blogger board that has over 500 members, the odds of that pin being shared by them, then their followers grows exponentially! Tailwind has allowed me to spend about 15 minutes a week scheduling out my Pinterest, and I have seen a huge return on visits back to my blog as a result!

5. CoSchedule

Once you get into blogging, you’ll quickly discover that it can become a full-time job. Even if you took a page out of my book, lost your job and suddenly found all the time in the world to write, you will simply not have enough time to handle everything that can go into managing your blog! As a mom, I essentially have between the hours of 8:00-3:00 every day to not only work on my blog but also take care of all of the household duties as well! I realized that I’m trying to cram a fulltime job into 3 or 4 hours a day! It’s no wonder people hire Virtual Assistants, but if you’re just starting out and paying for all of your set up, can you really afford that too?

When I first got started, I was drowning in the day to day tasks. Then, I had coffee with a friend of mine who also keeps a blog, and she turned me on to CoSchedule! We had been talking about how easy it is to completely lose track of your schedule and forget to set up your pins, or retweet old tweets, or whatever other little tasks you had to get done. In CoSchedule, you can map everything out for your blog, and even prewrite all of your social media posts so they’ll go live while you’re taking care of something else! The more I dig into CoSchedule, the more excited I become about streamlining my blog! They have a Free 14-Day Trial period so if it’s not for you, then cancel before you are billed.

6. Constant Contact

Every experienced blogger will tell you that the one regret they had was not immediately starting with an email list for their subscribers. I almost made this same mistake! I kept thinking, I’m just starting out, who is going to sign up other than my mom? (yes she was my first subscriber). But then the years and years of sales experience got the better of me and I remembered that every time I opened a new community up in new home construction, I started over with an email list at zero. I was never one of those lucky ones who would close a community and move 5 minutes down the road, taking the same network with me. I’d be moved 20 miles away and have to start from scratch ever single time! Sure enough, little by little, that email list always grew and the most effective way I could communicate with all of my prospective clients would be sending an email through my database system!

Constant Contact works with your WordPress and allows you add spots for subscribers to sign up for your email updates! Even if you spend you 6 months only emailing 10 people (that won’t happen, by the way) you’re still letting those 10 people know that you have a new post and to head back over to your blog! You can share your new post on all of your Social Media Networks but we all know that not all of your followers will see that post right away, but they will see your email!

Constant Contact allows you to create email campaigns as often as you want, and can even put your followers into interest categories. I blog about mom life & travel, and if I had a cool travel article I only want to share with people who follow me just for that, Constant Contact would allow me to do so! What’s even cooler, if you use my Constant Contact Link, you’ll get a $75 credit so you can try it out to make sure you love it!

What if I’m not a graphic designer?

Guess what? I know nothing about graphic design, and I still make all of my own graphics. While it does take a little bit of getting used to, I have two go-to apps that I love to use that make creating graphics a breeze! I toggle back and forth, depending on what I am trying to create, as each as their own unique strengths.

Spend some quality time with PicMonkey

7. PicMonkey

PicMonkey is not only a great tool for creating graphics for your post, but it is also a fantastic photo editor in general. You can do everything on this from simply brightening your colors and dropping a few pounds (I know nothing about this, lol) to adding cool effects like pink haze or sun-glows. What I love most about it is that it is extremely easy to use and would

If you look for any successful blogger on Instagram, you’ll quickly notice that every single photo they post is heavily edited! While you cannot expect perfection while you’re just starting out (and let’s face it, how much of that do we really want to see in our feeds anyway? Give me real pics all day), you can enhance your basic photography before posting to help its general appeal. PicMonkey is so easy to use for basic enhancements that even my kids can do it! Eventually, you’ll want to invest in learning something like Photoshop, but when you’re just starting out and learning so much at once, take the easy route on your photos & graphics!

8. Canva

Canva is the other tool I use to create my graphics. It does not have the photo editing capabilities that PicMonkey offers, but I tend to like it’s templates more, especially for my Pinterest content. It has both a free and a paid option. Since I use it not only for blogging but also for the PTA, and my side gigs, I went ahead and went for the paid option allowing access to more templates and stock content.

I always try to use my own photography whenever possible, but sometimes I just don’t have what I need for a particular graphic. Usually, it’s something totally generic like a sunset, or a laptop on a table, that I don’t have and Canva’s paid membership allows access to a great selection of stock photos for this purpose.

Don’t Forget the Tech Gear to Have at Home!

So you’ve signed up for your blog and all your add-ons. Yeay you! But you can’t think you can be successful if you’re always borrowing the computers at the public library! When I started down this path, I realized that a lot of my gear was in need of a serious upgrade. The last laptop I had purchased had been before my six year old was even born! Yikes!

We broke up with Apple years ago, and have never looked back! First, we started with our phones, then tablets, then as we have upgraded our home tech, we’ve been able to sync everything through google & Samsung and it’s amazing! We have found that, for everything we need to do, other products just work better!

9. Smart Phone & Computer

I’m lumping these two together because I’m not techy enough to break down the pros and cons of every phone or laptop out there! All I can tell is what I have and why I love it! If you end up loving it too, awesome!

It is probably pretty obvious, but your computer and smart phone are the two most essential tools for a blogger to have! When you’re first starting out, most of your pictures will probably be captured on your smart phone.

I love my Samsung Galaxy Note 9! It probably has way too many features that I don’t really use, but out of all the phones I have tried, the photo quality from the Samsung phones have all been outstanding! I can stand in the same spot with my phone and my mom’s Apple X phone, take the same photo and mine will look so much better!

Since I sync everything through my google account, I’m also able to access my blog for quick edits or comment replies, or record a brilliant idea in my drafts or Google Docs to be able to pull up later when I get back to my laptop!

When I finally upgraded my laptop, I started reading up on what all the other bloggers were using and landed on HP. We had always had Dell but I wasn’t ever really wild about them. Yall, I LOVE this laptop! For someone who is not at all into tech, my laptop is one of my favorite things ever! The screen is large enough for me to really get into photo editing, and also to see all of my options as I’m writing! It’s super fast, and has great picture quality! It’s also extremely lightweight, so it’s no problem at all for me to pack up and go work for a little bit at a coffee shop.

10. Photography Equipment

I like to think I have an eye for photography. Now, I couldn’t begin to talk to you about things like advanced camera settings, lighting equipment, or anything like that, but I can take a decent enough picture to use on a blog! I loved taking pictures since I bought my first digital camera in college! When I became a mom to a fast moving toddler, I decided I needed to upgrade from a basic point & shoot to a DSLR camera and went with the Canon Rebel. I couldn’t have been happier. For an ameture photographer, it was simple to use and took beautiful shots!

I had my first Canon Rebel for a good 8 years, and definitely got my money’s worth out it! I had stopped using it for every day as my phone cameras got better, and the old camera started to slow down, but when I decided to start blogging, I thought it was time to invest in a good camera again. I wanted to be able to get great shots of events and places we visited that I knew I just couldn’t get on my phone. It was a no brainer for me to stick with what I knew, once again, and upgrade to the Canon Rebel T7i. Thank goodness the basics haven’t changed much, because, with all this new info on blogging, I don’t know that my brain could have handled learning new camera equipment too!

Amazon has put together some great bundles with the camera as well! While the lenses aren’t what you’ll end up using as your skills advance, the value on the bundles for the memory cards, tripod, carrying bag, and bluetooth button are well worth it! If you don’t buy the bundle, consider buying these items as well!

If I’m taking a picture of a still product, or even just messing around with the kids or dogs, I like to use a backdrop and stand! I don’t have a wall in my house that really gives the right color for photos, and sometimes outside isn’t the best option. Amazon has a ton of cheap options so you don’t have to invest as you would into a photography career to own one.

I’ve always thought selfie sticks were silly, and then I started blogging! I still refuse to use them in public but if I’m trying to get a shot on my phone at home I bust one out! I love the selfie tripods! The work just like a camera tripod but for your phone and are perfect for counter placement!

Bonus Tools: Your Employees!

So, did you decide to take the plunge and go into business for yourself as a blogger? If you’re truly making the move from working 9-5 in an office, to turning your home into your office, you’ll need to be selective about your employees! You’re a new boss, after all!

Make sure your new coworkers and employees are there to help you get the job done and not distract you from it! I’m of course only kidding on this part, these are some of the best coworkers I’ve ever had! They take frequent nap breaks, (and snore really loudly) but are much more supportive than the past office drama I’ve had to deal with! Haha!

It always helps to get the support of your family, and even to get their help from time to time with posts or pictures! My boys love it when I involve them, and I even add a little to their allowance when they do! It’s still cheaper than a Virtual Assistant!

The final piece I’d leave with you for starting you blog, is to set yourself up for success but don’t dive in expecting to make money right away. You have to build up your audience. I haven’t gotten into affiliates in this post at all because I really feel like you have to have the right presentation before you can begin affiliate marketing. Once you have used all these tools to set yourself up right, you’ll see your following grow organically, and then you’ll be ready to monetize!

Blogging is hard work, but it should be fun! If you aren’t enjoying it, you’re doing something wrong! Hopefully these tools will allow you focus less on the mundane and more on the fun components of blogging.

Follow The Adventure

About The Author

Junell

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Follow The Adventure

9 COMMENTS

  1. Kayla | 8th Jan 21

    What a great post! There’s so much info out there about WordPress and blue host and all the other content tools it gets overwhelming. I love how you broke it down! Do you recommend blogging on wix? My website and blog is hosted by wix, I have the premium business plan. Thanks!

  2. Jane | 15th Mar 19

    Junelle, for a newbie blogger like me this is very helpful. I have learned so much. I’m learning Pinterest and this is a great info! I still don’t know how to expand my audience like twitter and instagram but this article is very helpful. Thank you so much!!

  3. Tracy | 26th Jan 19

    Great list. Blogging Blastoff was a great help to me. And Tailwind works well. I schedule all my pins on Saturday for the coming week, and it really seems to free up time.

  4. Brie | 26th Jan 19

    These are great tips for new bloggers. It’s also important to focus on SEO. Here’s a post for new bloggers on SEO: https://simplybriee.com/blogging-tips-new-bloggers/

  5. Mama Writes Reviews | 26th Jan 19

    Nice ideas! I’ve never really gotten into Tailwind, but I do think I’m missing out.

  6. Shannah | 25th Jan 19

    I do agree with your suggestions! I use Canva and Tailwind daily! I use coachedule for blog titles and I have some NICE employees too lol

  7. Lucy | 25th Jan 19

    These are such great tips. I’m so glad I started my blog, I love it ?

  8. Nancy | 25th Jan 19

    Wonderful tips, blogging isn’t easy and it takes a lot of time! It’s great to have posts like this to learn from before you jump in!

  9. Holly Bird | 24th Jan 19

    Great tips Junell! When you are first starting out, it is great to have good advice from someone you can trust!!

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