Looking for the best free blogging tools for beginners? From a blogger, to a blogger — here’s all the tools to use to take your blog to the next level, right from the very start.
When I first started blogging I had no idea what tools to use. Between finally figuring out WordPress and nearly ripping my hair out over plugins — it was overwhelming.
The worst part was, everytime I looked up blogging tools I was met with what seemed like hundreds of ads for the latest “must-have” tools to get my blog off the ground…for a price.
But as a beginner, I wasn’t necessarily prepared to invest in dozens of blogging tools from the get-go…and you shouldn’t either.
Because as with most free blogging tools for beginners, there’s usually a paid option that will give you more features.
But the truth is, you don’t need the paid version for all the blogging tools you use, so if you don’t take the time to try out the free version you’ll just end up paying for something you don’t really need — despite what the “blogging gurus” say.
So if you’re just getting into the blogging game, here’s the best free blogging tools for beginners.
I’ll also let you know if and when I switched to the paid version and why.
Best Free Blogging Tools for Beginners: Blogging Plugins
P.S – The plugins I recommend below are only available on self-hosted WordPress.org sites (not wordpress.com). If your blog isn’t on WordPress but you want to monetize your site in the future, I highly suggest looking up how to start a WordPress blog and switching to WordPress.org — #1 platform for professional bloggers and the best free blogging platform for beginners.
If you’ve looked up free blogging tools for beginners before you’re bound to have heard of Yoast.
The #1 WordPress plugin for SEO — Yoast helps you optimize each of your posts for ‘search engine optimization’ which ultimately helps people find your site.
This is done by analyzing everything from readability to how many times you use a keyword in a post.
They measure each post with a red, orange and green light — signaling how much your post is optimized to rank on Google (although there are tons of other factors) and of course, the holy grail of Yoast is when you have all green lights — cha-ching!
Now personally, I just use the free version of Yoast. But if you want added features like redirecting links, internal linking suggestions, and related keywords suggestions, you can try their premium version.
However, if that all just sounded like a load of mumbo jumbo, I wouldn’t worry about upgrading — at least for a while.
Paid version cost: $89/ year
Every blogger knows that it’s not enough to just blog anymore.
Now, according to Google (although they’re notoriously secretive about how their ranking system works) social media shares don’t have a direct impact on your rank abilities. But I call B.S.
At the very least, social shares signal higher engagement to your post, which is a good signal to Google to boost it in search results. So even if it’s not directly affecting it, social media shares are important — which is why you need to make sure every blog post you create is shareable.
The Social Warfare plugin lets you add social sharing options to each of your posts so all your content can be shared easily and quickly. The best part is, once you set it up you never have to worry about it again as it’s automatic. And the free version works great!
But if you’re a bit picky with design, you can opt for their paid version that lets you customize the sizing and brand colors.
Paid version cost: $29/ year
Pretty much every photo on your blog needs to be edited. But picking out a unique filter for every single picture you post isn’t the best use of your time — so use Lightroom!
Lightroom Mobile is completely free and all bloggers and content creators (including myself) love it for its ease of use and quick organization tools.
If you want to use Lightroom on your desktop, however, you’ll need to use the paid version ‘Lightroom CC’, but if you prefer to edit on your phone or will mainly use it for social media, Lightroom Mobile does the trick.
Lightwidget for Instagram
Back to the whole social media thing.
Outside of social shares you’ll want to make sure your social media profiles are prominent throughout your blog.
Your theme should automatically come with social media icons for the header and footer of your site (if not, download the Social Media Flying Icon plugin) but you’ll also want to make sure you embed your socials to the bottom of your homepage and the end of every blog post.
Now, I’ll admit, as someone who loves Instagram I wanted any signals to follow me to be as attractive as possible (*hint hint*), so I bought the paid version which lets you customize all the settings and refreshes your feed more often. If you’re happy with their normal design and settings, you can go for the free one.
Paid Version: one-time fee of $10
Even if you’re a beginner blogger, you may have started to think of how you’re going to monetize.
One of the most common ways to monetize a website nowadays is through affiliates. But once you start using affiliate links you’ll notice….it’s a lot!
Between joining tons of affiliate programs and promoting dozens of products at once, you may be wondering what to do with all your links, especially when it comes to tracking.
Pretty Links puts all your affiliate links in one place so you never have to worry about keeping up with each of them separately.
Using cloaking capabilities you simply enter the affiliate link you’re putting in a post and replace it with a “pretty” version of that link.
Not only does this help you track your affiliate clicks and sales but with an easy-to-remember link, but you can pop that same affiliate link into any similar post without having to think too hard about what it is.
But until you see a substantial increase in your affiliate clicks, the free version works just fine.
Paid version cost: $49/year
One thing you don’t see many bloggers talking about in the blogging sphere is spam. Unfortunately if you’ve decided to be a blogger, spam is inevitable — especially in your comments.
When I first started blogging I would excitedly rush to my WordPress dashboard whenever I got a “new comment” notification, only to find it was “asjhslkj69″ telling me to try a new fit tea…thank God I found Askimet.
A spam filtering plugin — Askimet protects your site from spam comments with automatic filters so you never have to worry about trolls, and yes, for free!
Unless you have more than one site, you’ll be fine with the free version. But this is definitely one the best free blogging tools for beginners — thank me later!
Paid version: $5/monthly
Best Free Blogging Tools for Beginners: Email Marketing
How did I blog before Convert Kit? I don’t know. But boy am I glad I did!
An email marketing service created “by creators, for creators” Convert Kit makes email marketing super easy and accessible — especially for new bloggers.
Even if you’re just starting out, growing your email list should be your first priority.
Sorry…gotta follow my own advice!
Think about it, unless you’ve got some hardcore fans that visit your site directly, people aren’t coming back to your site to keep up with every blog you post.
With an email list, you don’t have to worry about social media algorithms or SEO traffic — because you own your list! Whether you’re promoting your latest post or a product, having an email list is essential for any serious blogger.
With tons of helpful email marketing tips, email templates, and even a WordPress plugin— Convert Kit has been amazing so far.
If you have under 2,000 subscribers and you’re not ready to do things like automatic email sequences (or you don’t even know what that is) the free version will do just fine.
Once you go over that number or if want to double down on your email marketing skills, you can upgrade to the premium version.
P.S -*Double hint* to keep it free for as long as possible, start removing subscribers that never open your emails every couple weeks— don’t pay for ghost subscribers!
Best Blog Design Tool
I’m so glad Canva existed by the time I started blogging — or my site would look horrible!
If you don’t have the best eye for graphic design (like me) it comes with lots of pre-made custom designs you can use too, and of course, it’s free!
The paid version unlocks a ton more stock pictures, custom fonts, and branding options, so for this reason I switched to the paid version, but only after using the free one for around 6 months.
Paid version: $119.40/yearly or $12.95/monthly
Best Blog Editor for Beginners
Even if you love to write, that doesn’t mean your grammar is perfect (me very much included). In fact, one of my biggest fears about starting a blog was having typos and errors on my site.
Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret…even the big bloggers make mistakes! I’ve seen errors on some of my favorite well-established blogs, and they seem to be doing just fine — so never let it stop you from writing.
But you should aim to fix as many grammar mistakes as possible before you post, and Grammarly makes it simple.
A Google Chrome extension for writing — the app gives you live feedback while you type with everything from spelling errors to punctuation, style, and even plagiarism (although you shouldn’t need that feature…I hope).
I started with their free version and upgraded to paid once I started blogging more consistently as I wanted my content to be as error-free as possible (although that isn’t always the case).
If you’re a grammar freak yourself or know someone that is that can read over each of your posts, then the free version should be enough.
Paid version cost: $140/yearly, $29.95/monthly
Best Free Blogging SEO Tools for Beginners
This is one I suggest you pay for from the beginning, because the foundation of any great blog — is keyword research.
Keyword research is how you find what people are searching for on Google so you can create content that answers their questions.
If you don’t use keywords in your blog posts, no one will find you via Google and you’ll be losing hundreds, potentially thousands of new readers each month that could be enjoying your content.
Luckily I knew I wanted to blog right from the start. And I’m proud to say nearly 70% of my traffic is now coming from using SEO — the power of Google y’all!
But none of this could be made possible without Keysearch. It lets me research any keyword under the sun, see how difficult it would be to rank, and even let me do in-depth research on my competitors, all from the click of a button.
Point being, if you’re going to invest in any blogging tool, this should be #1.
P.S – All my readers can get 20% off Keysearch here with the code ‘KSDISC’. Enjoy! 🙂
Remember, Blogging Takes Time…
Being a beginner blogger is never easy, but choosing which blog tools to use is the best way to start your blogging game right from the start — you got this!
I hope this guide helped, if you have any more tools you’ve found or would like to know more about, let me know in the comments!
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