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Which blogging and business tools are your favorite?
It’s a question I’ve heard more than once in my blogging and freelancing journey. Having the right tools can be huge for making your blog, online business or side a hustle a success.
But there are just so many to choose from, right?
And you’ve probably got questions like:
- Which tools are free?
- What’s going to cost money?
- Which ones offer the best return on investment?
It’s enough to make your head spin, especially if you’re just starting a blog or side hustle or you’re a brand-new freelancer.
I totally get it.
So to save you some time (and headaches) I’ve put together an epic list of blogging and business tools and resources just for you.
There are tools here for mom bloggers, side hustling moms, freelancers, mompreneurs–you name it.
While you might not need all of the blogging and business tools I’ve included, there’s lots of good stuff on this list.
I promise you’ll find something useful to help you grow your blog, side hustle or business 🙂
Blogging and Business Tools: Setting Up Your Site
First things first, you’ll need to cover the tech aspects of having a website. These blogging and business tools are ones you’ll need to get your blog or website off the ground.
1. Start a Blog Guide
Before you actually dive into the technical part of setting up your blog or website, it helps to know what you’re getting into. Believe me, I wish I’d done a LOT more research on the mechanics of setting up my site before I jumped in.
So before you get too far down this list, check out this guide on how to start a blog. It breaks down everything you need to know, step by step so you don’t end up confused or overwhelmed once you get into doing it yourself.
The first thing you’ll need for your blog or business is a content management system and publishing platform. This is where WordPress comes in.
Having your blog or website on WordPress.org automatically gives your site more credibility and it gives you more control over how you put your site together compared to WordPress.com, which is the free version of WordPress.
Siteground is a web hosting service and if you’re setting up a WordPress.org site, you’ll need hosting to go with it. Your web host is what stores your blog or business site on the internet.
So why Siteground and not another hosting option?
This is the hosting company I use and I can say that in over a year of blogging, I’ve never had any issues with my site. The plans are reasonably priced (you can get hosting for as little as $3.95/month to start) and they have excellent tech support.
And it’s just super simple to set up your site and install WordPress, which is great if you have zero tech knowledge.
4. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is important for tracking traffic to your site, especially if you’re a new blogger and you’re still trying to nail down your niche or target audience.
With Google Analytics, you can see where your traffic is coming from, i.e. social, organic traffic, etc. If you have a blog, you can also see which posts or pages people are visiting most.
Your theme is what helps draw attention to your site and conveys what your brand is all about. These are some of my favorite options for WordPress themes.
5. Bluchic themes
I’ve since switched to Hello You Designs and the Boho theme, which has a more casual vibe. But I love Bluchic’s options for feminine themes. They also run a pretty awesome blog that’s packed full of tips to help you fine-tune your site.
6. Hello You Designs
Hello You Designs features feminine WordPress themes, including the theme I use here. I wanted something completely different when I relaunched my blog and this one caught my eye.
One thing that’s great about Hello You is that each design comes with its own guided tutorial to take you step by step through the setup process.
7. Restored 316
Restored 316 is another place to find feminine WordPress themes specifically for female entrepreneurs. I know a lot of mom bloggers and mompreneurs love this theme option and they have some great layouts to choose from.
If you’re not sure which theme works best, Restored 316 offers a quick online quiz you can take to get recommendations for the theme that’s best for your needs.
Plus, they offer a digital business planner just for creative entrepreneurs.
8. Elegant Themes
Elegant Themes has a whole library of drag and drog WordPress themes you can use to build a custom size. When you sign up for the Ultimate Toolkit, you get access to 87 themes, which includes Divi.
I tried Divi myself as a brand-new blogger and while the learning curve is a little steep, it’s a great theme to choose if you want to be able to pick and choose which elements to include on your site.
9. Genesis Framework
The Genesis framework is required for certain themes, including the one I use from Hello You Designs. Depending on where you buy your theme from, you might be able to buy Genesis and the theme together.
But if you’re like me and don’t pay attention when you’re buying your theme and miss the part about needing Genesis, you can always go back and buy it later.
10. StudioPress Themes
If you’re looking for a theme with tons of white space, you’ll definitely want to see what StudioPress has on tap. These themes run on Genesis but you can buy your theme and the Genesis framework together for one price. It’s an easy way to get everything you need.
Pick Your Plugins
Plugins are add-ons you can download and activate on your WordPress site for different things. These are plugins I like best for blogging. There are a few you have to pay for but I’ve included plenty of free options too.
Search engine optimization is huge for driving traffic to your site. Yoast is a plugin you’ll want to install if you’re planning any kind of SEO strategy at all for your site or blog.
The plugin makes it easy to optimize your site so that search engines (and eventually, readers) can find you. I use the free version of Yoast but there’s a premium version you can upgrade to for $89.
12. Pretty Links
Pretty Links is a must-have if you’re planning to do any affiliate marketing with your blog or website.
This plugin lets you convert those long weird links that have a string of numbers and letters into a short and sweet link that readers will want to click on.
Like Yoast, there’s a free and paid version, which has some upgraded features.
13. Infinite WP
InfiniteWP is a WordPress management tool designed for people who have multiple WordPress sites. The plugin makes it easy to manage multiple sites and installations through a single dashboard.
It also includes a slew of tools to help you monitor your site and keep it secure. This one you’ll have to pay for but you can cover up to 10 sites for $147/year on the Starter plan.
14. Social Pug
Social Pug has become THE go-to social media sharing plugin since Social Warfare experienced some major hiccups earlier in 2019. It easily lets you set up slide-in and inline sharing buttons for all the social channels you want to connect your site to.
Right now I’m using the free version but I’m thinking of upgrading to the paid version, which is $29 for bloggers.
MonsterInsights is a plugin that connects Google Analytics with your WordPress site and it’s a time-saver if you don’t want to set up GA manually.
I use the free version of the plugin here and it’s super easy to install and activate. If you want to take a deeper dive into your traffic data, consider upgrading to the Plus version for $99.50/year.
Spammy comments can junk up your site and it can be time-consuming to go through and delete them.
Akismet filters out spam comments, which is something you’ll want to have if you’re opening your blog or site up to commenters. This plugin is free to use and it’s a must-have when you’re just getting started.
17. WP Legal Pages
One important step you can’t skip is making sure your site is GDPR-compliant. If you don’t know what that is, you’ll want to check out this course from Marina at Tinylovebug.
As a mom blogger or mompreneur, being able to tap into your audience via email and social media are crucial. These tools are designed to help you grow your blog and website traffic, while cultivating your email list.
Convertkit is what I use for my email and I love it for lots of reasons but mainly because of how easy it is to create forms and automations. I tried the free version of MailerLite when I first started out and I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it.
It’s worth paying for ConvertKit if you want to easily and quickly build forms and landing pages, and set up automations for your email list.
Tailwind is a much-touted tool for helping drive Pinterest traffic to your website. All the super successful bloggers swear by it for getting eyes on their site and content.
While you shouldn’t give up manual pinning completely, Tailwind can help with automating your weekly pinning schedule so you can focus on doing other things to grow your blog and business.
OptinMonster is a lead generation software that integrates with WordPress. It also integrates with email providers, including MailChimp, MailerLite and ConvertKit.
You can use it to create popups, floating bars and inline forms. The basic version is $19/month, although OptinMonster routinely runs specials for 50% off for new accounts.
ClickFunnels is an all in one tool for marketing, packaging and selling your online products. For example, if you’ve got an ebook, webinar, online course or printables library, you could use ClickFunnels to promote and sell it.
There’s a free 14-day trial period so you can test it out to see if it’s a good investment for your business. If you want to keep using it, the basic version is $97/month. The premium version, which comes with a ton of useful features, is $297/month.
Social Media Management
Building your social media presence can help you get exposure for your blog and business. But if you don’t have time to hang on Twitter, Instagram or your other social channels all day, these tools can help you spread the word about your business.
HootSuite is a scheduling tool that lets you manage all your social media accounts in one place. I used it to manage social media posts for a client when I worked as a virtual assistant and it really did simply things big time.
You can try HootSuite for free for 30 days. After that, it’s $29/month to manage 10 social profiles with unlimited scheduling.
Planoly is a scheduling tool just for Instagram, which could come in handy if you’re trying to grow your following.
You can use the basic version for free. But if you want unlimited grid and story uploads, you’ll need to bump up to the next membership level. A Solo account will cost $7/month when billed annually or $9 month to month.
SmarterQueue is another social media scheduling tool that can make your life as a blogger or entrepreneur easier.
This tool is designed to automate day to day social media management and save you time. You can get started with SmarterQueue for free for 14 days. Monthly plans range from $19.99 to $79.99, based on the features you need.
Stock photos can be used for blog post images, Pinterest images, social media graphics and more. These are some of my favorite free and paid blogging and business tools for stock photography.
25. Ivory Mix
Ivory Mix is packed full of gorgeous stock photos you can use to create Pinterest or social media graphics, or just about anything else you need for your site that requires visual appeal.
The site offers a library of free stock photos, which is super generous. If you want access to even more images, you can sign up for a VIP Membership for $42 quarterly or $120 annually.
26. Creative Market
Creative Market features fonts, themes, graphics and lots of other goodies to design your site. All the offerings on the site come from creative entrepreneurs so you can support another biz owner while you’re building your own business.
When you buy credits through the site in bulk, you can get a discount, which means more bang for your buck.
I absolute love Unsplash and it’s one of my go-to resources for fee stock photos. You can search for photos on the site using keywords. Then, you can download and use the images without needing any type of license.
There’s no requirement that you have to credit the image owner to use it. But, Unsplash makes it easy to tweet out your appreciation any time you download an image.
28. Haute Stock
Haute Stock is a styled stock library for women creatives, bloggers and entrepreneurs. You can get free stock photos when you subscribe to the Haute Stock email list.
For even more stock photos, consider signing up for a membership for $99 quarterly or $299 annually.
29. CreateHer Stock
CreateHer Stock is a stock library destination for images that feature women of color. There are plenty of free stock photos on tap but you can get access to 2,500+ images with a premium membership. A premium account costs $10 monthly for the blogger version.
30. She Bold Stock
She Bold Stock is all about helping women entrepreneurs create bold and beautiful branding with their stock photo images.
Whether you’re looking for flatlays, lifestyle images or customizable templates for your opt-ins and lead magnets, you’ll find it here. The monthtly plan is just $20, which is a budget-friendly option for beginners.
Once you’ve gotten some stock photos you like, the next step is figuring out how to use them. These tools can help with creating graphics and images for your site.
PicMonkey is an online photo editing tool that you can use to make graphics for your blog, website or social media posts. The basic version is $7.99/month when billed monthly.
But it’s a good investment if you’re looking for an editing program with advanced features. And you may find it easier to use compared to something like Photoshop if you’re new to photo editing.
So, if my Pinterest images didn’t already give it away, I totally love Canva. It’s another easy-to-use photo editing option if paying for PicMonkey just isn’t in your budget.
You can create lots of different layouts with Canva. The site offers plenty of templates to help you get started. Some of the things you can make include social media graphics, Pinterest pin templates, workbooks and even a logo for your site.
It’s free to use the basic version of Canva, which is what I do and it works great for me. If you want access to more templates, fonts and features, Canva for Work is $119.40 yearly or $12.95/month.
33. Pixlr X
Pixlr X is also free to use and while they recently redesigned the site (so long, Pixlr Express), it’s still easy find your way around.
I mostly use this one for cropping screenshots I want to insert into my blog posts. But that’s just the tip of what you can do with this free editing software.
Craft Killer Content
You can make an amazingly beautiful blog or website but great content is what people come to your site for. Check out these tools to write better blog and website content.
If you’re trying to figure out what’s trending, BuzzSumo can help. You plug in a topic or domain and the tool shows you what the top bloggers and influencers are writing about.
It’s a great way to spark content ideas if you’re stumped for what to write about. You can view the top search results for free but for more in-depth analysis, you’ll need to upgrade to BuzzSumo Pro. Plans start at $79/month.
35. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
Creating the perfect headline takes some skill and if you’re struggling to put one together, give the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer a try.
You plug in a potential headline and the analyzer tells you what’s good (or bad) about it and what you can do to improve it. I use the free version to tweak my blog post headlines but there are also paid plans if you need access to even more marketing tools.
36. Keywords Everywhere
I’d read other bloggers talk about Keywords Everywhere but I didn’t understand what the fuss was until I started using it.
It’s a free browser extension that you can use with Google Chrome or Firefox. You type in a keyword and Keywords Everywhere gives you the full rundown on search volume, CPC and competition data.
If you’re trying to work on mastering SEO for your blog or website, this tool can show you which keywords get tons of traffic and which ones have minimal competition.
If you can’t hire a professional editor to review your blog content, Grammarly is the next best thing.
You can add Grammarly to Chrome for free and the tool checks your writing for grammar and spelling errors, as well as for style and tone. Grammarly Premium includes even more features, such as a plagiarism checker and a punctuation checker.
CommentLuv is technically a plugin, but I’m including it here because comments can be a great way to improve your site’s SEO.
This free WordPress plugin allows you to collect comments on your posts so you can build engagement with your readers. The pro version is designed to help you fend off spammy comments, while building backlinks to grow traffic.
Launch a Course
Does your blog & business growth plan involve developing an online course? If so, these platforms can help you create, launch and sell your course to your target audience.
I’ve taken several blogging courses through Teachable and I like it because it’s super easy to use as a student. It’s also simple to get your online course launched through the platform.
There are three pricing plans so you can choose the features you want. The cheapest plan starts at $29/month, billed annually. That includes unlimited courses and unlimited students, which is great if you’re planning to launch more than one course.
Thinkific is the largest online course platform, with over 16 million students. Feature-wise, it’s similar to Teachable or to Udemy, the next course platform on the list. The difference with Thinkific is the pricing.
You can test-drive the platform’s core features absolutely free. That lets you offer up to three courses, with unlimited students. If you’re satisifed and want to keep using Thinkific, the monthly plans start at $49.
I’ve also taken some classes on Udemy and like Teachable and Thinkific, it’s easy to use.
Udemy gives you all the tools you need to set up an online video course. Anyone can create a course through the platform for free. If you want to charge for your course, you’ll need to apply to become a Premium Instructor.
There’s no fee to do so but Udemy does collect a percentage of the money you earn on each course sale.
Earn Affiliate Income
These blogging and business tools can come in handy if you’re planning to earn affiliate income from your website or blog.
FlexOffers is an affiliate program marketplace, where publishers (i.e. bloggers) can connect with advertisers and brands.
Some of the affiliate links I include on my site are ones I signed up for through FlexOffers. If you’re planning to apply for an account, my best advice is to be patient. It took a few weeks for me to get approved as a brand-new blogger.
43. Share a Sale
Share a Sale is an affiliate site that’s a lot like FlexOffers.
You sign up for an account and search for the brands you want to promote. Then, you apply for their affiliate programs and once you’re approved, you can get links and banner adds to include on your site.
Share a Sale was one of the first affiliate networks I joined and while I’m still working on building affiliate income, I’ve been really happy with the site so far.
Skimlinks is similar to Viglink and if you’re not familiar with how either one works, here’s the deal.
You install the Skimlinks code on your site. When you post content that mentions a partner Skimlinks merchant, the tool automatically includes an affiliate link. If someone clicks the link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.
It really is that simple. And it’s free to apply to join the Skimlinks affiliate network.
45. Ultimate Bundles
For the longest time, I had no clue what Ultimate Bundles. I would frequently see other bloggers posting about it but until I decided to include affiliate marketing on my blog I was in the dark.
And if you’re where I was, here’s the deal. Ultimate Bundles is an affiliate program that runs different promotions throughout the year. The bundles themselves revolve around a specific theme, like homemaking, and include paid products from other blogs and websites.
You promote the bundle on your blog or site -> someone buys the bundle using your affiliate link -> you make a commission.
I haven’t promoted anything through UB yet since I’m still in my first month of relaunching my blog, but this is definitely something I plan to focus on as I grow my traffic.
Awin is another popular affiliate network for bloggers. There are over 200,000 publishers that use the site, including brands in the financial, travel and retail space.
There is a $5 fee to join but once you pay the fee, you can start applying for publishers and earning affiliate income.
47. Ultimate Nofollow Plugin
The Ultimate Nofollow Plugin gives you control over do follow and no follow links from your blog or website. If you don’t know what either one of those means, here’s a great post from Backlinko that explains it perfectly.
Basically, do follow links from other sites can increase your search engine rankings. But for affiliate links, you want those to be no follow. Otherwise, Google could ding you if too many affiliate links make your site come off as spammy.
48. FTMC Affiliate Disclosure Plugin
As an affiliate, you’re required to let people know that if they buy something from a link on your site, you could make money off of it. The Federal Trade Commission has strict rules about it and you can’t sidestep.
The FTMC Affiliate Disclosure Plugin is a quick and easy way to add an affiliate disclosure to every post so you’re not breaking any rules. It’s the plugin I use on this site for my affiliate disclosures.
Organize and Run Your Business
There’s a lot that goes into grow a blog or business behind the scenes. These blogging and business tools can help you handle your most important day to day tasks.
Once your blog or business starts making money, or you start making MORE money, you might need an accounting system to manage what’s coming in and going out. That’s what QuickBooks is for.
You can use it to track expenses, managing your business budget and I also use it to file my taxes every year. There’s a free trial you can use to get a feel for how QuickBooks works. If you’re sold on using it for your business, you can get a paid plan for up to 50% off the regular price.
FreshBooks is an invoicing software that you can use to make sure your business clients are paying on time. It’s a cloud accounting software that’s totally free to try. If you’re looking for a tool that can help you automate your business’s financial and accounting systems, this is it.
Asana is a project management system. It’s designed for teams but you can still use it if you’re running your blog and business solo.
If you’re struggling to get organized and create a clear path to follow when it comes to the next action steps to take for your blog and business, give Asana a try for free.
Trello is another content management system. I use this one all the time as a freelancer to keep track of various writing projects.
Trello lets you organize your projects using boards; within each board, you can create cards for specific projects or tasks. It’s a great way to get a visual flow of your to-do list.
53. Google Drive
I literally don’t know what I would do without Google Drive. I use it for everything — drafting blog posts, writing content for my freelance clients, creating freebies for my blog, making spreadsheet trackers. It’s one of the best free tools around for mom bloggers and entrepreneurs.
Evernote can help you get organized so none of your most important tasks falls through the cracks. With this tool, you can keep track of all your to-do’s, business and personal, right from your mobile phone. If you get a great idea for a blog post or you need to remember to renew your hosting or just make a grocery list, you can do all of it with Evernote.
Zoom is a video conferencing app that you can also use to host webinars. If webinars are a regular part of what you do as a blogger or business owner, it’s one of the better tools you can use.
I regularly schedule Zoom meetings with my freelance clients and I’ve never run into a snag while using it. It’s free to host a personal meeting with up to 100 participants. Pricing for bigger meetings starts at $14.99/month.
Bonus: Free Courses for Mom Bloggers & Business Owners!
Growing a blog or business online can come with a seriously steep learning curve. These courses can help you build your knowledge base and best of all, they’re all totally FREE!
Start With the Basics
12 Month Blog Plan (Start a Mom Blog) – If you’re searching for a blueprint that can help you plan out your first year of blogging from start to finish, this is it. I’ve used this blueprint myself to plan my blog relaunch strategy.
Stupid Simple SEO 5-day Bootcamp (Stupid Simple SEO) – If you’re not familiar with SEO or you’ve heard of it but don’t know what it’s all about, you’ll definitely want to sign up for this free bootcamp. I took it myself and even though I follow SEO practices in my freelance writing business, it’s been a huge help for blogging.
Start Grow Earn (Twins Mommy) – Elna Cain’s 6-day free email course walks you through all the basics of starting a money-making blog. And if you’ve already got that down, be sure to check out some of her posts on growing your blog traffic.
Understanding WordPress (Grayson Bell) – WordPress is easy enough to use once you get the hang of it. But if you’re still in beginner’s mode, this course from Grayson Bell is a great starting point for learning the ins and outs of WordPress.
Google Digital Garage (Google) – So when you need to know something, what do you do? You Google it, right? Google Digital Garage saves you the trouble of searching for blogging and business tools and information by offering free learning modules in one place. Recent course topics include connecting with your audience, creating content and promoting your online business.
Grow Your List and Audience
Free Five-Day Pinterest Challenge (Moms Make Cents) – Learn the basics of Pinterest, including how to optimize your profile and plan your pinning schedule, as well as the worst Pinterest mistakes to avoid as a new mom blogger.
Blogging Tips to Accelerate Growth 209% (She Means Blogging) – This is an 11-day email course that delivers pro blogging tips to your inbox on a daily basis. If you’re trying to step up your blog and business growth, don’t miss this one.
LIST LOVE: Build Your List (Jennifer Maker) – Growing my email list is currently my biggest challenge and if it’s yours too, then be sure to check out LIST LOVE. Jennifer Maker has grown her blog into a six-figure a month (yep, you read that right — six figures a month) business so she knows her stuff when it comes to list-building.
Instagram Authority (Alex Tooby) – I’m still slacking on my Instagram but if you want to build up your presence on IG, check out Alex Tooby’s free course. You’ll learn all the basics for increasing followers and establishing yourself as an authority.
Free 5-Day Affiliate Marketing Bootcamp (Dare to Conquer) – Affiliate marketing newbies will appreciate this free five-day bootcamp. The site also has several other free bootcamps on tap that cover everything from SEO to creating the perfect product.
Become a Design Guru
Graphic Design for the Beginner (Applecart Lane) – I love Kristin’s site because she makes you feel like you can create beautiful images even if you know zip about graphic design. I took her free graphic design course and learned a ton that I was able to use to improve my blog images.
PicMonkey Tutorial (Start a Mom Blog) – If you’re looking at PicMonkey like “what is this?”, Suzi from Start a Mom Blog has a great tutorial just for you. She can walk you through the basics of using PicMonkey to edit your blog or website photos.
Photoshop Tutorial (It’s Organized) – If Photoshop is your preferred editing tool, then this tutorial from It’s Organized is a must. There are five lessons in all that provide a crash course to editing with Photoshop. So dive in and start creating killer photos!
Even More Free Blogging and Business Tools for Moms
Did you see something on the list that caught your eye? Because there’s definitely some great stuff here!
And to wrap up this blogging and business tools bonanza, I want to offer you a few free goodies of my own.
When you join the Boss Mama Resource Library, you’ll get access to workbooks, cheat sheets, checklists and more to help you launch and grow your blog and business.
And if there’s something here you don’t see that you think you could use, hit the comments and tell me about it!