What are the best blogging tools to grow your blog? I’m going to give you the tools I use on a daily basis.
Website and Hosting for your Blog
WordPress is my blogging software of choice. This is WordPress.org, not to be confused with WordPress.com. There are a lot of website builders out there. Think Wix.com, Squarespace and many more. I’ve talked to other Graphic Designers and they’ve always gone back to WordPress. It’s the most used software for a reason. It’s open source, which means it’s free to download and use. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need any coding skills. If you do code, you can completely customize your site.
After much research I chose A2 Hosting as my hosting provider. Over a year later, and no problems to report. The loading speeds are fast and their customer service is very responsive.
Essential WordPress Plugins for Blogging
WordPress isn’t complete without the little plugins that power your blog. One of the first plugins I installed was Anti-Spam.
There are so many bots on the web that leave downright awful comments on posts. Even if your comments don’t post automatically, it’s annoying to have to manually delete all those spam comments. The plugin does it for you. Non-spam comments are still sent to you to approve.
Visitors Traffic Real Time Statistics Free was a close second. It’s the perfect way to see where your traffic is coming from. Another great plugin for this is Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights. It’s a plugin linked to Google Analytics. Once you have installed it and set it up, do not delete it for any reason. I learned my lesson. It will also delete Google Analytics off of your site. I’m only mentioning essential blogging plugins for today. One last plugin I’ll mention here is Yoast SEO.
My Choice of Camera Equipment
You have the option to shoot in automatic settings as well as manual settings. That basically means I have the option to be lazy, or really use all the features it has.
My tripod is the ZOMEI Q111 55″ Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod. It is very high quality and compact at the same time.
I use Adobe Photoshop to edit my photos. It’s the software I learned on in college and I have continued to use it ever since. I love making templates that I use for Pinterest pins. Many times I’ll use the Paint app on my PC for quick resizing.
For blogging I go back and forth between my deprecated iMac (It’s holding on for dear life after 10 years) and an HP Pavilion desktop. Apple products can be high maintenance but they do last a long time. [2020 Update: Now using a Lenovo Ideapad 3 in addition to the iMac.]
These are my essentials for blogging so far. In another post I want to speak about the aspects of social media and marketing a blog.