You know that you want to build a successful blog but knowing where to start can be tricky.
I know because I was in the exact same position many moons ago and well, that’s one of the reasons I created this page.
I genuinely want to help you to create a successful blog so I’m sharing a list of the tools, software and websites that helped me to create a successful blog below. Some might resonate with you as being potentially useful, some might not.
Go with what feels right for you.
If you have any questions about these following recommendations, please get in touch and I’ll email you right back.
Until recently, I was a self-employed professional Graphic Designer so I’ve been working with Macs for many years now and I love them. Once I knew I wanted to start blogging for an income, I upgraded my old iMac and purchased a custom built 2018 iMac which runs extremely quickly.
It was expensive, most Macs are, but it’s so worth it in my opinion. I need a computer that runs quickly without any lag as that can be super irritating and worse, it wastes time.
Canon EOS 4000D SLR Camera
There are so many wonderful stock images available to use for free today but sometimes you just can’t find one that conveys your message well enough.
This is why I invested in a basic SLR.
Back in the day at art school, I worked with a Canon 400D and it was fabulous. When researching for a decent yet affordable SLR, I found the Canon EOS 4000D and it’s just as amazing if not better.
Again, this might be something to think about investing in once your blog has started to make a decent monthly wage but if you can easily afford a good quality SLR camera, I’d definitely recommend this one. It’s so easy to use, especially if you’re a beginner and the price seems pretty fair for what it can do. You can read more about its features on Amazon.
My blog is built on WordPress. There are two main reasons for this; one is that Google loves WordPress and the second is that it’s a platform that’s super easy to use.
Some people don’t like it and prefer to use other blogging platforms such as
Choosing the right theme for your blog is very important for quite a few reasons. It can help you to feel happy about your blog and therefore propel you to continue blogging and it can convey a professional image, which can help you to build a following a lot faster.
Those of you who are tech-savvy will notice that I’m not using the Genesis framework but a lot of the big bloggers use the Genesis framework and there are many reasons as to why; it’s fairly simple to use and the code is extremely well written which translates to faster site loading speeds which can in turn help with your Google rankings.
However, as I mentioned, at the moment, I don’t use it – and I may never.
Several months back when starting the blog, I found out that you have to build your home page in the widget section of your WordPress dashboard. Personally, I really didn’t like the sound of that but I also just couldn’t afford to buy the framework at the time so I scoured the internet for a great theme to use and finally found one that I looked really modern, fresh, was well coded, fast loading, and easy to edit the design of.
If you haven’t bought a domain name yet, you can get a free one with Bluehost. You’ll need hosting after buying your domain name anyway so this is a great deal.
Hosting with them costs a mere $2.95 a month which is superb value. If you already have a domain name, you’ll still need hosting and you can just sign up and take up their offer of a free domain name by simply buying a spare one!
I’ve used Bluehost numerous times in the past for other blogs I’ve had and for hosting websites for clients. They’re incredibly fairly priced, their downtime seemed very low (I never actually noticed any downtime at all personally), and their support was pretty professional and prompt.
You can sign up here for a mere $2.95 a month with a free domain name!
Cloudflare isn’t at all necessary and probably something to look into once you’re in full blogging swing, but it has some big advantages that you might like to be aware of.
The benefits of using Cloudflare include the following:
- Faster website loading time
- Prevention against DDOS attacks (which can bring your site down)
There are so many plugins available for WordPress today. That’s great but knowing which ones to pick can be difficult.
I personally try to keep my plugins down to an absolute minimum. This is mainly because too many can really slow down the loading speed of the blog.
Here are the five I’m currently using:
There’s a reason why this plugin is used by almost everyone. It’s amazing at killing spam! And blogs get tonnes of annoying (and completely bizarre) spam.
There’s a small fee to use it but it’s super effective and will save you time and hassle having to go through your comments to identify the real ones from the nonsense.
I’d be a bit lost without this plugin.
It provides a sort of basic checklist or reminder of things you have to complete in order to potentially rank better in the search engines. It’s brilliant.
If anything happens to your site, for example, you upload an incompatible plugin and it messes up your site design, you can login to your dashboard and reinstate your website as it was from your latest backup. They have a basic free version, which is a bonus.
What I strongly recommend is going for their paid version so you can make a backup of your site externally. If your whole site somehow gets deleted, server side, you won’t be able to login to your dashboard anymore as that won’t even exist. If you have an off site backup, then all the files can be rue-loaded to your server and you’ll be fine.
WP Limit Login Attempts
The name of this plugin speaks for itself, I guess. It limits the number of times someone (or a bot) tries to login to your website. This acts as a reasonably annoying and effective deterrent to hackers. Although can be a little annoying if you’ve forgotten your password and you’re trying to log in! Still, it’s better to have that additional layer of security.
Bloggers who use Pinterest a lot used to use a website called Board Booster. Tailwind can seem a little elaborate and complicated to navigate and use as there are so many different features in comparison to the simple layout of BoardBooster but honestly, I love it. There are more features and you get used to using it very quickly.
Pro Rank Tracker
I use this tool to monitor my page rankings in Google and (sometimes) Bing.
There are plenty of tools out there that can monitor your search engine rankings but I think this one is the best. It’s so easy and intuitive to use and the price is very fair.
Free Stock Photography Websites
You’re very likely going to need to use these very often. I usually scan all three sites to find the most fitting images for my blog posts.
It’s genuinely heart warming to see just how many talented photographers across the globe upload their amazing work for anyone to use anywhere in the work – totally for free! I’m so grateful for it.
What’s even more amazing is that these websites don’t just offer free, high resolution photographs. They also offer free Vector graphics and illustrations which can be used for post backgrounds, in graphic images and so much more!
Once I find images that I like, I resize them to 700 px x 700 px for my featured image and 700 px x 500 px for my in-article images.
Google PageSpeed Insights
You only need to use this a few times to make sure your blog is loading at a fair speed. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to get a full score so don’t worry if your score isn’t very high. As long as you find yourself in the average category, you’ll rank well.