The Best Free Blogging Tools and Resources
Last week I talked about the blogging tools and services that I felt were worth paying for. While it is really helpful for a professional blogger to pay for certain things, don’t despair if you have a limited budget. There are many completely free blogging tools and resources available.
Scheduling some of your social media posts is essential for saving time and getting the best exposure for your blog. There are many tools for social media sharing, some totally free, some with free versions.
Hootsuite allows up to three social media profiles. You can use it to schedule and monitor posts from Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
The free version of Buffer allows you one free profile each for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, and you can store up to 10 posts each. While they do offer a Pinterest plan, that is not available on the Individual (free) plan.
While Ahalogy is free, you need to apply for membership, which can (at least when I applied) take a month or more. It’s worth the wait though because Ahalogy will schedule your pins to Pinterest with just a click. You can select multiple boards and it will automatically post your pins at key times. Plus Chrome has an extension that makes it even easier.
Finding quality photographs that require no attribution can be a challenge, but Pixabay offers a solution. Absolutely no fee or attribution is required and they have a large variety of pictures to choose from (over 620,000!).
There are many great free plugins available. I wrote about my Top 13 Essential Plugins a few weeks ago, so I won’t go in depth again here. The free (or free versions of) plugins I mentioned in that post were Wordfence (Security), Yoast SEO, SumoMe (social sharing & list building), AntiSpam, and a few others.
Education and Support
I have found, after seven years of blogging, that the very best source of blogging information is other bloggers. And the best part is, much of it is absolutely free. From blogs, newsletters, and Facebook groups, it is possible to learn, ask questions and grow as a blogger.
Some of my favorite “blogging” bloggers include the Sits Girls, By Regina, and of course, our Blogger’s Pit Stop crew, Janice from Mostly Blogging, Kathleen from KathleenAhern.com, and Julie from Juleskalpauli.com. There are too many more to list (but I’d love it you’d share your favorite in the comments!).
I have learned so much from other bloggers thanks to the many Facebook groups that I belong to. While some are mostly for social media sharing, there are others that both offer advice and allow you to ask questions of the other members. Here are some of my favorites (and please, share yours in the comments!). All have different rules and requirements, so be sure to check to make sure that the group fits your needs before you request to join.
Support and advice groups:
Bloggers Gonna Blog: From their community guidelines: Bloggers Gonna Blog is a community built to connect inspiring healthy living bloggers so we can discuss blogging, social media, photography, recipes, health, fitness, body image, photography and more.
Glow Your Blog: From their guidelines: This is NOT a self-promo/flash love group. We just help each other learn about the behind the scenes blogging world.
Blogging Boost: From the guidelines: Connect with other bloggers, share your posts, and learn the ins and outs of working online! The group is open to anyone.
Blogging on Your Own Terms: From the guidelines: This group is designed for connection and collaboration, not promotion. Please keep that in mind whenever you are posting in the group. Thanks for being here and making this a great community!!!
Sharing groups: These groups provide daily threads to get the word out about your blog. Some threads include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. shares, comment on each others’ blogs, follow for follow threads and more.
I also belong to groups that are specific to Pinterest only (it deserves it’s own groups!), my niche (health, fitness, running), some of my ambassadorships. If you’re interested in learning more about those, let me know in the comments or drop me an email.
I would love to hear any of the free blogging tools and resources that you find helpful! What is your favorite?
Now it’s time for the Blogger’s Pit Stop!
Friday, 15th April 2016
Blogger’s Pit Stop #19 – Welcome
Blogger’s Pit Stop is open from 9 pm ET(US Thur) 11 am(AUS Friday) and Closes 3 am Monday ET(US) 5 pm(AUS)
Our challenge: To learn engagement by visiting and encouraging other bloggers. Blogging continually changes. Right now, blogging and the social media networks all want to see ENGAGEMENT.
This week’s challenge: is to increase this from the average of 1.1 clicks per post
up to two (2) clicks per post.
Congratulations to the Bloggers who have learned the value of engagement.
The Pit Stop Crew are bloggers who collectively have significant blogging experience. We don’t know it all! We are willing to step out and try new things, to think outside the box. If something does not work we move on to more innovative solutions. All the way we are learning and going forward. Each week you will find constructive posts that relate to Blogging. We hope you will glean information to assist you to re-charge your blogging battery, or to fill up with motivation fuel, help to change a tire, find a higher gear, or reset your GPS.
Bring your posts, they can be on any subject that is family friendly –
Affiliate links within content posts are OK. (Exceptions: No direct sales or shops.) Giveaways must have a content post.
Dear bloggers, you are the reason we are here, and we are super excited to open up to you the benefits of joining the Blogger’s Pit Stop.
Meet Our Pit Stop Crew
Kathleen from Lifestyle Building Blocks: She finds it both humbling and satisfying to write posts and to have bloggers express their appreciation for the help and guidance gleaned from her insight. Kathleen loves the blogger’s lifestyle, thinking outside the box and to keep learning. She is presently studying Professional Editing and Proofreading.
Janice from Mostly Blogging: Janice loves writing, and meeting people from all over the globe who are like-minded and supportive. The thrill and validation she gets when bloggers tell of how she has helped them with their blogging is unparalleled. Her posts are thorough and beneficial to her many readers who are building their own blogs.
Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs: Debbie has spent many years blogging, designing, and building social media accounts. With all that valuable experience she felt that she wanted to share her love of blogging as well as her knowledge. Her site offers easy to follow tips and advice to build your own blog and become successful as a blogger.
Julie is the wife of Pauli and the mom of two beautiful children. As a family, they have worked hard for the lifestyle that they now enjoy. They have a successful online business, they are entrepreneurs who teach, train, coach and are mentors of their strategies to make more money more easily. Julie has two blogs, one for online coaching and one for their Niche Travel Hub.
Julie/ Blog1 / Blog2 / Facebook / Google + / Twitter / Pinterest / Stumble Upon / Youtube / Linkedin / Instagram /
You won’t need a lot of rules, we do have some suggestions for you –
- First time here, it will help you to read the Welcome post in the Linky, which explains the Blogger’s Pitt Stop rationale.
2. Visit some other bloggers, you may want to comment and then leave from another page.
3. Take advantage to follow/like the Pit Stop Crew, they will follow you back. Now when you visit other bloggers why not follow/like them too, if after a week they have not followed back, go and unfollow/unlike them. Take every opportunity to grow.
Put our beautiful banner on your site. If you have been FEATURED take the awesome Featured one too.
Click on the Banner to get your code:-
Let’s practice engagement
Check the Resources
Blogging – Personal Finances – General Health Topics
Make use of these resources at any time 24/7
Could we please have a drum roll to reveal the FEATURES from last week
Grab your awesome FEATURED banner (above)
The Pit Stop Crew chose these FEATURE posts
What Would You See If You Paid Attention? by Michele
Over 90 posts = 5 FEATURES for the most clicked last week
Why Alexa Ranking is Important by Kathleen | Hate Shopping? You need to read this! by Sue
time to show us what you have got –
We are excited that you joined the Blogger’s Pit Stop #19
Join us on Friday 22nd April. 2016 to see what we have for you.
Enjoy Pinterest? Go to The Pinterest Game
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Sunday Blog Hop with Jenn
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Anything Goes with Marilyn
Bonnie, the Pin Junkie
Tip Tuesday with Debbie in Shape
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Michelle, Sarah, and Angelena Marie
Wednesday Wisdom with Nanna’s Wisdom
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
The Blogger’s Pit Stop with Kathleen
Let’s Get Real with Karen.
Friday Fitness with Jill
Fitness Friday with Miranda