How to Start a Blog: Blogging Tools List
My blogging tools list below isn’t only useful for food bloggers (like me); but also for bloggers in various niches wanting to learn how to start a blog, improve their website, learn a new skill set, and more!
Whether you blog about food, travel, parenting, health and wellness, lifestyle, etc., this list will be useful to you if your goals are to:
- Gain knowledge surrounding the various aspects of your craft/business
- Protect your business legally
- Easily create recipes with customizable templates
- Apply to be an affiliate on an easy-to-use platform
- Organize affiliate links in one convenient location
- Provide a bonus of nutrition facts for your readers
- Design Pinterest pins, logos, menus, and so much more
- Back up your files to ensure you never lose all your hard work
- Speed up your WordPress site
This post includes affiliate links. When I find a product or software that I love and use daily, I like to share it with my readers! Sometimes I use affiliate links so I can earn commission for my recommendations (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support! 🖤
Quick Links – How to Start a Blog: Blogging Tools List
- Food Blogger Pro: How to Start a Blog: Online Courses
- MasterClass: Online Lessons from Masters
- A Self Guru: Lawyer Created Legal Templates
- WP Tasty: Recipe, Links, and Pinterest Plugins for WordPress
- Canva: Graphic Design Platform
- Nutrifox: Nutrition Label Generator
- WP Forms: Contact Form Plugin for WordPress
- WP Rocket: Make your WordPress Website Faster
- ShareASale: One of Many Affiliate Marketing Platforms
- Updraft Plus: Complete Manual or Scheduled Backups of all your WordPress Files
Reviews – How to Start a Blog: Blogging Tools List
When I first had the idea of starting a food blog, naturally, I googled things like “how to start a blog” and “best blogging tools list”. My intention going into this was to build a business, not start a hobby.
That’s why I put this list together for you!
I quickly realized (thanks to one of my favorite blog tools, Food Blogger Pro) that if you want your website and business to run smoothly and be successful, you should consider investing in products and services that help achieve those goals. Below you will find the best software programs, courses, WordPress plugins, and more to help you do just that!
I could rave about Food Blogger Pro for hours, but I’ll keep it short and allow you to check them out for yourselves! It’s an educational gold mine for someone looking to start and monetize a food blog, or any blog for that matter. It’s brilliantly put together, super informative, and life changing, really! Trust me, it’s a blogger must (even if you’re not a food blogger)
You can choose to do a monthly or yearly membership, and the courses are done at your own pace. No grades, no nonsense. Just amazingly useful content that you can view repeatedly. The Food Blogger Pro community is equally as helpful as the courses themselves. Ask a question (big or small) on the forum and I’ll bet there’s someone that will be eager to help.
Food Blogger Pro is owned by Bjork and Linsday Ostrom, of Pinch of Yum (an exceptionally successful food blog). It brings me a huge sense of comfort knowing I’m being educated by someone who totally gets the ins and outs of growing a successful food blog from scratch.
As a member of Food Blogger Pro, you’ll learn…
- The best tools for starting a food blog.
- How to take beautiful photos with artificial light.
- How to increase traffic with easy SEO tips.
- The tools you’ll want to create viral food videos.
- The best way to structure your blog’s permalinks.
- How to set up branded short URLs.
- Generating income from eBooks.
- The best way to set up giveaways.
- Creating and submitting a sitemap.
- What FTP is and how to use it.
- How to optimize your images.
- How Google Webmaster Tools can improve your SEO.
- The right way to use anchor text in links.
- The most important tools in Photoshop.
- How to set up a branded email address.
- Backing up your site so you don’t lose content.
- Adjusting manual settings on your camera.
- How to set up a caching plugin and CDN.
- The best way to use affiliate marketing.
- Using Photoshop and Lightroom to enhance your images.
- Photo editing workflow tips and tricks.
Before Food Blogger Pro, I knew absolutely nothing about affiliate marketing, image optimization, FTP, SEO, web design, writing recipes, etc.; all I knew was that I loved to cook and take photos. It’s a lot to learn and may sound intimidating if you’re starting from scratch like I did, but it’s doable and worth it (to me at least).
If you’re into listening to podcasts; on The Food Blogger Pro Podcast, Bjork interviews other industry geniuses and has in-depth conversations on topics surrounding “blogging as a business”. I listen to the podcast almost daily while I’m doing my hair and makeup, cleaning, or cooking. Each time I listen, I leave with such a boost of confidence and an urge to put what I just learned to work!
So, if you are at home wondering what you can do to kickstart your blog, do yourself a favor and try Food Blogger Pro. I highly recommend it! You have to start somewhere, right?
2. MasterClass – Best Online Learning Subscriptions Review
Learning about how to start a food or other blog and make money doesn’t only involve the business aspect of things; it’s also so important to master your craft! MasterClass offers an online learning experience like no other, taught by the world’s best chefs, writers, scientists, and more.
Imagine how much you could learn from Sara Blakely regarding self-made entrepreneurship, Joe Holder teaching fitness and wellness fundamentals, or Niki Nakayama offering advice on how to master modern Japanese cooking? The amount of useful information on this platform is mind-blowing!
Below, you will find a high-level overview of the available categories (there are many subcategories). Visit MasterClass.com to read more about each category!
- Arts & Entertainment
- Home & Lifestyle
- Design & Style
- Sports & Gaming
- Community & Government
- Science & Tech
MasterClass currently offers three membership plans: individual, duo, and family. Considering how much information you are about to absorb; the cost is truly a steal.
So, whether you’re sitting on the couch, cooking in the kitchen, or relaxing on the beach in Mexico; make it a point to learn something new from MasterClass! Video lessons are available anytime, anywhere on your smartphone, personal computer, Apple TV and FireTV.
Now that you’ve learned how to start a blog, you may be wondering what legal disclaimers are needed on my blog. Is your blog legally protected? If you answered no to that question, I am here to introduce you to one of the most important, best blogging tools on my list.
If you’re anything like me, you may find the legal side of your business complicated, intimidating, and boring. I’m not a lawyer and figured hiring one would be expensive. To be honest, I didn’t realize I was going to need to legally protect my website. It’s just a food blog, it doesn’t need protection, right? Wrong! I started doing some research on this topic and was so relieved to find A Self Guru.
A Self Guru is a company owned by a lovely business lawyer named Amira; a seven-figure blogger, and coach who teaches you how to make money blogging while protecting your online business legally. She sells legal templates online which you can then use on your website.
It’s a huge weight off my shoulders knowing my business is protected legally, and even more amazing because all I needed to do was copy and paste lawyer-created legal templates onto my website (for a fraction of the cost of meeting with a lawyer). Simple, fast, and convenient; the investment was a no-brainer for me.
Below, you will find several types of legal templates available, listed in alphabetical order.
Click here to learn more about each template on A Self Guru website!
- ADA & WCAG Compliance Bundle for Website
- Affiliate Agreement
- Blogger Legal Bundle
- Bookkeeping Agreement
- Coaching Agreement
- Coaches Legal Bundle
- Comprehensive Legal Bundles
- Confidentiality Agreement (NDA)
- Freelance Legal Bundle
- Guest Blogger Agreement
- Independent Contractor Contract
- Interior Design Congract Bundle
- Legal Bundle
- LLC Operating Agreement
- Media Release Agreement
- Membership Agreement
- Partnership Agreement
- Sponsored Posts Contract
- Terms and Conditions Template
- Transaction Coordinator Agreement
- Transaction Coordinator Legal Bundle
- Virtual Design Agreement
For more useful information regarding these legal bundles, check out Amira’s article on A Self Guru; 3 Ways To Legally Protect Your Website, Blog, and Online Business.
WP Tasty is focused on bringing the best WordPress essentials to food bloggers. It’s a sister company of Food Blogger Pro, and one of the best blogging tools for food bloggers.
WP Tasty is made up of three WordPress plugins which I use daily; Tasty Recipes, Tasty Pins, and Tasty Links. They’re all game-changers and total necessities if you like convenience paired with a clean and concise looking website!
Below, you will find the key features of each WP Tasty plugin.
What are the key features of Tasty Recipes?
- Flexible Formatting: Not everyone writes their recipes in the same way. They make it easy for you to format your recipes exactly how you see fit.
- Seamless Integration: Tasty Recipes uses the same fonts, colors, and spacing that you already have on your website, so recipes look integrated right from the start.
- Style with Ease: The markup used for Tasty Recipes is remarkably simple, which means that any extra styling you want to do can be done with ease. They also offer premade recipe card styles to get you started.
- Stars for Days: Your readers think your recipes are awesome. Display their ratings at the top of every recipe so new readers can cook with confidence.
- Ad-Ready Recipes: Don’t let your recipes go unmonetized. Tasty Recipes can have ads inserted right into the recipe, or you can choose to show them on the print page. Just ask your network to turn them on.
- Complete Nutrition Information: Tasty Recipes includes fields for all the macronutrients, from calories to fiber to saturated fat. If you’re a Nutrifox user (like me), you can take advantage of their seamless integration.
- Active Development: They stay up to date with the latest trends, add important new features, and continue to support you in your food-based business.
- 15-Day Money Back Guarantee: Taking the jump with a new plugin can be stressful. If you try it and decide it’s not for you within 15 days, you’ll get your money back.
I’m not the only one obsessing over Tasty Recipes. Check out these other testimonials from food bloggers using the plugin!
What are the key features of Tasty Pins?
- Set Pinterest Descriptions: Set descriptions for your images that will perform well in Pinterest search. Include hash tags, keywords, and whatever else your heart desires.
- Utilize Alt Text for SEO and Accessibility: Your image’s alt text should be used to describe what the image is, not to add a description for Pinterest. Tasty Pins allows you to do both!
- Hide Pinterest-Specific Images from Your Page: Add a hidden Pinterest-specific image on your website front-end with the click of a button.
- Already Used by Top Bloggers: Tasty Pins is already up and running on high traffic sites around the internet. You’re joining a group of smart and savvy bloggers who are already using Tasty Pins.
- Unlimited Support: Got questions? They’ve got answers. Tasty Pins customers get unlimited support to solve whatever issues or questions we might run into. They are here for us!
- 15-Day Money Back Guarantee: Choosing a new plugin can be stressful. If you try it and decide it’s not for you within 15 days, you’ll get your money back.
What are the key features of Tasty Links?
- Link to Your Blog Content: Got a great page on your blog you talk about often? Create an auto link in Tasty Links to save time when typing up your content.
- Nofollow and Sponsored Affiliate Links: Comply with search engine recommendations by adding “nofollow” and “sponsored” attributes to links that you are compensated for.
- Add Disclosure Text After Links: Optionally add a piece of disclosure text of your choosing after a Tasty Link. Turn it on for some and off for others – it’s up to you!
- Easily Create a Featured Links Block: If you’re using Tasty Links with the WordPress Gutenberg editor you can easily highlight your favorite affiliate or sponsored links in your post.
- Tasty Recipes Integration: When used with Tasty Recipes, you can easily add Tasty Links to your favorite affiliate or sponsored products from inside your recipe card!
- Automatically Add Amazon Affiliate Images: Just grab your Amazon image link, paste it in and they will pull the image into your new Tasty Link.
- Unlimited Support: Got questions? They’ve got answers. Tasty Pins customers get unlimited
support to solve whatever issues or questions we might run into. They are here for us!
- 15-Day Money Back Guarantee: Choosing a new plugin can be stressful. If you try it and decide it’s not for you within 15 days, you’ll get your money back.
5. Canva – Best Free (or Paid Premium) Graphic Design Software for Beginners
Let’s talk design tools! When I first started thinking about the design and aesthetics of my website, to be honest, I had a small panic attack. Then, Food Blogger Pro saved the day again by recommending Canva!
Canva is an absolute godsend when it comes to all things graphic design. I use Canva daily to create beautifully designed Pinterest pins, Instagram stories, email newsletters, resizing images, business cards, and even my brand logo. The possibilities are endless.
Canva is especially great for beginners with little to no graphic design experience, all thanks to their comprehensive courses and tutorials as well as their pre-designed templates. You can customize the existing templates using their huge library of photos, shapes and letters, logos, and more; or start from a blank canvas and let your imagination run wild!
In terms of pricing, Canva offers three options: free, pro, and enterprise. The free version has what you need to start designing, while the pro and enterprise versions offer unlimited access to a treasure trove of premium tools and content, which is absolutely worth it in my opinion! Grab your Canva Pro 30-day free trial here. 😊
Although I personally do not look too much into nutrition labels, I know a lot of people do. To me, it’s important to provide the convenience of Nutrifox to my readers instead of forcing them to search for a third-party service that may not be legit or accurate.
It’s the simplest, quickest part of my entire recipe process; the task takes three minutes tops! All you need to do is enter your ingredients into the box, and Nutrifox takes care of the rest of the work. Once the basics are calculated (this is huge if you hate math as much as I do), you can customize the label to show (or not show) more specific categories, such as Protein, Carbohydrates, various Vitamins, etc.
WP Forms is the best WordPress contact form plugin if you’re in the market for a powerful and user-friendly form builder. Many business owners, designers, and developers (including myself) choose WP Forms for its seamless ability to customize and adapt to your needs, as well as smarter workflow and time-saving capabilities.
There are so many features that make WP Forms great, and I have listed a handful of my favorites below. A complete list of key features can be found on their website.
- Drag & Drop Form Builder: Easily create an amazing form in just a few minutes without writing any code.
- Form Templates: Start with pre-built form templates to save even more time.
- Spam Protection: Their smart captcha and spam protection automatically prevents spam submissions.
- Mailchimp Addon: Create Mailchimp signup forms in WordPress to grow your email list.
- Paypal Addon: Easily collect payments, donations, and online orders with our PayPal addon.
- Custom CAPTCHA: Add Custom Questions and Math CAPTCHA.
- ActiveCampaign Addon: Create ActiveCampaign signup forms in WordPress to grow your email list.
- Signature Addon: Allow users to sign your online forms with their mouse or touchscreen.
There are so many moving parts when thinking of how to start a blog. If you’re already up and running, you may be wondering how to keep your website running fast and smoothly, and your readers happy. Luckily, WP Rocket is indispensable for both. You can’t beat the cost either! It’s truly one of the best blogging tools out there.
WP Rocket caches your pages by creating static HTML files and making them easily available for future visitors. It also applies browser caching, asking the browser to store the commonly used but rarely updated files in its local cache memory.
In other (less nerdy) words; WP Rocket automatically speeds up the pages on your blog so you can deliver ultra-fast results to your readers. If your website is slow, your readers may get bored and abandon it, resulting in a high bounce rate. Knowing how hard you work on each post; this is not the ideal situation.
Not only do your readers love fast web pages but Google and other search engines do as well. Caching is the real key to boost your SEO and increase conversions.
I regularly test my websites speed, and since purchasing WP Rocket, I’ve noticed a HUGE improvement, and I get an “A” every time.
You can set up WP Rocket in about three minutes and then basically set it and forget it. I rarely ever think about WP Rocket, I just know that it’s working its magic in the background for me!
Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to earn income from your blog. It takes a lot of work to create beautiful content, and you should get paid for it one way or another!
One of my favorite affiliate marketing platforms is ShareASale. Simply put, they connect advertisers and publishers together for mutual success.
When I first started thinking about affiliate marketing, I felt intimidated by brand relationships. I was under the impression that you had to be blogging for years before a brand would even think about working with you. ShareASale makes it easy for content creators, influencers, and website owners to build profitable partnerships with their portfolio of brands across multiple sectors. I was happy to learn that many of my favorite brands and products were already on ShareASale in one convenient location!
ShareASale’s dashboard is easy to use and understand, providing real-time insights into performance data, affiliate partner activity, and personalized program diagnostics. They also have stellar customer service (you can talk to a real person, too)!
I’ll be adding more affiliate marketing programs soon, but in the meantime, feel free to send me an email or DM on Instagram and I’ll send you a list of the programs I currently use!
UpdraftPlus is another one of those “set it and forget it” WordPress plugins, and one of the most important ones. They perform complete manual or scheduled backups of all your WordPress files, databases, plugins, and themes.
Your WordPress backups are worth all the time and money you invested into your website; think of it like website insurance. The day may come when something goes wrong with a website update, you get hacked, or your server crashes. UpdraftPlus backups mean that, if the worst were to happen, your website (plus all related files and databases) would be safe and could be restored in no time.
UpdraftPlus Key Features:
- Highest-rating backup and restore plugin at wordpress.org (4.8 stars out of 5.0) and ranked in the top 30 (of over 50,000) WordPress plugins for popularity.
- Designed to run everywhere that WordPress runs.
- Multi-site (i.e. WPMU/WordPress Network) compatible.
- Proven to backup sites of 100GB; file size only limited by Web host.
- Backs up limitless non-WordPress files and external databases.
- Incremental backups that can be set to the hourly schedule of your choice.
Now that you’ve read my page on How to Start a Blog: Blogging Tools List, I hope you’re feeling ready to dive into the blogger world! I will be adding more helpful recommendations in the future, so I suggest bookmarking this page and checking back periodically.
You can also reach out via email (email@example.com), and/or stay connected with me on social media, which I have linked below! Thank you for stopping by!
– Jenna 😊