If you do it seriously, blogging can be a way of life in which you can totally live from it. Or, you can also use your blog as a personal digital diary to express what’s on your mind and your current mood. Some people also use their blog to share their travel experiences, memorable life moments, and so on.
Whatever your purpose of blogging, we have collected some of the best free tools and resources to support your blogging activity.
Before getting started, I want to tell a bit. I started this blog (Bettertecthtips.com) in 2016 with three of my friends. A year later, this blog started giving us extra money and now, we totally live from it. We mostly use free tools and resources on a daily basis to run this blog. We only use a paid tool if we think we really need it.
The following are the free tools and resources we use on daily basis to run Bettertechtips.com.
1. Best free CMS: WordPress
Bettertechtips.com is built with WordPress and we have a strong reason for it: WordPress is the best content management system.
According to a stat on CodeinWP, WordPress has about 50-60% global market share of CMS. Around 34% of websites on the internet are built with WordPress. Popular brands like Spotify, Windows, TED, Sony also use WordPress on one of their sites. WordPress itself is released as an open source project (probably the most successful open source project other than Linux) and supports plugins. Plugins and themes are two out of many factors that make WordPress to the current state. Thanks to its open ecosystem, many developers create both plugins and themes for WordPress, which eventually opens a new business opportunity. Sites and tools like Themeforest, Elementor, Yoast and MemberPress are just a few examples of businesses that born thanks to the open ecosystem of WordPress.
From the users perspective, the popularity of WordPress might is backed by its ease of use as well as its reputation as an SEO friendly CMS. Every WordPress user has a unique-look site as they use a different theme. Even with the same theme, you can have a different-look site by using different settings. Today, you can even create a WordPress theme without writing any single line of code.
2. Best free image resource: Pixabay
You need at least one image for every blog post you write. At Bettertechtips.com, we often use several images for a single post, especially when writing a how-to article. The images are mostly screenshots. But for the featured image we usually use an image from Pixabay.
Pixabay itself is a free stock photo site that can be a great resource to fulfill your needs of image. There are over 1 million free images you can download from this site. All images on Pixabay are released under a similar license to Creative Commons Zero. You can use images for free for any purpose, including commercial without needing to credit the author. As a photography hobbyist, I sometimes also share my shots to Pixabay although not all of my shots get accepted since Pixabay has a tight enough reviewing process. Only qualified images will be accepted.
3. Best free image editor: GIMP
When using an image for a blog post, you should not be using just the way it is. Especially if you use your own images (photographs). Using a photograph for a blog post without resizing the original dimension is crazy since a single photograph file can be up to 2 to 6MB. Or even larger. You don’t need to spend a monthly budget on Photoshop. There is GIMP as the best free alternative to Photoshop.
GIMP is an open source image editor with the same functionality as Photoshop. You can use it to perform basic image editing like cropping, resizing, and so on. You can also use GIMP to create advanced image manipulation. GIMP itself is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can visit this page to learn what GIMP can do for you.
4. Best free grammar checker: Grammarly
Grammarly has had massive enough ads on Google Ads so you might have heard about it. Grammarly describes itself as a writing assistant. This tool can help you have the proper grammar in the article you are writing. You don’t need to be back and forth between WordPress editor and the Grammarly page to figure out if your article already grammatical error-free. You can install the browser extension of Grammarly which is available for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.
Once you have Grammarly installed on your browser, it will be checking the grammatical error on your article per paragraph. Grammarly will be checking each paragraph as you make a switch to the next paragraph. Grammarly itself is a freemium tool. The free version is more than enough for a blogging need.
5. Best free screenshot tool: Lightshot
If you want to create a tech blog like Bettertechtips.com, How-to Geek or Make Tech Easier then taking a screenshot is the part of your job. You will need to use this sort of tool every time you want to write a how-to article. Not just capturing the screen. In most cases, you also need to annotate your screenshots. Windows and the vast majority of Linux distros already have a built-in screenshot tool, but Lightshot offers something else. You can directly annotate the captured screen before saving it into a PNG file.
Lightshot is a free tool that is available for Windows and Mac. If you are a Linux user, you can use Flameshot which has similar features as Lightshot. Or, if you need a screenshot tool that has a feature to share your screenshots with your team, you can try Nimbus Capture or Jumpshare.
6. Best free analytics tool: Google Analytics
Whether you use your blog for business or just a personal note, you need to know how has your blog been going. Google Analytics is by far the best free tool to analyze the performance of your blog. You can use it to figure out how many visitors you earned today, this week, or this month. Google Analytics supports real-time analytics. You can also learn the demography of your visitors as well as geography, the technology they use, activities, and so on.
7. Best free design maker: Crello
In an attempt to create a more engaging post, you sometimes want to add images like posters, flyer or even infographics to your post. If you have a poor design skill, Crello can be a great assistant to help you create a better image with your poor design skills. Crello can assist you in creating images like flyer, poster, invitation, blog banner, blog header and so on. You can even create an aminated graphic with this tool (premium only).
Crello offers a bunch of free design templates which you can tailor according to your needs. You can simply drag the design elements like photos, icons, illustrations, stickers, and, frames to the editor in case you need ones. Crello offers a handy file manager to allow you to save your works. In addition to Crello, there are also Canva and Adobe Spark that have the same functionalities. If you want to create an infographic, you can use tools like Piktochart or Infogr.am which also offer a free version.
8. Best free SEO plugin: Yoast
If you create a blog for business, mastering SEO will be a massive beneficial bonus. You will be able to gain thousands of visitors by investing less money. WordPress itself has a very good reputation in terms of SEO. With an assist from Yoast, you can even create a more SEO-friendly blog.
Yoast is a popular free SEO plugin for WordPress. It helps you to optimize every piece of your article. Yoast also allows you to install SEO elements on your blog like breadcrumb and XML sitemap.
As I have mentioned earlier at the beginning of this article, you can totally live from blogging if you do it seriously. And you don’t need to waste your money to start a blog for business. There are a bunch of free tools out there you can make use of. From free image editor to edit the supporting images to grammar checker to make sure you have no grammatical errors. We use all of the tools above on a daily basis to run Bettertechtips.com.