As bloggers, it can feel like there is no shortage of tools to buy, memberships to subscribe to, and courses to take. Many are fantastic investments into our blogging journey, but the costs can really add up. So what gives? Are there free blogging tools we can rely on to keep our budgets in check and avoid overspending on resources?
I believe there are, and in today’s post I’ll outline the 13 tools I rely on that don’t cost a dime.
A word before we jump in
To get the most out of this post, I’d highly recommend you have a blog up and running. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my post on the best way to start a blog in 8 easy steps. It outlines the exact steps you can take to launch a WordPress blog with SiteGround, the hosting provider I use and trust.
Now, on to the tools!
Free Project Management Tools for Bloggers
Think of Trello like a post it note-meets-project management tool, all digital! It’s fantastic for us visual thinkers who like to see things laid out and have more of a free form space to record ideas, move things around, and keep track of project status.
Here’s a snapshot of my Trello homepage. You can see that I’ve used it for brainstorming, post ideas, note taking, and more.
Here’s a look at the Trello “card” system. I used this format to plan my blog structure last year since it let me easily drag and drop my sub-categories into different buckets. This gave me a view of the big picture in a way a simple Word document couldn’t.
Cost: FREE version available
I use Asana every single day for managing my entire life! It has my personal reminders, wedding tasks, blogging to-dos, and Etsy shop reminders. I love how I can colour-code tasks, set them to repeat, and see everything in both list and calendar views.
While there is a paid version of Asana, I’ve never needed it since I don’t collaborate with others in the system. If you’re just starting out with Asana or if you’re a one-person team, the free version should be fine for you too!
I took the Asana for Bloggers course from MoneyLab.co and highly recommend it. It’s only $25USD and walks you through how to get the most out of the platform.
Cost: FREE version available
When it comes to taking and storing notes, Evernote is my go-to. Their Notebook functionality lets me easily store notes by course or topic, and I love how I can also save pictures, articles, and other media. I use both the iPhone and desktop apps, and they’re easy to use and navigate.
The screenshot below shows some articles my Dad and I shared with each other as we wrote The Confidence Toolkit. It was a free and easy way to collaborate on the project and share our research.
Free Planning and Time Management Tools for Bloggers
#4: Apple Calendar (formerly iCal)
I live and breathe by my electronic planner, and that is Apple Calendar! The free application that comes with Apple computers is incredibly intuitive, easy to use, and doesn’t require an internet connection to access. I use Apple Calendar to plan out my days and weeks, keep track of plans and appointments, and track my work hours.
If you’re looking to get more organized with a digital calendar, check out my post on The Best Way to Use an Electronic Planner. It covers my top tips on making the most of the tool to conquer your goals and regain control of your time.
Regardless of which calendar or planner you use, check out my post Better Time Management: How to Make Over Your Routine for some useful tips.
As I mention in my post on 5 Ways to Increase Productivity, breaking down your work time into intervals can maximize your productivity. And there’s a free way to leverage this technique!
Free Email Tools for Bloggers
Cost: FREE up to 1,000 subscribers
Your email list is one of your biggest assets as a blogger. You may have heard of providers like ConvertKit and InfusionSoft, but they aren’t always beginner-friendly. MailerLite, on the other hand, is very user friendly, has loads of features, and is free for your first 1,000 subscribers.
Is your mailing list larger than 1,000 subscribers? This link will get you a $20 credit when you sign up, which covers your first two months!
Cost: FREE up to 2,000 subscribers
While MailerLite is my favourite email provider, I still use MailChimp for managing my Etsy shop email list. I’ve created some great templates and find it to be easy to replicate them weekly for my newsletter. Plus, it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers which has an edge on MailerLite! If you’re more serious about email, I would recommend MailerLite, but MailChimp is still a good option for beginners.
The Best Graphics Tools
Cost: FREE membership available
Creating eye-catching graphics for your blog posts is important for driving traffic to your site and alining your content with your brand. I love how Canva has incredible templates to get you started, and then lets you save your designs on the platform so that you can use them time and time again. I use Canva for creating my Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest images, as well as some of my freebies.
#9: Stock Photos from Numerous Sites
Having well-composed, relevant photos for your blog posts really helps them capture your readers’ attention. I use stock photos in my post graphics, and will probably begin integrating them in my posts themselves over time.
While I rely most on paid photos (from Deposit Photos), I’ve used a few sites in the past for free images. Some of my favourites are:
Looking for girly or feminine images? Here are some sites with great roundups:
- 18 Places for FREE Girly and Styled Stock Photos by Twins Mommy
- 50+ Places for Free Feminine Style Stock Photos by Catherine Oneissy
- 50+ Sites for Free Feminine Styled Stock Photography by Design Your Own Lovely Blog
Free Social Media Scheduling Tools for Bloggers
Cost: FREE with Individuals – Free Plan
Since starting to publish blog posts twice a week (which I post on social media afterwards), it became important to find scheduling tools to help me stay on top of things. I love how I can schedule my posts weeks in advance and have them publish to social media at the optimized time for each social network.
Later is a great free tool for scheduling social media posts. It lets you set a posting calendar with your ideal posting days and times which makes it much easier to see your schedule at a glance. I use it for Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. For Instagram, there’s a phone app that alerts me every time I have a scheduled post. I can then easily open Instagram and post it when it’s time.
The Individuals – Free plan includes up to 30 Instagram posts per month, up to 30 Pinterest pins per month, and up to 30 Tweets per month, which is more than enough for my needs. And if you sign up through my link, you get 10 more posts per month free.
Free SEO Tools for Bloggers
Cost: FREE up to 5 lookups per day ($30USD+/month after that)
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you know that SEO is something worth spending time and energy on. I took the Sticky Blogging SEO Course last year which used KWFinder, an amazing tool for keyword research. KWFinder costs from $30USD/month and up, but you can use the tool for 5 free lookups every day.
I love how the tool lets me see the average monthly searches for keywords as well as the difficulty to rank for them. It’s saved me so much time in honing in on which keywords to use, which I then plug into potential headlines.
If you’re looking to optimize the headlines of your blog posts or other content, I’d highly recommend looking into CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It evaluates potential headlines on various metrics including word balance, length, keywords, and sentiment. For every single post I write, I run a few options through the Headline Analyzer to find the strongest one that uses my keywords and delivers on what I’m sharing.
Free Storage Tools for Bloggers
#13: Dropbox Basic
Cost: FREE up to 2 GB
If you like staying organized, especially when it comes to digital files and folders, Dropbox is fantastic. I’ve upgraded to their Plus Plan so that I can keep my thousands of business-related files safe and sound! But you can certainly stick with their free option for up to 2 GB of your highest value files.
Dropbox syncs up seamlessly with your computer, making it really easy to use and I like not having to constantly back up my files manually to an external hard drive.
There you have it: 13 incredible blogging tools that won’t cost a you a penny! I hope these help you on your blogging journey. Have a blogging budget you can dip into? My post on The Best Blogging Tools I Recommend for Beginners includes paid resources.
Did I miss any of your favourites? Share them in the comments! And leave me a comment with any blogging-related topics you’d like to see me cover in the future.