As I mentioned the other day, saving money is currently an area of major focus in my life. Therefore, I’ve spent a lot of time finding free tools for broke bloggers like myself. (Disclaimer: I am not literally “broke.” I am just penny-pinching, frugal, trying to build my savings, and working a not-quite-full-time-job that does not pay a ton.) I did spend a not insignificant sum on my blog when I first started it. The domain name was only about $5, but I spent around $200 for two years of hosting. I made the choice to go self-hosted from the start after doing a lot of research on the matter. I wanted the freedom and control it would allow me, but I recognize that not everyone may be able to do that. Since that day, however, I have tried to avoid spending additional money on this blog, at least until I start making any income through it.
As a result, I’ve been able to compile quite a list of free tools for broke bloggers–whether broke in general or just not interested in investing money (in addition to time and effort) into their blogs right now.
(Note: I am in no way affiliated with any of these tools and resources, nor am I receiving any compensation, monetary or otherwise. These are all just things and people who have helped me out and may do the same for you!)
Completely Free Tools for Broke Bloggers
- Bitly – I only recently started using this resource, and I want to go back in time and slap past-me for all those Tweets that included the entire link address. Seriously, start using Bitly (or another free link-shortener) ASAP. Save more of your 140 characters for advertising the content of your link.
- Yoast SEO – This is a highly rated SEO plug-in for WordPress users, and it definitely helped me better understand SEO when I first started.
- Canva – This is my favorite tool for creating text-based images and infographics. Canva is super user-friendly and provides great templates to get you started. For certain images you will have to pay around $1, but I have managed to avoid doing so thus far. My only gripe with Canva is that the site seems to crash/be down for maintenance more than the average site. This wouldn’t be a major problem, except that it happened once when I was about to download an infographic that I already created for my final project in Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology during senior year. I had to go and recreate the whole thing as best as I could on Microsoft Word in under an hour. (It was obviously terrible in comparison to the one I made on Canva, but I still got an A, so no long-term damage was done.) Still, I would recommend Canva, as long as nothing too time-sensitive is involved.
- Find A Photo – This website allows you to search for free stock photos (CC0 licensed) by a keyword or by color, which is really fantastic if you are a more visually inclined person than me. Even if you are as un-artistic as me, it’s pretty fun. There is one major thing about this–and practically every stock photo source–that really bugs me: every laptop and desktop pictured is a Mac. And as a penny-pinching blogger and recent college graduate, I don’t have a shiny new MacBook Pro. I have a 4-year-old, 5.3 pound Lenovo, so that is what you see pictured at the top of this post, along with my tiny office area. Not the prettiest picture ever, but a more honest one. Still though, there are lots of times in which I do want a pretty stock photo, so I won’t knock Find A Photo and the like too hard.
- Snapseed – Snapseed is available in the Android and iTunes app stores. It’s my favorite free photo-editing tool, and it’s great for blog pics, bio pics, and Instagrams. The only annoying part is that I am pretty sure it is only available as an app, which means you may have to edit the picture on your phone and then email it to yourself. There may be a better way to do this, but I have not figured it out yet.
- The Nectar Collective – On the off chance that you are not familiar with Melyssa Griffin and TNC, then you should scurry on over there and sign up for her newsletter and get access to her free resource library. I think her stuff is especially useful to any lifestyle, fashion, DIY, or food bloggers out there.
- Alexandra Franzen’s website – She has lots of great articles about life, creativity, writing in general, and blogging in specific, but I’d recommended starting with her list of 33 prompts for unlocking blog ideas.
- Bloglovin’ – Bloglovin’ can help you keep track of your favorite blogs and find new blogs in your niche. Shameless plug–you can find The Way of the Worrier on Bloglovin’ if you’d like.
- Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. – Connecting with your audience and fellow bloggers is such an important part of blogging. I didn’t realize this when I first started, thinking that I could write a post here on the blog and then cast it out into the void and have thousands of page-views. I was really, really wrong. Learn how to use social media effectively for your niche. This is something I’m still working on, but I’d say that Pinterest is ideal for bloggers who focus on food, DIY, parenting, fashion, and makeup. Instagram is great for all of those, plus lifestyle bloggers. And Twitter and Facebook are useful to just about everyone. Of course, anyone can use any of these platforms (and others!) with great succcess.
Did I leave out any of your favorite free tools for broke bloggers? Let me know in the comments!