It’s true, every blogger would have a list of their favorite blogging tools, and I have one too. The other bloggers might not have published one but trust me it exists. Because “bloggers can’t live without tools!”. Seriously!
Here is a list of my blogging resources and it includes my favorite internet tools, software, and apps. Well, some of them may not be directly related to blogging or it may not be even an essential. However, I have listed it here because I believe I ended up using it only because I own a blog. Makes sense, right?
One more thing. These are my personal favorites and it may not be the best option for you. But you can always explore my Blogging Tools 501 (or what I call the, The Blogpreneur’s Swiss Army Knife) for a comprehensive list of blogging resources you will ever need.
My Favorite Internet Tools, Software & Apps
I have made sure that only the ones that I’m using currently (daily or occasionally) is listed here. And the best thing is that most of them are free, forever. Anyway, I have highlighted the premium services (plus its pricing when possible).
- GoDaddy — It’s NOT the best domain registrar out there but I’m always stuck with them.
- DomainTools — It’s my preferred whois lookup service but I’m looking for a better alternative ever since they introduced a ‘captcha’.
- Open Admin Tools — It’s a quick website review tool that shows a lot of information about the web page like: Meta Tags, Domain Age, IP Address, Hosting Location, Indexed Pages, Site Security, Alexa Traffic Rank History, HTTP Header Analysis, DNS Records, etc. (I primarily take advantage of it via the Google Chrome extension Open SEO Stats).
- InMotion Hosting — It’s my preferred web hosting company (for Shared, Reseller, and VPS Hosting) and I would recommend it to anyone as long as they are looking for a premium web hosting plan.
- Hawk Host — I haven’t tried Hawk Host personally, yet. But if I have to recommend an affordable web hosting plan to someone else or need one for myself then it could be Hawk Host as it costs less than $50/year (for the first year as well as for the renewals). Btw, they do not offer live chat support.
- A Small Orange — If all the websites that I own are lightweight then I will give A Small Orange a chance as their pricing plans are really attractive at $50/year (for the first year as well as for the renewals) with live chat support. However, the fact that they are owned by EIG makes me a bit sceptical. Check out, Hawk Host vs. WebHostFace vs. A Small Orange vs. Others.
- WebHostFace — Again, I haven’t tried WebHostFace personally but if someone is looking for a lifetime web hosting plan then I would recommend WebHostFace (if it’s a lightweight website).
Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- CloudFlare — It’s my preferred CDN and is 100% free (unless we need premium features). CloudFlare fetches content from our servers and delivers pages to the users from their cloud after optimization.
- MaxCDN — I was using MaxCDN for the past two years or so and switched to CloudFlare recently as the bandwidth requirement exceeded 100 GB. I actually did the migration to test CloudFlare (as I couldn’t believe that it was free) and now I’m happy that I did.
- WordPress.org — It’s my preferred publishing platform (or Content Management System (CMS)) as it can be customized the way we want.
- Medium — If I didn’t care about SEO or customization and only wanted to focus on ‘writing’ then I would have chosen Medium (especially since it supports custom domains now).
- Day One (Premium) — It’s a fantastic journaling app for iOS and OS X which I use to convert my thoughts or anything what’s in my mind to words.
- StudioPress — It’s my favorite premium WordPress theme marketplace. And Genesis (developed by StudioPress) is my preferred WordPress framework. I love most of their professionally designed WordPress skins (or child themes).
- Themeforest — It’s perhaps the largest marketplace for premium website templates (HTML5, WordPress, PSD, Tumblr, etc.). If StudioPress do not have a WordPress theme that matches my taste then I usually go to Themeforest (or another Premium WordPress Theme Marketplace). It’s got a ton of WordPress themes but the problem is, Themeforest themes are heavy (unless we choose the right one).
- WordPress Theme Directory — It’s the official (and the largest) directory for free WordPress themes.
Here is a list of WordPress plugins that I’m using on Minterest (or another blog that I own or manage).
- Yoast SEO — To make the WordPress posts & pages more search-friendly.
- Contact Form 7 — To add all the required contact forms. And I also like Ninja Forms and I’m using it on this blog (as I had to deactivate Contact Form 7 due to a technical reason).
- Disqus Comment System — To replace the default WordPress comment system.
- WordPress Related Posts — To automatically show “Related Posts” (in a SEO-friendly way) at the end of each blog posts (it uses “tags” to find and suggest related posts and we can even customize it).
- Jetpack by WordPress.com — To bring the cloud power of WordPress.com to the self-hosted WordPress blog. Check out, Jetpack Review!
- TinyMCE Advanced — To enable the advanced features of TinyMCE in the default WordPress Editor.
- Simple URLs — To create, manage, and track custom outbound links.
- Page Links To — To redirect WordPress posts and pages to another URL (external or internal).
- Simple Social Icons — To show beautiful social icons on the sidebar.
- Digg Digg — To add floating social sharing buttons on blog posts.
- W3 Total Cache — To optimize the performance of WordPress. I also like WP Super Cache.
- Ultimate Nofollow — To selectively “nofollow” outbound links.
- WPtouch — To make the blog mobile-friendly.
- Snapshot Pro (Premium) — To backup and restore WordPress. It can act as a WordPress time machine and can also be used to migrate WordPress sites from one host to another.
I haven’t included all the plugins that I’m using as few of them like Genesis eNews Extended, Genesis Simple Edits, Dynamic To Top, etc. are blog specific, I can possibly remove it when I change my WordPress framework or theme or both.
- WordPress Plugin Directory — It’s the official (and the largest) directory for free WordPress plugins.
- CodeCanyon — It’s the largest marketplace for premium WordPress plugins.
- Feedly — It’s the sexiest RSS reader for desktop and mobile. Here’s why!
- Digg Reader — I like Digg Reader because of its Google Reader like interface and the “Popular” feature. When I want to subscribe to a website that publishes hundreds of posts a day I use Digg Reader (it’s a great alternative to Feedly too).
- Pocket Recommended — To find the most-saved content across the web.
- LinkedIn Pulse — For curated social news.
- Microsoft Word — It’s my preferred offline word processor application.
- Google Docs — It’s my preferred online word processor application (thanks to its real-time collaboration and editing feature).
- Dropbox Paper — It’s a great alternative to Google Docs with a lot more features and I plan to switch to it eventually.
- Canva — To create online graphic designs.
- Pablo — To quickly create images for social media posts.
- Flickr Creative Commons — To find professional images with a Creative Commons license. Check out, Over 41+ Image Sources!
- Awesome Screenshot — For screen capture.
- Adobe Photoshop — For photo editing.
- PicMonkey — For quick photo touch-ups.
- FeedBurner — To power my WordPress RSS feeds and also to make them available for everyone to subscribe via email. Btw, I plan to migrate to MailChimp sooner or later as Google may discontinue FeedBurner anytime.
- Ping-O-Matic — To manually ping search engines (when I need to).
- SeeTheStats — To share Google Analytics stats with advertisers (it’s super useful if you sell private ads).
- Google AdWords — To buy pay-per-click ads on Google search results and their display network.
- Bing Ads — To buy pay-per-click ads on the Yahoo Bing Network.
- Facebook Ads — To buy ads on Facebook.
- Perfect Audience — To retarget users across the web.
- BuySellAds — To buy banner ads on other websites and blogs.
I don’t actually spend much time using SEO tools. But I do a lot of research about it as I’ve so many listicles on my blog.
- SEMrush (Premium) — It’s the only premium Search Engine Optimization (SEO) suite that I’m using and it’s good for competitor analysis, keyword spying, website auditing, tracking website rankings, backlink analysis, pay per click research, etc.
- Google Keyword Planner — It’s the only keyword research tool that I’m actively using.
- WooRank — It’s my favorite SEO report tool though I use it rarely.
- Google Analytics — To track the traffic of my websites plus gain audience insights.
- Alexa — To check the traffic trends of a website plus discover new websites.
- SimilarWeb — To get the traffic insights of any other website.
- Google Search Console — To check the visibility of my websites on Google search.
- Bing Webmaster Tools — To check the visibility of my websites on Bing search.
Here are my favorite tools to analyze the performance (and loading speed) of a webpage and get its grade. It also suggests ways to make the pages less heavy and load faster.
- Google Custom Search — To create a custom search engine — powered by Google.
- Down For Everyone Or Just Me — To check if a website is down or not.
- Pingdom — To monitor the uptime of my websites.
- BuiltWith — To find out what a website is built with.
- Screenfly — To test a web page at different screen resolutions.
- Peek by UserTesting — To get a video feedback by a real person using my website.
- MXToolBox — To lookup DNS, MX, WhoIs, TCP, and a lot more ‘lookups’.
- IntoDNS — To check the DNS and mail server health.
- FileZilla — It’s my favorite FTP client.
- Microsoft Expression Web — It’s my favorite HTML editor on Windows and it’s totally free.
To share, to connect, to collaborate, to showcase, to discover, to question, and to answer.
Social Networks (Active)
Social Networks (Silent)
Web 2.0 (Active)
Web 2.0 (Silent)
- TweetDeck — It’s still my favorite Twitter client although Twitter is not so keen about it.
- Bitly — It’s my preferred URL shortening service (when I have to shorten one).
- Clip Converter — To download YouTube videos (in HD).
- Google Chrome — It’s my preferred web browser because of its intuitive design, in-built password manager, cross-platform syncing, auto-fill forms, custom search engines, developer tools, apps and extensions, etc. — actually the list is endless.
- Apple Safari — It’s my backup browser and the good thing about Safari is that it’s lightweight (compared to Google Chrome) with all the essential features.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer — It’s my preferred browser when I use Windows again because it’s lightweight. I also like Microsoft Edge but I find it buggy.
- iCloud — For Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminder.
- Wunderlist — It’s my preferred to-do list app — to get things done.
- Sunrise — It’s my favorite calendar app (for web, desktop, & mobile) that integrates handsomely with Google Calendar, iCloud, Exchange, Evernote, Asana, Trello, Facebook, and many more apps.
- Evernote — It’s my favorite note-taker app. Check out, Evernote Review!
- Trello — It’s my preferred project management and planner app (was OneNote before) — to stay organized.
- Pocket — It’s my preferred read-it-later app.
- IFTTT — To connect different web apps and automate stuff.
- Dropbox — It’s my preferred cloud storage service because of its simplicity, user interface, cross-platform support, 3-rd party app integration, one-click sharing, and many more features. Check out, 11 Reasons Why I Love Dropbox!
- OneDrive — It was my favorite cloud storage service until few months ago. Now I’m not using it much but I plan to use it as an archive someday by uploading everything on my computer, flash storage, and disks) as it’s got 1 TB free storage (thanks to Office 365).
- iCloud Drive — It’s definitely not the best choice as a cloud storage service but it’s useful as it’s integrated tightly with iOS and OS X.
- Picasa Web — It’s not exactly a cloud storage service but an image hosting and sharing service from Google. The best thing about Picasa is that it’s virtually got unlimited storage (although the free storage limit is 1 GB) because only photos that are over 2048 x 2048 px in size will count towards the 1 GB free storage limit.
- Microsoft Office 365 (Premium) — It’s my favorite office suite.
- Microsoft Office Online — Office.com is the online version of Microsoft Office suite (yup, it’s free!).
- Gmail — It’s my preferred web-based email service and I can tell you at least 51 reasons for that.
- Outlook.com — I love Outlook.com for its unique design and features like email alias, Skype integration, and social media connections. And I use it as an alternative to Gmail knowing that it can’t match the features of Gmail in any way.
- Yahoo Mail — It’s my spam inbox and all emails goes to trash by default (by setting up a filter). I give my Yahoo email address to whatever website that asks my email id (special thanks to disposable addresses).
- iCloud Mail — I use my @icloud.com at times (thanks to iCloud email aliases).
- Google Apps — I use Google Apps for some business domains. Otherwise, I prefer Gmail aliasing.
- Guerrilla Mail — I use Guerrilla Mail (a disposable temporary email address service) when I want to create a quick anonymous email id to register somewhere. The only problem is most of the big brands have already blacklisted Guerrilla Mail addresses. Anyway, if Guerrilla Mail is blacklisted then I create a disposable addresses with Yahoo Mail.
- Outlook — It’s my preferred desktop email client (when I really need it).
- Nylas N1 — It’s a great alternative to Mailbox (on desktop) — available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
Calls & Messages
- Skype — For instant messaging, video calls, group video chat, screen sharing, international & toll free phone calls.
- FaceTime — For audio and video calls.
- iMessage — For messaging.
- WhatsApp — For messaging and location sharing. Or, as a better alternative to text messaging – thanks to its massive adoption rate and read receipts feature.
- Chrome Remote Desktop — To access and control my own PCs from another computer or mobile device.
- TeamViewer — To remote control another computer or to give remote support.
- Microsoft Money — It’s still my preferred personal finance management software although Microsoft discontinued it several years back.
- Yahoo Finance Portfolios — It’s my favorite online portfolio manager as it’s so simple and flexible.
- PayPal — It’s my preferred payment method though the transaction fees are extremely high.
- Google Bookmarks — To create private bookmarks with notes.
- Diigo — To create public & private bookmarks and to organize it efficiently. Btw, the best thing about Diigo is that their Google Chrome extension shows whether the web page that we are currently viewing is already saved or not.
- Pastebin — To anonymously share text online (no registration required).
- Imgur — To anonymously share images online (no registration required). Apparently, it’s the best place to find Internet memes as well.
- Photobucket — To host an image online and embed it in a forum or elsewhere (registration required).
- Internet Archive — To see the archived versions of web pages across time.
- Activity Timer (Premium) — It’s my favorite pomodoro timer app.
- InstaCalc — It’s a real-time shareable online calculator.
- eFax (Freemium) — It’s my preferred online fax service though I don’t need it much (thanks to E-mail and PDF).
- iTunes — I love iTunes because it acts as a hub between a PC (Windows & Mac OS X) and the iOS ecosystem.
- VLC Media Player — I hate the brand “VLC” but still prefer it to play videos as it plays almost everything.
- uTorrent — It’s my preferred BitTorrent client.
- Hide My Ass — It’s my preferred proxy server.
- VirusTotal — It’s a free online virus, malware and URL scanner by Google.
I’m not using any mobile-only apps or services. The only one was WhatsApp but it’s now out of question as they have launched a desktop client last year. Since almost all the apps that are listed here are an extension of its desktop or web app I’m not adding its descriptions.
- Day One (Premium)
- Chrome Remote Desktop
- Google Maps
As I have already mentioned, I’m using majority of the tools that I have listed here just because I’m a blogger. Otherwise, my list of favorite tools and apps could be much, much small and maybe it can be limited to just fantastic ten plus few utilities.
Once again, let me remind you that the above list records my personal favorites only. If you are looking for a comprehensive list of blogging resources then check out, The Blogpreneur’s Swiss Army Knife.
Needless to say, like most of my listicles I will make sure that this list is updated regularly.
So, what set of blogging tools do you use to streamline your blogging workflow?
Happy Blogging! :)
*Still thinking what’s left to add!*
First Published: May 12, 2014; Last Updated: Tuesday, February 2, 2016.