Building and growing a blog and running an online business involves time, energy, and money.
But compared to starting a business in a traditional way having an online business is way more inexpensive.
Besides a laptop and a smartphone, there are some free and paid tools I’d personally consider as a must-have in order to build and grow an online business.
This post will give you an overview of the must-haves when it comes to building and growing your blog based online business.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- Domain & Hosting
- WordPress Theme
- Email service provider
- Smart scheduler
- Instagram planner
- Graphic design tool
- Google Docs
THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO BUILD & GROW YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS
First and foremost you need as a blogger and online entrepreneur a proper website.
While you could set up a free blog I would strongly advise not to do so, if you want to build a solid online business.
Hosting a website at WordPress and using a free WordPress theme comes with huge limitations and will never look as good as a paid website.
DOMAIN & HOSTING
You can buy the domain as well as host your WordPress based blog and website at Siteground.
Their price starts at $5.99 / month for 1 website which is less than a fancy latte at Starbucks.
I’ve personally gone immediately for their grow big plan which includes hosting for multiple websites.
This means you can have more than one website and host all of them at Siteground.
They have fast responding 24/7 customer support, free daily backup, 30 days money-back guarantee.
Over the last 7 years, I’ve tried several themes from free to paid and my favorite is Divi.
They have over 800 beautiful premade designs and 100+ full website packs to choose from.
The layouts are easy to upload and to customize.
They have tutorials and regularly new layout packs added to their library.
It’s the first theme where I can change up small things by myself without calling a web developer to do everything for me.
The cost for this theme starts at $89 / year.
I’ve started with the $89 / year plan and quickly upgraded to the lifetime access. Totally recommend it!
You can try it out for 30 days for free!
There are tons of free and paid plugins available.
One free plugin I highly recommend checking out is called Yoast SEO.
This plugin will help you with Google SEO (search engine optimization).
This plugin will exactly tell you how to change your website to rank higher in Google.
It will exactly tell you what you need to do to improve your copy and keywords.
The other one I’d really urge you to get is a paid one and it’s called Social Warfare.
It’s a plugin you can use for your social share buttons on your website.
You can make your social share buttons floating, customize them in your brand color, and specify which images can be pinned to Pinterest.
In your dashboard, you can also exactly define the text for all your different social media platforms.
The yearly fee for a single page license is only $29.
EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER
Besides your website you also need an email service provider.
There are email service providers like Mail Chimp or Mailerlite that are free to use up to 1000 subscribers.
I personally didn’t bother trying the free ones and went directly for Convertkit that starts at $29 / month.
Convertkit is easy to use and has a lot of advanced features like automation, taggings, sequences which save up a lot of time in the long run.
It can be confusing at first when you’re absolutely new to email marketing but there are a bunch of tutorials in the form of videos and posts on Convertkits blog itself.
Besides their tutorials, they also have a Facebook group where you can ask any questions and get help around the clock.
My favorite smart scheduler is Tailwind for scheduling pins on Pinterest.
Pinterest, on the other hand, is the easiest and best way you can grow your audience online as a new blogger or online business owner.
One of the key factors to succeed on Pinterest is to pin daily.
Tailwind will make your life much easier because once you schedule your pins tailwind will pin your pins onto Pinterest for you.
Tailwind costs $15/month or $120/year.
Highly recommend using tailwind for blog traffic.
Another great tool I like to use is Planoly.
It’s an Instagram grid planner and scheduler.
You can upload your photos to Planoly and plan out your grid.
With an Instagram business account, you can also schedule your posts which means that Planoly will post for you onto Instagram.
They have a free option where you can upload up to 30 photos per month to plan your feed.
Their paid option costs $7/month when you go for their annual plan.
Grammarly is your free writing assistant.
It’s available as a free and as a paid version.
I personally use the free version and let Grammarly check my grammar spelling mistakes before I hit the publish button.
It’s a tool I don’t want to miss.
Canva is a graphic design app you can use on your desktop and your phone.
It’s available as a free and as a paid version.
I personally have the paid version but know other successful bloggers and online entrepreneurs who are on the free plan for years.
Canva is perfect for designing all sorts of social media images, logos, cards, and even workbooks and ebooks.
You can use Google docs with a free Gmail account and keep your editorial calendar and all your written blog posts there.
Besides Google Docs I also highly recommend using Dropbox.
They have a free and a paid version.
You can upload and keep your other blog / online business related stuff like photos, Pinterest, social media images, etc in there.
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