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Freebies for new bloggers
I have read a lot of posts about things that you should buy when you start a blog. In fact, I even wrote about two things you should buy when you start a blog. There are a few important things to purchase when you start a blog, but there are also lots of freebies for new bloggers! I wanted to share the best free things that I know about, all in one place!
If you’re looking to start your own blog, check out my tutorial on how to start a blog on WordPress. Starting a blog is a fun hobby, and it can even turn into a side income or full-time business! Make sure to read the post and then use my link to start your own blog for only $3.95 a month!
Plugins & Themes
Okay, now onto the freebies! There are so many awesome services for bloggers. I assume that you’re starting on WordPress, and if you’re not, go back and check out my post about how to start a blog on WordPress! WordPress is where you need to be. Once you get your WordPress set up, you’re going to need a theme. I buy all of my themes over at ThemeForest. I did pay for my themes, but they also have some freebies, as well as themes as cheap as a couple of dollars.
There are tons of free plugins that are excellent for bloggers, but these are some that you should start with.
SEO is critical to a successful blog. Yoast SEO is the best plugin that I know of to make sure your SEO is top notch.
Pinterest Pin It Button
You need to be adding at least one nice vertical image to your blog posts that will look awesome on Pinterest, like the one below! Using a plugin like the Pinterest Pin it button make it easy for your readers to pin your content. It’s very important and often something that new bloggers don’t think of.
Speaking of Pinterest, you need to be on Pinterest. It’s completely free to use, and it can be such a huge benefit to your blog. If you aren’t following me on Pinterest, you can do that here and then check out Blogging Ideas board. It is packed with tons of great information that I have all over the web. Most of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. I’d like to diversify a little more, but it’s better to have a lot of traffic from Pinterest than no traffic at all. If you already have a business account, you’ll want to change it to a business account. It’s really simple. I would explain it to you, but Pinterest has already done that.
Once you have your account set up, you’ll want to get your boards in order. Your boards might be a mess if you’ve been using Pinterest for personal reasons. Don’t worry, I was in the same boat. Think about what you’re writing about on your blog. Let’s say you write about how homeschooling enables you to travel more as a family. If you don’t already have boards for your key topics, you’ll want to create them. Sample board ideas:
- Homeschooling Ideas
- Traveling with kids
You’ll want to move these boards to the top of your page, so that your readers can easily find them.
I know that I am venturing off here, but let’s talk about group boards for just a second. Group boards are so important on Pinterest. You are going to want to join a few group boards that relate to your blog topics. There are a few ways to do this. You can find group boards directly on Pinterest. Most “big” bloggers below to group boards, but a lot of those boards won’t be accepting new contributors. If you have BoardBooster (I talk about why BoardBooster is important here) you can use the tool to look up group boards in your niche.
Remember when we talked about the free “Pin it” plugin? There’s a lot more to that. Okay, so you have a business account, you have set up your content specific boards, and maybe requested to join some group boards. Now what? Pinterest images are so important. I cannot stress this enough.
Back when I started blogging in 2011, my friend and I had a website with some pretty good content. We started noticing that we were getting traffic from Pinterest, but I believe that it could have been much better if I knew then what I know now. You need attractive vertical pins that draw the reader in. You need a pretty image, and a catchy (but short) description of what the pin is about. Blurry photos, bright text colors (in most cases) and badly designed pin images just don’t cut it anymore. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a graphic designer to make your own pretty pin images.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I am a professional photographer and I some top notch editing software (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc) and I don’t use them much for my blog images. Honestly, I have found that it’s easier to use Picmonkey. I have created a template in Photoshop in the past for my Pinterest images, but I have found it easier for my workflow to use PicMonkey. The good news? Picmonkey is free! They do have a paid subscription, but the basic free version should work just fine when you’re starting out.
Note: if you’re trying to become a professional photographer, please don’t use Picmonkey. I love it for creating pin images, but the photo editing capabilities do have their limitations.
Wondering where you get those images for your pretty vertical pins? Don’t worry, I am getting to that! If you’re good at photography, you can take your own images. Another option is using stock photos. I do a combination of both. I use Dreamstime for both paid and free stock images, and Pixabay for totally free images. Both selections are limited, but they are a great start. There are lots of other ways to get free stock images, some stock websites will give you free images for signing up for their newsletter and things of that nature.
I asked some other bloggers for their favorite freebies, and they had some good ideas!
Emily from My Adaptable Career has a free Simple Social Media Routines download.
Another blogger suggested this Blog Topics Generator that I am excited to learn more about.
I almost forgot, but one of my favorite time-saving programs is Buffer. Again, they do offer a paid version with more options, but the base version is free and has been extremely helpful to me for over two years. If you’re looking for a free social media scheduler, Buffer is simple and very user friendly.
What do you think?
If you’re just getting started blogging, I hope that these freebies for new bloggers have helped you! There are lots of freebies out there, but there are also two things that you should pay for when you start a blog. Make sure to check that out too! If you have any recommendations of freebies for new bloggers, or old bloggers, I’d love to hear about them in the comments. Even if it isn’t free, what is your #1 must-have for blogging? Tell me in the comments below.