As a new Christian blogger, it can be quite overwhelming trying to figure out exactly what tools you need and don't need to get started.
The truth is there are a LOT of blogging tools and resources that may be helpful at some point in your blogging journey, but you don't need them in the beginning.
Below, I've tried to compile a list of what I consider “necessary” for brand new bloggers. These are all tools I've used myself (now or in the past) and can say, without a doubt, they are helpful for new bloggers.
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Best Blogging Tools for Hosting
While you can start a blog for free on WordPress(.com), I highly recommend against it! Instead, opt for going self-hosted on WordPress(.org). This will provide you with so much more creative freedom down the road. There are a lot of restrictions when using the free platform and some of them can actually hinder your ability to grow.
SITEGROUND – If you've already read my post on choosing the best web host, you will know that your best choice for hosting is Siteground. I have hosted two different websites using them (after trying other services and being unsatisfied) and would never choose another hosting provider. Learn more about Siteground.
You may have also heard of using Bluehost for your hosting. I started with them but had a lot of problems. I'm only mentioning them here so you can compare and make your own decision.
Best Blogging Tools – Themes
It is crucial that you find a good, lightweight theme for your site. Many older and free themes are very heavy with extra script that makes it difficult to pass Google core web vitals.
There are really only 2 themes I'd recommend:
- Astra Pro is what I use for all of my sites. It is super easy to customize and make your site look however you envision it to look.
- Kadence is another lightweight and easy-to-use theme for WordPress. Several of my past Boot Camp students use it and absolutely love it!
- Resorted 316 has Kadence themes that are already put together with a beautiful feminine design.
Best Blogging Tools – Plugins
Plugins enable you to do a lot of different things that increase the productivity of your blog or website. Many of them are free – some absolutely necessary – some, just nice to have. It can be really hard to know which ones you truly need or if the investment is worth it to improve your site.
While we do mention various blogging tools, there are only a small handful that we actually highly recommend as necessary for growing your blog. I'm only going to list the paid plugins here that can help improve your blog.
- Akismet for spam (free version is all you need)
- WP Rocket – This is an important tool for enabling you to pass Google Core Web Vitals.
- ShortPixel – This is an inexpensive image compression tool (the free ones just don't do the job anymore).
- RankMath – I prefer this SEO plugin over Yoast – but with both of them, the FREE one is all you need.
- Wordfence – This plugin is top-notch for keeping your site safe from hackers and the free version is all you need.
There may be other plugins you will need depending on your overall goals, but these are some of the main ones you need to just get started.
Best Blogging Tools – Email List Building
Building your email list is an important part of your Christian blog strategy. This is how you stay directly connected to your readers! Social media is great but the algorithms change so often and at any time they could disappear.
Having an email list enables you to communicate directly to them, asking for feedback, recommending products/services, or letting them know about things to come for your online ministry. There are a lot of different email service providers out there and you might start with one and migrate to another as your list grows.
ConvertKit – This is one of the most popular email service providers for bloggers. It enables you to create subscribe forms and optin forms with ease and embed them right into your site.
They offer really great tutorials to walk you through creating and setting them up, as well as how to set up an email automation sequence. You can even segment your lists if you write about different topics.
For example, Kingdom Bloggers writes about blogging AND offers Christian content. I wouldn't want to send emails about blogging tips to those who only want to receive faith content. Get started with ConvertKit today and start building that email list!
MailerLite – MailerLite is another great option for those on a tight budget.
A few more great resources for getting your email list going:
- Ultimate Email Marketing Templates
- The Complete Guide to Email Marketing
- 73 Proven and Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List
- Email Swipe File – Swipe copy for writing the perfect welcome email sequence
Best Blogging Tools for Branding
The images you use on your blog and social media are so important for building an identifiable brand. Most bloggers would agree that using a set of the same images consistently for your blog posts headers and Pinterest pins will help your readers begin to recognize your “brand” when they come across them in feeds.
Many (strictly) faith blogs opt for very “religious” images which tend to be dark. Those are great, but be sure to use the fade setting in your image editing software (I use Canva for free). For those that simply have a faith theme to an otherwise different niche, find images that really reflect what your niche is. You want them to be inviting, bright, and eye-catching!
Regardless of what type of images you choose, ensure they are visually appealing, flow with the color palette of your blog's theme, and use a text overlay to add the blog post title. The following are places you can get started with free images while you decide on your exact branding.