This post contains affiliate links.
There are so many great blogging resources out there if you know where to look. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to begin, this list will help you discover some of the top resources and tools you need to become a successful blogger.
By using many of the things on this list I’ve grown Slight North from zero to over 20k page views per month over the past two years, and you can do the same. All it takes it some hard work, consistent posting, and knowledge of the tools that will help you the most.
Ready to begin?
The 24 best blogging resources for beginners
Why: for your hosting package
My blog is built in WordPress but hosted by Namecheap. Hosting companies are where you buy the domain name you want. You also pay a yearly fee for them to keep your site up and running online.
When it comes to hosting I love Namecheap. They have seriously awesome customer service and the live chat means you can get answers to all of your questions immediately… and trust me, you will have a lot of questions!
2. Elegant Themes
Why: for a flexible blog design
There are plenty of free and paid themes to choose from in WordPress, but I use (and love) Elegant Themes. They are one of the blogging resources for a few different reasons.
First, they have helpful customer support through email and it looks like a live chat is coming soon, which is is great for when things go wrong and you have no idea why.
I also like Elegant Themes because it gives you the freedom to customize your blog and make it stand out from the rest which is always a good thing.
Right now you may want the simplest theme that has everything done for you because web design seems difficult, but I still suggest going with Elegant Themes. In the future as your blog changes and takes shape you will be grateful you have a flexible theme to accommodate your new plans.
A successful travel blog is all about publishing quality content. At the end of the day you need to have interesting, helpful, and well-written articles if you want people to visit your site. These content creation resources for travel bloggers will help you create it.
3. Udemy or Nomadic Matt
Why: to improve your writing
There are a few different courses online to help you improve your writing. Even if you’re already a great writer, it’s always nice to brush up on the little stuff like what an oxford comma is and how to properly capitalize titles. Udemy offers free writing courses that you can complete.
If you’re looking for something more focused on travel check out the travel writing course from Nomadic Matt, who’s been a leader of the travel blogging community for years. In the course, he partners with David Farley, a professor at NYU and Columbia, and the syllabus includes personalized feedback and access to a private Facebook group as well. I forked out $400 bucks for this bad boy – read my full review of the course here.
Why: to learn blogging tips
Problogger is a great website to browse every now and then. There’s a lot of articles that cover things like how to decide on email frequency or how to brainstorm awesome blog post ideas.
Whenever you’re staring at WordPress and thinking there’s nothing you can be doing at the moment to improve your site, head over to Problogger for some inspiration.
Why: for interviews, blogging advice, and travel tips
I think Reddit is such a great resource. There’s a subreddit for everything, so if you have an idea for a blog post you can always find an expert to talk to about it.
I wouldn’t have been able to write the Working Abroad Series without translators, ESL teachers, and even a first mate on a yacht all helping me out and sharing their expertise with me. I also met Seth through Reddit, who shared his crazy story about being lost in the Borneo Jungle on Slight North as well.
Beyond all of this, you can also use it to ask questions about SEO, get website feedback, learn about upcoming events in the cities and countries you’re visiting, and so much more.
6. The Notes App
Why: for keeping track of the details
You might think this is obvious or not worth mentioning, but the Notes app on my iPhone has helped me create content better and faster. When I’m buying a bus ticket or eating a meal or talking to a tour guide, I quickly write down names, locations, and prices in the notes app.
Now that it’s a habit I can write my destination posts much faster because I have all the details in front of me when I start writing. Plus, I can give my readers more accurate and specific information too.
SEO is search engine optimization. Basically, Google has a checklist of things that they want to see in every post and you want to check as many of these as possible every time you write. If you do, your posts will show up higher in Google searches and you’ll get more clicks. These blogging resources will help you figure out exactly what Google wants to see.
Why: to ensure your posts are SEO friendly
You should not be writing content without the Yoast SEO plugin installed in your WordPress site. Once it’s there, it will create a list of things that you need to do and automatically check them, marking anything you miss in red.
It will help you write a good meta tag and understand keyword density, remind you to add alt attributes to your photos and lots of other little things. Plus, it’s free!
Why: to run an SEO audit on your site
After you’ve been blogging for a few months it’s a good idea to check your blog’s “health” with an SEO site audit. Sign up for a 7-day free trial with SEMrush and you’ll get a report on everything you can change to improve your SEO. When the trial runs out, they’ll continue emailing you monthly updates, so you can still keep an eye on your site without forking out a monthly fee.
It’s a bit much for beginners, but if you like the trial it’s a good tool to keep in mind for when you get serious about blogging and want to start keyword research and monitoring backlinks. Some other good resources for this are Moz and Ahrefs – try them all out and see which one you like best.
9. Google Analytics
Why: to understand your site traffic
The Google Analytics tool is easy to install on your website and will give you a lot of insight into who is visiting. It tracks each person and shows you how they got there, how long they spent on it, what pages they viewed, their age, location, etc, etc, etc.
It’s invaluable to understand your analytics because it can help you create better content. Simply look at what performs best over time and then create more of that type.
It’s also a good way to keep an eye on your traffic in case it starts to behave abnormally.
For example, a few months ago there was a week of low traffic visits. I started researching what could be causing it and found a setting that had been changed. I reversed the setting, installed a plugin to clean up the damage, and now my traffic is higher than ever.
10. Search Console
Every travel blogger should be connected to Google Search Console. It tracks your keywords, backlinks, and organic traffic but also alerts you to new technical issues on your site like if pages are having mobile display problems. Learn how to create a sitemap and submit it on Search Console for the best results.
11. Pingdom Tools
Pingdom Tools is a great place to test your page load time. Google increasingly values a fast load speed when ranking sites, so if you want to grow your traffic Pingdom Tools is the place to start. It not only tells you how fast your site loads, but will also give you suggestions to improve it.
12. Alexa Rank
Why: to see where your site stacks up against others & track SEO efforts
Oh, Alexa. Many bloggers have a love-hate relationship with her.
The Alexa Website averages the traffic and activity of every website in the world for the past 3 months and then uses that data to rank them. Check it anytime to learn where yours stands. Here, the lower the better, and Google holds the number one spot.
It’s not always super accurate so don’t worry too much about it, but it’s a good way to see a physical representation of your SEO efforts as your rank steadily drops over the years.
Through hard work, content creation, and link-building Slight North has dropped from 12 million to 1 million in the past two years. If you want to do the same, you can see the exact steps I used in the Super Easy Guide to Basic SEO for Travel Bloggers.
Whether you’re an expert photographer or just snapping pics for fun, one of the essentials of travel blogging is sharing pictures of the destinations you visit. These blogging resources will help you showcase your trips to the world.
13. Google Photos
Why: for storing and organizing your photos
Google Photos is such a staple in my life and makes travel blogging so easy. Download the app to your phone and you can back up your photos from your iPhone anytime.
This is ideal because it keeps them safe if your phone gets lost or broken and it frees up space on your iPhone while still keeping the photos accessible.
It also means you can open it up on your desktop anytime to organize your latest pics into albums (I recommend labeling them clearly, your future self will thank you) and upload them into your WordPress site. Google Photos even has some editing tools that are pretty good for beginners.
Why: to find royalty free photos
It’s essential to develop good habits right from the start, and only sourcing royalty free photos is one of the most important. If you didn’t take a picture yourself, then that usually means you don’t own it and you can’t use it on your blog.
Luckily, Unsplash has compiled a huge database of royalty free photos that are high-quality and don’t require any crediting. In fact, I’m using one in this blog post right now 🙂
15. Superstar Blogging from Nomadic Matt
Why: to improve your travel photography
I’m going back to one of the OG travel bloggers, Nomadic Matt, for this one. His 8-week travel photography course is taught by an expert photographer who has shot for BBC, National Geographic, and more.
It starts with understanding your camera and continues to night photography, editing tips, and everything in between so you can create gorgeous photos for your travel blog.
16. Adobe Creative Cloud
Why: to edit your photos
There’s no doubt that the Adobe Creative Cloud has everything a beginner travel blogger could need to get fully immersed into the world of editing and design. It’s also one of the most commonly used editing tools so it’s super easy to find tutorials online for anything you could need and teach yourself as you improve. Even better, if you’re a student you can get 60% off your subscription!
Social media is part of blogging, but be careful not to get caught up in the numbers. Healthy blogs get a majority of their traffic from organic Google searches and not social media platforms. Unless you want to sell directly on the platforms (ex: through LIKEtoKNOW.it on Instagram) I believe your efforts are better focused on SEO. Still of, a couple of posts a week is a good idea and these blogging resources will help you manage your social media better.
Why: to create social media graphics
If you want to create a graphic for social media or format your photos properly for Pinterest, head over to Canva.
This website makes designing super simple and has a lot of free content and templates to use. Whether you find yourself in need of a header for your email list, an ebook cover, or perfectly-sized Pinterest pins, Canva has you covered.
Why: to organize your social media calendar
Every social media platform is different and needs to be treated differently. To keep each one looking fresh and clean, and most importantly to ensure you’re posting consistently, use the Buffer tool. This free website lets you create and schedule posts online for later dates.
Spend some time at the beginning of each week planning and writing your posts and then schedule them to go out. It will help you stay organized and prevent you from getting overwhelmed when trying to manage Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest all at once.
No lie, since I started using Tailwind my monthly viewers on Pinterest went from about 5k per month to 50k per month! The main perk of this Pinterest tool is that it calculates the best times to post for engagement and then you can simply schedule your pins for those times. That’s especially ideal when you live in a different timezone than most of your followers.
You can also join tribes (similar to groups) and schedule smart loops, which repin your top pins on a regular basis. It has a monthly fee but the free trial gives you 100 pins – try it out and decide if the growth you see is worth paying for.
You can’t really run a travel blog if you don’t have the money to travel. These last five blogging resources are a good place to start when you’re ready to monetize or just want to earn an income with location independence.
20. CJ Affiliate
Why: to begin affiliate marketing
CJ Affiliate is probably the easiest way to enter the world of affiliate marketing. It’s basically just a place where you can connect with advertisers to sell their products on your blog.
Create a profile and fill out the bio about your blog with information about the topics you write about, how many visits you get, and the target demographic. Then you can go through the list of advertisers and apply for the ones that will fit in well with your blog.
Once you’re accepted you’ll have access to that advertiser’s affiliate links. Put them in your articles (in a natural way!) and when people click them and make a purchase you will get a percentage of the sale. There are rules about affiliate marketing in an honest way so make sure you read about disclaimers and what’s required before you get started.
21. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is a classic when it comes to affiliate marketing because it’s so dang easy to use. Sign up for an account and you’ll be in immediately – the only catch is you need to make three qualified sales in six months or your account will be closed. It’s no big deal though because you can simply open another when you’re ready and try again.
Amazon commissions aren’t great but so many people buy on Amazon (and they sell anything and everything that you could ever want to promote) that it’s still a good resource for every blogger. I also use the Amalinks Pro plugin to add comparison tables, product showcases, and ‘buy now’ buttons to my articles to help increase revenue – the basic package costs $67 per year.
Why: to find freelance work
You’re starting a travel blog so I can guess that you’re a skilled writer. Put that to good use and find freelance work to fund your blog and your travels.
23. Remote Job Boards
If freelance work isn’t really your thing, consider applying for a full-time remote job. Dan has one with a company in the US and the stability it’s provided us has been amazing. Check out these remote job boards to start your search:
24. The Working Abroad Series
Why: to explore different ways to make money while traveling
Making money from travel blogging isn’t the only way to secure location independence. You can also explore other jobs that let you live abroad or work remote from anywhere in the world.
Visit the Working Abroad series for step by step guides on how to teach ESL online classes, work on a yacht, start a digital marketing business, and more!
I know starting a travel blog can feel a little overwhelming at times (ok, very overwhelming) so I’ll share the advice my mom used to give me as a kid…
Inch by inch, it is a cinch. Mile by mile, it is a trial.
When I started Slight North in 2017, I had no clue about most of the things listed here. Still, I’ve been able to grow it to over 20,000 page views per month since then and you can do the same with this list as a head start.
Just keep focused with a to-do list, take it one step at a time, and refrain from comparing yourself and your blog to others because that will never help. Do your own thing, follow your own path, be yourself and work hard, and I promise good things will come to you!
PS looking for more travel blogging tips? Read the SEO guide for travel bloggers, check out my digital nomad lifestyle guide, or see the complete packing list for long term travel (that fits in a carry on bag).