UPDATED ON 6/30/18 – Here are 41 of my absolute best links and tips for blogging including ad networks, affiliate programs, blog tools, social media tools, WordPress plug-ins, WordPress themes, and more. This page will stay updated so please check back soon for the latest and greatest tips for blogging from Los Gringos Locos. Have fun getting your blog on the right track for success :-)
*This page contains affiliate links. To read my complete disclosure and privacy policies please click here.
**Please DO NOT contact me with tips for blogging you feel are appropriate for this post. I ONLY share links I am familiar with. If you notice any links not working properly I welcome an email. Thank you!
Ad Networks / Affiliate Programs
There are others like Amazon and Google, which I don’t currently use, but the ones below are the ad networks and affiliate programs I can recommend.
BrandCycle – Really big brands… like Wal-Mart for example. Insert links easily with their Bookmarklet tool.
Buzzoole – I like this one :-) I earned $15 Amazon credit without much effort, in the first month.
Cooperatize – An influencer program for travel bloggers.
Shareasale – One of the most well-known affiliate programs for bloggers with tons of merchants for every niche.
These following tools will help you be a better blogger. I have been steadily blogging since 2013 and I have come a long way with the help of the tools below.
Grammarly – Love the FREE Google Chrome extension :-) Helps me keep everything I write online error-free.
Headline Analyzer – Make sure your blog post titles have a great score for SEO and drawing in readers :-) A little gift from CoSchedule.
Infinus Technology – Love these guys for hosting my blog. I used Dreamhost previously and DON’T recommend them. Those big companies can’t give you the customer service you deserve. Use Infinus. They are awesome.
MailChimp – Great for setting up newsletters. I send out a newsletter whenever I publish a new blog post using Mailchimp’s FREE VERSION.
Pixabay – Good selection of FREE images for commercial use. I often use their images for my Pinterest and Facebook social media images for my blog posts.
Rawpixel – Yet another stock image site with FREE and premium images for commercial use.
Title Capitalization Tool – If you want to be sure that you are capitalizing the correct words in your title use this FREE tool.
UnSplash – Great selection of FREE images for commercial use. I use Pixabay more but I should give this site more attention.
WordPress – Start your blog the right way, with WordPress.org. Make sure it’s ORG and not COM. ORG gives you more freedom and more benefits.
Social Media Tools
Putting your blog online without sharing it on social media is not going to get you readers. Almost everyone has at least one social media account so share that post of yours and reach more people.
Buffer – Social media scheduler. I use the FREE VERSION for sharing relevant online news and photography to Twitter and my Facebook page. Love it :-)
Hootsuite – Another social media scheduler. I use the FREE VERSION for posting share threads to my Tailwind/Pinterest Facebook group.
Onlypult – A scheduler for Instagram that actually posts your images :-) How awesome is that? Works with multiple accounts too.
ViralContentBee – I love this site. VCB helps you get noticed. I use the FREE PLAN and it’s still awesome. I pick well-written posts and share them on my social accounts. In return, I get credit to submit my posts and have them shared. If your content is good, you will get a lot of shares on social media.
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I have a lot of plug-ins… 27 to be exact. I am not going to share all of them with you, only the ones that I have used for years and those that I really love. Most of them are free but if it says FREE VERSION, that means that it has a paid version and I don’t use the paid version. Got it? Here goes…
404 to 301 – Automatically redirect all 404 errors to any page using 301 redirects for SEO. No more 404 error pages. Search engines don’t like those. If you don’t have any… good for you :-)
Akismet Anti-Spam – Great plug-in to get rid of all those pesky spam comments. Used by millions. Works like a charm :-)
Broken Link Checker – Normally I would not recommend a plug-in that isn’t up-to-date… but this one is simple and I have never had problems with it. Search engines don’t like broken links so with this little plug-in you can delete those and boost your SEO.
Comet Cache – FREE VERSION – Comet Cache is an advanced WordPress caching plugin inspired by simplicity. Having a cache plug-in helps speed up your site. No one likes a slow site. I have tried several and this is one that works and doesn’t interfere with other plug-ins.
CoSchedule – This was my primary social media scheduler until this year. I really LOVE CoSchedule however, I decided I cannot afford it at this time :-( It is pricey but if you have the funds it’s worth it. You can read an old post on the benefits of it here.
Google Analytics Dashboard – I like to know how many page views I am getting. With this simple plug-in, I can see the numbers right on my dashboard.
Instagram Feed WD – FREE VERSION – Look at the bottom of this page. If you like Instagram and you want to incorporate it into your blog this is one way to do it.
MailChimp For WordPress – FREE VERSION – Adds various highly effective sign-up methods to your site.
Subscribe to Comments – Another plug-in that is not up-to-date but very simple, causing no problems with my latest WordPress install. Do you respond to your reader’s comments not knowing if they will ever actually see your response? With this little plug-in they can choose to see your responses :-) So any questions they ask can easily be answered.
Shortcodes Ultimate – FREE VERSION – A comprehensive collection of visual components for WordPress or helpful little shortcodes you can insert in your posts like buttons. Buttons are cool :-)
Social Warfare – One of the best plugins for social sharing. Includes a Pin It button and Click to Tweet boxes. Love it :-)
Tiny Coffee – Awesome little plugin that asks for small donations for your hard work. In the first month, I made $12. I know that isn’t a lot but it all adds up when you are a struggling photographer/blogger. BTW if you REALLY appreciate this post you could send a dollar my way ;-) Try using Tiny Coffee yourself. It’s at the bottom of this post :-)
Typeform – You can sign up for a FREE account and use the plug-in or I believe you can use Typeform without the plug-in. Either way, it’s a cool little tool for getting information from people on your site. Right now I am using it for taking info from readers who would like to submit a guest post to Los Gringos Locos. I like it!
Ultimate Nofollow – Bloggers using affiliate links are supposed to disclose the links, as I did in the intro of this post, and make the links “nofollow”. With this plug-in you can do that and its easy as pie.
UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – FREE VERSION – There have been several times I needed to restore my blog to a previous backup because of a WordPress error or a plug-in error or whatever. With this, I was able to hit rewind on my blog with no problems. I restored the previous version and all was well in my little blogging world. Thank goodness for UpdraftPlus :-)
Very Simple Contact Form – This is a very simple contact form. Use a shortcode to display the form on your page or use the widget.
WP Smush – Reduce image file sizes, improve performance and boost your SEO. I have a lot of images on my site. This plug-in is great for all photography-lovers and bloggers out there :-)
WP-Sweep – Clean your blog. I am not going to use all the big, fancy words in the description… I like to keep it real. If you like things “clean” this is a good plug-in. It gets rid of all the trash and it’s super easy to use.
Yoast SEO – FREE VERSION – The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress, including on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and much more. Basically, you can make sure every post has good SEO before you publish it :-)
At first, I didn’t pay for my themes but as I grew as a blogger I discovered that paying for a theme comes with benefits, one of those being having great support. Both of these themes are by the same author and he is fabulous.
Charlotte – My current favorite theme for creative bloggers. I love it for displaying my photographs and for all the options that are included. If you want to copy me, I don’t blame you. Everybody wants to be awesome ;-)
Josephine – My previous favorite theme for lifestyle bloggers. It’s beautiful and another great option for a gorgeous blog :-)
Other Helpful Links
Beyond Your Blog – Do you want to submit your writing to other online websites or to printed magazines and books? Do you want to put your writing ability to the test and maybe even make some money doing it? This site has you covered. The only thing I have to point out is that in late 2017, Susan, the fantastic lady behind the blog, has refocused and taken things in a new direction. However, if you are looking for more writing opportunities, I would still start with Beyond Your Blog.
International Bloggers’ Association – The best community ever for all bloggers, new and experienced, worldwide. To get the most out of this association you really need to be a part of it. There are some top-notch bloggers here and they can help you to grow and succeed. Give it a try. Start by reading one of my popular posts 20 Best Facebook Groups For Bloggers. But be sure to come back here and use my referral link so I can make a few pennies ;-)
Thanks for reading! If you have any tips for blogging please drop them in the comment section below. I will try my best to take a look :-) Signing off in Mexico, Tina
Originally published December 28, 2017
A ridiculous amount of coffee was consumed in the process of creating this project. Add some fuel if you'd like to keep me going ;-) Gracias!