Running a blog can be a lot of work and it can bring a lot of responsibility.
For someone who is not working in tech or is not very tech savvy, relying on a third-party software or a service might be the way to go.
Reality is that writing on Blogspot or setting up WordPress website on a shared hosting plan are both dramatically undervaluing all the writing you’ll be doing in your blog.
There is however a lot of things that can be optimized and improved if you are willing to put in the effort and want to aim for the best possible blog you can possibly have.
In this post I will list my top 10 tools and services that I personally use at the moment for running my blog in 2022.
My blogging setup is focused first and foremost on privacy, efficiency, security, user experience, ease-of-use, SEO and pagespeed as well as performance.
First on the list is Github.
While any source code repository, such as Bitbucket or Gitlab will do just fine, the reason I put Github for number one as the source code repository of choice for my list of running the perfect blog is simple: code.
Having your blog as code is the new preferred way of blogging in 2022.
Github is the perfect service for storing the source code of your blog, especially when running the new and cool Jamstack website.
Jamstack websites are known for being lightweight and secure, because there is usually no backend or database involved. It’s simply just a static website.
Github is also great, because it typically integrates very well with other services when building a Jamstack website or a blog.
Next on the list is Hugo, the most popular open-source Jamstack framework.
Blogs and websites built with Hugo are lightweight and secure.
The community around the Hugo framework is very active and new improvements and updates are constantly rolled out to make the best Jamstack framework even better.
Hugo also has a huge collection of free themes to choose from that make it easy to jumpstart new blogs and projects nice and quickly.
At the time of writing this post, my blog is running PaperMod theme, which is a very advanced freemium Hugo theme, built with UX, performance and SEO in mind.
Read why I chose to use Hugo for my blog from my older post: Why I decided to use Hugo for my blog
While running a Jamstack blog or a website with Hugo framework naturally means that any changes or updates would have to be made through direct source code changes, there has been a few projects and services that try to make it easier for people to update their Jamstack blogs without touching a single line of code.
One such project is Netlify CMS.
Netlify CMS is yet another open-source project. It is a content management system (CMS) that integrates with the Git workflow of Jamstack websites.
Netlify CMS is equivalent of what you would normally get when running a WordPress blog or a a website, only with better performance, higher security, lower cost of scaling, and a better developer experience.
Netlify CMS makes it possible to login from a web user interface with username and password and publish posts from a CMS client.
Not a necessity, but really a nice to have feature for any blog or a website is a nice and clean commenting system.
My personal choice for such a service at the moment is Hyvor Talk.
Hyvor Talk is a paid commenting system with reasonable pricing for my taste.
While I would love to have a freemium commenting system for my blog, there is simply no such service available that would be private, secure and lightweight at the same time while being free.
Hyvor Talk is as close to those things as I could find while being affordable at the same time.
Continuing with the trend of privacy and performance, next on the list is my analytics service of choice: Plausible Analytics.
I love supporting this service, as I think that Google Analytics has too big of a monopoly on the analytics sector.
Loading the Plausible Analytics script on my blog is closer to 0KB where Google Analytics hovers somewhere around 40-50KB region.
Plausible Analytics is another premium service that is paid, but if you are someone who truly cares about privacy and performance, I think that Plausible Analytics is the best option for adding simple yet premium analytics to your blog without sacrificing visitors privacy or user experience.
Netlify is my choice of hosting providers at the moment.
It integrates seamlessly with my Github repository, which is where I store the source code of my blog.
It provides a free Netlify Identity service which I use for authentication with Netlify CMS.
Netlify also supports Jamstack websites built with Hugo framework out of the box, which means that every time I publish a new post from the Netlify CMS user interface, Netlify triggers a new build and deploy job that automatically publishes new posts by updating the source code in my GIthub repository.
My blog currently qualifies for the free tier when running in Netlify platform, so I don’t pay anything for hosting my blog at the moment.
Read more about why I moved my blog from Cloudflare to Netlify.
Having a custom domain for a blog or a website is quite essential.
There are many registrars that can be used for buying and maintaining domain names and DNS records out of which I choose Google Domains.
Google Domains is quite new registrar compared to services like GoDaddy and Namecheap, but I like the user interface of Google Domains the most and I think maintaining DNS records and keeping everything related to domain names up to date with their service is best out of the bunch.
To point my domain name to my blog, which is running in the Netlify hosting, all I need to do from my domain’s end is update the name servers from Google’s default nameservers to the ones provided by Netlify.
Once this is done then Netlify will handle the rest to make sure that when visitors make requests to my domain name, DNS will serve the blog I have deployed through Netlify platform.
Moving on to more writing related tool, Google Keep is by far the best service for making quick notes and writing down ideas for blog posts and articles.
Recently, I bought a new Microsoft Surface Pro 2-in-1 laptop, mainly for writing my blog.
This device has a nice touch screen that works very well with the Surface Pen, and working with Google Keep is a great experience, because there is also a drawing board integrated with notes.
I use Google Keep to make rough drafts of some ideas I have or come by when not working on my blog with my laptop.
Primarily, the main writing is done inside my blog’s CMS.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is a free tool for doing keyword research if you want to explore what people are searching for around the world before writing a blog post.
I don’t use Google Keyword Planner everytime I write a blog post, but when I really want to make sure that I attract visitors from Google Search - I might spend some time researching some related keywords regarding my blog post topic.
Google Search Console
I don’t use social media, so to get visitors to my blog, I mainly try to focus on good SEO and get visitors from the search engines.
Because of this, using Google Search Console is an essential tool for learning about how my blog performs in Google Search and getting feedback of possible errors and improvement ideas to make sure Google understands my blog as well as possible.
Here are the top 10 tools and services I currently use for running my blog in 2022.
I’ve gone through quite in-depth learning curve when getting into blogging and publishing content online and this is the setup I’ve found to be the best, most affordable, secure, private and most SEO optimized with the least amount of overhead for maintainability.
Running this same setup does require you to have, I would say “almost expert” level knowledge about software development and webmaster skills, so it is not for everyone.
If you are someone who is very enthusiastic about blogging and the technical side of things and are looking for the best possible solution for running your blog, running the setup from this article can’t go wrong.
For me, knowing that the technical side of my blog is top-notch gives me a peace of mind to focus on the actual writing and publishing content.