Free stuff is the best. Right?
Of course, you’d love to buy lots of exciting books and training courses and whatnot, but you haven’t got a ton of cash to spare.
That’s why you’re here, learning to make money from your blogging services. And while you learn, freebies are awesome!
But… sometimes freebies aren’t awesome. Sometimes free stuff is just junk that sucks your time, clutters up your memory, and ends up in the recycle bin.
This list is not about that kind of free stuff.
This list is solid. I checked out every single thing myself, and if it sucked, it got cut.
So here are the survivors, the worthy, the genuinely useful… 52 totally free resources for freelance blogging success.
If they cost anything, it’s your email address or maybe a tweet – no money involved. You’re welcome. 😉
Some of the freebies on this list also offer stuff you can pay for. That’s your call. I’ve marked affiliate links with an asterisk (like this*). Cool? Cool.
The list is so big it started giving me scroll blindness, so I’ve split it into a few sections for different purposes:
Free Resources to Get You Hired
The one thing you want more than anything is to get hired for good pay and published on well-respected blogs.
I’m creating an ultra-effective new training resource for you on how to find and win those higher-paying gigs, but until that’s ready, here are four ways to get yourself work on paying blogs:
Yep, this one’s mine and it’s exactly what the title says it is: a list of blogs in 20 different niches that pay freelance contributors at least $50 per post. Help yourself!
This freebie by blogging superstar Jon Morrow will help you get hired by editors, build your portfolio with bylines on famous sites, and break into new blogging markets.
It’s open to anyone with professional blogging experience. Fill in a short application form to get added to the database, and Alexis will email you when she has a suitable gig available.
Read these email pitches for guest posts that worked. Not templates. The actual emails that worked. Notice how they’re not perfect (and sometimes required a few more emails). It’s not about getting it perfect. See which parts mattered the most.
Mandy Ellis has a cool pricing guide (you know, to make sure you aren’t underpricing yourself). Sure, your clients love paying you low rates, but I’m betting you’d prefer to get paid what you’re worth.
Free Ways to Improve Your Blogging
To get the highest-paying gigs, it helps if you blog like a superstar! There’s a ton of information out there about how to blog, so I’ve picked out just a few of the best free “better blog writing” resources for you:
These super-valuable hacks from Jon Morrow give you 52 headline templates that you can use for any kind of blog to get your posts noticed, read, and shared. [Jon’s own posts go viral almost every time!]
Starting at zero? No problem. Get attention and engagement with this free ebook from Mirasee’s Danny Iny. Learn from 30 of the best community builders on how to do it for your business and blog.
Seth Godin knows how to get your audience’s attention and how ideas go viral – deeply relevant to bloggers, especially if your work involves content strategy as well as writing. One of the first (and still the best) books on this topic. Get the inexpensive ebook (above) or this free pdf version.
Psychotactics’ Sean D’Souza teaches you how to write headlines that get results (and avoid writing ones that don’t). Killer headlines are vital if you want to make money blogging, so grab this guide to make yours rock.
Danny Iny and his Mirasee blog are full of priceless advice on blogging, guest posting (and selling courses). Read this guide on crafting a writer bio that gets the right clients’ attention when they reach the end of your guest post.
Get this generous freebie and learn how to raise your blog’s visibility and Google rankings by adding Search Engine Optimization to your content marketing mix.
Are you attracting the wrong readers to your blog? Find out why and how to fix it. Sonia Simone knows way more than a thing or two about content strategy as the co-founder of CopyBlogger.
Free Marketing Resources
Long story short: marketing is the difference between a hobby and a business. This is important, so here’s a stack of resources to help you develop marketing strategies that work for you and with you.
This free 20-part course from Copyblogger teaches you marketing principles as well as the content know-how that separates the expert bloggers from the hobbyists.
Linda Formichelli aka The Renegade Writer is giving away a ton of valuable freelance writer marketing advice. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t go download it right now.
Get this free course designed for brand new writers. Take advantage of Carol’s decades of experience from newbie writer to high-paid freelance writer.
I look forward to this newsletter every Sunday, sitting down with a hot Ovaltine to read his friendly email about how business, marketing, and people work. His down-to-earth stories bring the insights home.
Have you checked out Francisco Mahfuz’s Storypowers channel? If you want to get entertained AND better at storytelling for free, go have a look.
This short worksheet by copywriter and conversion expert Peter Sandeen will help you pinpoint your unique value as a freelance blogger.
Free Images and Editing Resources
When you blog a lot, you tend to use a lot of images to accompany your posts. Some clients will want you to source great images from their paid stock libraries, which is always fun.
But whether it’s for your own website or for a client, there’ll be times when you need an image you can use –or create– for free. Here are a bunch of free ways to find and make the images you need.
Ever need to convert a pdf to a jpg or edit a pdf? Instead of trying all the useless tips on Google (from personal experience), just use ILovePDF and get it done quick and easy. Your to-do list will thank you.
Use this great alternative to the cheesy stock photos currently dominating the web. You get a different pack of high-quality images sent to your inbox every month.
Get your hands on one of the biggest free collections of online images for commercial and non-commercial use. Attribution is not required but strongly recommended in most cases.
22. How to Get High-Quality Stock Photos for Free from the Big Guys
You don’t need money to get professional quality images from places like iStockphoto, Bigstockphoto, Adobe Stock, or Dreamstime. They all offer one or more free photos to download each week or month. iStockphoto also gives you free illustrations and video clips. [That’s at least 4 resources in one list item. Score!]
This stock photo source gives you a range of free images meant to be used as source material by creative artists. To use a Morguefile image unaltered with a blog post, contact the photographer.
Use this online image creation and editing service that’s free to use. It can do most of the things Photoshop does, from adding text and creating layered images to applying filters and effects.
Make your own infographics even if you’re got no design skills. It gives you ready-made templates you can customise with your own text –and if you want to, you can change any element of the template to suit you.
This free online service lets you associate your email address with a specific photo of you. Then, when you post or comment on a blog, your photo can be automatically displayed next to your name. An image makes your text more convincing, and a vast proportion of the blogosphere is Gravatar-enabled, so get yours set up today!
Need some free video editing, but you kinda suck at graphic design? Promo could be the answer you’re looking for. Turn your photos and video clips into professional-looking videos for social media or your blog.
Free Research Resources
As a freelance blogger, you need to research all kinds of stuff, from statistics that help prove your point to the names and contact details of specific employees at big companies. These good people all provide freely accessible and searchable information online:
This platform has a useful search engine to help you find and contact editors, marketing managers, and PR people for the blogs and companies you want to target as clients. Plus, a LinkedIn account is part of a professional freelance blogger’s online portfolio these days, so keep your own profile up to date!
29. Need Some High Quality Statistics for Your Posts?
The United States Census Bureau is a one-stop shop for statistical info on all kinds of stuff from population to economics and lifestyle in the USA; very handy if you need a couple of quotable stats to give your blog post some authority.
30. Get Hold of UK & European Stats
This easy-to-browse, easy-to-search site is full of pithy quotes on a huge range of topics. It’s great for finding that perfect quotation to highlight your post’s key message.
It’s not your best go-to spot for perfectly reliable data, but a good Wikipedia entry includes references to the supporting evidence. So don’t base your post on the entry itself, but follow up those footnotes to find the original sources.
Free Tools and Technical Resources
I’ve tried a vast number of tools to boost my productivity. Some of them worked and some of them didn’t work for me. These are the ones that did.
33. Online Stopwatch
Use this very simple website with two tools: a stopwatch and a countdown timer. If you’re not ready for a full-featured time tracking system yet, this is a good way to keep an eye on your work hours.
Keep track of time conversions around the world. Whether you need to know the time right now at your client’s location, or find out how many days there are until your next deadline, you can do it here.
35. Word Count Tool
Paste or type in your text to get an instant word count. Handy if you’re working with a content creation tool or content management system that doesn’t count words for you!
This email service provider lets you send group emails to your clients and leads, or create a newsletter for your blog. Take advantage of its “Forever Free” plan for up to 2,000 recipients.
Save all your notes-to-self and articles or URLs of interest in one place that you can access online. Useful as a swipe file for all the interesting stuff you come across, and for works-in-progress.
Drag-and-drop your to-do list easily. It starts with 3 lists (To Do, Doing, and Done) but you can add more, give tasks deadlines, and create separate boards for different clients if you want to.
Not what I’d use for my own professional blog or website, but it’s a completely free way to start your own blog and gain experience in the basics of WordPress without anyone watching when you screw up. When you need to use WordPress.org for your clients or for your own blog, you’ll find that the interface is similar enough to give you confidence.
40. HTML Dog
Learn the kind of basic HTML you might need to know if your client wants your posts marked up in code, and you can continue studying right up to advanced coding for fancy websites.
Upload documents and send them to clients for legally binding and secure e-signature for free. They’ve got paid plans as well, but this is a free forever plan.
Use this simple time tracking and invoicing app that lets you start and stop timers on different projects, send invoices and receive payments (via Stripe, Paypal, check, cash, ACH, or other payment gateways).
This Gmail app has a free forever plan (and the paid plan is super cheap too). You can schedule a personal email to go out later. It reminds you to follow up with people you’ve sent a pitch. Managing your leads just got way easier.
Got an easily distracted mind? Try this free Chrome extension and block yourself from your go-to distractions for a specific period of time.
How about an online bank that helps you run your freelance business for free? Their standard bank account is free plus you get helpful tools designed for freelancers in the United States.
Free Business Inspiration and Motivation
Leo Babauta of the Zen Habits blog’s free masterclass might just help you find that one thing that lights a fire under you and keeps you moving forward.
Lauren Tharp has an awesomely entertaining and educational guide to freelance writing as a job and as a lifestyle. With hand-drawn comic book images!
Too much to list everything, but you’ll find her workshop on recycling your content, writer pricing reports, and 24 ways to create better content in an hour (to name only a few).
This email series from Jen Gresham at Everyday Bright starts with a video on courage-building, then gives you a small, simple bravery-boosting challenge to complete each week.
Need a reminder that you really can do this freelance writing thing? Read this freelance success story from a complete newbie about how she landed a sweet byline in a well-known online magazine.
Feeling a little nervous about your freelance writing future and looking for inspiration? These 7 inspiring kick-butt posts for fearful freelance writers should get you back into action.
I’m your freelance blogging resource, and you can ask me anything. Email me or leave me a comment, whatever works for you. It’s free. [If you want more than free tips, you can also book a live one-to-one mentoring session.]
Look at that: now you’ve got 52 free things to help you rock the freelance blogging world.
Don’t waste them!