Blogging tools you need to get the job done
I’ve been asked so many times about how to get started with blogging – what to do and what is needed that I’ve decided to stop re-inventing the wheel every time and just compile a list blogging tools, resources, and useful links right here in one place.
Disclosure: I pride myself on being transparent, so just to let you know, some of these links are my affiliate links. That means I’ll get a commission should you choose to purchase an item I’ve recommended here.
Don’t worry, it’s not all about money for me, I only recommend items from companies and products I’ve personally used or from companies I trust and respect. I’m only recommending them as helpful tools that could help in your blogging efforts.
Feel free to bookmark this page so that you can refer to it at your leisure. And as always, feel free to contact me with your questions. ___________________________________________________________________________________
WordPress is the recommended blogging platform. It’s super versatile, the options for templates are endless and the wide variety of useful plug-ins make blogging accessible to newbies and even the most non-technical (like me) bloggers.
Free WordPress Themes This is just a starting point, there are tons of sites that have free themes, but you must be flexible and when choosing free themes because they may not work as you expect so you’ll need to be open to choosing a different theme that may or may not have the colors and design you prefer.
The Thesis Theme for WordPress – Customizable, do it yourself to suit your needs.
Studio Press – Customizable, or you can select pre-designed premium themes. Very affordable options – If you’ve noticed the new look here, this is where it came from. Saved me tons of time!
If you’re serious about blogging, a free blogging platform is not going to allow you to present yourself professionally. You really need your own domain name, not a subdomain of a site like WordPress.org or Blogger.com.
1&1 Web Hosting – I’m currently hosting this blog using their VPS services.
Email Marketing & Services
If you plan on sending newsletters to your subscribers, you’ll need an email service. As a newbie I made the mistake of sending a mass email via yahoo exposing all of my subscribers to each others’ email address and increased their changes of becoming spam targets. Yeah, that didn’t go over well…
I currently use Mailchimp. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month. Beyond that they offer affordable and flexible pay-as-you-go plans.
BlogEngage RSS Syndication – Automatically have your posts entered on BlogEnage to be voted up and possibly published. There are many other benefits to this service.
Where to find products to promote
Clickbank – Find ebooks and other digital products related to your niche to promote.
LinkConnector – Promote famous products and services such as PRWeb, eHarmony and TurboTax.
E-Junkie – More ebooks and other digital products. This is currently where Darren Rowse is selling his latest ebook.
Amazon – This is the find almost any item to promote site. The commissions aren’t as abundant, but the versatility is matchless.
MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate – Automatically turn keywords on your blog into affiliate links (you may have noticed examples of automatically generated links throughout this page). I enjoy this because it often finds links for my keywords that I would’ve otherwise missed.
To accept payments
In order to get paid from the above sites and also to accept payments for products sold on your blog or website, you’ll need a place for them to submit the funds:
Paypal – I currently use this one, but there are others such as Google Checkout.
Google Adsense – Earn extra income every time a visitor clicks a one of these links. Depending on your niche the potential income will vary, but it’s a nice way to generate income from visitors who leave your site. Display these ads with caution, don’t overdo it.
Scribe – I’ve never seen anything like this SEO tool – it analyzes individual blog posts, tells you which keywords are most prominent and shows you how to optimize your post. If you follow its recommendations, it’s very likely you’ll wind up in first page results. I can honestly say, it works and is worth the investment.
You’ll definitely want to track where your traffic is coming from. The following will show you which keywords your visitors are using to find your site via the search engines:
Google Keyword Tool – Find out which keyword phrases are being searched the most and which ones have the least amount of competition.
Books for Continuing Education
Audacity – Free program that allows you to record your voice using your computer’s microphone – edit and export to mp3 format. Create download-able files that you can use as email subscriber incentives.
Tutorials and How-to Articles
StumbleUpon ToolBar Tutorial video
I created a Squidoo lens that has a library of step-by-step tutorials that range from how to set up a Facebook Fanpage to creating a Mobile version of your blog that can be viewed easily via iPhone or other smartphone devices. Check the “Contents at a Glance” section to view the content extensive list of how-to articles – click “more” to view the list in its entirety.
Free Traffic Referral Sites
These sites aren’t the best targeted traffic, but they are good for helping you generate some buzz for SEO purposes.
LinkReferral – This is actually a pretty good site for finding new related blogs in your niche. I’ve made connections with some of the kindest people via this site.
ListJoe – I really only use this one when I want a quick rush of traffic to create some short term buzz. It’s not targeted, but it does the job when I need some quick traffic.
This list of blogging tools and resources is nowhere near exhausted, but I will continue to add to it as time goes on.