When I first started blogging, having a comprehensive list of the best blogging tools would have been invaluable. So, I figured it would be beneficial to put together a list of blogging tools that you can reference regularly for your blogging needs.
It’s important to make sure that you’re using quality blogging tools that can scale appropriate as your blog continues to grow. This list of resources is updated often as new blogging tools are released and existing tools are updated. I recommend that you bookmark this page (use Ctrl+D!) for quick reference in the future as you continue to improve the quality of your blog.
Blogging Tools, Software, Themes and Frameworks
WordPress: This is the best (in my opinion) blogging platform available. The software is completely free and it is very easy to customize to your liking. Every website that I own currently use the WordPress platform, including Blog Basics.
StudioPress: The Genesis Framework is a WordPress framework that allows you to rapidly build an attractive website and make very powerful changes to the design and functionality without needing a web developer using several different themes. The Genesis Framework powers more than 60,000+ websites. I use the Genesis Framework for several for my niche sites. BlogBasics.com is powered by the Genesis Framework.
THESIS Theme: DIY Themes offers a topnotch WordPress framework called THESIS. This framework provides a solid foundation for any WordPress based website. Over 40,000+ websites rely on the design flexibility, quick loading times and solid search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities of the THESIS framework. I have used THESIS for several different projects in the past. It is one of the best WordPress frameworks available.
WooThemes: The team at WooThemes offers high quality WordPress themes that have a professional look and feel. Similar to StudioPress and THESIS, WooThemes are powered by a framework that makes customizing your site very easy. One of my favorite WooThemes is the Canvas theme due to the incredible amount of flexibility and customizable features that it includes.
Website and Blog Hosting Solutions
Bluehost: This is one of my favorite web hosting solutions. They have been in business since 1996 and offer really good customer service with very reasonable wait times (typically). Quality of customer service is one of the most important criteria to use when selecting a web host – especially when you’re just starting a blog.
HostGator: HostGator is another shared hosting solution that I recommend. They have the shortest wait times for customer support of any web-hosting provider that I have ever used. I highly recommend checking out HostGator.
Start a Blog That Matters: There are literally millions of blogs online. There are thousands of new blogs started every single day. Unfortunately, many of those blogs go unnoticed by most people. If you want to grow a popular blog, then it’s important that you start a blog that matters. This blogging course teaches you many of the strategies used by some of the most successful bloggers online when they start new blogs.
Write Like Freddy: If you struggle to create content for your blog or if you want to start guest posting on other blogs to increase your traffic and subscribers, this is a course that can really help you develop a structured process to writing content.
31 Days to Build a Better Blog: This is an eBook that you can download immediately. It’s designed to help you take your current blog to the next level – one day at a time.
Product Distribution Tools and Shopping Carts
E-Junkie: I use this excellent shopping cart system to sell eBooks on some of my other blogs. E-Junkie supports the most popular payment solutions including PayPal Standard and Pro, Google Checkout, Authorize.Net, TrialPay, ClickBank and 2CheckOut.
ClickBank: This is likely the most popular retailer of digital products. You can utilize this solution to distribute digital goods that you create for your audience or you can find digital products to promote on your blog. Clickbank also offers a very robust affiliate program for digital product sellers.
PayPal: This is another option that you can use to sell products on your blog. I only utilize PayPal as a means of accepting payment for my digital goods. Regardless of how you decide to use PayPal, you will likely want to setup a PayPal account for accepting payments using one the shopping cart solutions discussed above.
Email Marketing and List Management
Aweber: This is easily the best email management solution on the market. Their email delivery rates are consistently among the highest in the industry. If you plan to monetize your blog, the first thing that you’ll want to do is create an email newsletter. I use the Aweber email management solution exclusively on all of my blogs.
Tracking Blog Statistics and Results
Google Analytics: This is free tool offered by Google to track blog statistics.
Clicky: This is an alternative to using Google Analytics. The Clicky interface is more user friendly and offers several cool features that aren’t available when in Google’s offering.
Article Marketing Tools
The Best Spinner: This is the best article spinning software available. The software allows you to create unique versions of your existing articles, so that you can submit unique versions of your articles to other websites as guest posts, article directories, and various other places without worrying about duplicate content.
Unique Article Wizard: This tool allows you to create even more unique versions of the articles generated by The Best Spinner software to generate thousands of backlinks to your blog.
oDesk: I use this website to find inexpensive resources to hire for several blog related tasks that I don’t have time to complete.
Elance: While I prefer oDesk, I also utilize Elance from time to time to hire content writers.
Fiverr.com: This is a really cool marketplace where you can outsource many services starting at only $5.
LegalZoom: I use this service to quickly create legal entities (ex. LLC ).
Note: I have direct experience with each blogging tool listed above and actively use these tools in my business. It is important to mention that many of the links provided on this page are affiliate links. This means that I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase one of these products using my links. There is no additional cost to you when you purchase using these links. I only make product recommendations for blogging tools that I actually use in my business. You will notice that I will reference this page and these products often throughout the content presented on the blog.
Your Blogging Checklist
This checklist should help you to ensure that your blog is launched with a resounding bang, and that your blog continues to perform with stellar results as time goes on.
1. Establish a publishing schedule so that your readers will know when they can find new content. Ultimately you should do what works best for you, but by posting fresh content at the same time each week, your blog visitors will know when they should click on over to your blog.
2. Your blog posts should be just the right length. Now this can vary, naturally, but make sure that your posts are a minimum of two paragraphs in length, but not so long that readers can’t be bothered to slog through the whole thing.
3. Constantly work on building your blog’s reputation. Comment on other established blogs, write guest posts for other blogs, and interact with other bloggers in your market.
4. Take the time to look at your blog analytics. This will tell you valuable information about the performance of your blog, the areas that your blog is succeeding in, and where you could benefit from some improvement. How did your audience find your blog? Which blog posts get the most attention?
5. If things are slowing down or you aren’t seeing the traffic you’d initially hoped for, you may need to re-evaluate who your target audience actually is. Has your blog focus shifted in recent months? Even a subtle shift can lead regular blog visitors to look elsewhere for the content that they want.
6. Periodically check on just how well your blog is operating. This means making sure that you are using the most current version of your blogging software, and making sure that your blog loads swiftly in all browsers. If you have any plug-ins on your blog, make sure that they are the most effective plug-ins and make sure that they are actually working and not serving to slow your blog down for guests.
7. Delete comments that are nothing but spam, or may even be abusive or slanderous. All too often blog guests engage in verbal battles on the comments of someone’s blog. This can get you a fair bit of traffic while the squabble is going on, but it will not serve any good practical purpose in the long-run.
8. Make sure that your copyright and disclaimer sections are up to date and at the very least have the right year on them.
9. Tidy up your blog design. What worked for the first few months of your blog’s life may not necessarily work today. Refreshing your blog can breathe new life into it, and just make it look cleaner.
10. A great way to freshen up your blog is with new photos. Your bio photo could use a good update, so get creative and make sure your new photos are representative of your brand.
11. Make sure that any other changes you have made are in support of your topic and in support of your overall brand.
12. Continually seek out new ideas to help drive relevant traffic to your blog. This could be in the form of a giveaway or even a poll. Giveaways are always popular, and have been known to increase blog readership by more than 200%.
Blogging can be a tough world to break into. With the right preparations however, you are sure to thoroughly enjoy embarking on this new journey.