Here I’m going to share with you the tools I use in my own blogging business.
If you’re serious about building a successful money-making blog, then you need a few handy tools to make your blogging life just that little bit easier.
#1 Reliable Web Hosting
You need a reliable web hosting company to ‘house’ your blog. You need to know that your blog will have no downtime and you also need to have excellent customer support.
I’ve been with MadRooster since 2007 and have had no problems with them what-so-ever. Their customer support is top-notch too, so I have no hesitation is recommending MadRooster to you.
I see that Bluehost has become very popular with bloggers and you also get a free domain when you sign up.
New to blogging to make money? Then you’ll find these articles helpful:
#2 Professional & Mobile Friendly Template
Having a professional look for my blogs is very important to me. I also need to ensure that they’re ‘mobile friendly’ so they look good in any kind of mobile device.
I use StudioPress for my templates as they provide both of the above. They also update the templates quite regularly so I can get automatic updates for my templates.
If you’re shopping for a new theme for your blog I would advise you to look out for the following:
That it’s mobile friendly: This ensures that your website looks good in all mobile devices not just PCs and laptops.
Choose your layout wisely: That the layout suites your niche. For example, a ‘News/Magazine’ website will need a different design and layout than that of a Food Blog or an Interior Design Blog as food and interior designs blogs are reliant on good photography images whereas News blogs are more about the text and words.
Get free updates: Things change all the time on the Internet, so it’s important that you’re theme has the latest CSS coding. With StudioPress, you get your own account and then get updates of your theme automatically within your WordPress Dashboard.
#3 Aweber for Email Marketing
I’ve tried three different email marketing companies over the years (MailChimp, GetResponse & Aweber) but I reverted back to Aweber because I found it the most user friendly and it has some great features, especially the automation tool.
I like the fact that I can create automated email sequences which are highly relevant to the visitor. Once set up, I don’t have to worry about sending out a newsletter or an email to them because they have already been pre-written and line-up in the sequence.
You can make up as many automated email sequences as you like (think free e-course or tutorials) and then offer a paid product at the end of the sequence where you get paid or earn an affiliate commission.
At the moment you can try Aweber for free on a 30 day trial.
#4 Google Analytics
I often take a look at my Google Analytics a few times a week. It’s a free tool which let’s you monitor your traffic.
I use this information to identify where my traffic is coming from, how many visitors I get, what my bounce rate is (how long visitors stay on my blog), which pages are the most popular and a host of other very useful information about my blog.
After looking at this information I adjust my marketing activities accordingly.
For example, if I see that a blog post is especially popular then I may think about adding a related product to sell on that page to make some money from that blog post.
If I see that I’m getting a large majority of traffic from one particular source, then I’ll start promoting my blog more within that source (i.e. Twitter or Facebook for example).
It really is a very useful free tool to see how your blog is growing and in what areas.
If you haven’t got a Google Account, then get signed up to Google Analytics and start analysing your blogs’ traffic and visitors.
#5 PicMonkey for Images
I do think that lovely visual images help blog posts go viral – and a blog post going viral is what we all strive for, don’t we!
This is especially important if you use Pinterest and Instagram, but of course you can put images on both Facebook and Twitter too.
I use the $25 per month image pack at Fotolia which gives you 5 downloads per month, however most of the images are only 1/2 download, therefore you get 10 images per month. You can also just buy one-off credits.
This gives me peace of mind knowing that I’m obtaining my images legally and that I have a constant supply of new images all housed in one place, instead of spending time hopping from one image website to the next.
PicMonkey is free!
#6 aMember & eJunkie Shopping Carts
Both aMember and eJunkie make payments direct to my PayPal account instantly when someone buys one of my ebooks or worksheet packages.
aMember is especially good if you want to set up a membership section on your blog or at least have a product with ‘recurring’ payments, whether that be ongoing monthly or a large payment split into say three separate small payment methods.
They have fantastic customer support too.
At the moment I’m currently focusing on only one method to drive traffic to my blog and that’s Pinterest.
I do SEO all my blog posts as I write them to get free traffic from Google, but you must have other ways to drive traffic to your blog. Don’t rely 100% on Google!
So anyway, yes, I’m currently focusing on using Pinterest to drive targeted visitors to my blog. It has been a bit of a learning curve, especially with creating amazing (huge!) images for each blog post.
My aim is for as many of my pins (images taken from my blog posts) to go viral. The more my pins get’s ‘re-pinned’, the more visitors I’ll get to my blog. Simples!
If you want to do the same, you’ll need to set-up a business account on Pinterest and then get a scheduler to help with your Pinterest marketing strategy.
I use and love BoardBooster as I can totally automate my whole Pinterest marketing and spend most of my time writing new blog posts and creating new (pinnable) images for them!
Oh, and if you’re on Pinterest then why not follow me!
#8 Blog Planning Toolkit
Lastly, I like to get organized and create systems within my blogging business to help ease my workload. Blogging can suck all your time and still feel like you’ve not accomplished much!
I’ve always had various worksheets on my hard-drive because the ‘secretary’ in me instantly draws up a table or a checklist to help me with any blogging task.
If you feel overwhelmed and feel like your blogging business is out of control, then you might find these helpful:
If you want to dive straight in and get organized, then may I suggest:
As you can see, I like to keep things simple so I try to keep my ‘tools’ to the minimum. But obviously I may remove or add tools as I progress in my blogging career!
So what are your favorite blogging tools, apps and software programs? Please share your wisdom below …