The Internet is a black hole of information. One search leads to another and before long you’re drowning in articles, landing pages, how to videos, and different service providers.
After awhile you realize that you’re wasting time. And that’s what you set out to get more of in the first place.
You need time to study, to grow relationships, and take action. You don’t have any to waste if you want to boldly go where no blogger has gone before.
I put this resource together to help save you time.
So take a breath—relax. You don’t have to tumble into that online spacetime of doom never to return.
I use and trust these tools. Some of the following links are affiliate links. That means I’ll receive a small commission if you choose to make a purchase (at no additional cost to you). I recommend them because they have helped me incredibly, and I hope they can do the same for you.
Expect updates as I learn more and find better tools.
If you haven’t started blogging yet, or have only just begun, these are the tools you want to get first. They’re the bread and butter of your blogging toolkit. You can’t really get started without them. And you’ll end up using them for years, maybe even your entire blogging career.
One of the very first things you need to start a blog is a domain name. A domain name is like the online version of a business’s street address. It’s where people find you.
NameCheap is my go to domain registrar. It’s quick and easy to use, plus a little less expensive than the other guys.
I don’t recommend getting your domain name through your web host either, because you’ll likely want to move or upgrade your hosting at some point, and you don’t want a hassle.
If your domain name is a street address, web hosting is the real estate. It’s the virtual space that your blog exists in. Your web host takes care of all the data on their servers so that you don’t have to get your own.
I’ve spent a lot of time (probably way too much) researching and analyzing different web hosts. And SiteGround is by far my favorite. They’re very fast, reliable and inexpensive—definitely the best place to start.
Opening up shop is great, but you also want it to look good. An ugly place will quite literally scare people away.
Your design is the biggest reason why a reader stays on your blog or not, besides the loading time of your site (that’s what good web hosting is for). It’s their first impression, and in a matter of moments they decide if they’re going to stay or leave.
I can’t recommend ThriveThemes enough. These guys are on top of their game. They might even be my favorite tool.
They provide stunning, high quality designs, and also do much more than that. They have templates, opt-in forms, landing pages, email integration, lead generation, and even a content builder. Did I mention that everything is mobile and WordPress optimized?
You’d have to go through half a dozen other softwares and plugins to get what they provide, and they do it at less than half the price.
Plus they’re always updating and improving their stuff.
I highly suggest getting their full package.
The biggest factor about blogging is people. They’re practically the only thing that matters. Your number one goal is to build relationships. And the best way to do that is through email.
I’ve gone through multiple different email service providers, but I’ve stuck with ActiveCampaign. Simply because they’ve had an easy solution for all the problems I had everywhere else.
I love how easy it is to build automations, it’s very visual—which I like a lot. And their customer service is always there to help. Plus they have a lot of very cool analytics. You can literally watch your contacts open emails or visit different pages on your site.
They deliver, and on top of that they have a great price.
I was going to include this tool in The Core Essentials, but honestly it deserves it’s own group. You don’t really NEED it to get started, but it got its name for a reason.
There are two types of bloggers: bloggers who have lost data, and bloggers who will—unless you get your data backed up of course. I’ve had my hard drive crash before while working on a big project. It sucks. You lose everything.
I used to use external hard drives. But they fill up, take up space, and are just annoying. Plus you have to remember consistently to back up your computer manually.
Imagine setting up a system one time, it runs in the background, and you never have to deal with it again. It backs up absolutely everything, without limitation, and you never have to do a thing.
That’s BackBlaze. It will literally save your blog when disaster strikes and you lose everything.
And trust me, something with technology always goes wrong—I’m sure you’ve figured that out already. Whether it’s a coffee spill, a circuit blowing, a virus, or a hacker.
I love BlackBlaze because it’s simple, well priced, and gets the job done. These guys back up all of your files and data completely—no catch. Other competitors just don’t compare. It’s a no brainer.
One of the best things about using WordPress is the ability to customize your site without knowing how to code. Using plugins is one of the ways you can do this.
It feels like there’s a million different plugins out there, all clawing for attention. These are the ones I’ve found most useful.
All of them are free, and most likely have a paid version. I don’t recommend spending any money on these unless you must. If you don’t know if you should or not, than you shouldn’t.
Here’s another great tool for saving your data from utter destruction. Your WordPress site, in particular. A lot like BackBlaze, you can set it and forget it.
You’d be surprised at how many people are trying to hack your site. Use this to protect your blog from thieves and hackers.
Spam is a problem. You’d be surprised how big. I got comment spam before I ever even wrote my first blog post. This plugin comes already installed with your WordPress site.
Don’t know a lot about SEO? Neither do I. Let this plugin help increase your chance of being found in Google and other search engines. Is SEO too much to handle right now? Than forget about it. Seriously. Wait until your ready, and getting more traffic.
Want to get more social shares? What about subscribers? SumoMe has tools that will help you do both. I love their floating social bar. They also have cool analytics.
These are free tools that pack a punch. Some of them may have paid options, but don’t spend any money here unless you absolutely have to.
Sometimes you wish you were a secret agent. But stalking people online is about as close as you get. SimilarWeb is great because you can copy paste the web address of any site and find out what sort of monthly traffic it’s getting, plus get other cool statistics.
Like to play ninja spy? Social Crawlytics allows you to find the most popular pages on any website. It’s great for analyzing other blogs in your niche.
Too much time is wasted on social media. Hootsuite is cool because it puts all your feeds in one place. You can post, share like, comment—ect. all from their dashboard.
Tired of trying to post all your social media content at the best times? It can really drain your energy quick. You can’t always pause what you’re doing—you have a life. Let these guys do it for you. Not only can you schedule your posts in advance, but you can also find out exactly when you should be posting to get the most interaction.
Do you have a hard time keeping up with all the blogs and podcasts you like to follow? This tool will fix that. Feedly puts all the content you subscribe to in one organized place.
Organizing and accessing your data is a headache when you have multiple devices. DropBox makes it a breeze. Upload, sync and share your files.
Do you have a ton of login info for different sites that you can never remember? Sick of recovering usernames and passwords? LastPass will store and protect all your logins, plus automatically enter your info.
You now have all the tools you need to take your blog to the next level, whatever obstacles you’re facing. I’ve done the research and explored the dead ends so that you don’t have to. Using the right tools will enable you to fully exploit all the time you have, whether your crunching in blog time during your lunch break, or glued to your computer all day and night.
So gear up, and get ready to rocket your blog into the heavens.
I know it can be a lot to take in. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or having trouble, don’t worry. Post in the comments below, or email me with any questions you have. I’m happy to offer my support.