Blogging Tools – 4 That Are Worth the Money
Blogging tools, if you have the right ones, can make the difference between struggling to run a successful blog, and running one with ease.
If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that I don’t normally send out emails recommending blogging tools, and that I’m quite content to just display the ones I use here in the sidebar or on the recommendations page, and let curiosity do its thing. It’s worked out pretty well so far.
There really are some fantastic, can’t-live-without-em blogging resources out there that I have spent money on and highly recommend.
This isn’t fluff, and there are no 24 hour sales here. The reality is that there are some costs associated with running a business efficiently, and if your business is blogging, you should have the tools to make it successful.
Anyway, without further ado, here are some things that I would recommend you get your hands on (or feet into) and rock your blog in 2011. These 5 cover all the main bases, too: hosting, theme, SEO, strategy, and monetization. Please note: Links to recommended products/services are indeed affiliate links.
Blogging Tools – 4 That Are Worth the Money
Recommended Resource #1: Scribe SEO
Why I Can’t Live Without It: Because it’s just that good. Not only does it teach you best practices, so that over time you actually start to compose optimized posts naturally, but it goes beyond just analyzing posts to helping you with Keyword research and link building ideas. It really is a top-notch application. I use it on multiple blogs, articles, guest posts, and regular website content.
5 great big gigantic golden stars.
If your blog doesn’t have any readers, and you have very little following in your social networks, SEO is your friend. Utilize it. If you can’t find your own blog doing some keyword searches, no one else can, either. You don’t have to be a link building whiz in order to get search engine traffic. But you really need optimized content if you want any chance of search traffic without a great deal of link building.
This is for serious writers who face tough, competitive SEO positions and who want to experience the long-term benefits associated with excellent on-site optimization.
Recommended Resource #2: MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate
Why I Can’t Live Without It: Because it’s “set it and forget it” monetization and internal linking for your blog. It’s a MUST if you have a multi-author blog or have a lot of guest posts. You set up affiliate links, or target URLs (such as your own internal links, or links to your Facebook or Twitter accounts), and then you associate keywords with them. Then, whenever that keyword is displayed, whether in a post or in someone’s comment, Ninja links the keyword to your affiliate link or target URL. Presto. So simple. AND, these kinds of links get published with your feed, so when you syndicate content, your affiliate links are syndicated too (it’s really brilliant).
Also 5 great big gigantic golden stars.
Recommended Resource #3: Thesis Theme for WordPress
Why I Can’t Live Without It:, Thesis theme has come in handy for me time and time again. The developer’s license is gold. I’m serial blog-starter so I can’t tell you how many mini-sites I’ve launched and used Thesis to get them up and running quickly. And the new Thesis got rid of the biggest headache of them all – customizing the header easily.
Not to mention, all of my website clients in 2010 (just a handful this year) purchased Thesis and I used it to build their sites. Every single one of them.
Big fat important note: Do NOT purchase Thesis if you are completely technologically challenged. Get your feet wet by just using a well-designed, free WordPress theme from the gallery. I wouldn’t even recommend Studiopress for beginners. I’ve been in website development long enough to tell you the truth. So, if no one else will be honest with you, I will, because I’m the one getting calls for help throughout the day from people who are struggling with their themes!
So, if you’re ready to customize your own theme, Thesis is for you and there are some excellent Thesis Skins, which take about 90% of the work out of customization, which you can buy to make your life easier. Otherwise, hire someone or try a beautiful free theme.
Recommended Resource #4: HostGator
Why I Can’t Live Without It: Because when Bluehost decided to have major issues with (1) going down every week all of a sudden and (2) out of control SPAM neighborhood issues, Hostgator was there for me. The transition was relatively painless (except for human errors on my part), and I cannot say enough good things about Hostgator customer service. I really think they are salt of the earth when it comes to web hosts.
You chat with Bluehost, and they point you to the Knowledge Base, which is of course written in Latin (or may as well be). That’s bad service. You chat with Hostgator, and they actually try to help you, even if it’s your mistake. That’s good service! The affiliate money with Bluehost was awesome but it got to the point where my clients were so bummed about having selected Bluehost that I was embarrassed. And when a vendor embarrasses me in front of my clients, that’s a bridge burned. Just say no to Bluehost and yes to Hostgator.