In your blogging career you have to setup your blog first and then write blog posts and drive traffic to your blog. The whole journey starts from buying a domain name to till regular writing, optimization, and marketing.
The ultimate aim is to bring quality traffic to your blog posts and sell your products and services to them or guide them to buy others products which will help them become successful and you earn a commission.
Domain purchase, hosting company selection and theme installation is mostly one-time activity. Rest are regular and ongoing activities. In the journey of blogging your aim is to achieve success with less effort and save time for your life.
That is where tools come in handy. We use tools to make our tasks simple and save time. The blogging is no different. So you take help of tools to automate many tasks and accomplish tasks efficiently.
We’re listing all tools we’re familiar with and use. These resources and tools help you save time and money. These also help you make efficient and be successful.
We regularly keep updating this page as we discover better products. Bookmark this page so that you can refer it anytime you need it. Our main objective is to help you in your blogging business and these references would surely benefit you.
1. Domain Purchase
To start with you finalize your niche and appropriate domain name for your blog. There are many domain name registrars out there. The pricing of domains may differ from registrar to registrar. I recommend you our favorite cheap domain registrar namecheap.com. There is no point paying more for a domain if you can buy it for less price.
I also recommend not to buy a domain name from your website host. Web site host and domain registrar should be different. It gives you the flexibility to host your site anywhere you want.
2. Host for hosting your blogs
The standard advice to go with large web hosting company for long-term stability is sound. Small hosting companies disappear without any warning and that is a very terrifying situation.
You will need the flexibility to increase hosting server’s capacity as you grow. For any blog, we recommend Hostgator which offers several affordable pricing for new and small blogs. To start with you can purchase shared hosting for as low as $3.95.
3. Blog platform
There are many blogging platforms you can use to write your blogs like Blogger, Weebly, and others. If you want to take your blog seriously and want full control over your blog I recommend WordPress. WordPress is now an industry standard.
Almost every host has WordPress auto installer from within account control panel. You can also download and install it manually from http://wordpress.org/.
You get complete control on your blog. You can easily customize it without touching any code. It’s so user-friendly you can get started in no time. You can extend its features by installing new plugins as your blog grows.
4. Theme sources for your blog
WordPress provides an extendable theme framework. You can find free themes from https://wordpress.org/themes/. Even you can download any of the themes you like the best fit for your brand and niche but it is recommended you buy a paid themes.
Premium themes are of high quality in look and feel and its code is well organized. Paid themes provide you lots of customization options. Also, you get technical support if you face any issue installing and configuring your theme. Your blog would look more professional with the paid premium theme.
We use themes from ElegantThemes for our own and client sites. The ElegantThemes are very easy to customize and adapt to match your brand. For $39 a year you have access to all 86 themes plus customer support. Developer pricing and a lifetime one-time fee are available.
StudioPress is also the leader in premium WordPress themes. It is built on the Genesis WordPress platform, It is used by many top social media bloggers. Although pricier than Elegant Themes, you can buy Genesis plus an individual theme or the entire theme package.
ThemeForest is another marketplace for premium themes for WordPress. You can find any type of WordPress themes here. These themes are best in quality. These are designed by top designers and developer on the planet. The WordPress themes price range from $40 and to $70. You can purchase an additional support package. These themes are regularly updated and their support is best.
4. WordPress Plugins
You can install plugins to extend the functionality of WordPress but more is not always better. The more plugins you install and it can slow your site down or cause code conflicts. You only need a few basic plugins to add enhanced functionality for social media sharing, email capture, analytics and site performance.
Social sharing: Dozens of social sharing plugins are available for WordPress. We like AddToAny Share Buttons plugin because it floats on the side of the screen and follows the reader up or down the page as they read, so it’s always visible.
Popups: From day one you need to start capturing email subscribers. It’s one of the most effective ways of generating a profit online — making it a fundamentally important component of any website’s marketing strategy.
Without a doubt, the most effective way to get eyeballs on your opt-in form is via popups.
Popups jump out at visitors, guaranteeing maximum attention and ensuring the content gets read. This is why they’re so effective at generating conversions.
Analytics: Be sure to get some form of tracking or analytics code on your blog from the start. Google Analytics is free and easy to install. Later as your traffic increases, you may want to invest in a paid analytics program but for the short- and mid-term Google Analytics will provide enough data to make your head spin.
Site performance: We recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better blogger but your blog won’t annoy your visitors.
SEO: The degree of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you need to implement generates intense debate among bloggers. For beginners, we say forget about it. Seriously. Other than creating the very basic meta data so your posts show up correctly in a Google search. We recommend you install Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the SEO technical optimization of your blog.
Many WordPress themes, like StudioPress, have SEO built in that makes the basic setup quick and painless. Don’t overthink this part.
5. Image sources for your blog
Images are as important as your article. You always need images for your blog posts. There are many stock photos sites but it’s best you limit yourself to only 2-3 otherwise it becomes complicated and time-consuming to find and finalize the image. You can download free images from http://www.freepik.com/.
Freepik images are of high quality but you need to attribute them.
To design images for your blog post you can also use https://getstencil.com. It’s very simple graphic design software to design images for your blog and social media sharing.
6. Email Autoresponder
Building your email list should be your primary focus as a blogger from the day you start. You should aim to collect emails from Day One, or earlier.
We recommend you start with the free version of MailChimp. It has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and you can not only create multiple lists but also create segments of lists as well. One key thing you can’t do with the free version creates a series of autoresponder emails that will be sent out automatically when a visitor signs up to your list.
You’ll need to upgrade to either a paid MailChimp account or another paid email marketing provider when your blog reaches the point where you’re offering a free email class that requires an autoresponder.
7. Email List Building
You are probably ready to develop a simple email autoresponder course on your topic. For that, you’ll need to upgrade from the free MailChimp account to either a paid MailChimp account or one of those listed below. All of these email providers provide pretty much the same service and are competitively priced. Pick the one you like the best or find easiest to use during a free trial period.
8. Social Media Sharing Tools
You should know by now where your peeps hang out on social media, so use a free S3Engage account to schedule links to useful and relevant content from other bloggers, quotes, tips and links to your guest posts and blog posts.
Feedly is a free replacement for Google Reader that you can use for tracking posts from the blogs you’re following in your niche. Set it up with folders by topic or by size or by influence, whatever works best for you.
The free version of Hootsuite is more than enough at this stage to monitor different social media networks in one place as you follow the top bloggers and cool kids in your niche.
9. Landing Page Builder
Offering products or requiring registration for classes, teleconference calls or webinars requires separate landing pages to make the experience seamless for your customers. We recommend OptimizePress for building simple landing pages.
10. Ecommerce Software
You’re wise to keep it simple at this point until you have multiple products or build an affiliate network. Your best choices are PayPal, eJunkie and Clickbank. Each provides a slightly different set of features, so compare them to find your best fit.
NOTE: many of the links on this page are affiliate links and will earn BlogForBloggers a small commission if you signup to the services. It’s also worth noting that almost all resources mentioned on this page are resources that I’m a signed up, paid up and regular user of.