As productive bloggers, the time has come for us to evaluate our ever expanding list of blogging tools, and decide which ones we plan to keep and which ones we need to purge! It's all part of a cleansing process that is an exercise we should all do at least one per year if not more. Let’s start by looking at these 5 categories of blogging tools.
Goals and a Focused Mindset
Once you have determined your blogging goals, and you really get focused on them and have the proper mindset, it will be easy to decide which tools are best for you to invest in.
Blogging Software and Hardware
- Internet Connection
- Desktop or Laptop Computer
- Cellular Data Plan
- Smart Phone – I recommend getting an iPhone simply because of the early access to more of the apps you’ll need for social media and some other blogging tools. But Android devices can work just fine if you have some patience when it comes to app releases and new features.
- Tablets are a great alternative to Smart Phones but if you can afford it, get both.
- Mobile Apps – there are a ton of free apps that you can download that will help you with your blogging efforts. However, there are a few paid apps that can enhance your social media postings, like WordSwag and other image editing tools.
- Domain Registrar and Web Host – Bloggers who are using free blogging platforms should seriously consider investing in their own domain and web hosting. Owning a self-hosted blog gives you more control over your content. I use HostGator for both of my self-hosted WordPress blogs and I'm very pleased with their service.
- Premium Themes – I highly recommend Appendipity Themes. They are designed specifically for podcasters but you don’t have to have a podcast to use them. I use Appendipity on Basic Blog Tips without a podcast. Customer service is a top priority for Joey Kissimmee and the team and that’s a huge plus. Btw – be sure to check out the interview I did with Joey Kissimmee over on Blab. He gave some fantastic advice for budding entrepreneurs.
- Premium Plugins – If you have the right theme like the one I use Appendipity, you can reduce your plugin budget drastically. But in some cases, you will still want to go for extra customizations – just don’t go overboard.
Education and Personal Development
- Books – right now I'm reading Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi and Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley
- Physical Health and Nutrition
- Work/Life Balance
Content Development Tools
- Copywriters – Will help you with writing text or copy for you.
- Designers and Freelancers – Hire a good designer to help with developing the brand of your blog. For example, I had a very talented designer from my daughter's team at Lidyr Creative help with the fonts, colors and layout of the images here and on Basic Blog Tips.
- Research Tools and Idea Generators – Some of my favorite tools for research are Buzzsumo and PostPlanner. Research tools like these help me find what is currently trending and getting tons of shares on social media.
- Content Curation Platforms – I use Scoop.it to curate interesting and educational content that I share on social media. No one wants to follow people who are constantly pushing and promoting their own content all the time. Curate relevant content and share it with your readers to balance out your promotional posts.
- Graphics Software – You don’t want to have to hire a graphic designer for every little blog post or tweet. In these cases, online software sites like PicMonkey, Canva, or Pixlr are very handy. Gimp is another good one and even Photoshop (if you want to get more advanced) can allow you to do small image projects for your blogs.
- Analytics Tools – Every blogger should be using Google Analytics but there are other more advanced tools you can invest in like Clicky — or check into some tools with heat maps are split testing functionality.
Marketing and Advertising
- Email Service Provider – AWeber is my provider and there a lots of others that are popular. Bottom line is that if you are not building your list, you must start now! You can try AWeber for free for 30 days.
- Social Media Management Tools – My favorites are PostPlanner, Buffer, and HootSuite. You can check out my Buffer video below where I show you how to schedule Pinterest Pins with Buffer. In this blog post, I show how Buffer helps you Find Your Best Tweets and I also show off their Power Scheduler! There's so much you can do with Buffer that I'm sure that I'll be coming back to talk more about it in the podcast soon.
- Advertising – Facebook ads, and Google AdWords are the big players in this space but there's also
- Brand Monitoring – For me, nothing beats Buzzsumo alerts! I did a video to share my Buzzsumo tips and Tricks! You can watch it here. I find out almost instantly when someone links to either one of my blogs, or if they mention me in a blog post. TalkWalker alerts are great too and even though Google alerts have let me down in the past, they are free so you might as well sign up for them too.
- Webinar Software
- Survey Tools – You can set up a Google Doc with a survey in it. SurveyMonkey has some free functionality as well.
- Online Marketing Tools for Internet Marketers Stephen Esketzis
- ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income Darren Rowse
- Top 99 Online Marketing Tools WordStream
- 39 Blogging Tools To Help You Work Faster, Write Better and Land More Readers Buffer
- Relay That graphics tool