It took me such a long time to earn a full-time income from blogging. When I first started out, things were sure a lot different than they are today.
We have such great blog tools at our disposal today to improve productivity and profits. I wanted to share a few of my favorites and hope you will do the same in the comments.
Basic Blogging Tools
Quality Hosting & Domain – Every business has expenses. Paying $15 for a domain name and reliable hosting is small potatoes when compared to most home business options. Do yourself a favor and get this set up from Day 1. Hostgator is a great place to start. Use code 1CENT to get started for just a penny.
Genesis Framework – As your blog grows and you start making money, you want to take things to the next level. A user-friendly theme and framework are a must. Genesis has become the industry standard in WordPress design. It’s search-optimized, mobile responsive, secure and highly customizable. And most theme developers are designing their themes to fit this framework. It’s a one-time fee and highly worth the investment.
Grammarly – As an online writer, you need a reliable, affordable proofreader. Grammarly offers a free and premium version of their popular spelling and grammar checker. They also offer a browser extension for Chrome and a plugin for Microsoft Office.
Email Marketing Tools
Aweber – You’ve got to have an email newsletter if you want to make money online. Even if you are only sending out broadcasts of your latest posts in the beginning, start building your list early. Aweber is my platform of choice. I’ve been with them since the beginning. Get started for just $1.
OptinMonster – This is an awesome plugin for getting people onto your newsletter list. Easily add newsletter opt-in boxes to your sidebar, posts and as popups. You decide the popup frequency and the colors can be customized to match your blog’s theme.
Social Marketing Tools
Boardbooster – Pinterest is the top traffic referral source for many bloggers today. But as with most social media platforms, there are certainly times of the day it receives the most activity. To ensure you are sending out your Pins during those times, I recommend Boardbooster. It’s extremely affordable – your first 500 Pins are free, then plans start at just $5 per month. It has great reports and personalized recommendations.
Picmonkey – You’ve got to have great images – great Pinnable images! Picmonkey is my preferred photo editor. Use it to add your text. Make your photos the best size for each platform. While there is a free account available, I prefer to pay for Royale which includes double the features. It’s $4.99 per month or just $33 per year.
Pinterest Ads – Because Pinterest is such a great traffic source, I have no problem paying for Pinterest Ads. You can easily set a daily budget and you only pay for clicks generated during your campaign. The effects of a successful Pinterest campaign can literally be felt for months. Take advantage of it while it’s still cheap! With the rollout of the Buy Buttons, the cost per click is sure to be driven up over time.
Sprout Social – This may be what many would consider a considerable monthly expense, but it’s well worth it in my opinion. All of my mentions and replies are in one easy-to-respond-to place. I can schedule out my social media posts weeks in advance. I can rearrange updates as other things come up. The reporting is wonderful.
OIOPublisher – If you want to sell ad space to advertisers directly, I love OIOPublisher. It’s a one-time investment as opposed to a monthly fee or per-sale commission like most options. The process can be entirely automated in regards to payment, ad posting, expiration reminders and reporting. I’ve used it for years and love it. So do my advertisers!
BetterLinks Pro – Love, love, love my Better Links Pro. Not only can I use it generate pretty short links for all of my affiliate links, I can also update every instance of a link on my blog when a company changes affiliate networks or closes. I can see the impressions and clicks for every link down to the page level. You can also use geotargeting if you have international visitors.
EasyAzon – This is another favorite plugin from the creator of Better Links Pro. This one is for Amazon affiliate links. Easily insert text links or info blocks for Amazon products right within your post editor. This is such a huge time saver and has paid for itself over and over again.
Constant Content – I frequently resort to this site for high-quality, original articles when I’m in a pinch for time or ideas. Make sure you are purchasing the Full License and tweaking the article to fit your writing style and voice.
Fiverr – An excellent, affordable resource for getting help with logo design, ebook formatting, video creation and more.
Just getting started blogging? I highly recommend picking up Building a Framework from Just a Girl and Her Blog. This eBook includes everything you need to know to set your blog up for success.