Sometimes it can be hard to find good information online. So I’ve put together a list of my most valued blogging resources. Make sure you bookmark this one! In no particular order, here they are;
Why spend time searching Google, when you can find exactly what you need right here? Here’s my ultimate list of useful blog posts.
I’ll add to this as time goes on. If you have a post, or know of one that may be worthy, just let me know!
Hosting is extremely important. I wouldn’t host my site anywhere other than InMotion Hosting.
InMotion is the only provider I trust for hosting. All of my sites are hosted with them, they’re the provider I recommend to all of my clients, and I use them for reseller and dedicated server rental. Their customer service is awesome, and I know that if I ever have an issue I can count on them to resolve it quickly.
Through using InMotion for the last few years, I know that they offer the speed and reliability that I need, and at a price I’m happy with.
These are tools to use in conjunction with your blog. They offer everything from help with SEO, to sending emails, to finding people to help you with your blog! There are plenty of tools out there, but these are the ones tried and tested by yours truly.
Long Tail Pro – THE best keyword research tool available. Everything you need for keyword research in one easy to use package. I’ve been using Long Tail Pro for years and would not recommend anything else.
MailChimp – The only email list builder/sender I’ll ever use. It’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails sent per month. That’s enough for most bloggers for a while, and even after that it’s pretty cheap.
Pingdom – includes a range of analytics tools, my favorite being the website speed test. They have test servers in several locations across the world, so you can always ensure that your site it speedy across the globe.
CloudFlare – I recently discovered this service. It can greatly speed up your site by caching and partially serving files on their server as opposed to your host to lighten the load. It’s free for a basic account, and that’s all I use now. I’ll let you know if I ever upgrade!
Majestic – the best SEO analytics app available. Period.
Wayback Machine – this is really cool. This tool keeps an archive of websites at certain points in time. That means you can go back and see what a site looked like 10 years ago. You can also check what a domain name used to be used for before you buy it – pretty handy!
Check Pagerank – pagerank isn’t really much of a thing anymore, but if you do want to check yours, here’s the site to do it for free (other stats included).
Whitespark – if you own a small business, you probably want it listed in as many places as possible right? This software scans for keywords and finds all your competitors in your area. It then finds out every other single directory their business is listed in across the web and tells you. Then all you have to do is go and list your business there too. This obviously is seen as advertising – but most of these sites give you a link too, which is good for SEO!
UpWork – find lots of talented freelancers (including yours truly), all ready to take on your next project.
WP Theme Detector – ever visited a fellow blogger’s site and thought “wow, I wonder what theme they’re using…” or “what the hell kinda plugin do they have to do that?” well, type their URL into WP Theme Detector and you’ll find out exactly what theme and plugins they’re using.
There’s no point in me posting a list of actual social media sites here – if you don’t know what Facebook is, then we have a bigger problem here. What I thought would be more useful though, is a list of services that integrate with social media to help you get the most out of your blog’s social media accounts!
Social Oomph – by far the best social media scheduling and automation software for Twitter and Facebook. A very small investment for huge time saving potential (I swear by this). Click here to try it for free
Buzzsumo – social media sharing data console. This shows you the most popular posts in any given time period for any given keywords. You can then either share popular content with your followers, or use it as a model for your own content.
Buffer – another social media automation and sharing platform. Again, not my favorite, just letting you know your options.
Hootesuite – another social media scheduling app. It’s not my favorite, but it does the job.
Latergramme – Instagram scheduling app. The free version allows you to create 30 posts per month – you can do everything except post using this app. Due to the nature of Instagram, it prompts you to post the image and accompanying caption on whatever device you Instagram on.
IFTTT – literally the best thing to ever happen to my business. It stands for “IF This Then That” and is an app that relies on triggers to know when to complete a task. It’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it, especially since there are loads of “recipes” already created by people for you to use. You can use it for anything from automatically changing the temperature in your house when the forecast says it’s cold outside to making it text your partner when you leave work. I mainly use it for social media, but there’s so much more it could be used for.
Setting some of the other automation tools up with IFTTT and linking them together can save you a TON of time. Trust me.
Edgar – create libraries of updates and schedule them to keep the content rolling to your social media feeds.
Triberr – this one is a blog sharing tool where you can join “tribes” with other bloggers with blogs in the same niche. You have a feed of all the tribes you’re part of and can share directly from the site. The best thing about this one is you can set it up to show you article automatically to all the other bloggers in your tribes and then they can share it on their social media with a few clicks. This is one of my most valuable tools for growing my social media accounts.
So many ways to show people your lunch!
I mainly use Theme Forest by Envato for buying my themes. Generally I like to purchase multi-purpose themes, because if I’m spending $70 on a theme it would be nice if I can use it more than once. Here are my favorite themes to use currently; I picked these for their diversity and ease of installation/setup.
BeTheme – my favorite to work with right now (this site is built with it, as well as many of my others) you can create thousands of different looks and feels. For example check this site is designed Top Shelf Media, in comparison to one of my other sites Quick Easy Fit. Pretty cool, huh?
X The Theme – the first theme I ever bought – but definitely also one of the best. It is again, a very versatile theme that you can get a lot of different results with and use in multiple applications.
Both of the above come with some extra goodies, like revolution slider and their own builders – click the links for the full rundown.
WordPress plugins are important. If you have too many, they can slow your site down, so it’s best to only have plugins you need installed. I try to keep my installed plugins list as light as possible, but I always install the same few no matter what site I’m building. Here they are;
Akismet – free and, in my opinion, the best anti spam plugin out there. At first it may block a lot of the comments coming into your site, but it learns as you go along which ones you regard as spam and which ones you think are legit.
Better Click To Tweet – witty one-liners and perfect quotes can be embedded in an easy-to-tweet button so your readers can be lazy and still help you by sharing!
Broken Link Checker – checks your blog for broken links and alerts you of which link and where it is if it finds anything.
Contact Form 7 – easily integrate contact forms into your posts and pages via a shortcode. Warning – basic coding knowledge may be needed to set it up, but you could definitely follow a guide.
ConvertPlug – adds email signup forms in various places. Allows you to test different forms on your users and provides stats to help you make decisions on where to focus your efforts. I’ve tried quite a few of these plugins, both free and premium, and ConvertPlug is by far my favourite.
Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress – awesome social sharing plugin for WordPress. Has multiple default setups to choose from and also has cool functions like bringing back Twitter share counts (my favourite part) among a ton of other things. If you’re looking to increase your social shares, this plugin is the one you want.
EWWW Image Optimizer – optimizes your images so that they load faster, and therefore your blog loads faster. This is my favourite because it’s free, and requires little to no setup.
Force Regenerate Thumbnails – automatically resizes your images on upload to meet your specifications and what your theme requires. Never encounter poorly cropped images and white space again!
Jetpack – comes with WordPress and has a lot of useful features, although to be honest I mainly like it because it allows me to use the wordpress app on my phone. This makes it easier to manage my sites on the go.
Optin Cat – the best email signup form plugin I’ve found. I like the templates that come with it, and it’s easy to use with the provided shortcodes.
Redirection – allows your redirect any of your URLs to anywhere else. For example, you could make yourblog.com/blogtrafficbuilder link to my blog’s home page.
Starbox – my favourite author box for WordPress. It’s lightweight and has a few customizations you can make. I like it mainly because it’s neat and simple.
SumoMe – list building and social media apps. This perfect for growing your lists and followers. It’s free and really quick to install and setup, plus it’s incredibly reliable. There are also some other apps you can get for analytics which are pretty cool.
Triberr Plugin – I use triberr for all my blogs, this plugin automatically sends my new posts to triberr so that my tribemates can share them for me. Also allows you to share your tribemates’ posts from your wordpress dashboard.
WP Fastest Cache – speed is important, and this plugin is simple enough for almost anyone to use. I’ve tried W3 Total Cache, which I’m sure is better if properly configured, but I find it unreliable and creates too much hassle to justify installing it.
WP-Optimize – a database optimizer/cleanup tool. You never really see what it does unless you know about databases (I personally have limited knowledge on them) but rest assured it’s getting the job done.
Yoast SEO – the best SEO plugin for your WordPress blog.
And that’s pretty much it! I sometimes install a few extras if I want a specific feature or object like a mail signup form, or maybe a paid subscription plugin. Honestly, this is all you need and you’ll be surprised at how much trimming your “excess plugin fat” will speed up and improve the usability of your site.
You need images on your site. Not only is it handy to have a free source of images, but it’s also good to have some places to edit them. Here you’ll find some great places to source images for your blog (for free) as well as editing them (for free).
Pixabay – free image site. You can find an image to go with pretty much anything on there, completely royalty free.
Unsplash – 10 new photos every 10 days. Great if you require beautiful, high-res, generic images. Not the best if you’re looking for a picture of something specific. There are lots more like this, here’s a list of some of the others.
Canva – awesome, free image editing online software. You can make anything from business cards to magazines and a lot of the elements are free. The paid options are good value, but I tend to avoid using them unless necessary. Here’s a great guide on how to use Canva
Pixlr – a free online image editing app. Quick, easy and FREE image editing; not as good as Photoshop but will make do on the go, or if you have a tight budget.
Libre Stock – a free image site that curates images from multiple other free image sites to make it easier for you to find what you need!
Pic Resize – an image resizing service. Invaluable for web design and making sure your images are small enough for your page to load in a decent time.
Want to make some money from your blog, but don’t have your own product to sell? Fortunately for you, there are plenty of other options out there.
Clickbank – advertise other people’s products and make up to 75% commission each time a sale it made.
CommissionJunction – works in a similar way to Clickbank, you make money by referring people using a link and make a commission on any sales made.
Share-A-Sale – this one is more for selling physical products, and is good for brand merchandise.
Google Adsense – the least lucrative of the “pay per click” advertising platforms, but a good place to start.
Amazon Associates – associates is Amazon’s affiliate program. You make a small commission on each product they sell as a result of your link. The nice thing about this is they handle all shipping, customer service etc – you literally just have to link to products on their site.
There are lots of options when it comes to monetizing your site – please check my MVPs at the top of this page for more or give this post “how to monetize your blog” a read.
There’s lots of places you can promote your posts online other than social media and email, here are a few of my favourites;
BizSugar – allows you post your posts so that others can find them and share them.
Scoop It – a content curation platform in a “magazine” format. Lots of high profile influencers hang out and find content here, so it’s a good place to hang out too.
Blogarama – the #1 blog directory. A place to find new blogs, and expose yours.
Medium – a place to post your content so that it can be found internally and shared/read by other bloggers.
There’s many more, and I’ll be adding them as time goes by!
I already said it on my about page, but I just want to reiterate that there are a few books that really got me started on this journey, and also kept me going along the way. They’re not the kind of books that are a simple “Step 1. Do This, Step 2. Success”. They’re motivational and inspirational – while also showing you how the writers and their case studies got to where they are now.
These books taught me a lot about small business and online entrepreneurship. I hope you find them as useful as I did!
The Laptop Millionaire – Mark Anastasi
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
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