Developing your blogging business into something profitable takes time, effort, and energy. It also takes the proper tools. Having access to certain programs and services can make your blogging empire far easier to create.
Take WordPress as a basic example. There was a tie where everything had to be created by hand.
We’ve come a long way from then.
As the shape of the internet has changed, other tools have come up to assist people in managing web-based businesses. Autoresponders, analytic tools, and freelancing sites are just a few examples. Each tool helps you improve your business in different ways.
Do I need tools at all?
Since you’re just getting into the blogging business, I’ll tell you that there are some tools that you need to pay for to get their benefits. So, can you get around the need for tools? Early on, it’s possible.
However, if you really want to reach profitability, especially profit you can make a living from, you will need to invest in tools.
Web tools allow you do highly complicated tasks really quickly. It makes no sense for you to reinvent the wheel and make your own tools in nearly every case. If you’re designing something completely experimental and you have experience in software development, fine.
Most people don’t have the time to do that, and if they did their business would be selling the tool.
Tools To Consider
I’m going to provide you a list of tools that I’ve used personally in my blogging businesses. Some are more useful than others depending on your niche, but I recommend all of them.
In no particular order:
WordPress: The famous CMS (content management system) does more than just blog. It’s the foundation for quite a number of sites on the web. It’s extremely flexible, especially if you’ve got a little CSS and PHP under your belt. I will be happy to help you set this up.
Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin: Currently, this is the best WordPress SEO plugin out there and it’s free! It is quite easy to use and configure. You can easily set meta-information and keywords on pages, generate site maps, generate breadcrumbs, and even edit your robots.txt and .htaccess files. That’s just a start on the features. Make this your first plugin after any WordPress install.
An email autoresponder: Autoresponders are fairly simple tools, but if you plan on doing any kind of email marketing then you’ll need one with good features. They are used to send automated email messages to your mailing list. For example, if you wanted to have a newsletter on your site, this tool will make it easy to securely reach everyone on your list at once. We’d like to recommend GetResponse as your first autoresponder if you’ve never used one before.
Google Analytics: The only way you’ll know if your site is getting results is to analyze visitor data. That’s where analytics programs come in. At a minimum, all your sites should be hooked up to a Google Analytics account, especially if you plan on ever running a PPC campaign for your blog. This will give you a good breakdown of your visitors and their activities. However, there are better options…
Moz: If you really want to get serious about SEO, then you should start using tools like Open Site Explorer and the rest of Moz’ tools. They are the big name in the SEO tools market. There’s really no substitute for their SEO analytics tools on the market right now. Even if you don’t plan on buying their services their blog is a must-read.
Followerwonk: If your business model requires a lot of Twitter usage, then you simply must look at Followerwonk. This is the analytics tool of choice for Twitter. It is also great at finding people in your niche. This tool can save you a lot of time; Twitter searches can be quite tricky!
Hootsuite: This is an excellent tool if your web strategy is very dependent on social media. This website allows you to post across multiple social media accounts from one interface. You can schedule posts, run custom searches, and more. This can save a massive amount of time. If you’re skipping Facebook completely in favor of Twitter, you may want to look at Tweetdeck as well.
Forum search engines: One of the best places to do market research on a niche is to read forums devoted to it. It’s very difficult to market directly to a forum, but they’re great for getting a question answered. However, they can be very difficult to locate. That’s where Omgili, and BoardReader come in. These forum search engines can help you find boards fast.
An RSS reader: You probably have one of these already, unless you’re still pining about the loss of Google Reader. RSS feeds are for more than just news headlines. They’re a great way to consolidate information about what is happening in your niche so you can respond to it in a timely manner on your blog.
LeadPages.net: My secret weapon. This site can assist you in making all sorts of sales-related pages for websites and social media sites. You can even make pages directly for WordPress! The pages integrate nicely with many of the tools you’ve just read about. You’d do yourself a disservice not to take a look at it.
Do I need ALL these tools?
Absolutely not! In fact, one of the easiest ways you can bog your blog business down is to jump too quickly into every form of marketing. It’s enough in the beginning just to focus on getting your website built with good SEO.
Go slow, it’s much easier to start simple and grow over time.
Focus first on WordPress, Yoast, and Google Analytics if you’re starting afresh. Use LeadPages.net with these if you want to get up very quickly. Once you have some traffic, then you can move on to other marketing efforts.
What are some tools that you’re currently using which has been a big help to your blog or blogging business ? Please share your stories or questions in the comment section below.