Building a profitable blog means using the right tools that will help you get there. Throughout my years in the blogging game, I’ve tried many (many!) different tools. Some weren’t great, some I liked and some I absolutely love! Below is a list of tools that I wholeheartedly recommend and use for my own blog.
Start Your Blog Strong With Your Own Hosting
If you’re just starting out, check out your free guide “How To Start A Blog”.
I recommend getting inexpensive, but reliable hosting. I highly recommend BlueHost when you are first starting out. They are a reliable service with great customer service.
I’ve been loving WP Engine hosting and have used them for the last year to speed up Successful Blogging. If you need a site that loads quickly, is secure and has excellent customer service, WP Engine is worth checking out.
If you need help setting up your WordPress site, my colleague Brandon Yanofsky at WP Radius offers unlimited WordPress support and maintenance. They pride themselves on letting you do the blogging while they do the pesky backend stuff.
Creating A Blog People Want To Visit
A great site is more than just your hosting. It’s something that people want to visit time and time again. That’ why you need something that not only functions well but looks good too.
Start by laying the foundation. Successful Blogging uses the Genesis Framework for our theme and highly recommend them. Genesis provides bloggers with a great foundation for any theme. It offers multiple layout choices and the ability to customize just about everything.
Thrive themes are also good because they are conversion focused WordPress themes.
If you want a coaching call with me plus a pro website finished in a week and done inexpensively, click here to find out more.
If you’re not sure where to start or what to do (don’t worry, I’m not super techie either!) my web designer Kaushik is the technical guy who will solve all your problems. He handles everything from setting up and customizing themes, to setting subscribe boxes and solving WordPress design issues. He can help you design your blog the way you want it. Contact him at 2knowblogging.com.
Set Up Your Mailing List To Quickly Build A Following
You may have heard the money is in the list, and it’s true. An email list is the key to building a profitable blog.
When you’re starting out and your budget is tight, I recommend MailChimp. They allow you to send up to 12,000 emails a month, to up to 2,000 subscribers, all for free. MailChimp is easy to use. Setting up opt-in forms and emails is a breeze.
Once your blog is a little more established, you can graduate to ConvertKit. Create responsive opt-in forms, set emails to go out at set intervals and segregate your lists using tags. They are awesome!
Another option (and what I currently use) is Drip. Send emails based on your goals, tag your lists based on your subscriber actions and more. Like ConvertKit, you can set targeted emails and set them to go out at intervals. Check out Drip here.
Capture Potential Customers With The Right Lead Magnet, Content Upgrades, And Sales Pages
One of the best ways to capture those email addresses is by putting an irresistible free offer right in front of your readers.
And one of the best ways to do that is by creating content upgrades, those little extras you see in blog posts that you need to sign up for. I recommend Content Upgrades Pro for creating beautiful upgrades that convert well.
LeadPages is my go-to tool for effortless opt-in pages, sales pages, thank you pages and to use when guest posting. It is hands down the easiest way to build landing pages and collect email addresses.
Use OptinMonster as your pop-up, under your posts, as a slider and more! Capture the most email address on your site in order to build the best email list.
SumoMe is a set of apps designed to help you grow your email list, capture leads and more. Best of all, many of their tools like popup boxes, welcome mats, scroll boxes and smart bars are all free. Download their free plugin here for your WordPress site.
Instapage is my newest sales page creator – I can make pro sales pages in less than 30 minutes! It's incredible.
Use Beautiful Images To Attract Readers
We talked about designing a beautiful site. Now let’s talk about images. Images have the power to attract readers and bring you traffic from social media.
I use Canva to create my images. For a free service, they are so feature-rich. They offer pre-made templates with the perfect dimensions for blog post images, infographics, and social media banners and posts.
But in order to create enticing images, you need great photos. I like to use free stock images as much as possible. Three of my favorite sites for finding photos are Pexels, Burst and Picjumbo. With so many royalty-free photos available, you can definitely find something that will fit your blog posts.
Increase Your Traffic With Commenting And Social Media
Traffic. It’s something we all want. And I’ve trialed many tools to help me grow my traffic. Here are some of the best.
Social sharing is on top of every blogger’s list of traffic-generation tactics. Social Warfare is the plug-in I use that is on top and bottom of every one of my blog posts. I really like this plug-in because you can put the correct image for Pinterest (sized the right way for Pinterest) and Google+, Facebook and Twitter. It’s terrific and I have 20% more shares since installing Social Warfare.
Another method I promote is blog commenting. Commenting on other blogs will always bring you attention and traffic. But it’s important to have a strong plug-in for your readers to leave their comments. Comment Luv is great and I use the Pro version so that my followers get do-follow links from their comments (which is a big plus for my readers)
Lastly, blogger outreach. You always hear me talking about interacting and connecting with bloggers. I believe it’s the #1 way to grow your presence. NinjaOutreach is a blogger outreach software for digital marketers and small businesses interested in growing their presence online. Find influencers, build lists, and send customized all from this simple, software application.
Schedule Your Content And Manage Your Blog
We can’t have a list of resources without mentioning tools that will help you run your blog and keep track of it all.
You may have heard of Google Analytics. It’s seen as the granddaddy of analytics and website stat tracking. But it isn’t always user-friendly. If you find Google Analytics a little too confusing, try Clicky – they even send you a report weekly.
To really manage your blog, and your social media posts, try CoSchedule. They can help you create and schedule your social media content even before you publish your blog post. You can also plan your entire editorial calendar, but best of all, you get stats to see exactly what’s working and what’s not.
And I couldn't live without Grammarly! It actually follows you around the web correcting your spelling and grammar. It's so convenient for a blogger who is writing regularly, commenting on other blogs, doing guest posts and social media posts.