What makes a successful blog? Sure, of course it’s the content and the person or team who manages the blog… but it’s also about having your own little arsenal of tools, services and tips that allow you to stay ahead of the competition.
Resource pages are a great way for bloggers to share the tools and services they are using for their own sites. By knowing what tools and services the big players are using to help grow their sites, it will greatly help anyone who is just starting out and save them from wasting a lot of time.
I can proudly say that I am constantly using all of the recommended services and resources you will find below. Be sure to use the contact page and shoot me an email if you have any questions.
* * THESE ARE ALL SERVICES I PERSONALLY USE * *
When you think of “blogging” one of the first things you should be thinking about is “content”. Whether you are creating a blog for yourself, your brand, company or purely for profit… you are going to need original content. The good think about content is that it is a major contributor to getting ranked in the search engines… the bad thing is that it takes a lot of time to create. I’ve been using 99CentArticles to create content for my smaller niche sites for a while now. Always quality work and at some really great prices.
Everyone is talking about guest posting and how it’s one of the best ways to gain traffic and incoming links to your site. Guess what? It’s true! However, one of the biggest problems with guest blogging is the time it takes find sites that will accept your guest post content and actually post it to your site. PostRunner has been able to create their own directory of blogs that all accept guest posts. You can sort by page rank, word count, category and more. I highly recommend this one for anyone who is actively posting guest content on other sites.
I am always stressing the importance of building your own brand for your blog and becoming a well known authority in your niche. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of a custom logo for your site. Many people would like to have a logo for their site but don’t know how to design or think it will cost way too much money to get started. Several times on the blog I’ve mentioned that I use LogoNerds for my logo creations and you can get a custom logo design starting at just $27!
As important as the content on your blog is, so is the need for incoming links so you can rank in the search engines. Link building takes time and a lot of effort and money if you are going to do is right. It’s not just about building links to your site, it’s about getting links to your site from high authority web 2.0 properties and from articles that are actually relevant to your site content. TheHoth is a great link building company that hires college graduates from the U.S. to write original content for your link building articles, then their link building service will create link wheels of web 2.0 properties (WordPress, Squidoo, Blogspot) linking to each other, then back to your site from the top level properties.
When it comes to having a wordpress site of your own, you are going to need a wordpress theme that does some of the work for you. The last thing you want is a horrible looking site that makes people just want to leave your site. I use GenesisTheme on my main site at ZacJohnson.com and it’s simply one of the best wordpress theme frameworks out there. Once you download the main framework, you can choose from multiple child themes that you can use for your site design. If you want a completely custom design, it will probably cost you a few thousands dollars, but you can download and use the completely customizable Genesis child themes in the $39-$79 range.
One of the most popular reasons why people are now starting blogs of their own, is so they can make money online. The best way to do this is through the use of a niche blog, which I’ve outlined in my “create a blog” case study. Niche blogs are different from regular blogs and the placements of content and ads on the site need to be done correctly. Niche Website Theme is an excellent theme that allows you to create unique niche blogs fast, without the need to continually edit each section of the site whenever you want to start a new site. If you do anything with niche sites, then you will love this theme.
What happened the last time you went to a web site that was loading slow? You probably left right away! This happens all too often and hopefully it isn’t happening on your site. I like to keep all of my sites running as fast as possible and one of the best ways to do this is through the use of a content delivery service. Instead of hosting all of your site content from your server at one location, a CDN allows your content to be shared for servers all around the world for the highest delivery speed. Best of all, it’s super cheap to setup an account and speed up your site. Very easy to setup and well worth the investment.
It’s easy to create a new blog and write content, but actually knowing what keywords to target and how to select a niche for your blog is what’s going to be very important. One of the absolute best tools out there for doing this is Long Tail Pro. If you’ve ever used Google Keyword Tool you will have a good idea how LTP works. You can put in a bunch of keywords and Long Tail Pro will shoot out a bunch of relevant long tail keywords for you, but will also include how much the advertisers are paying per click, average monthly search volume and most importantly a keyword competition score that will tell you how easy or hard it will be for you to rank for a specific term.
In addition to knowing what type of niche and keywords you are going to want to be focusing on your blog and content, you are going to need to write your articles in an effective way for both your readers to find value but also so the search engines will rank your content higher. The best way to do this is through the use of a wordpress plugin called SEOPressor. As you write your blog content out, SEOPressor will tell you what needs to be done to improve the overall quality of your content, such as adding image tags, headlines, including your target keywords and much more.
With hundreds of web hosting solutions out there, how are you supposed to know which is best for your blog or business? The best way to know is through personal recommendations and who the big players are hosting with. More and more people are quickly making the switch to HostGator as their web host of choice. In addition to the services, up-time and pricing, I really like HostGator because of all the different support options they offer. Along with phone and email support, you can also visit their site and get someone on chat support and usually within just a few minutes you will be able to connect with a live operator that can help you out.
How many times are you checking your blog stats and rankings on a weekly or even a daily basis? It’s probably a good amount. I just recently came across a brand new search ranking tool called SerpBook and I love it! Here’s the thing… when you login to Google Analytics to check your stats, you have to go through multiple pages and it can be quite annoying. If you are looking for an active tracking system for monitoring all of your search rankings and their movement on a daily basis, then you will also love what SerpBook has to offer. Even better, their tracking solutions start as low as $2.99 a month. I highly recommend checking them out!
What can you get done $5 these days… pretty much nothing, right? Well on Fiverr.com you can actually get a ton of stuff done pretty cheap. Originally the site only focused on $5 jobs, but recently they allowed users on the site to implement upgrades to their jobs in increments of $5, $10 and $20. This means there are now more quality jobs on the site than ever before. I would recommend staying away from any link building methods and stick with design and content creation type of jobs. Always be sure to look at the customer feedback and try out different services on the site. I’ve come across plenty of great copywriters, designers and fun jobs that can be done for only $5 each!
A great looking wordpress site is one of the most important things every blogger needs. However, the cost of a completely custom design can cost a lot of money. Fortunately there are wordpress theme membership sites that only cost a few dollars a month to join. ElegantThemes is one of the top wordpress themes sites around. They offer access to over 80 different premium wordpress themes that are fully customizable and the price is only $39 per year.
Similar to ElegantThemes, Theme Junkie is another premium wordpress theme membership site that offers up their own collection of themes that you can have instant and unlimited access to for only $69 per year. From magazine, personal, news and company blog themes, there is a lot for you to choose from. Again, all of these themes are fully customizable and will cost you only a small fraction of the price a fully custom theme would cost.\