Blogging and online publishing is an essential element of leadership and influence in today’s digital culture. But, there are plenty of blogs out there – millions of them, in fact. What will set yours apart?
- YOU! Nobody else will ever write your heart and your voice. The world needs to hear what YOU have to say. Your personality, your brand, your perspective, your expertise, your approach is something that other people can learn from.
- Your tools. Good tools don’t make a leader successful, but it’s way easier to be successful with the right tools.
When it comes to blogging and online publishing, these are some of my favorite tools.
A domain name.
I use GoDaddy so that I can manage multiple domains in one easy spot. They’re cheap and I’ve noticed that when I make changes, they take effect much more quickly than with other providers. Choose carefully – a domain name is really, really hard to change once Google has indexed your site.
I used to recommend some of the big names that you’ll see promoted everywhere, but finally came to the conclusion that these companies are big because they offer a really cheap entry price point and offer a mediocre product in hopes you’ll never cause trouble or, if you do, you’ll upgrade to real hosting.
So I recently switched to actual, professional, really amazing website hosting from Wealthy Affiliate!
WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website, blog, or app. WordPress is both FREE and priceless at the same time. The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power the place on the web they call “home” — we’d love you to join the family.
If you use Wealthy Affiliate’s hosting (see above), WordPress will be installed the second you pick a website name so you can start blogging literally with a few clicks.
But if you have hosting on a server that doesn’t offer this kind of convenience, you can always download WordPress for free and install it on your server yourself.
When you install WordPress, it will come with some basic themes. You’ll be ready to start blogging right away. You can set up a “page” that tells more about who you are and start publishing “posts,” which are date-based blog posts and articles.
If you’re lost on how to use WordPress, you’re going to want to do some research and take the time to learn the system. It isn’t complicated, but there are some tips and tricks you’ll want to know. The best place to go to learn is the Building Your Own Traffic Producing Website classroom at… you guessed it, Wealthy Affiliate.
Congrats if you’ve come this far. You’re a blogger! And you’ve only begun to scratch the surface of your blogging potential.
Using a Premium WordPress Theme
WordPress is the software that runs your blog, but your “theme” is the front-end. It’s what people see. You’re looking at one right now. When you install WordPress, it will come with several nice-looking but common themes and you can even find more free themes in the WordPress repository. When you want to make it uniquely yours and get premium features, you’ll need a premium theme.
I’m a huge advocate for Studiopress Themes and the Genesis Theme Framework.
My other favorite marketplaces for premium themes include…
- Themedy (which also uses the Genesis Framework)
- Elegant Themes (especially the Divi theme)
- Themeforest (a bit overwhelming, but start by looking at Avada, Enfold, or X)
- Gorilla Themes
Content Creation Tools
Within WordPress is an excellent writing system. You can write using a nice what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor. You can also easily upload photos, documents, and other kinds of media using the Media Upload tool. It will all be resized and aligned according to your preferences. But at some point, you may also want to get creative and go beyond what the basic editor allows, especially with video.
For Stock Photos, Video, and Audio
- Pexels (free and beautiful)
- Pexels Video (also free)
- GraphicStock (paid, but generous)
- VideoBlocks (from the makers of GraphicStock)
- AudioJungle (for sound clips)
For Creating Graphics
- Pixelmator (my go-to app for graphics creation)
- Canva (create social media-ready graphics quickly)
- Snappa (very easy-to-use graphics-creation tool)
- Final Cut (Apple’s pro video editor – complex but powerful)
- Motion (Apple’s tool for special effects – even more complex)
- VideoMakerFX (an easy way to create great video content)
- Blubrry Podcasting (for podcasting from WordPress)
- Audacity (for editing audio files)
- AudioJungle (for audio files, background music, etc.)
Marketing and Promotional Tools
Blogging is great, but for whom are you writing? Who is your audience, and how do you get your content in front of them? Here are some of my favorite tools for promoting and distributing my blog posts.
Email List Growth and Management
Social Media Tools
- Buffer (for scheduling posts to all kinds of networks)
- Mastering Social Engagement (another classroom inside the Wealthy Affiliate community)
- Instaeasy (automation for growing and profiting from Instagram)
Search Engine Optimization
- SEOPressor (An Awesome SEO WordPress plugin)
- Search Engine Land (An incredible blog for learning about SEO)
- Yoast’s SEO Plugin (Another great SEO plugin for Wordpess)
- SEMRush (for research)
Affiliate Marketing Help
In case you hadn’t noticed, I keep plugging and re-plugging Wealthy Affiliate as the ultimate spot for learning about blogging and online business. That’s especially true when it comes to learning all that you need to know about affiliate marketing and making money from your blog. So…
And when it comes to actually building websites for affiliate marketing purposes, if you’re an Amazon Associate, you can’t go wrong with the EasyAzon plugin for quickly adding rich links to your posts and pages.
But if you want to explore some other options, I also recommend…
- Affilorama (amazing site for learning affiliate marketing)
- Authority Hacker’s Site System
- Affiliate Blogger Pro
- LinkedInfluence (a course about how to use LinkedIn for influence)
These sites offer affordable courses in marketing, design, photography, video editing, and all kinds of other skills!
Other Favorite Apps and Tools
- Dropbox (my favorite cloud storage solution)
- Brydge Keyboards (awesome keyboards for Ipad)
- Mighty Deals (great deals on creative design resources)
- Fiverr (for hiring someone to do a small creative job for $5)
And by the way, this list is ever-evolving. I will add and remove tools from time to time. Feel free to share this toolbox with the links below!
And did I mention Wealthy Affiliate?
Affiliate Income Disclosure
As with every other post or page on this site, many of the links you may click on within this page are affiliate links. If you made a purchase after clicking, I would receive a referral fee. This in no way affects the price you pay.