Don’t blog unless you use these 21 blogging tools. Here are the 21 blogging tools that have helped make my blogging journey a bit easier and more successful.
I know, I know… starting a blog can be confusing.
When I started my first blog over four years ago, didn’t know a THING about blogs or blogging. I kept looking through Google for help, but all the guides I found were too technical and difficult to follow.
That’s why I wrote this Step by Step Guide for WordPress beginners to help you to setup your first WordPress site easily and quickly with right blogging tools.
It’s simple to get started with your own WordPress site, on your own domain, right now.
Before start with the topic, I like to categorize blogger into three distinct groups. Bloggers span a wide spectrum, but fall into three distinct groups. Read the following descriptions.
01. The Minimalist Blogger
02. The Serious and Committed Blogger
03. The Entrepreneur Blogger
The Minimalist Blogger
You have ideas you want to share but you may not be too sure about this blogging thing. You’re willing to dip your toe in the water, because it seems like it could work, but the tech part is still a challenge. You don’t need the fancy tools.
Most of all, you don’t want to spend a lot of time on it yet, or you don’t have a lot of extra time in your life right now. Maybe you just want to write and follow others in your niche. Whether your topic is a passion, a hobby or related to what you do for a living, a blog is a side project that you can give no more than 10 hours per week, if that.
The Serious and Committed Blogger
You’ve gotten your feet wet in blogging, and you’re committed to what you’re doing. You want to build a business from your blog, but your income and readership are not big enough for you to quit your job. You’re squeezing out as much time as you can, maybe 10 to 20 hours every week, and you need tools that won’t suck up much time but will deliver a big impact.
The Entrepreneur Blogger
You look at blogging differently than everyone else:
You’re not running a blog; you’re operating a business. Blogging is a promotion strategy, but it’s not an end in itself.
Because you’re doing this more or less full time, you have significantly more time to spend experimenting with tools that others can’t.
Because this is your business, you’re willing to invest money in it, so the higher price tags on the more sophisticated services don’t put you off – IF they make sense for growing the business and saving you time and effort that can be used better elsewhere.
Setting Up Your Blog With These Essential Blogging Tools
Now, let’s dive into the topic…
01. How to Buy a Domain Name
Picking the right domain name for a blog is an essential step to success. Think of a domain name as a brand to your website, and like any other product, a blog will be really hard to rebrand if you decide to choose another name. Some people underestimate the process of picking the domain, and I urge you to take it seriously and make the right choice.
Keywords play an important role in a domain. Good keywords in the domain also assist in ranking higher in the search engine. But to get a good keyword name like webhosting.com is very hard to get these days without spending a hefty sum. But as new niche markets are coming out, the possibilities of keywords are increasing as well, so use your creativity and get a keyword in the domain.
There are hundreds of domain registrars on the web that are offering you domain registration and more. But like many other scams on the web, there are scam domain registrars that disappear every three months, and you get left hanging.
NameCheap is my favorite cheap domain registrar. There’s no good reason to pay more. I recommend you don’t purchase your domain name through your web hosting company either, because if you decide to switch web hosts later, which is likely, it can be more complicated.
02. How to Choose a Web Host
The standard advice to go with a large web hosting company for long-term stability is sound. Small web hosting companies still disappear without warning, a terrifying situation. You will also require different levels of bandwidth and service as your blog grows.
There’s a few things you want to look for in a host. They are Uptime reliability, Speed and Customer service.
For minimalist to serious bloggers, I recommend Siteground Hosting, which offers several low-priced plans for new and small blogs. You can purchase shared hosting for as low as $3.95 per month and the support is excellent.
To order Siteground Hosting at this discounted price, click this promo link (opens in new window).
For Entrepreneur Bloggers, I recommend WPengine.
WPEngine is VIP WordPress hosting. Their hassle-free managed WordPress hosting offers fast and robust servers that can handle anything. Your website is practically hacker proof, and their mind-blowing customer service makes you feel like king.
They offer automatic security updates, daily backups, one-click restore points, automatic caching, top-tier security, one-click staging area, and more. WPEngine is like having an army of WordPress experts on your side for assistance. Brands like HTC, FourSquare, SoundCloud, Balsamiq, and many others use WPEngine for their WordPress hosting (Just sayin’). If you are a business who do not want to deal with the technical side of running your blog, then WP Engine is the solution for you.
03. Why You Must Start with WordPress
I’m adamant on this tool: only WordPress. Forget Blogger, Weebly and all the other free amateur platforms if you want people to take your blog seriously. WordPress has become the industry standard.
Most large web hosts already have WordPress available for installation from within your hosting account. But you can do it yourself by downloading it from http://wordpress.org/. It’s customizable to support a range of functions as your blog grows and you can set up a good-looking blog without knowing how to code.
04. How to Get a Great WordPress Design for Your Blog
WordPress provides the behind-the-scenes guts of your blog. A “theme” provides the template and design. You can pay a web designer or you can buy a customizable WordPress theme. A lot of graphic designers will get angry at me for saying this, but don’t spend money for graphic design at this point. As you will see in a minute, premium WordPress themes can be very attractive by themselves and have robust code, making them more than enough for your beginning needs.
While you can get your blog started on the built-in WordPress theme, your blog will immediately look more professional with a premium theme. I don’t recommend you use a free theme. The differences between free and premium themes are in the backend. While both may look good to visitors, free themes don’t come with a technical support desk and are almost always ignored by their developers when they move onto other projects, leaving you with an outdated theme that will become more vulnerable to hackers and more prone to break over time.
Premium themes are updated regularly to keep pace with WordPress upgrades and new trends. Plus, they maintain support desks that will help you with setup, problems, customization, upgrades and maintenance.
I use themes from StudioPress for several sites. StudioPress is the leader in premium WordPress themes. Built on the Genesis WordPress platform, StudioPress is used by many top social media bloggers. Although pricier than Elegant Themes, you can buy Genesis plus an individual theme or the entire theme package.
Elegant Themes is my next recommendation for your WordPress theme. It doesn’t take much effort to customize an Elegant theme. For $69 a year, you have access to all 86 themes plus customer support. Developer pricing and a lifetime one-time fee are available.
05. A Basic Set of WordPress Plugins
With plugins, more is not always better and in fact, more can slow your site down or cause code conflicts. You only need a few basic plugins to add enhanced functionality for social media sharing, email capture, analytics and site performance.
Site performance: I recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better blogger but your blog won’t annoy your visitors.
Social sharing: Dozens of social sharing plugins are available for WordPress. I like the free Digg Digg plugin because it floats on the side of the screen and follows the reader up or down the page as they read, so it’s always visible.
For entrepreneur bloggers, I recommend Monarch plugin for social media sharing buttons. This is a premium plugin by Elegant themes that let you add social sharing & Social media follow buttons on the blog. This plugin offers beautiful looking social sharing button at various places such as Floating sharing buttons, after post, after comment and Fly in buttons. If you need one plugin that takes care of your social media sharing needs, this is the best plugin for now.
You can download this plugin with elegant themes Developer membership for $89. For $89 a year, you have complete access to all 86 themes, complete access to all plugins plus customer support.
Analytics: Be sure to get some form of tracking or analytics code on your blog from the start. Google Analytics is free and easy to install. Later as your traffic increases, you may want to invest in a paid analytics program but for the short- and mid-term Google Analytics will provide enough data to make your head spin.
SEO: The degree of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you need to implement generates intense debate among bloggers. For beginners, I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize the content on your site.
Back Up Your Site: Don’t tempt fate. Install a backup plugin. I use BackWPup and back up to our server, but you can back up to a DropBox or Amazon S3 account automatically.
06. Upgrade Your Site Protection
As your blog gains traffic and becomes known, expect the hack attacks. It’s not pretty and can destroy overnight the goodwill you earned with your readers and subscribers. Sucuri cleaned up the nasties when Woblogger was hacked last year, and continues to keep them at bay. It’s expensive, but not as expensive as losing hundreds of subscribers it took months to win over.
07 .How to Establish an Email List
Building your email list should be your primary focus as a blogger from the day you start. Relying on RSS or other email collection programs to maintain your list is foolish. You should aim to collect emails from Day One, or earlier.
I recommend you start with the free version of MailChimp. It has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and you can not only create multiple lists but also create segments of lists as well.
Their premium version allows you to create a series of autoresponder emails that will be sent out automatically when a visitor signs up to your list.
You’ll need to upgrade to either a paid MailChimp account or another paid email marketing provider when your blog reaches the point where you’re offering a free email class that requires an autoresponder.
Pick the one you like the best or find easiest to use during a free trial period.
08. Add Custom Email Sign Up Boxes
At this point I recommend you Thrive Leads that is a WordPress lead generation plugin that allows you to create highly effective optins such as lightbox popups, footerbars, slide-ins, and much more. These user friendly beautiful optins combined with their exit-intent technology helps you increase your subscriber rate by as high as 600%.
If you joined with elegant theme’s developer membership, you don’t need Thrive Leads. Elegant themes has awesome email subscription plugin called Bloom.
Bloom is a comprehensive email optin plugin for WordPress that boasts multiple highly effective optin types, a plethora of design settings and pre-made templates, amazing sats that give you actionable insights into your campaign performance, and advanced targeting options that afford you full control over where and when your optin forms appear.
09. Create Landing Pages, sales pages
Offering products or requiring registration for classes, teleconference calls or webinars requires separate landing pages to make the experience seamless for your customers.
Landing Pages, sales pages help you to increase your revenue in different ways. Therefore, creating effective landing pages are very important. I use parallax Pro WordPress theme by StudioPress and it provides me the basic landing page template to create landing pages.
I recommend you Thrive Landing Pages as the premium solution to create highly converting landing pages. Thrive Landing Pages offer dozens of slick page designs for sales, event registration and other types of landing pages plus easy split testing. It’s easy to set up and customize.
10. Schedule Social Media Sharing
You should know by now where your peeps hang out on social media, so use a free Buffer account to schedule links to useful and relevant content from other bloggers, quotes, tips and links to your guest posts and blog posts.
11. Plan your marketing strategy
This is where Woblogger comes in. Now that you have a website and know how to use it, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get visitors to the site.
Next Awesome Stuff To Read:
I’ve written hundreds of articles on creating marketing strategies and generating traffic, and now you can finally put them to use:
Promote your blog:
- 11 Proven Strategies to Get 1000+ Visitors per Day
- 10 Tips to Get 1000+ Visitors per Day to Your Website [Infographic]
- 8 Effective Tips to Promote Your Blog
- 12 Proven Strategies to Get More Visitors to Your Site More Often
- What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
- Basic steps to get your website ranked in search engines
- Basic SEO for WordPress Blogs
- Ethical Ways to Increase Search Engine Traffic to Your Site
- How can search engine optimization boost your online business?
- How to Build Your Email List with a WordPress Blog?
- 12 Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers
- Incredible Ways to Get Your First 1000 Email Subscribers
- How to Engage Your Email Subscribers From the Moment They Sign Up
- How to Build Strong Relationships with Your Customers?
- 9 Psychological Tricks to Improve Your Email Marketing Campaign
- Free Verified High PR Instant Approval Directory Submission List
- 20 Ways to Get Quality Backlinks To Your Blog
- High PR DoFollow Blogs List For Comments
- List of DoFollow Forums to Increase Backlinks
- 9 Proven Ways To Get Your First 1000 Twitter Followers
- How to Choose the Right Social Bookmarking Website?
- Top 10 Bloggers To Follow Right Now To Learn Blogging
- 5 Free Tools to Unfollow Non Followers on Twitter
- 10 Effective Ways to Boost Your Social Media Profiles
- How I Made $125 Within First Month of My Blog?
- Major Benefits of Guest Blogging?
- How to Become a Productive Blogger
- Tools for Improving Your Writing Skills in 2016
- 9 Best Free Tools for Creating Stunning Content
- The Secrets To More Effective Article Marketing
- 4 Unmissable Content Writing Tips
Make Money With Your Blog:
- Google AdSense Income Boosters – Three Most Effective Strategies
- How To Start With Affiliate Marketing?
- DreamHost Affiliate Program! Earn $97 for Each Referral
- Make Money with Thesis Affiliate Program
- How to Make Money with ClickBank
One last thing…
If you EVER get stuck while learning how to start a blog – I’m here to help you. I won’t be able to set up a blog for you, but I can do my best to answer your blogging related questions.
Just drop me a line if you hit a snag.
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