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My Blogging Tools & Resources:

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My Blogging Tools & Resources:

A few readers have contacted me asking what specific tools and resources I use to help run my blogs. I thought it would be helpful to post every tool/resource that I use on a single page for people to reference and bookmark.

I also realized that many of these tools weren’t my first choice. I had the learn the hard way (for example my first web host really sucked!). Hopefully this page can provide a useful guide of the right tools to be using when blogging. I’ll be updating this page as I add more tools to my blogging arsenal. Something I’m realizing more and more is that you have to invest to grow, and I’ll be trying out a lot of new tools this year.


Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I will receive commission if you purchase through these links (although they will not add any extra cost for you – in fact often I’ll negotiate discounts for Blogs.FanExtra readers). I use all of these tools regularly and have literally had 100% positive experiences with each of them. I’m recommending these tools because they should be truly helpful to you, not for the commissions I might earn. Please don’t purchase through these links if you’re unsure of them, and I encourage you to do due research in your blogging investments (although these tools have great reviews if you Google them).

Blogging:

  • WordPress: Simply the best blogging platform available. WordPress is totally free and what I use on all of my blogs.
  • Theme Forest: A lot of bloggers modify Theme Forest designs (because they’re awesome) and use them for their own blogs. I personally love designing my blogs from scratch (because I’m a design geek). I do however use Theme Forest themes for side projects and personal pages and they’re great to work with. If you’re not a designer I highly recommend them for your blog.

Hosting:

  • ThisWebHost: You’ll notice in our footer a link for This* saying they are the perfect web host. It’s true. They migrated our sites from our previous host for no extra cost and have provided us with years of flawless service. We started on a standard shared server and have scaled up to a monster dedicated server. Lightning quick support responses, fantastic uptime, and really fast server speeds. Combine this with great pricing and an anti-overselling policy and they’re my host of choice by a mile. (You can read a more detailed review of my experiences with them here)

    *ThisWebHost have kindly agreed to offer our readers a coupon for 50% off their first months hosting on any shared or reseller plans. Simply use the coupon code ‘FANEXTRA‘ when signing up for your hosting package. (Sign up here)

  • BlueHost: BlueHost are another very solid option for your hosting, with great support and very affordable pricing.

Domains

  • Godaddy: I’ve always used GoDaddy for my domains and have purchased dozens of domains from them over the years. They also allow for domain forwarding which takes about 5 seconds to setup. This is great for giving important pages on your blog their own custom url.

Email Marketing

  • Aweber: I started using Aweber because I saw a lot of fellow bloggers recommending it. I couldn’t be happier with their service. I use Aweber to build up large email lists, which I use to interact directly with my audience. Aweber has tons of features that you can implement such as advanced stats/tracking, hundreds of email templates, auto-responders and anything else you can think of!

Selling Products

  • Paypal: We don’t sell products through Paypal, but we do use them to handle our transactions. If you’re dealing with funds online then getting a Paypal account is a must, as it’s what everyone is using. You can branch out to systems like MoneyBooker to widen your potential customer base, but Paypal is the universal option.
  • Amember: We use Amember software to run our FanExtra members area. This accounts for the largest part of our network profits and I highly recommend starting your own members area if possible. The Amember team even install Amember on your server for no extra cost, and the software itself is really powerful and customizable.

Monitoring Statistics

  • Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a free tool that’s really easy to install on your blog. You get tons of data on your site’s visitors and it’s overall a great tool for analyzing your traffic.

Advertising

  • BuySellAds: BuySellAds is a lifesaver when it comes to selling ad space on your site. Simply install their code and the whole process becomes automated (no stress for you!). They do take a 25% cut of ad sales, and your site must fit a relevant niche, and have a certain level of traffic to join. Worth joining though if they’re suitable for your blog.
  • Google Adsense: I’ve had mixed experiences with Adsense over the years, but right now it provides some nice passive income at PSDFAN.com. Easy to install, very little work involved (apart from occassional tweaking/optimization).

Selling Your Blog

  • Flippa: I’ve sold a few websites in the past, although still no blogs. Flippa is a great place to ‘flip’ your website though, and if your auction is decent can attract quite a bit of attention.

Video Blogging:

  • Canon HV20: 1000 bucks might sound like a lot for a camera, but this is one of the most affordable ‘mid range’ HD cameras out there. You don’t want to film your video blogs on a potato, it looks unprofessional. (I even shot a short film on this bad boy).
  • 5 Star Dry Wipe Board: Not only does this help my videos stand out, but I’ve always wanted to own one! (yes I’m kind of a geek…). Also very useful for mind maps and jotting down ideas.
  • Jing (Screen Recording): Jing isn’t spectacular, but it gets the job done, allowing you to record up to 5 minutes of screen activity for free. To be honest I’m pushing to upgrade to ScreenFlow, but won’t include that in this list until I’ve purchased and tried it out.
  • Audio Jungle: I use Audio Jungle to find cheap, catchy loops for my video posts.

Audio/Podcasts:

  • WordPress Audio Player Plugin: Free plugin that let’s you embed a neat audio player into your blog posts. Perfect for audio interviews and podcasts.

Social Media

  • TweetDeck: Popular Twitter desktop app and by far the best way I know for managing your real-time Twitter activity. I held off using this app for ages (dumb decision!). It’s a huge time saver.
  • BufferApp: Wonderful app that lets you schedule your tweets in advance, so you can space them out through the day. Big time saver, plus if you use this link to sign up you get 11 tweet spaces in your ‘buffer’ instead of the regular 10.
  • Twilert: Free service that lets you know via email when certain keywords are mentioned on Twitter. Great way to keep up with who’s tweeting about you.

Books & Ebooks:

I’m going to be expanding this list a lot this year, as I have a ton of awesome books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I’ll post the best one’s here.

  • Skellie: Successful Facebook Marketing: The most thorough guide to Facebook marketing I’ve found, which literally teaches you the best ways to grow and manage your Facebook page from the ground up.

About the Author:

Tom is the chief editor at Blogs.FanExtra and founder of the FanExtra network. He loves interacting with the community, so if you have any questions hit up the contact page and he'll get back to you.

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