Over the course of time, I have used a variety of tools and services for various blogging related activities. Through this experience, I have narrowed down on the best possible providers for these services.
Now, whenever I am in need of one of these tools or services, I pick the companies listed below without any hesitation!
I hope you can benefit from my experience, and avoid the mistakes I made by availing the services of the best providers in their class.
A Note To My Readers
Although the links provided below are affiliate links and earn me some fee when you purchase a product or service using them, please rest assured that I have actually used and continue using all the services listed below. I truly believe that:
- They are the best in their respective area, and
- They provide the best value for your hard earned money
I have benefited a lot from these, and I sincerely believe you can too.
Keyword Research / Keyword Analysis
Keyword research is absolutely essential for:
- Selecting your blogging niche
- Selecting the domain name
- Selecting the title and description of your home page
- Selecting the topic, title and description of each of your blog posts
There is only one tool that I trust for all these: Market Samurai.
You can download the full-featured trial version and use it completely free for 12 days by clicking here. If you want to know more, you can read my detailed review at “Market Samurai – All in one solution for keyword research“.
Domain Name Registration
This is actually quite a trivial service, and has been completely commoditised these days. However, I highly recommend GoDaddy.com for your domain registration needs – they are affordable (and most of the times also the cheapest), and have excellent support staff that is helpful and courteous.
Web Hosting / WordPress Hosting
Hosting is a very critical part of your blog, and needs to be chosen very wisely if you take your blog seriously. Stay away from cheap web hosts that can (and would!) prove quite costly sooner than later.
Cheap website hosts are mostly resellers of bigger hosting providers, and don’t have adequate staff and systems in place. They can’t fix your problems in time, and can’t scale when your blog becomes popular.
Do yourself a favor and stay with a web host that is affordable yet dependable: HostGator.com. If you want to know more, you can read my detailed review at “Hostgator Review – Best Web Hosting Provider for Your WordPress Blog“.
WordPress Theme / Theme Framework
Your theme is more than mere looks – it is the skeleton based on which your blog develops. It has to be strong and powerful.
Don’t go by mere visual appeal, go for a theme that:
- Provides you configuration options (including SEO options)
- Is SEO friendly
- Is well coded so that it doesn’t load the server
- Is customizable to suit your needs
If you want to know more, you can read my detailed review at “Genesis Theme Review – WordPress Theme Framework by StudioPress“.
Email Newsletter / Email Marketing / List Building
The cliche “The money is in the list” is still popular and frequently used for just one reason – it is true! An email newsletter is the best way to make loyal followers out of your readers. It also provides you an opportunity to pass on periodic marketing messages to them. Even if you are not interested in earning from your blog, your email newsletter would keep bringing your readers back to your blog and engage them.
The number one requirement for the service provider of your email newsletter is reliability – your emails need to go to your readers’ email Inbox, not in their Spam folder!
And when it comes to reliability, no service provider can beat Aweber. Aweber provides industry leading reliability, and tons of other features that make creating email newsletters (and marketing emails) a cake walk!
Do you want to know how Aweber works and how it can help you? Take a FREE test drive!
Can You Have More Sales, Too?
Helping over 102,000+ businesses like yours raise profits and build customer relationships using AWeber's opt-in email marketing software for over 10 years.
If you want to know more, you can read my detailed review at “Aweber Review – Autoresponder and Email Newsletter Service“.
Email Capture Opt-In Forms / Growing Email List
How do you get more subscribers to your email newsletter and autoresponder? How do you increase the opt-in rate many-fold for your email list? By having professional-looking lightbox opt-in forms that can present your offer beautifully.
Doing this from scratch can be time consuming, and there is no guarantee of success. Why not benefit from proven formats that make people subscribe instantly? How does an increase of over 400% in opt-in rates sound to you?
Check out Popup Domination – it provides all these, plus a ton of other features like A/B split testing, running multiple campaigns, detailed analytics, and more!
Affiliate Networks / Affiliate Programs
If you plan to earn from your blog, you can not just rely on advertising. At some point in time, you have to move on to affiliate marketing, where you sell products / services offered by someone else and earn a commission for it.
Affiliate networks are marketplaces that bring together the service providers and bloggers. You must join the affiliate network that has a wide variety of products or services that you can recommend to your readers. Following are some affiliate programs I use:
Share A Sale
Share-A-Sale has over 2,500 merchants, providing you with enough variety of things to promote! They also offer real-time statistics.
Books and Resources I Recommend
I am a big follower of Darren Rowse from ProBlogger.net – he is one of the most successful, ethical and respected bloggers of all times. I have been following his blog since 2007, and although I have progressed a lot in my blogging journey, I get to learn something from every single post on his blog!
Darren also has many products that can help you with blogging – whether you are just starting your blog, are at an intermediate level, or are an advanced blogger. Here are some that I highly recommend.
ProBlogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging
Bloggers starting out quickly discover that there’s a lot more to this medium than just setting up a blog and quickly slapping up a post or two. Your first post is just the beginning and you’re then faced with the tasks of finding readers, coming up with more post ideas and thinking about the long term strategy of your blog.
This eBook is jam packed with practical activities and exercises to do in your first week to make sure your blog is heading in the right direction.
Broken down into 7 days there are actually a total of 32 achievable tasks that will not only get your blog going but that will help you develop the skills you need to achieve your potential as a blogger.
31 Days to Build a Better Blog
If you have big dreams for your blog but have been putting improving it in the ‘one day’ basket – you’re not alone.
31 Days to Build a Better Blog is a downloadable e-book designed to help you revitalize your blog by giving you 31 tasks that will all help to turn it into the page view powerhouse you’ve always dreamed of.
Each day in the project contains:
- A Task – something to DO that day.
- Teaching – each day you’ll be given great instruction on both the WHY and HOW of the task of the day.
31 Days to Build a Better Blog has been downloaded by many thousands of bloggers and has been recently updated into a 2nd edition for 2012.
This eBook is designed to help you take the content featured on your blog up a notch.
This scorecard resource is designed to help you analyze the most important elements of your content to make sure they’re engaging, readable, professional and optimized for search engines.
It’s the ideal resource for all bloggers who are just starting out and want to learn the basics of SEO or those who’ve been at it a while but want to grow their search engine traffic.
The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing
This kit is all about helping you to turn your blog into a business.
Backed by an extensive library of practical templates, printable worksheets, and in-practice example documents, this kit delivers all you need to make your blog turn a profit now, and over the long term.
My blogs are hosted reliably at HostGator
I run 20+ blogs, and each of these is hosted at HostGator. I have been using their service for a long time, and have never experienced any downtime. They also have a very responsive customer service team.
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