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Are you just starting a blog?
Have you already started, but want to get serious and blog full-time?
Then this post is for you.
I am sharing all of the tools, schedulers, hosting services, and Facebook groups to help you grow your blog and your business so you can do this full-time.
Every resource, I mention is trust worthy. Majority of the items listed haven been proven and tested by me. However, there are some that my blogger friends have recommended and grown to love. I mention these resources in case you would like other products or services to consider.
Web-Hosting for WordPress Blogs
I have a blog on the Blogger platform and 2 blogs on WordPress.
When I mention WordPress I am referring to having a self-hosted website. When people begin blogging and start searching for hosting services it is difficult to know which is the best.
I’ve been fortunate to have found services that I like and trust. However, there is one that stands out to me in terms of performance and reliability. That one is SiteGround.
I also like Hostgator. I have never had any issues with this company but I realize some bloggers have experienced negative issues.
There are definitely options when it comes to web-hosting services. Check out this short list and compare companies to get the right service for your blog.
Plugins for WordPress
One of the reasons I love WordPress is because I can easily customize my blog with a click of a button.
At first glance, the WordPress system seems rather complicated. However, if you dig into learning how to customize a WordPress blog then you can have an aesthetically pleasing blog.
The following is a list of plugins you should use to help your blog run smoothly. I have used many of these plugins.
Listed are plugins to help grow your email list, plugins to help with SEO, plugins to help customize your pages and more.
I didn't add links to this section because these plugins are associated with self-hosted WordPress sites. They can easily be found using the plugin search.
Yoast –a plugin to help with SEO.
MailMunch – a plugin to help build an email list. Integrate with email services
Site Origin – a plugin to help build custom pages
401 to 301 – a plugin to that will re-direct pages, or blog posts to your homepage if you happen to delete a page. This will help you retain traffic to your blog.
Askimet Anti-Spam –this plugin will automatically filter spam comments
WordFence – this plugin will help with security. The free version is great to stop brute force attacks and hacks. They will also block I.P. addresses that try to enter your blog. The paid version has even more features to stop those pesky hackers.
Pinterest Pin it Button –having a Pinterest Pin-It button will allow people to Pin images from your blog.
WP Smush –this plugin comes in handy when you use a lot of pictures on your blog. Sometimes pictures can take a lot of time to load. Your picture loading time can be reduced if you use WP Smush.
W3 Total Cache – increase the speed of your blog.
PrettyLinks -- use this plugin to shrink the size of your affiliate links. It can also be used to share easy to remember links that are associated with your blog such as a landing page.
The Best Free Offers to Help Grow your Blog
This is a list that includes resources to help you become successful with affiliate marketing, promoting on social media, traffic, monetization, and starting a blog.
There are so many free offers out in the blogosphere. These freebies can answer the most important questions you have about becoming a full-time blogger.
5 Day Become a Blogger Challenge from the Desk of Katina Davenport
Jen Synder of Winning Women Online has a free offer to help you grow your traffic through social media. She promises to help guide you into using social media without being stuck all day. A great time saver.
Suzi from Start a Mom Blog has a free offer of ideas to make money with a blog.
Justine Grey of Affiliate Ace has an awesome affiliate marketing resource library to download when you join her community.
Jeff Bullas of jeffbullas.com has an eBook of 101+ ways to get traffic to a blog. This is something you need if you are looking for more ways to get traffic.
List of Popular Blogging Niches
What should I blog about? I hear this question a lot. It usually comes from those who think it is a good idea to start a blog but don't believe they have enough expertise in a particular area.
If you're stuck, take a look at this list of popular blogging niches. This list is based on my observation from the bloggers I interact with daily.
They are not listed in any particular order.
- Mommy Blogs
- Health and Fitness
- Online Marketing (Blogging, making money online, etc.
- Product Reviews
Which one of these is your niche?
It is imperative to find a suitable niche for you. This blog post about owning your niche is something you should read to get you on the right track of finding your blog topic.
Social Media Tools
Social media schedulers and tools will be a time saver in your blogging business. You can't have a blog without promoting it on social media. This is the place where you will find your first set of readers as a beginner blogger.
So take a look at the different tools and decide which one will be beneficial
HootSuite- schedule posts for Twitter and Facebook. You can use the free or paid version of this tool.
PostPlanner- schedule posts for Twitter and Facebook. It comes fully loaded with articles, memes, and status updates to curate on Facebook or Twitter. No need to search for other content to share. Plans start at $9 per month.
Quuu.co- sign up to have quality blog posts posted to your social media accounts without you having to do it. It's like having a VA. There is a free version, however the paid version comes with a lot of features.
TailWind- schedule pins for Pinterest and schedule Instagram posts. I pay $15 per month to use this service.
Board Booster-schedule pins for Pinterest. Plans start at $5 per month.
IFTTT- create intelligent, robotic like posts on all of your social media accounts when you publish a blog post. This is a free tool.
Social JukeBox- automatic response tool for Twitter. Anytime someone mentions your name on Twitter they will receive a message for your. You can use the free version but it is very limited.
Stock Photography and Free Photos for Your Blog
Photos and visual content will make your blog standout. I will admit that I am not a graphic designer. However, these free and paid stock photography resources have helped me create a beautiful blog that I love.
Just make sure you are using images legally.
The Best Affordable Blogging Courses and Books to Grow Your Blogging Business
Best Facebook Groups for Bloggers
One of the things I regret when I first started my blog is not networking with other bloggers in my niche. When you launch your blog it is important to let others know about your work. You are guaranteed to get plenty of support from other bloggers because they understand what it means to have a great blog post with no one reading it.
Use these groups as a way to gain your first source of traffic and followers. There is always someone in the blogging groups looking for the type of information that you are providing.
Here is a list of Facebook groups to join for support and/0r promotion.
- Blogs that Sell
- Blog Support Group
- The Blogging Squad
- Women Winning Online
- Grow Your Blog
- Blogging Newbs
- Blogging Boost
- Problogger Community
- Share Your Blog Tips + Tricks
- Pinning Ain’t Easy
- Blog + Biz Babes
- Boost Your Blog
- Blog Engagement/Promotion Mastermind
- The Blogger’s Cure
- The Blog Loft
Places to Promote Your Blog Posts
As a blogger you will be very busy getting traffic to your blog. The task can be a daunting, but it is best to pick a strategy that works for you. If you are ready to find places where you can share your blog posts, then take a look at this list. This will give you an idea of where you can promote.
- Facebook page
- Google+ (blogging communities)
- Blog commenting
- Link Parties
Resources to Help You Make Money on Your Blog
If you want to the most money blogging you should create a product or a service. However, most new bloggers will not have a product to sell and will not know how to create one. The best option is to start with affiliate marketing. There is less overhead and you can make money before you write your first eBook or create your first online course.
Here are a list of the top affiliate networks to join to start making money on your blog.
Tools to Help Create Engaging Blog Titles
Often times people will click on a link if the title is interesting. I have seen this over and over on Facebook. Have you ever been sucked into looking at an article one of your friends shared only to find out it didn't deliver on the promise. Well, the title of the article was so compelling it made plenty of people click. That means the article is generating a lot of traffic from Facebook users based on the headline.
When you are writing your blog posts it is important to have titles or headlines that will grab people's attention. Great titles always garners traffic from readers. Here are free online tools that will help you create attention grabbing titles for your blog posts.
Tweek Your Biz - use this tool to generate title ideas. Tweek them to fit your niche and style. Simply put in your keyword and the system will automatically insert your keyword into titles for tons of ideas.
Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer- this is my favorite tool for generating titles. This tool will show if your titles are interesting enough to get people to click.
Keyword Research Tools
Using keyword research tools is vital for understanding how people are searching for information, products, or services. Using the right keywords plus time will help build organic traffic to your blog.
The following list are tools you can use to find keywords to get your content seen.
- Yoast suggest
- Bing research tool
- Google keyword planner -must have credit card linked to the account.
- Wordtracker- free but limited.
Grow Email List
To grow your email list you need an email software that can automatically send emails to your subscribers after they click the subscribe button.
The following is a list of email software companies that I know and trust.
I use GetResponse and have used MailChimp in the past. The others are companies that my other blogger friends use to send out emails.
I have left links so you can check out each company on your own.
Landing Pages Services
Landing pages are a great tool for sharing a sign up for your blog without people getting distracted with the other posts or pages on your blog. There is only one thing for them to consider--signing up to be on your email list.
I have used LeadPages and Clickfunnels in the past however they can be very costly. Right now I am using the landing page creation software from GetResponse--my email service provider.
Many of the email services do provide landing pages. However, if you want to use a landing page service these are the ones that I recommend.
There you have it. A list of blogging resources that will help you grow your blog. If you haven't started a blog yet, use this list to get started.