How to set up a blog - what tools will you need to make it a success?
If you are serious about making money blogging, there are a number of tools that are indispensable, a few tools that are nice to have in the box and about 27 million tools that are completely un-necessary. This is a list of the tools that I consider vital to anyone's success. I am not going to go into great detail with each one,but using this tool box is an effective way of time management when blogging for a living.
I am going to assume a certain level of knowledge on your part. This is not a beginners list. If you have never set up and made a blog or website - these will most likely mean nothing to you. But if you are an intermediate blogger - this is a good list. If you are an expert - you will already have your own list, and there may be something you can add to that list from this one.
I certainly recommend checking these out and then making your own decision as to what tools are appropriate for your own personal toolbox. Some of them are free; some of them are inexpensive; and some of them cost a lot of money. Where you are in your blogging career and what your long term goals are will determine which ones you need or desire. And of course - your reasons for blogging in the first place. There are many reasons to start blogging and not all of them are to do with making money, although that seems to be everyone's obsession. It may well be that a blog is a convenient way to share photos with friends half way 'round the world, or an outlet for your unusual poetry or a way of venting anonymously.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to blog, it is certainly possible to get started blogging with very little money outlay, but at some point, if you are interested in doing it for money, you are going to need to outsource certain tasks and at another point you are going to need to look at your time management and determine which tasks they should be unless you are blogging for some private reason. There is nothing on this list that I do not pay for and use myself. Nothing. I have tried dozens of tools and systems - I am not bothering to list the ones I have tried and found useless - that would be too big a list.
- Semiologic - WordPress on steroids. I wouldn't think about setting up a wordpress blog or CMS without using this software. I cannot recommend it enough. This site is built using it and the control over ad placements and CSS is amazing. Worth the $300 cost any day.
Finding a profitable niche/Keyword Research
- Market Samurai - perhaps the most versatile and useful piece of affordable keyword research software on the planet. I have had more sophisticated software - but for the price - this one takes the biscuit - free trial period that will convince you to buy it. Well worth the $97.
- The Keyword Academy - $1 for the first month and then $33 a month for invaluable advice, networking and link building. Worth every penny and if you don't think so after a month - you are one dollar poorer. I can't remember the last lesson I learned for a dollar.
- Niche Horde - $97 a year for an automatic niche/keyword finder that will knock your socks off.
- Webcomp Analyst - $67 for an incredibly useful piece of software that suggests keywords but more importantly analyzes the competition for that key word or phrase. This software takes a few minutes to do what will take hours to do manually and allow you to far more easily dismiss keywords are going to be overly hard to rank for. Absolutely worth the money.
- Google Adwords keyword tool - I am sure this needs no introduction to any but the beginner, still - just in case, here is the starting point for any search engine traffic assault. Find the level of search volumes, competition and cost per click on adsense for any keyword or phrase.
- MSN adCenter Labs - the MSN version of google's keyword tool, but with added functionality. And who wants to rely solely on google?
There are some benefits to using the free blogs and websites available, but - on the whole - it is far safer to own your own domain and host your own websites on your own paid web hosting provider. There are millions of these companies offering webhostimg. I have not tried them all, but this is a list I can promise do a good job and will not actively rip you off:
You are probably going to want to use several different hosts to take advantage of interlinking sites using different IP addresses.
Affiliate and advertising programs
There are lots of ways to make money with a blog - but unless you are selling something - either advertising space or an affiliate product - you are going to struggle. This is a list of advertising and affiliates I have used. (At least the ones I am prepared to admit to.)
- Google adsense. Contextual ads based on the content of your pages using a pay per click/impression model.
- Clickbank. Affiliate sales model paying a commision based on the value of the sale. Wide range of products and a good reputation.
- DoubleClick. This is google’s affiliate program.
- Commission junction. Affiliate commissions.
- Amazon. Affiliate commisions.
- Pay Dot Com - Affiliate commissions. Excellent range of products - A few wonderful products and a lot of crap unfortunately. But - the good ones are worth finding amongst the dross and it works well with a paypal account.
Building incoming links
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