Quality, Affordable Tools and Resources for Building and Growing Your Blog

As part of the 30-Day Blogging challenge, for Day 14, I’m sharing with  you quality, affordable tools and resources for starting, building, and growing your blog.

For those of you thinking about getting started or are in the planning stages, the first thing you need to do is choose your domain name. Choosing a domain name is a big step. After all, this will be with you, and synonymous with you, for years to come. It is the front-line tie to your audience and needs to convey some sense of what you have to offer them. So, take your time, try out different names, get comfortable with it.

Hosting Provider

Next, you’ll want to purchase and register your new domain name and secure your hosting plan. I recommend Hostgator for this. It is the platform I chose when I first started back in 2009 and is the provider I still trust and use to this day. It is affordable and easier to use if you are a beginner, with plenty of features for advanced users as well. Most importantly, it is reliable. You do not want to get stuck with a bad hosting company.

Hostgator

 

Blogging Platform

Once you have your online hosting provider set up, you’ll need to decide on your blogging platform.  For this, WordPress is the #1 platform used hands down.  And, it’s free.  Highly customize-able and versatile, through the use of themes, theme features, and plug-ins, you can design and organize your site to be whatever you want it to be.

And, there’s no need to worry about figuring out how to download WordPress and install it properly on your site. Hostgator offers a one-click install of WordPress.

 

Autoresponder

One of the first things you are going to want to do once your domain is online is add an opt-in form to collect e-mail subscribers.  For this you’ll need an autoresponder.  After much research, and some trial and error, I chose Aweber in 2009, and it remains the best choice for me still today.

Just a few of the highlights of AWeber include:

  • Automated email campaigns and autoresponders
  • Email templates, stock-free image gallery
  • Mobile apps
  • Advanced analytics and segmentation capabilities
  • Industry-leading deliverability
  • Award-winning Customer Solutions team

 

Pictures and Images

Pictures and images are an important part of the visual aspect of your blog.  You’ll want to include at least one with each post.  To read my post about 8 sites that offer stock photos at no charge click here.

Another great tool for adding such things as infographics and other custom  images is Canva.  Canva has an easy to use drag and drop feature allowing you to customize any image to suit your needs.

 

Writing

My secret creativity weapon, the Flip Dictionary.

The Flip Dictionary is the coolest thesaurus “style” book I’ve ever used (or seen, for that matter)!  I can literally spend hours (and have) flipping from one word to another, as each one I look up sparks a new curiosity or creative inspiration.

So, what makes the Flip Dictionary different?

Better than just synonyms, the Flip Dictionary offers “clues” designed specifically for writers to:

  • help us figure out that phrase we’re looking for, but just can’t think of or
  • when we know what we want to say, but aren’t sure just how to say it.

But, honestly, anyone can benefit from owning a copy.  I use it in my business all the time.  I’ve even used it to help me decide on what domain names to choose (not Writers Bra though; that was purely my brainchild)!

 

Growing Your Blog Traffic

Over 100 pages of proven step-by-step methods to grow your blog to your first 1,000 subscribers.

 

The How-to of Starting and Growing Your Blog

My eBook, The How-To of Starting and Growing Your Blog walks you step-by-step through everything from starting your own blog to growing your readership.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build your blog
  • The best  plug-ins for getting started
  • The proper way to set up your post name to maximize SEO
  • How to turn your blog into a community
  • The understanding of your blog as a relationship
  • How to get your blog on Google
  • 48 Blog Post Ideas, whatever your niche or topic
  • 15 ways to take your blog viral
  • Types of blog formats that do well
  • How to craft good headlines
  • How to find readers and bring traffic to your blog
  • Search Engine Optimization techniques
  • 35 marketing techniques you can  put in place today
  • and more!

I hope you find these resources helpful!

Do you have tools and resources you’ve used that have proven successful?  Share with us in the comments below!

 

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