My Personal Blogging Toolbox
If you are serious about making your blog successful, you need the right tools to help you.
Over the years I’ve tried a huge number of tools and found that certain tools can make a sizable difference to your success.
Below is a list of some of the most essential tools in my toolbox and I have no doubt that they’ll be useful for you too.
A web host that can cope with traffic spikes
Most web hosts end up costing you money.
Sure, you could pay a few dollars each month to a host but the minute you get simultaneous visitors – your side load times go through the roof.
I use Traffic Planet Hosting because they know their stuff, offer incredibly responsive support and they have servers that can cope with traffic.
This results in a great experience for your visitors and will likely improve conversions (you’ll get more subscribers and sell more stuff).
Create a blog your readers will love with WordPress
If you’re serious about blogging, you need to move away from free blogging platforms, despite how helpful they are.
WordPress.org is my blogging platform of choice.
This is the self-hosted version of WordPress.com where you can install plugins and themes which allow you to do more.
The great thing is that almost every web host has a one click installer so you can get setup in minutes.
Speed up your site even more with MaxCDN
Even with a fast web host, load times can be dependent on how far someone is away from the server.
As soon as I setup MaxCDN, I cut 3 seconds off my load time.
Note: click on the button below to save 25%.
Do more with SumoMe whether you use WordPress or not
SumoMe is a great set of apps from the AppSumo team.
It comes with everything from tools to grow your email list and analyse your traffic to boosting your social shares.
There’s a WordPress plugin available but you can use SumoMe with any HTML based website.
Monitor your traffic and conversions with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to keep tabs on your traffic.
It’s important to have a reliable system for monitoring traffic because it can help you to identify opportunities to grow your traffic further.
You can also add different URL’s as goals in order to track conversions.
Learn more about your competitors with SEMrush
SEMrush is a competitor research tool that helps you to learn exactly which keywords your competitors rank for.
You’ll also get traffic estimations so you can immediately get detailed information on where to focus your content creation efforts.
There are also plenty of other tools such as rank tracking, site auditing, keyword difficulty and various other research tools. Find out more in our review.
Create eye-catching images fast with Canva
I’m often asked which tool I use to create the featured images for my blog posts and the answer is Canva.
It’s a free image creation tool that comes fully loaded with graphics, layouts and templates to help you create great images in a short space of time.
You can buy stock photo’s directly through the platform for $1 each but I usually get additional graphics from other sources such as Creative Market as I can use them in other image tools if necessary.
Manage your editorial schedule and social messages with CoSchedule
I manage a number of blogs and it can be fairly time intensive.
To make things easier I use CoSchedule’s editorial calendar for WordPress.
It uses a calendar style layout and has task management features built in so it’s easy for my team to stay organized. It also allows me to schedule social messages for each of my posts automatically and there are no limits on the number of social profiles I can use.
Create and host high converting landing pages using LeadPages
LeadPages is a lead generation platform that makes it easy for you to create landing pages and it hosts them for you too.
It works great with WordPress but you can use it a long with any other content management system that uses HTML.
The key thing here is that you get access to a lot of great landing pages and they are organized by conversion rates.
It’s easy to tweak these landing pages but you won’t be able to use advanced customization – this is a limitation but it’s necessary to keep the platform super easy to use.
You can also use their LeadBoxes functionality to setup content upgrades.
Create custom page layouts and highly customized landing pages with Thrive Content Builder
On the occasions when LeadPages doesn’t have the customization functionality I need, I use a WordPress plugin called Thrive Content Builder.
It makes it easy to create completely custom landing pages that are 100% focused on my needs. I can either start off with one of the templates that are included and customize it or start with a blank canvas.
You can also use it to create completely custom page layouts.
Find out more in our Thrive Content Builder review.
Rapidly grow your email list with Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is an extremely powerful list building plugin for WordPress.
It covers all of the main opt-in form types, has plenty of eye-catching templates and it uses the same editor as Thrive Content Builder, so it’s very easy to customize your opt-in forms.
I particularly like the advanced page targeting and split testing functionality – this is the full package for anyone who is serious about building an email list. Read more in our review.
Encourage social sharing with Social Warfare
Social Warfare is a social media plugin for WordPress.
It has all the features you need to get more shares and to increase your traffic at the same time.
You can do cool things like:
- Upload Pinterest-friendly images without changing your featured images
- Add custom tweets and other social data to your posts
- Add “Click to tweet” widgets within your content
- Add stylish social sharing buttons that are mobile responsive
You can find more sharing plugins in this post.
Keep your site secure with Sucuri
Sucuri are leaders in WordPress security.
Their monitoring and clean-up service means that you will get a notification if there are any issues. If any issues are found, you can then have a Sucuri team member clean up your site so you can get complete piece of mind.
I recently started using their daily backup service, it costs $5/month per site so costs add up quick in comparison to WordPress plugins, but their support is excellent, so if I do have an issue, they’ll help me configure my backup to ensure I’m up and running fast.
Monitor incoming backlinks with Monitor Backlinks
The unfortunate truth is that if you want to keep getting search engine traffic from the likes of Google and Bing, you need to monitor which sites are linking to you.
Bad backlinks can cause huge problems so I use this tool to let me know whenever someone links to me. I can then choose to disavow it using Google’s Disavow Tool to make sure it doesn’t cause an issue.
Note: use the following coupon code to get 3 months for the price of one – OFF50NHT8KFTH
Track your search engine rankings with SE Ranking
If you are serious about getting search engine traffic, you need to track your priority keywords.
This is essential to not only identify potential issues with your site but also to help identify potential opportunities.
I use SE Ranking to monitor my priority keywords. It’s easy to use and the ranking data is accurate.
It’s straight forward to generate reports and they also provide a site auditor tool.
Important note – save 10% on your plan, just enter the code smm10 (cloud plans only).
Manage blogger outreach easier with Ninja Outreach
Blogger outreach can be used for so many things. It may be guest posting or something else but it can be time consuming when left to managing using clunky spreadsheets.
Ninja Outreach is a tool that offers to make this far easier.
It’s worth noting that this tool is in its infancy but it’s being actively developed and as it stands now has a solid offering of helpful features for every step of the outreach process – from research to managing relationships.
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Disclaimer: this page contains affiliate links. This means I make a small commission if you make a purchase through my link. You won’t pay anything extra and you’ll be helping me to support the running of this site. I’d still recommend these tools if I wasn’t an affiliate but it’s important to ensure that any tool is a good fit for you before hitting the purchase button.