Running an online business is a challenging task; more challenging than a 9-5 day job! I’m not scaring you, but you should be prepared to face REAL life.
Internet marketing has taught me so much since 2007, and all I can say is “time is gold”. I wasted a lot of it in my early days because there was no one who could give me “complete guides”, “step-by-step instructions”, “list of useful resources”, etc., a few years ago.
I went about trying every internet marketing tool out there. Bunch of them turned out to be crap. I lost precious money and even more precious TIME.
So what’s the impact? My success was delayed. You heard it right. If I had the blue print to success strategies and the right resources at hand I would have succeeded a lot earlier! I wouldn’t have wasted time and money!
But well I won’t complain about what happened coz it has happened for good. I can now help aspiring and new bloggers by giving them the right guidance to succeed with blogging; this is something I love to do.
So let’s dive in.
Starting your blog
Starting a blog is the most important part of all. Instead of reading and watching other people doing it, you need to do it yourself in order to get things going. So here are the tools that you’ll need to put your blog to life.
Domain name - You’ll need a domain name (the url of your blog – for instance probloggingsuccess.com is this blog’s domain name) if you want to start a blog. I use Godaddy for all my domains. They always have cool discounts.
Software – There is no match to the available options and comfy with WordPress. And above all, its freely available for download at WordPress.org. You can make your blog the way you want it to be, with WordPress.
Hosting – All my websites are hosted on Hostgator. The thing I love about Hostgator is that their support is awesome. I’ve rarely experienced down times. And their packages are very economical.Feel free to use “probloggingsuccess ” (without quotes) to get 25% off your initial hosting package.If you want to cut off the hype and get a plain, clean account that doesn’t promise unlimited stuff, you can check out my own hosting plans here > Best Hosting And Design.
Theme – Problogging Success runs on Genesis; it’s actually a framework which means you can make your blog to look the way you want. I have their Pro Plus Package (which I highly recommend – it has a great value for money) since I have a bunch of websites. The Studiopress team keeps adding new themes quite often :)Previously this site was on Thesis, but after Thesis 2.x my relationship with Thesis ended. But still Thesis is a great clean framework.
If you want to get a ready-made skin for your thesis blog you can go for Thesisawesome’s Skins for Thesis. Hesham’s Thesis Product Skin is great if you want to have a sales/landing page for your products/services. Look at the couple of my product landing pages made with the Thesis Product Skin – Problogging Action Plan and Guest Blogging Champion.
Plugins – One of the greatest blessings of using WordPress is the availability of plugins that make our lives much simpler. Here is a list of essential WordPress plugins (with links to download them). Make sure you download only those plugins you need.
Blogging Resources / Training
Problogging Action Plan – Your blue print to successful blogging. The book teaches you to identify your blogging goal and then helps you devise an action plan to succeed with blogging.
Secrets for Blogging your way to Six Figure Income – Darren’s problogging book. Teaches you how to make a six figure income through blogging.
Guest Blogging Champion – The report takes you by hand, helps you come over with the fear of guest blogging and gives you the right strategies and methods to help you make the most of your guest blogging campaigns.
Successful Blogging In 12 Simple Steps – Annabel’s blogging tips ebook that break downs the blogging success into 12 bite-sized steps.
How to write an ebook that doesn’t suck – The name says it all. A very good inspiration/guide to write your ebooks. Michele teaches you how to get ideas to write an ebook and how to sell it from your blog. He has also included a tutorial on how to create covers for your ebook at no extra skills!
Income Blogging Guide – A must-have training resource for newbies, aspiring and even established bloggers. Teaches you to blog for income, step by step.
Can I Really Make Money Blogging?- You deserve the life you wish for because you are willing to put forth the hard work – you just don’t know how. Once someone tells you, you are ready to jump in, right?
Start A Blog That Matters - Thinking about starting a blog or reinvigorating an old one? A proven step-by-step guide to starting and building a blog that actually matters.
List building / Email marketing
Aweber, hands down, is one of the best email marketing solutions. Read my full review here; you will see my comparison of Aweber’s features with those of Mailchimp.
GetResponse – However, I use GetResponse as well and have found it quite equivalent to Aweber with its features and other stuff. Highly recommend this!
WP Subscribers plugin – A handy and clever WordPress plugin that helps you to boost your list growth.
MaxblogPress Subscribers Magnet – A cool list building plugin that makes list building quite effortless with amazing features. You will have to check out the features yourself.
Optin Skin – A nifty plugin which helps you to put optin forms anywhere on your site. And the skins offered by the plugin are so irresistible that guarantee a very good conversion rate.
Immediate List Building Pro – Hands down, THE best plugin so far for building your email list. This plugin bundles almost all of the cool features offered by other list building plugins into one for a very decent price.
Blog promotion / Backlinks
No matter how extraordinary your blog’s content is, you still need to promote it if you want real eyeballs to see it!
Blog post promotion – Kristi’s ebook is packed with loads of practical, and useful tips to promote your blog posts. Given that she wins all the blogging contests she enters, you don’t need any more proof.
Commentluv Premium – I can write all this page about the usefulness of this plugin.
If you’re not using this plugin, you are missing out.
SEO/Keyword research tools
Can’t survive on the blogosphere without SEO tools. Let me share the SEO tools I use for my survival.
Market Samurai – Hands down, the number one Keyword research, SEO spying tool and much more. You can try it for free here.Tip to get a discount: Sign up for a free trial and wait for a few days (I think max 5 days). Market Samurai people will email you a 35% discount code. So even if you want to purchase the tool, make sure you sign up for the free trial version first and wait for a few days; you can save some bucks this way!
Long Tail Pro – For fast and effective Keyword Research. Beats Market Samurai with its speed. This tool can go the extra mile with being able analyze upto 5 seed keywords simultaneously, check for domain names (EMD), pre-filter the results before you can analyze, provide you with Keyword Competitiveness and Advertiser Competition and much more.
Jaaxy – For those who are concerned about the pricey monthly bills, Jaaxy comes as a nice alternative when it comes to SEO. I wouldn’t compare it directly to SemRush or Long Tail Pro. But this one has its own set of cool features for a great price!
Easy WP SEO – Excellent on-page SEO plugin which helps to optimize a post or a page for one or more keywords.
Keyword Winner – A handy way to do keyword research and hence optimize your blog post headings. I was able to boost rankings of my blog posts for certain medium and/or low competitive keywords within minutes; on page 1 that is!
Google Adwords Keyword Tool: Not to mention, this is a hit (given that it is free) from the big G.
Social Media Tools
Tweet adder - The best tool to increase Twitter followers automatically, yet with a natural touch!
Commentluv Premium plugin – See? I had to mention it again. With loads of social enticement features, this plugin is a must to promote your blog on other blogs.Top Commentluvvers (comes free with Commentluv Premium) – To encourage top commentators (those with Commentluv account). This plugin is a nice way to attract more commenters to your blog.
Google Analytics – The best free (and from the big G) tool to track your site’s traffic, referrers (where people come from), search terms and much more.
Clicky – Better than the best, Google Analytics, this tool Clicky does a great job by reporting real time stats for your site. It is free for one site (and some options disabled). But if you can pay a little bit, you can track multi-sites with loads of tracking options. Really cool.
SeMRush – It is not just a stat tool, but allows you to spy on your competitors and also check your own rankings.
Readers from RSS 2 Blog – A wonderful plugin that puts your RSS feeds on steroids for traffic, conversion and sales.
Fotolia – One of the most popular stock photo sites, and the one that works for me great. I use their subscription plans on and off. You can find a great collection of excellent quality pictures.
Deposit Photos - I don’t understand why Deposit Photos is not as popular as Fotolia or iStockphotos. But they have a great collection of wonderful pictures. Plus their subscription plans are very affordable! I use their low-volume subscription plan where I can download 5 images a day for $69/mo. Given that I have a lot of blogs this plan sutits me very best!