I often create details reviews and guides for the various tools that I use, and mention them here and there within relevant articles. But for those who want to put together a complete blogging toolbox right away, here are my recommended tools.
Build A Blog
Your blog should be built using WordPress and hosted with Bluehost. You can start your blog, get a domain name, and host the site for as little as $2.95/month.
While there are plenty of free theme options available for your blog design, investing in a premium theme from StudioPress is a smart decision. The professional design and countless enhancements will save you hours of headaches.
For a more complete guide to starting a new blog, click here.
Write Blog Posts
I prefer to track all of my blogging ideas and do all of my writing within Evernote. It’s easy then for me to add new ideas whenever and wherever they occur to me.
Social Media Marketing
Agorapulse is my go-to tool for social media management. I am able to post and schedule posts to my accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, as well as queue posts for resharing. But what Agorapulse does best is allow me to streamline how I see and respond to my ‘social media inbox’ – mentions and direct messages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Wishpond is also a complete lead generation tool, allowing me to create pop-up campaigns, landing pages, contests and email sequences. I’ve completely customized and styled the emails that I send so that they clearly reflect my blog and brand, and I use those emails to share new content and new ideas.
Search Engine Optimization
SEMrush is my one and only SEO tool today. It allows me to conduct audits as needed on specific domains, bringing back details reports on errors, issues and warnings which might adversely impact search ranking. I can also track my site’s ranking for specific keywords. SEOquake is available for mobile and browser extensions.
Blog Post Graphics
Canva is the tool I’ve adopted for all of my blog and social media graphics. I’ve developed a style and format for my regular blog images that I’m able to quickly replicate over and over.
The stock images within Canva are $1 to use, but when I want something a little different, Pixabay is an outstanding resource. The images tend to feel less like stock photos, and they’re free to use.