Running an online business cannot be done with the help of a few handy tools.
After all a lot of tech stuff is included in getting your website up and running and getting it in front of the eyes of your ideal readers.
So it is not just your business – but a lot of other stuff that you need to take care of. And here’s where tools come into picture!
Let me share the tools I personally use in my business. And please note that I don’t recommend any tool that I have not put my hands on or a tool that I don’t use personally.
At the same time, you might or might not like my recommendation. The tools that suit my needs may not suit yours. That’s totally OK 🙂
Handsdown the best content management system available for bloggers of all levels (beginners and advanced) is WordPress.
It is not only free, but is so user friendly! Even though you might initially be taken aback, you will soon realise that there is no need to panic!
And you have a lots of helpful videos to help you get started with WordPress.
If in doubt, watch a few videos from this page (link to Chapter 2) and this page (link to Chapter 3).
I highly recommend that you use WordPress as your CMS, if you are serious about your business.
There are lots and lots of hosting providers when it comes to hosting your website. There are a variety of options available. But not all options might suit you.
Which is why I have listed a few options.
If you are a beginner blogger, who is just starting out with a small website and testing the waters, Bluehost is the best sharing environment for you.
It is not only cheap but also quite reliable.
If you have grown beyond the beginner level with a large website that has a decent readership, Siteground will offer you a professional scale up. I am very happy with Siteground so far!
If your business has grown to a point where you need VPS or a dedicated server, Knownhost is for you. You might have multiple websites, and even client websites (if that’s your business) under a VPS or a dedicated server.
Or you might use one entirely for your super famous website.
Hosting by Best Hosting And Design
Of course, I cannot leave without mentioning about our own hosting service. We have plans for starters and also for advanced bloggers who require more resources and bandwidth.
Choosing a theme for your WordPress website is a very crucial aspect and it helps with two things – deciding on the looks of your site, and deciding on the features and functionality of your site. Following are my recommendations.
Hands down, the best framework that is highly optimised for search engines, lite on load and also has a lot of beautiful child themes to choose from.
Thrive themes comes as a complete solution. If you want your websites to look modern, and in line with today’s trends Thrive themes will have you covered.
And there’s much more than mere themes with them, which I like the most (like Thrive Leads, Content Builder and so on).
Best Hosting And Design
Social media tools
What’s blogging without social media? Bloggers must rely on social media to reach out to audience, stay in touch with them (outside their own blog) and to promote own stuff. Here’s what I use.
The best way to stay in touch with people on Twitter and to manage Twitter like a pro. The interface is simple and clean. And it gets the job done neatly.
If you want to manage all your social media accounts in one dashboard and deal with automatic publishing (scheduling) like a pro, Hootsuite is a great option.
We rely on it heavily for promoting our own stuff and also for our DoSplash pro clients.
Social Warfare plugin
Social Warfare plugin is something I will highly recommend for this purpose.
Email marketing tools
Your business is not complete without you building this crucial asset – email list. Following are the couple of neat (and professional) tools to get the job done.
By far the best autoresponder solution I’ve found is Aweber. I also find GetResponse to be as close as possible. Aweber helps you with collecting email addresses, sending autoresponder and broadcast messages, along with stats!
While Aweber helps you with stuff in the backend, in order to capture your leads in the front end, I highly prefer Thrive Leads.
It comes with loads of optin form options (forms of almost every kind you can think about) and the forms are simply beautiful making the conversions skyrocket.
Organisation, time management, productivity tools
As a blogger you will have too much on your plate already. If you fail to plan and keep things organised it will be highly challenging for you to get moving.
Productivity and time management are highly crucial for a blogger. Here are the tools I use heavily on a daily basis to get things done and stay sane.
My go to tool/app for capturing anything and everything. The main advantage of this tool is that it is universal. I can use it on my Mac and also on my phone while Im’ on the go, and have everything in sync and in my fingertips.
I use Evernote everyday, all the time. I use it to capture blog post ideas – whenever I get an idea, no matter where I am, I just collect it as a note.
And whenever I read something interesting and see that I can write a blog post out of something inspirational I clip it to my Evernote account.
I highly recommend Evernote to any blogger.
Skitch helps me with processing screenshots and images – I use it heavily too to annotate screenshots for my content creation. It works so simple and I find it so handy.
My go to tool for doing all the writing – all the writing – associated with my business. Starting from blog posts, to Kindle e-books and newsletters, I do all the writing on Scrivener.
I keep track of my daily word count.
Pocket is my handy tool to save all the “Read later” kind of articles. While I am doing research for a blog post and if I find many other things interesting, I just save them to Pocket – so I don’t get side-tracked at that time, while I also don’t miss that piece of content.
Later in the day when I’m relaxing, I go through everything I’ve saved in Pocket. And if I can use something for a blog post idea, I transfer it to Evernote (with appropriate tag, and in the appropriate notebook).
I use Feedly to keep track of all the content in my niche. I subscribe to blogs in my niche and whenever a new piece of content is published on those blogs I get the notification.
I use the app both on my Mac and on my phone so I can make use of whenever possible to do my reading.
That’s it. I will be updating this page if I find any new useful tool, or if any of the tools mentioned above fail to live up to the expectation. Stay tuned!
Graphics & Images
The internet is getting visual by the minute and you need to have awesome visuals (images, graphics etc.) to grab attention. Here are the tools I recommend
You can either get stock photos free, or for a very small price or have any graphic (blog post images, book covers, social media images, infographics, etc.) designed using Canva. I simply love it.
If you want to have stunning stock photos for your website or products, I highly recommend Depositphotos.