September 25, 2016

How To Start A Successful Blog: What Tools Are Necessary For Your Blog?

You want to create a successful blog that inspires and influences a ton of people, right? You may know what topic you want to blog about. You may even have a content schedule in place and already know what your first 50 blog posts are going to be about. But, do you know exactly what tools are necessary to start a successful blog? If not, keep reading.

Just like everything else, blogging requires tools to help you get your blog up and running smoothly. It requires tools to help you reach an audience, make a good impression, and then keep that audience coming back to your blog so that you can build a relationship with them that helps you not only create a successful blog but earn a huge income as well.

The 10 Big Necessary Tools That Will Push Your Blog Towards Success

Don’t get me wrong, YOU are the key to your blog’s success. Your willingness to learn, adapt, and create a valuable blog that people will flock to are all things that contribute to your blog’s success. Moreover, your ability to keep your blog fresh with new content will help you stay relevant in the search engines, and in your visitor’s eyes.

But without the right blogging tools, it’s going to take a really long time to reach the audience you want to reach and convert them into loyal followers that help your blog find the success you want for it. In fact, without the right blogging tools, you will have to put a lot more effort and time into your blog, which can make blogging more stressful than it needs to be.

What tools do you need and why? Let’s talk about 10 necessary tools.

1. Bluehost

The biggest blogging tool you need is a good hosting company. They are where you will host and create your blog. In short, they will give you your own little piece of real estate on the Internet to build your blog.

A good hosting company should help you get your blog up quickly, have a control panel that helps you access applications that you want quickly, and give you plenty of uptime (meaning your blog stays up and visible to visitors as often as possible).

I suggest finding a hosting company that allows you to create a WordPress blog. I’ve tried the other blogging platforms before, and I can say with complete certainty that WordPress is the only platform that can help you easily build a successful blog. Not only is it user-friendly, but there is a forum dedicated to helping you answer any questions that you may have throughout your blogging career in terms of WordPress. I can’t tell you how many times that forum has helped me create a better-looking blog or fix an issue that was causing my blog to be down or broken in some way.

As far as hosting companies go, Bluehost offers the speed, security, functionality, customer service, and uptime that you need. You can get unlimited domain hosting, email accounts, and file transfer. You can also upgrade later on to a more dedicated type of hosting, which means that as your blog grows, you won’t have to worry about not having enough space to accommodate the additional files you add to it and traffic you receive.

In other words, as your blog grows in success, you can stay with Bluehost for all your blogging needs. This will save you a lot of time and headache in the future.

2. Thrive Themes or StudioPress Themes

Your blog’s theme is what creates the design and layout of your blog. The theme is what determines how your header looks, how your font looks, how your colors look, and how everything else looks!

It also determines the first impression your blog’s visitors get, and as we all know, the first impression is everything. If they see a disorganized and unattractive blog, they can easily get the idea that the blog is unprofessional and unable to help them get the information they need and want.

I spent years using free themes, and I regret every minute of it. Free themes are often ugly and they don’t allow you to create the type of look for your website that you want to create. They have limited options for changing your blog’s font, colors, widgets, headers, and footers, so your blog ends up looking like everyone else’s blog that is using that same free theme.

Blending in is not how to start a successful blog. You want to stand out and create a blog that leaves a unique, positive, and lasting impression on people so that they remember your blog and come back for more. There are two themes that I recommend to help you stand out.

Thrive Themes is perfect for beginners or busy people who want a professional and elegant looking blog, but who don’t want to have to do a lot of work on their blog. It offers you a drag-and-drop method of building a website, and offers a ton of different designs that are ready to use.

Also, Thrive Themes include a ton of built-in components to help you improve your blog on different levels, including speed, social sharing, style, and capturing leads. You don’t need to get a ton of extra plugins because Thrive Themes will take care of a lot for you.

StudioPress offers premium themes that can help you build a professional looking website on WordPress and make sure that it is SEO-friendly. You will find that many popular bloggers are using StudioPress themes because they have a clean and professional look that is easily tailored to fit the blog’s unique look and needs.

The themes on StudioPress don’t include a lot of excess built-in features, which means you will have to add some plugins, but that’s the beauty of it! You can choose your own plugins based on your needs and configure your blog exactly the way you want to.

3. AWeber or Get Response

Next, you need to have blogging tools to help you stay connected to your visitors. If you are not using an email marketing service, you are prolonging the time it takes for you to have success with your blog. It’s a simple as that.

The people who sign up to receive emails from you are your key to success. They help promote your blog and they are the people who return to your blog over and over again, which helps you show search engines like Google that you are a blog worthy of their attention.

As your email subscribers start to trust you, they start to buy stuff that you recommend, which is where the financial success comes in. The more loyal subscribers you can get, the more sales you will make in the long run. In fact, just one good email out to your loyal subscribers could earn you a huge paycheck for the month.

Your subscribers also give you ideas for your blog and help you understand your audience better so that you can appeal to more people and get even more subscribers. In short, without them, success isn’t going to happen.

There are two places I recommend for email marketing. The first is AWeber and the second is Get Response.

AWeber is a user-friendly email marketing service that helps you get up and running quickly. It helps you build opt-in forms, build your list, automate your emails, understand how to use email marketing to your advantage, and send stylish emails to your list that they will enjoy looking at. They offer a free trial so you can check out their service.

Get Response offers a lot of things that AWeber offers, but is a little bit cheaper. It gives you the ability to create automatic emails that go out in a sequential order to your list. This is a great way to funnel people into a sale that you know they will like down the road. It also offers analytics to see how your emails are doing and split-testing to help you see which emails do better with your list.

Get Response offers all the features that you can find at AWeber. Unlike AWeber, though, Get Response doesn’t offer a ton of stylish email templates. Many people think Get Response’s templates are a little outdated, but depending on your niche, that may be alright.

No matter which email marketing platform you use, you will need to dedicate some time to learning how to create opt-in forms for your blog (where people sign up to your email list), and how to create campaigns, split-test, and create autoresponders. But, as I said, email marketing is one of the big tools you need for a successful blog, so the time spent is worth it.

4. Hootsuite

Social media is a must for a successful blog. Creating relationships with people on Twitter and Facebook is the best way to reach the millions of people who are on social media every day. You can have quick conversations, give quick updates, and quickly answer people’s concerns or questions. In short, you can quickly build relationships with other people, which is a great way to have quicker success!

Hootsuite is all I use to manage my main social profiles on Twitter and pages on Facebook. I have a pro plan that fits my needs perfectly, and this is one of those blogging tools that I just couldn’t do without.

I used it for free for a long time as it worked for my blogging needs. Eventually, though, I wanted to upgrade so that I could do some extra things, such as automatically find interesting tweets to tweet out. Basically, the paid version freed up my time a bit.

Hootsuite is cheap, and it allows you to see all of your social media profiles in one place and send out or schedule messages. You can add ‘streams’ to each social profile that help you stay up to date with keywords that are being tweeted out, your email campaigns, people you like, messages you receive, and so much more. I highly recommend getting on Hootsuite right now.

5. Social Warfare Plugin

Adding social share buttons to your blog is a must. It helps your readers easily share content they like and, in some cases, reminds them to share. There are plenty of social sharing plugins to choose from, but if you want to take your social media a step further, then Social Warfare Plugin is a social sharing plugin that you will need. I highly recommend it as one of the tools on how to start a successful blog, because if you can start out your social media shares with a bang, you will be able to create quick and constant success.

Social shares are proof that you are doing something right. They are proof to your visitors and to the search engines. When nobody is sharing your stuff, visitors can question whether or not your information is really beneficial and even be swayed to believe that it isn’t simply from the lack of attention. And the same goes for the search engines.

This plugin allows you to create aesthetically pleasing social media buttons on your blog that match your blog’s theme and overall style. It also allows you to put a widget on your blog that shows the most popular posts based on social shares, which can help you understand which of your blog posts are really hitting the mark in social media and create more posts like it!

The plugin works quickly and efficiently to get you the most shares possible from your blog’s content. And, you can track your shares to help you understand how your shares are impacting the success of your blog, and tweak your plan to help you have more success.

6. SEMrush

Search engine marketing is a must for a successful blog. Getting your blog’s posts indexed in search engines like Google could bring you thousands of people to your blog per month for free. All you have to do is create a post that gets indexed high in the rankings, and you will be amazed at how many people will come to your blog from the search engines.

But, creating a post that gets indexed isn’t that easy. You have to create a post around the right keywords and include information that people want to know more about (that they are actively searching for) in order to get both indexed in the search engines and interest from people searching the search engines. That’s where SEMrush comes in.

SEMrush helps you understand what keywords you need to build your site around and then helps you maintain your rankings in the search engines for those keywords. With this tool, you can learn what keywords your competition is currently getting a lot of traffic for. You will also learn what keywords would be the easiest and most difficult to rank for, which will help you create content that is more likely to be ranked.

That’s just a small portion of what SEMrush will do for your blog’s success. The bottom line is that it will help you create a content schedule that not only looks good – and gives people a lot of information, but also gets seen!

Let me tell you that the last thing you want to do is create a bunch of content that doesn’t get ranked high. Why? Because you will have to work harder to get it seen. You will have to do all the legwork promoting it to your social circles and getting other people to link to it or to refer their followers to it.

When you create content, the ideal goal is to have it speak for itself and get ranked high in the search engines where people easily find it without any prompting from you. There’s nothing worse than creating something you think is great, and putting a ton of effort into it, and then having nobody ever see it. That’s why SEMrush is so important.

7. Long Tail Pro

It can be hard to rank for some keywords because hundreds of other blogs are currently ranking for them. To beat them out, you really have to do a lot of work because their seniority in the search engines makes them very hard to push out. That’s why targeting keywords that are variations of the popular keywords is so important. It’s much easier to rank for those long tail keywords and get noticed.

If you just want to discover long tail keywords that are profitable for your site, then Long Tail Pro is for you. It helps you find thousands of variations of popular keywords in minutes that will help you understand what keywords you should be creating your content around. It does a lot of work for you, and it’s very user-friendly.

This tool will also help you down the road when you have a lot of content on your blog. You will be able to see how your posts are doing and then figure out how you can tweak them to help them get a boost in the search engines and most attention from interested people.

8. Ahrefs

When you first start out a blog, it can be hard to figure out what your audience is looking for – or what they want to read. Ahrefs can help you find the content that is already working well in your niche so that you don’t have to create the questionnaires, do the research, and then hope that you have content that will appeal to the people you are trying to get to your blog.

Ahrefs will also help you understand any issues that are hurting your blog’s ability to get ranked in the search engines. This can be information that makes or breaks your content from getting the attention that it deserves. Remember, thousands of people can come to your post from the search engines, so it’s worth the effort optimize your post in the best way possible to get ranked and noticed.

You can also keep track of your competitors and your backlinks. Backlinks are created when people mention your blog in a post, forum, or other places online. The more reputable backlinks you have, the more credibility you have in the search engines, which helps you get ranked higher. By studying the backlinks of your competitors on Ahrefs, you can build the same type of backlinks they have and then surpass them confidently knowing that you are building more credibility than them.

In short, this tool will help you discover what your competitors are doing and what is working for them. That will help you build a plan to do what they are doing and surpass them so that you can have more success than they are. And, that’s what being successful is all about! Rising to the top is a goal that all bloggers should have.

9. MaxCDN

The time it takes for your blog to load is a key component of how to start a successful blog. If people have to wait too long for your blog’s content, pictures, and widgets to load, then they will lose interest and go somewhere else.

We live in a world where information needs to come fast because our attention span has dwindled down. We don’t have time to wait for content to load, nor do we want to, so blogs that are too slow simply aren’t worth our time.

MaxCDN helps you make sure that your blog is always loading quickly for your visitors. Without getting too technical, MaxCDN takes all the information that is in your content folder, such as images, and serves it from their site instead if your web hosting company, which means your blog will load faster. If you combine this service with a cache plugin, your blog will load even faster.

MaxCDN may seem complicated at first, but they have a complete knowledge base, as well as chat and phone support, to help you make the most of their service without a lot of hassle.

10. Grammarly

Lastly, you need to have content that includes proper spelling and grammar. This attention to language seems to be a lost art with many people, but it shouldn’t be!

By creating professional and easy to read content, you are going to look more professional, which is going to help you earn the trust of your audience. Especially an audience that is looking to buy products and services that can make their life easier. They want to know that the person behind the recommendations is a professional and not someone who is just trying to scam them out of their money.

Think about it, if you go to a blog and it looks like a five-year-old wrote the content, are you going to have a lot of faith in the person behind the content? No! But if you find the information easy to read free of grammar and spelling mistakes, you are going to be more convinced that the person behind the content knows what they are talking about, which will make you more willing to listen to their ideas and suggestions.

Grammarly Writing SupportGrammarly corrects your spelling and grammar right on your blog. You don’t need to plug your article into an app. You just need to install Grammarly on your browser and it will automatically highlight any errors you have in your copy. Then you can hover over the errors, see the suggestions, and make the necessary changes. It’s incredibly user-friendly.

I’ve been writing for years, and I still make silly grammar and spelling mistakes that Grammarly catches for me. It’s not a total replacement for proofreading your content, but it will help you catch mistakes that your eyes can’t see, and it will help you improve your grammar and spelling.

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