As online marketers and bloggers, we all have our own little lists of recommended resources, tools and services that we could never live without. On this page you will see some of my favorite services and tools that I love to use… some of them on an every day basis! Be sure to check them all out and let me know if you have any questions.
* * THESE ARE ALL SERVICES I PERSONALLY USE * *
Every web site or blog is going to need to have quality content and articles. Content isn’t just used for the people coming to your site, but also for the search engines to find and rank your site as well. If you aren’t writing your own content, then you are going to need to find a reputable and low cost solution. I’ve been using 99CentArticles to create content for my link building and niche sites for a while now. You will be very happy with their quality of work.
One of the best ways to gain incoming links to your web site or blog, is through the use of guest blogging. The problem with guest blogging is that it takes a lot of time to write articles, find the blogs you want to write for, contacting the owner and then waiting for them to publish you content. No more… All of those pains are now solved through the use of a new guest blogging portal called PostRunner. Seek out the blogs you would like to submit content to based on their niche, page rank and url.
I am all about branding and there is nothing I love more than having a killer logo for a new site that I launch. With so many different options out there for you to choose from when it comes to web design work, it can become quite overwhelming. Time and time again I find myself going back to LogoNerds to get my custom logo designs and social profile design work done. Not only are they awesome at what they do, but they are extremely affordable and fast too. While other design services will charge you a few hundred, you can get a custom logo design from LogoNerds starting at just $27!
Another excellent way to build incoming links to your site is through the use of unique content articles and web 2.0 properties. The Hoth specializes in creating original articles written by US college graduates and sets them up on web 2.0 networks through a link wheel process. All of the links are connecting through different web 2.0 properties, forums and profile to create the ultimate link building strategy. You can decide on whether you want to build all of the links directly to your site, or funnel them to your main web 2.0 properties which can then point back to your site.
Every web site and blog needs an excellent visual design. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of a WordPress theme. I am currently using a custom designed theme on ZacJohnson.com, but the core of the theme is run off the Genesis Theme. A completely custom theme will likely cost you a lot of money, but if you decide to go with the Genesis Theme, they have a ton of “child” themes that you can purchase in the $39-$79 range which are pretty amazing and completely customizable.
Not all web sites and blogs are created equal… just not all wordpress themes were meant to do the same. Niche Website Theme does exactly what the name states, it makes it extremely easy and efficient for you to create niche themes without the hassle of customizing each theme with headers, menus, ad placements and content. If you do anything in the niche blogging space, this is a theme that will save you a ton of time and help make you more money in the process.
Creating and running a successful web site isn’t easy. One of the last things you want to worry about is having your site running slow when you have thousands of people accessing your content on a daily basis. Even if you are on a super powered hosting server, you can still improve the overall speed and pressure building up from all of your traffic by using a content delivery service. A CDN makes it easy for your content to load by having it preload from other servers around the world. The cost is much cheaper than you think, and well worth the investment to improve your loading time and visitor experience.
Every once in a while a new tool or service will come out that I absolutely love and can’t go a day without using it. Long Tail Pro is definitely one of those tools. It’s like Google Keyword Tool, but on crack. In short, you can look up any keywords that you’d like to rank for in the search results and it will tell you how many people are searching for it, show related long tail keywords, how much advertisers are paying per click, an advertiser score showing how saturated the keyword niche is… and lastly, it shows a keyword competition score. The KC is the best part of the software, as it allows you know how easy or hard it will be for you to create a site and rank on the first page of Google.
Everyone is talking about how important content is these days. Just as important as the content is, you still need to make sure you are writing your articles in the right format and using the proper keywords and tags properly. The SEOProfessor plugin for wordpress does exactly that. As you are writing content for your latest blog post, the plugin will tell you what type of writing score you will get with the published post. In other words, it will tell you if you need to use your keyword more or less and how you can improve your article through the use of image tags, headlines and formatting.
Over the years I’ve been with a lot of different web hosting companies and none of them have been any where near as great as HostGator has been. Not only are they now one of the largest and most successful hosting companies on the internet, they are also extremely affordable and have awesome customer support. Once you are setup with a hosting account, you can install an unlimited amount of wordpress blogs on your server with just a simple click of a button. If you ever have any issues or questions you can contact their support through email, phone and chat right from their web site.
I love checking my stats and web site rankings, but it can be a bit of a pain and very time consuming to log into Google Analytics and flip back and forth through all of the pages. You also won’t be able to get a quick update on any of the movement within your portfolio of your sites. I recently came across this new service at SerpBook and it’s awesome. I can track and manage as many sites and keywords as I like (depending on plan), and when I log in it will show me any movement across all of my sites. With one simple click I can see full reports that would take me forever with other tracking programs.
Being online marketers and site owners, we can truly appreciate the need for quick graphic design work, content writing, unique advertising promotion, seo, link building and much more. All of these topics and tasks can actually be handled through an excellent service called Fiverr. The concept of the site is to get unique and simple jobs done for $5 each, but they have quickly grown the site over the years and jobs can actually be upgraded to the $50+ range depending on complexities. I do have to warn you that not all of the jobs (mainly link building) on Fiverr are ethical or working, but it’s well worth checking out the site for the content writing and graphic designers they have on the site.
When it comes to creating blogs and setting up wordpress themes, I am a freak with designing my sites. I’m not a designer myself, but I need to have a custom design for my site or at least something really fancy and premium to start out with. Instead of buying premium themes one at a time for a high price I would much prefer to find a very low cost service that I could pay on a yearly rate and have access to all of their themes. This is exactly what ElegantThemes has to offer, which is an awesome collection of 80+ themes for only $39 a year.
Just like ElegantThemes, Theme-Junkie is another wordpress themes membership site that allows you to access all of their themes for a low annual cost. Theme Junkie has some really awesome themes for bloggers that are going to update their sites often or looking to use news and magazine themes. All of the themes are ready to go out of the box and extremely easy to customize. You can have full access to all of the 30+ themes on their site for an annual membership of $69.