63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive

63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive

Let me guess.

You read the headline on this post and thought, “Cool!” Then a little voice in your head whispered something like, “Why do I need another post on all the cool tools I don’t have time to use?”

That is the key, isn’t it? Time. Having the time to set up, play with and truly put to work all the amazing tools that will rocket your blog into the heavens.

And having time to write. And time to follow other bloggers. And time to network on social media.

After your blog is set up, after that technical part is over, every new blogger is fundamentally the same. You’re full of excitement and plans. You have a bright, shiny new blog, bursting with potential and ideas.

And zero readers.

Time then becomes the key factor that separates new bloggers into three dramatically different kinds of bloggers. That’s why all the standard advice about the tools you need is confusing. Tools don’t make the blogger. Time does.

Because it’s how much time you can spend studying the top bloggers in your niche, improving your writing and cultivating relationships with readers and influencers that determines how fast your blog will grow. And how fast your blog grows determines the tools you need.

Tools are essential, but time is the magic elixir.

Again, bloggers span a wide spectrum, but fall into three distinct groups. Read the following descriptions, and then jump to each group’s tool section to discover what you need.

The Minimalist Blogger

You have ideas you want to share but you may not be too sure about this blogging thing. You’re willing to dip your toe in the water, because it seems like it could work, but the tech part is still a challenge. You don’t need the fancy tools.

Most of all, you don’t want to spend a lot of time on it yet, or you don’t have a lot of extra time in your life right now. Maybe you just want to write and follow others in your niche. Whether your topic is a passion, a hobby or related to what you do for a living, a blog is a side project that you can give no more than 10 hours per week, if that.

The Serious and Committed Blogger

You’ve gotten your feet wet in blogging,  and you’re committed to what you’re doing. You want to build a business from your blog, but your income and readership are not big enough for you to quit your job. You’re squeezing out as much time as you can, maybe 10 to 20 hours every week, and you need tools that won’t suck up much time but will deliver a big impact.

The Entrepreneur Blogger

You look at blogging differently than everyone else:

You’re not running a blog; you’re operating a business. Blogging is a promotion strategy, but it’s not an end in itself.

Because you’re doing this more or less full time, you have significantly more time to spend experimenting with tools that others can’t.

Because this is your business, you’re willing to invest money in it, so the higher price tags on the more sophisticated services don’t put you off – IF they make sense for growing the business and saving you time and effort that can be used better elsewhere.

The Blogger’s Tool List

We’re listing all tools we’re familiar with and use. Many of the links that follow are affiliate links, for which we earn a small commission if you choose to buy (at no additional cost to you.) Expect additions and changes as we find better tools. We’ll also be adding sections on courses and books that will help you in your blogging business.

We’ve organized it into four sections to match where you’re at as a blogger.

Setting Up Your Blog: This is the tech list. If you’re thinking about starting a blog go here first to find out what you need.

The Minimalist Blogger: Tools to build a solid foundation but nothing fancy.

The Serious and Committed Blogger: Upgrades to many of the basic tools needed as you add products, build your subscriber base and earn money.

The Entrepreneur Blogger: Advanced tools for blogs earning from $10 thousand to $10 million.

Setting Up Your Blog

How to Buy a Domain Name

NameCheap (affiliate link) is our favorite cheap domain registrar. There’s no good reason to pay more. We recommend you don’t purchase your domain name through your web hosting company either, because if you decide to switch web hosts later, which is likely, it can be more complicated.

How to Choose a Web Host

The standard advice to go with a large web hosting company for long-term stability is sound. Small web hosting companies still disappear without warning, a terrifying situation. You will also require different levels of bandwidth and service as your blog grows.

For minimalist to serious bloggers, we recommend SiteGround (affiliate link), which offers several low-priced plans for new and small blogs. You can purchase shared hosting for as low as $3.95 per month and the support is excellent.

Why You Must Start with WordPress

We’re adamant on this tool: only WordPress. Forget Blogger, Weebly and all the other free amateur platforms if you want people to take your blog seriously. WordPress has become the industry standard.

Most large web hosts already have WordPress available for installation from within your hosting account. But you can do it yourself by downloading it from http://wordpress.org/. It’s customizable to support a range of functions as your blog grows and you can set up a good-looking blog without knowing how to code.

How to Get a Great WordPress Design for Your Blog

WordPress provides the behind-the-scenes guts of your blog. A “theme” provides the template and design. You can pay a web designer or you can buy a customizable WordPress theme. A lot of graphic designers will get angry at us for saying this, but don’t spend money for graphic design at this point. As you will see in a minute, premium WordPress themes can be very attractive by themselves and have robust code, making them more than enough for your beginning needs.

While you can get your blog started on the built-in WordPress theme, your blog will immediately look more professional with a premium theme. We don’t recommend you use a free theme. The differences between free and premium themes are in the backend: While both may look good to visitors, free themes don’t come with a technical support desk and are almost always ignored by their developers when they move onto other projects, leaving you with an outdated theme that will become more vulnerable to hackers and more prone to break over time.

Premium themes are updated regularly to keep pace with WordPress upgrades and new trends. Plus, they maintain support desks that will help you with setup, problems, customization, upgrades and maintenance.

We use themes from ElegantThemes (affiliate link) for several sites. It doesn’t take much effort to customize an Elegant theme. For $39 a year you have access to all 86 themes plus customer support. Developer pricing and a lifetime one-time fee are available.

StudioPress (affiliate link) is the leader in premium WordPress themes. Built on the Genesis WordPress platform, StudioPress is used by many top social media bloggers. Although pricier than Elegant Themes, you can buy Genesis plus an individual theme or the entire theme package.

A Basic Set of WordPress Plugins

With plugins, more is not always better and in fact more can slow your site down or cause code conflicts. You only need a few basic plugins to add enhanced functionality for social media sharing, email capture, analytics and site performance.

Social sharing: Dozens of social sharing plugins are available for WordPress. We like the free Digg Digg plugin because it floats on the side of the screen and follows the reader up or down the page as they read, so it’s always visible.

Popups: We didn’t like the aggressive way popup boxes take the reader’s screen hostage, so we designed a better one – Unpop, a polite popup that slides up the screen, doesn’t annoy the reader and goes away when your reader tells it to. You can use it to get email subscribers, likes for your Facebook page and register readers for a webinar. Try it for 30 days free at GetUnpop.

Analytics: Be sure to get some form of tracking or analytics code on your blog from the start. Google Analytics is free and easy to install. Later as your traffic increases you may want to invest in a paid analytics program but for the short- and mid-term Google Analytics will provide enough data to make your head spin.

Site performance: We recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better blogger but your blog won’t annoy your visitors.

SEO: The degree of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you need to implement generates intense debate among bloggers. For beginners, we say forget about it. Seriously. Other than creating the very basic metadata so your posts show up correctly in a Google search, your time is better spent writing great content and promoting it.

Many WordPress themes, like StudioPress, have SEO built in that makes the basic set up quick and painless. Don’t overthink this part.

Where to Find Images and Photos

Everyone has their favorite stock photo site, and ours is Bigstockphoto. The prices are inexpensive for small photos, which are the right size and resolution for blog post images. Searching for appropriate images to illustrate a blog post can become a huge time suck, so limit yourself to one or two stock sites.

How to Establish an Email List

Building your email list should be your primary focus as a blogger from the day you start. Relying on RSS or other email collection programs to maintain your list is foolish. You should aim to collect emails from Day One, or earlier.

We recommend you start with the free version of MailChimp. It has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and you can not only create multiple lists but also create segments of lists as well. One key thing you can’t do with the free version is create a series of autoresponder emails that will be sent out automatically when a visitor signs up to your list.

You’ll need to upgrade to either a paid MailChimp account or another paid email marketing provider when your blog reaches the point where you’re offering a free email class that requires an autoresponder.

The Minimalist Blogger

Social Media Listening Tools

Feedly is a free replacement for Google Reader that you can use for tracking posts from the blogs you’re following in your niche. Set it up with folders by topic or by size or by influence, whatever works best for you.

The free version of Hootsuite is more than enough at this stage to monitor different social media networks in one place as you follow the top bloggers and cool kids in your niche.

Add Custom Email Sign Up Boxes

The free version of MailChimp will still be adequate at this point. As you begin guest posting, you might consider a premium plugin like Optin Skin (affiliate link) to add custom email sign up boxes for the readers who visit your site.

The Serious and Committed Blogger

Upgrade Your Email Provider to Create a Free Email Course

You are probably ready to develop a simple email autoresponder course on your topic. For that, you’ll need to upgrade from the free MailChimp account to either a paid MailChimp account or one of those listed below. All of these email providers provide pretty much the same service and are competitively priced. Pick the one you like the best or find easiest to use during a free trial period.

Develop an Audio Course as Your First Product

Now that you’ve whetted your subscribers’ appetites with your free email course, offer an audio course for your first paid product. It’s quick to produce, technically easier to manage and one of the best ways to gauge if you’re hitting the target without a lot of time invested in production. InstantTeleseminar (affiliate link) is the most reliable provider we’ve found. It records automatically and customers can join your teleconference calls via phone, Skype or the Internet.

Add a Shopping Cart

You’re wise to keep it simple at this point, until you have multiple products or build an affiliate network. Your best choices are PayPal, eJunkie (affiliate link) and Clickbank. Each provides a slightly different set of features, so compare them to find your best fit.

Add Landing Pages to Your Blog

Offering products or requiring registration for classes, teleconference calls or webinars requires separate landing pages to make the experience seamless for your customers. We recommend OptimizePress (affiliate link) for building simple landing pages.

Schedule Social Media Sharing

You should know by now where your peeps hang out on social media, so use a free Buffer account to schedule links to useful and relevant content from other bloggers, quotes, tips and links to your guest posts and blog posts.

Tweak Your WordPress Theme

As you build a reader and subscriber base and tweak your blog angle, you may find your theme doesn’t have the look or features you need. Rather than paying big bucks to have someone design a brand new theme, which can create unwanted technical problems while you’re beginning to make money, search out freelance web designers on Odesk or 99Designs for customizing your current theme.

You can find a lot of talent on Odesk if you take the time to search carefully, using the competency scores and feedback from previous clients as gauges. 99Designs uses a contest model rather than a fee per hour model. You determine what you’re willing to pay and the design requirements. Designers who are interested respond with samples for you to choose from and you choose the winner.

Optimize Your Blog for SEO

You should have gained enough traffic, page views and links for Google to notice your blog consistently by now. We recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize the content on your site.

Back Up Your Site

Don’t tempt fate. Install a backup plugin. We use BackWPup and back up to our server, but you can back up to a DropBox (affiliate link) or Amazon S3 account automatically.

The Entrepreneur Blogger

Upgrade Your Webhosting

As your traffic grows you’ll want to upgrade your plan and may consider moving to your own server, which you can do with SiteGround (affiliate link) or web hosts dedicated to blogging and WordPress, such as WPEngine (affiliate link) and Synthesis at Copyblogger Media. Both are expensive, but the peace of mind and higher-level customer support for a large site that hosts your business, community and products are worth it.

Upgrade Your Site Protection

As your blog gains traffic and becomes known, expect the hack attacks. It’s not pretty and can destroy overnight the goodwill you earned with your readers and subscribers. Sucuri (affiliate link) cleaned up the nasties when Smart Blogger was hacked last year, and continues to keep them at bay. It’s expensive, but not as expensive as losing hundreds of subscribers it took months to win over.

Choose Email Marketing and Shopping Carts Based on Sales

Your growing traffic, subscriber and customer base demand closer attention and more integration. You have several choices.

Under $10,000 in sales

Expect to outgrow PayPal, eJunkie or Clickbank soon and begin researching other options.

Up to $30,000 in sales

Open a business bank account if you haven’t already. Most accountants and bookkeepers would probably advise you to do it earlier.

Over $30,000 in sales

Open a merchant account either through PowerPay or get a Stripe account, an alternative to a merchant account. You will need either one to have a credit card processor.

Up to $100,000 in sales

Keep your paid email marketing provider and add a shopping cart: We recommend UltraCart (affiliate link). It offers the complete range of shopping cart services, such as order pages and affiliate management, and integrates with all the leading email providers.

Over $100,000 in sales

Upgrade to an integrated email, shopping cart and customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Ontraport (formerly OAP – affiliate link). The difference with an integrated provider is automation – many of the email, list segmentation and billing functions can be automated and integrated with the contact profile. You can also track and group clients and contacts in different ways.

Landing Pages

LeadPages (affiliate link) offers dozens of slick page designs for sales, event registration and other types of landing pages plus easy split testing. It’s easy to set up and customize.

Tweak Your Web and Graphic Design

Your blog-based business has finally reached a point where it could benefit from a custom design. Use Dribbble and Behance to find a really good designer.

Expand into Video and Audio Tools

We continually get questions about how Jon creates his videos. The short answer – he’s a geek. The longer answer includes PowerPoint. Seriously. Jon uses advanced PowerPoint animation techniques you can learn from Slideology. He does a screen recording of the presentation in PowerPoint, then imports it into Camtasia, where he records the slideshow with audio, and then renders it as an MP4. On a Mac, you can use the same animation with Keynote and ScreenFlow.

If you like the slides in our webinars, we get the templates from Graphic River (affiliate link).

If you don’t have that much geekiness, you can find a video producer on ODesk or Elance (affiliate link) that knows advanced presentation techniques.

Consider Adding a Membership Site

After you’ve grown a substantial list, it may be time to open the doors to a private membership site to offer exclusive products and information. You need several elements to create that private community.

Wishlist Member (affiliate link) is our choice for managing your membership. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress and the expanding list of plugins allow you to customize your members’ experience. It’s a bit more expensive than other options, but versatile.

Most membership sites offer a forum for members to interact. We use Simple:Press in the GuestBlogging Apprenticeship Program, which is a large and active forum. The plugin is still free but the excellent customer support is now fee-based.

Consider Offering Webinars

Up to $100,000 in sales

If you’re hosting small or infrequent webinars, try Meeting Burner or Any Meeting.

Over $100,000 in sales

Consider a subscription to GoToWebinar (affiliate link). The most expensive option, it’s the most reliable despite its occasional glitches.

Take a Look at In-depth Analytics

Up to $100,000 in sales

Tools like CrazyEgg or VisualWebsiteOptimizer make sense for tracking visitor behavior on your landing pages (but not your entire blog). Moz or Raven Tools are also helpful for tracking your traffic from search engines and social media.

Over $100,000 in sales

You have several ultra-sophisticated, pricey options for data-tracking and analysis: Look at Kissmetrics, MixPanel. You’ll probably need a developer to set up these tools and handle campaigns. At this stage, small tweaks in conversion can equal significant gains, so don’t get lost in analysis paralysis.

Advanced Social Media Tactics

Because your social media following has likely reached a critical mass that now grows organically, reaching out to individual influencers in your niche is a more profitable use of your time. A tool like BuzzStream efficiently helps you search and track your interactions with bloggers, journalists and other people you want to keep your eye on.

Advanced Email Marketing Tactics

Customer IO, which sends emails triggered by user behavior, can help you refine your customer marketing and engagement and increase conversions.

Scalable Affiliate Software

Depending on your particular product mix, you may need to compare affiliate services. IDevAffiliate (affiliate link) is popular and robust affiliate tracking software that will scale as you grow.

We’re not finished yet…

This resource guide will evolve, as our business grows, as we require different tools and as new tools are introduced. We’ll add a tab at the top of the blog so you can find this guide easily when you come back, and we will keep you posted on the changes.

…and neither are you!

Wherever you’re at with your blog, you now have the all tools you need to take it to the next level. We’ve done the research and explored all the dead ends – so you don’t have to. Whether you have 10 hours, 20 hours, or 60+ hours a week to work on your blog, using the right tools will help you fully exploit the time you have.

So let’s “tool up” and get your blog ready for prime time.

If you have a question regarding a particular tool, post it in the comments below. We’ll do our best to help you.

About the Author: Marsha Stopa is senior instructor and coach for all Smart Blogger courses. She’s living her dream in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, where she just bought a fixer-upper among the bears on a quiet mountain with a stunning view


  1. Kulwant Nagi
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:29:39

    Marsha, I am using almost 40% of the mentioned tools and happy to say that they helped me a lot to boost my business.

    Importantly to say – This was not just another article about tools. 🙂
    The tools you mentioned can take a business to a very big level if we know how to use them properly.

    Thanks a lot.

    • Keith Griffis
      Jan 12, 2015 @ 22:40:39

      I have to agree. I am a huge Leadpages fan. It was an investment that catapulted my email list.

      Also as an alternative to wishlistmember you should check out IfSimply.com. It is easier to set up and manage and has integrated forums.

  2. Darlene at BlogBoldly
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:36:36

    Love it Marsha.. especially how you broke bloggers out into categories. I think that helps outline where a person might be.

    I agree with most of your tools but I have to say Google Analytics drives me crazy and I prefer the simple (and free) Statcounter.

    darlene 🙂

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:54:01

      Thanks, Darlene.

      Yeah, Google Analytics is an acquired taste. 🙂 The problem with a stat counter is it tends to measure the wrong things and lead you to believe your blog is growing, when it may not be. The best metrics are direct measures of engagement — email subscribers and comments — which, unfortunately, Google Analytics doesn’t measure either, but it can give you a better overall picture.

      • Darlene at BlogBoldly
        Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:14:53

        Marsha… I’m talking about StatCounter.com which measures like Google but MUCH more user-friendly altho not quite as thorough.

    • Stephen Kemper
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 19:08:57

      Good point Marsha. We’re seeing a trend of people wanting to hack information more and more, whether they are beginners, intermediates, or experts. Therefore, maybe more of us should try tailoring our offerings to those groups. I think I’m going to give it a shot.

  3. Dave Rosenthal
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:46:21

    This is fantastic! I’ve started comping my own list of tools. But making suggestions based upon business stage and revenues is shear brilliance. This is a keeper!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:54:27

      Glad it’s helpful, Dave.

  4. Jackie
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:49:45

    Hi, Marsha. Nice post. I personally think blog protection should begin at day 1–small sites are as likely to get hacked as large ones, & perhaps even more so. At a minimum, I recommend installing Keith Graham’s “Stop Spammer Registrations” Plugin, & some sort of plugin to limit logon attempts. As you mentioned, a hack is never pretty, & it can stop a blogger dead in his/her tracks at any stage of blogging. Truthfuly, it’s even more likely to stop a smaller blogger, because s/he may not have the resources to get the hack fixed.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:00:05


      Good points. Worrying about having all the best protection when you don’t have much to protect can stop a lot of beginners, too. I’m taking notes for the next revision of the list. 🙂

      Thank you!

      • Susan Neal
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 08:34:38

        Hi Marsha,

        I agree with Jackie that bloggers need to deal with security issues at the outset – I use the free version of WordFence, which is very good and includes a limit login attempts feature.

  5. Mark Brinker
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 11:52:23

    Great post, Marsha. I especially like how you highlighted and linked to all of your recommended resources. Very helpful. Extremely easy to scan for quick reference.

    It’s also great to compare notes with people like yourself, whose work I respect, to see what tools you’re currently using. Interestingly, I already use about 80% of what’s on your list, which gives me some added peace-of-mind. Sometimes it’s easy to second guess yourself and wonder if your processes and workflow are as good as they can be.

    One last thing … BigStockPhoto.com is now my preferred choice for stock imagery. For the past 4-5 years I had been using iStockPhoto.com exclusively. However, you and Jon suggested BigStockPhoto.com a few weeks ago, and it’s now my “go to” source. Great selection of images. Thanks for that tip!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:02:08

      Thanks, Mark.

      Yeah, the intent behind the post is to help you stop wasting time and energy worrying about processes and workflow so you can grow your audience and blog.

      Glad that tip helped. Sometimes the little things do make the difference!

  6. Michael Kawula
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:01:39

    This Rocks!

    Love how you show the different stages and all the tools that go with that stage.

    Just was looking at Visual Website Opt., excited to try it and learn more.

    Great Post! Mike

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:14:12

      Thanks, Mike. Have fun.

  7. Joyce Day
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:01:43

    You are my hero today. Thank you for this information! I can’t wait to sit down and really sink my teeth into it. I fall in the serious and committed category though and have to finish working first! LOL.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:15:19

      Aww, shucks. Let me give my white horse a few extra carrots. 🙂

      Hopefully you now have the tools to take you there.


      • Joyce Day
        Oct 03, 2013 @ 23:02:02

        Hi Marsha, I currently have my blog on blogspot – which you don’t recommend. I’d like to move it over to wordpress. I went and bought a domain name. What is the webhost for? If I just go start a blog through the wordpress website will I be limited later because I didn’t get a webhost? Will I still be able to use my domain name? So much to take in and learn!!! Thanks for your help.


    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:27:22


      Yes, you’ve tripped over another one of those confusing options.

      WordPress has two sites: wordpress.org, where you can download the free software and other stuff, and wordpress.com, where you can set up a free WordPress site, similar to what you can do with blogspot except on the WordPress platform.

      There are a few things we don’t like about setting up a free site on WordPress.com: Again, you’re setting up business on a site that you don’t control where someone else makes the rules. Your domain name will have “wordpress” in it if you set up your blog there. And, you are limited in the 3rd-party tools (like many of those listed here) that you can use on a WordPress.com site.

      Look at it this way: Setting up your blog with your own domain and web host is like renting office space and hanging out your own sign. Setting up on one of the free platforms is like setting up your table in a free market. Advantages to both; depends on what you want. We prefer to be in control.

      Make sense?

      • Joyce Day
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 12:51:15

        Okay that helps a lot! I would prefer to have my own “shop” too. But I don’t know what I’m doing fully – am I ready to take the leap? Do I need the Icloudbackup and all that for now? I am trying to keep costs down – I went to set up my webhost last night and it looks like it will be $177 for 3 years but that includes the icloud backup and another feature I can’t remember. I think it was a security thing…Thank you so much – it is so wonderful to have somewhere to ask questions!

      • Marsha Stopa
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 13:02:22


        Have you looked at HostGator? A lot of hosts automatically include features that you have to uncheck if you don’t want them. (HostGator will suggest a security add-on, too.) Start basic. Add later.

        See the advice under Site Backup. You can back up to a free DropbBox account. That’s cloud-based, and perfectly fine until you get a large site.

        As other folks suggested, you can add a free plugin or two for security protection. (I may add that to the list.)

  8. Esther
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:02:22

    Wow. All this info in one place? From a trusted source too. Incredible. Thank you Marsha so much. I will be combing through your post many times.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:15:50

      We aim to please, Esther.

  9. Christine
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:12:21

    Thanks, Marsha! This information is invaluable. I know that I will be referring back to this article time and again for the resources that you shared.

    You ROCK!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:16:38

      Hope it helps YOU rock. Enjoy.

  10. Gary Korisko
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:21:48

    What a great collection, Marsha. I started commenting a half hour ago but got sidetracked implementing a few of these 🙂

    Thank you. Another “keep forever” post for my Evernote!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:31:09

      Thanks, Gary.

      Being saved in Evernote is the true jackpot!

      Let us know how these tools work for you.

  11. Crystal Hatcher
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:37:27

    Very nicely done! Thanks for including all stages of bloggers! As a newbie blogger it gets overwhelming fast, and having a list referenced for where I’m at and where I’d like to be is very helpful.

    As for the comment about opening a business account as most bookkeepers and accountants would recommend – you’re spot on! My husband wouldn’t let me buy my domain name until I opened a free business account at my local bank. Most have free small business accounts – so it’s easier to just start out this way!

  12. Donna L Martin
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:56:26

    Hi Marsha!

    This is a fabulous list of vital information for the future success of many bloggers. Here is my delimma…almost two years ago I was never told WordPress should be chosen over Blogger and so I put all my efforts into my Blogger site which I have set up as a website platform for my writing career. I have worked hard to make it the best I know how while on a shoestring budget. I currently have followers from over 15 countries and am about to hit a quarter of a million pageviews for which I am very grateful. I hesitate attempting to convert everything to a WordPress blog at this point.

    My question is this…would all your great suggestions also work with a Blogger account except maybe the direct WordPress plugins?

    There are a couple of things I would like to add to my blog but don’t want to mess up the “apple cart” either…

    Thanks for a fabulous post!

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:34:18

      Bravo! You’re a perfect example that time invested, not necessarily the tools, make the difference.

      Unfortunately, a lot of these specific tools (other than the WP plugins) will not integrate with Blogger so you will need to seek out other tools. That may hinder your ability to grow your blog or monetize it.

      Here’s a possible solution: Don’t try to move everything over at once. If you’re launching a book, product or course, give the product a new, specific domain name and set it up on WordPress. Over time, your readers and visitors will get used to the new platform and if you decide to move everything, the transition will be smoother. You’ll still lose people; that’s unavoidable.

      Bottom line: If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. But, if an appropriate opportunity presents itself to begin to move platforms, consider it.

      Hope that helps.

  13. Jane Bromley
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:56:54

    Yey Marsha. You’re blogging! And what a great, incredibly useful blog.

    Many thanks. Hope you’re doing well. Jane

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:25:21

      Thanks, Jane.

      Doing great!

  14. Melissa
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 12:57:17

    Awesome. Very generous of you to share these nuggets of gold!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:24:54

      Take them and make us proud!

  15. John Corcoran
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:14:47

    Wow, this is an epic post. Thanks for the recommendation of Bigstockphoto, Marsha. I hadn’t heard of that site before. I’ve mostly used Creative Commons (http://search.creativecommons.org/), which allows you to search for royalty-free photos on Google Images, Flickr, and a bunch of other sites.

    Also, I bought a package of about 150 photo credits through AppSumo.com from DepositPhotos.com. That’s been a great investment.

  16. Amandah
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:15:04

    Hi Marsha,

    Thanks for the tip about membership sites. I was wondering about the various platforms.

    I used the Digg Digg tool, but readers emailed me and stated that it covered my posts or was pushed to the left. I had to find an alternative.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:24:17

      Thanks, Amandah.

      It may be their browser and how it displays a floating sharebar like Digg Digg. Good for you to be so responsive to your readers!

  17. Leah McClellan
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:26:32

    Hey Marsha, This is great. I thought at first it was the usual basic stuff (should have known better) but, as I kept going on and on and on (!) I saw all sorts of stuff I want to look into like Instant Teleseminar and slide stuff and so on. Thanks so much!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:14:48

      Thanks, Leah!

      Glad you’ve found new useful tools.

  18. Michael
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 13:59:40

    Thanks for all of the great information. It is very detailed, and needed by me. Thanks!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:15:12

      Thanks, Michael.


  19. Kelli
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:20:29

    Hi Marsha,
    I’m an aspiring serious blogger but just getting myself set up and learning the ropes. Post like these are invaluable to me as I try to sift through the vast pool of information out there and decide what I need to concentrate on – aside from creating killer content, that is – a very heartfelt thanks for the time and effort that goes into a post like this.

    Wouldn’t you know it – after weeks of procrastination I finally bit the bullet and registered with a web hosting provider last night! And it wasn’t Hostgator. WestHost had been recommended to me by another blogger and the domain name came included in their mid-range package (unlimited bandwidth and domain names). What would happen to my domain name if I cancelled? And if I keep it for now, how would it cause problems if I switched providers in the future?

    Many thanks,

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:50:46

      Hi Kelli,

      Bravo to you for taking that first step! It’s a big one.

      I’m glad you asked that question because it can be a bit confusing.

      In essence, you have gotten two different services from your new web host, even though they charged you a package price: domain registration and web hosting. The two SHOULD be separate.

      If you should decide to cancel your hosting account and move to another web host, your domain registration is still maintained through WestHost. Nothing should happen to it. Renewal fees will still apply.

      The reason I say it can cause problems is because some web hosts can make it more difficult for you to cancel your account with them and move to a new web host if your domain is also listed through them, by requiring multiple layers of approval for the move.

      It doesn’t always happen, but it can slow you down and be a pain in the backside for what is now an everyday task.

      (You can also move your domain name to another registrar, just so you know.)

      But don’t worry about any of these. Should you decide to take that route six months or a year down the road, you’ll know where to slow down on the narrow curves. 🙂

      Until then, focus your attention on building that blog!

      Make sense?

      • Kelli
        Oct 03, 2013 @ 16:04:28

        Hi Marsha,

        Yes, that makes sense. Thanks for making it clearer. I’m going to take your advice and not try to wrap my head around it fully at the moment. I can figure it all out when the time comes.

        The key thing is – I have a domain name, I have a host and now I can get to work building my business.


      • Martin Edwards
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 06:19:32

        Hi Marsha & Kelli, hope you don’t mind me adding my 10 cent’s worth here. I’ve been hosting my own domains and domains for my clients for years now and completely agree that the registration and the hosting need to be separate. The thing to check here is that when you register the domain it is you that has the ability to change the registration details and direct the domain to a name server. A lot of “registration” companies are actually hosting companies and some of the more unscrupulous ones will not even register the domain in your name. When the time comes to leave you suddenly find you don’t technically own the domain.

  20. japar
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:23:57

    me like info..

  21. Rebecka Reddick
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:30:12

    Saved to Pocket!

    What I’m curious about is when does one get a business licence? Right away? Open a business account and get a business licence at the same time?

    Right now I’m only making a few hundred dollars per month doing ghostwriting and the occasional blog post, but I have big plans for the new year to launch my website and offer a wide array of services. I don’t know whether or not it will be successful, so do I still need to register as a business?

    I think I’m mostly stressed because I don’t know what to call my company. 😛

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 14:57:34


      My best advice: Don’t worry about it yet. Get a business license when you have clients beating down your door and your work has clearly moved out of what accountants would call the “hobby” category for tax purposes.

      I’m sure I’ll get accountants and others who will disagree with me and advise you do all the legal paperwork first. But honestly, get some solid traction with your blog and services first. There are probably thousands of bloggers who got very serious about setting up their blog business, then choked on all the seriousness. There’s time enough for that.

      As far as your business name, once you actually get into offering services and knowing what your customers want, the name will become apparent. Give them what they want.

      Hope that helps.

  22. June
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 15:32:25

    Thank you so much for these fantastic resources. It’s exactly what I need right now because I’m planning to update my blog. 🙂

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 21:33:26


  23. Felice Panagrosso
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 17:15:46

    Ms. Stopa,
    Thank you for this excellent resource!
    Felice (Phil) Panagrosso

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 21:33:47

      Quite welcome.

  24. T.J. Hart
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 17:53:57

    Marsha: Thanks for the goodies–the added value of BLF keeps piling up!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 03, 2013 @ 21:34:05

      My pleasure.

  25. Rob
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 22:36:29

    I just bought a premium WP theme after putting it off for years. The reason was because my site has become very slow loading. According to everything I’ve read, a good premium theme helps solve that problem. It didn’t hurt that Bluehost was offering a really cheap package deal, either. Now all I have to do is install it. Hopefully this weekend.

    A lot of people put off starting a blog because they get overwhelmed by WP and its seeming complexity. I recommend doing as I did and just getting started. You learn as you go.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:11:28


      You’re right. You do learn as you go. You have to because it changes all the time. Keeps our brains young and agile. 😉

  26. Mike Martinez
    Oct 03, 2013 @ 23:26:53

    Marsha you over-delivered with this post. You covered everything. Tons of great resources. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:10:27


  27. Michael Feeley
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 01:15:35

    This is a fantastic gift Marsha! Highly organized,easy to follow and understandable, even for a newbie to blogging and writing and terminology, like myself. It’s and encyclopedia of tools for success. Thank you for your work and generosity. Michael

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:10:00

      Good to hear. Thanks.

  28. Jacqueline
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 01:21:54

    Ditto. Really, thank you Marsha this will be a terrific reference tool in itself.

    Hey I wonder if you guys would ever consider doing a kind of “the making of” type video or some sort of tutorial around producing those fab video/slide presentation/webinar thingies that Jon does. (Yes I’m one of the time poor ones and not a geek although I reckon I could work it out and will when I find the time…..)

    Anyway here you are with such a generous offering and I’m aksing for more! I don’t at all want to seem ungrateful! Thanks again.


    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:07:30

      Hey Jacqueline,

      Jon taught me how to do a lot of his presentation tricks and it definitely scrambled my brain for awhile. It’s another new language, and new languages take time to learn, as we know.

      As I mentioned to Kay, I’ll add it to the list. 🙂

  29. Rochelle
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 02:06:25

    I love love love this! I love the way your organized this list, it is perfect. You’ve given me lots to look into and I don’t have to figure it all out for myself.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:07:55


      Have fun!

  30. Jovell
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 03:32:16

    Very helpful list Martha! Thank you. 🙂

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:08:13

      You’re welcome.

  31. Sam Collett (@WhatSamSawToday)
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 03:35:56

    What a fabulous and insightful list – def not the norm and much appreciated!

    Now added several items to my to-do-list

    Thanks for sharing Martha

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:09:23




  32. Deane Giordano
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 06:30:07

    Studied, saved and shared! You’ve outdone yourself, Martha.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:08:46



      • BOB
        Dec 05, 2013 @ 17:16:21

        Her name is Marsha not Martha.

  33. Martin Edwards
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 06:34:51

    This site just gets better and better! Not only do we have insightful, enteraining and inspirational articles to improve our writing and focus our attention on our goals, we also have hard talking, no-nonsense, tell it like it is, posts from Jon, making sure we don’t get too complacent and get our butts movin’. This would be more than enough, but here we have Marsha taking away our final excuse for not actually getting down to doing the writing! As someone who has always been a bit of a “Techie” I can personnally attest to the hours, days and weeks that can be frittered away on experimenting with free services, software etc. all of which diverts attention from the main reason we are here (and don’t even get me started on the procrastination potential!). So thank you Marsha, this post is one of those that doesn’t just inspire but also has the power to save us significant time and energy too!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:04:33

      Thanks, Martin.

      That’s our intent at BBT — to help you in all aspects of your blogging life, career and business.

  34. Katy Emma
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 08:27:41

    Marsha, congratulations on a great blog post! This is so useful for the relative newcomers to blogging like myself and I am reassured that so far I am using the right tools and now happily have lots of ideas from you for extras that I can add over time to help my blog to soar. As an aside for Jon, can I echo Jacqueline above and say that I love the audiovisual presentations he creates and would value a course on how to put them together. Bravo Marsha!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:03:09

      Hi Katy,

      Glad you found lots of ideas.

      I’ll add the audiovisual course idea to the list. 🙂

  35. Lisa Robbin Young
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 09:00:55

    Actually, I run multiple autoresponse sequences from my free mailchimp account. You just need to be mindful of how many emails ypu aee sending in a 24 hour period.

    Great ideas in this post. I also recommend login lockdown plugin to reduce hacking attempts.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:01:38

      Thanks, Lisa.

      Good to know.

  36. Lyn Morton
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 10:12:36

    Great list overall, but I have to question your statement that you have to use WordPress “if you want people to take your blog seriously.” Who are these people who won’t take your blog seriously? How would they know? Most bloggers are trying to attract readers with their content, and if your information is useful & entertaining and your site looks professional, which readers really care what platform you use?

    I’ve blogged on Squarespace.com, which is neither free nor amateur. Please help me understand why I would need to abandon if for WordPress?

    Is your advice affected by your relationship to Copyblogger’s software business?

    I’d appreciate if you could clarify that WordPress advice and disclose any relationships that would help in evaluating your recommendations.

    Thanks much!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 10:58:01

      Hey Lyn,

      Good questions. Perhaps that could be better stated to say people may not take your blog seriously on the free platforms, because you are surrounded there by so many amateur and hobby bloggers.

      You don’t need to abandon Squarespace for WordPress. That advice, in the getting started section, is aimed at folks thinking about blogging. If it works for you, that’s great.

      The beauty — and caution — of the blogosphere is that there are always new tools and platforms emerging. Some last, some don’t.

      It’s a question of market dominance. WordPress is the industry standard and all the tools you need now and in the future will be designed to be compatible with WordPress. Your choices will be far fewer on the other platforms, but it may be all you need.

      Boost Blog Traffic has no relationship to Copyblogger’s software business and there is no relationship to be disclosed. We are an affiliate for StudioPress, but haven’t yet used our affiliate link when we refer to the product. It is clearly disclosed in the paragraph prior to the tools list that many of the links are affiliate links.

      I hope that gives you the clarification you need.

      • Lyn Morton
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:06:34

        Thanks so much for responding. That helps greatly.

  37. Mark Brinker
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:00:16

    Hi Lyn. I believe all Marsha was trying to say is that it is common for budget hosting companies to offer DIY templates that can come across as somewhat amateurish. The Internet has evolved to the point where people do definitely judge your company based upon the quality of your website. Perception equals reality.

    Certainly not all website templates are bad. But to make it your own, you are usually going to need at least a little bit of customization … whether it be with form, function, graphic design, etc.

    I just looked at your site (www.ibrandphoto.com), and it’s very nice, clean and professional. If your site was built from a Squarespace.com template, you are living proof that it can be done.

    I’ve been developing websites for 14 years, and 5 years ago we switched to WordPress, both for ourselves and our clients. It’s the only platform we work in now. I won’t bore you with all the reasons why, but suffice to say that much thought went into the process.

    Fun fact for anyone reading this comment, 2 very popular sites that are built on WordPress platforms >> http://www.KatyPerry.com and http://www.KobeBryant.com

    • Lyn Morton
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 12:34:16


      Thanks for sharing your perspectives. I definitely understand there are benefits to using WordPress, which is why it is the leading platform for many bloggers. What usually gets me is that popular bloggers will just say “use WordPress if you’re serious” without offering any real reasons other than “all the cool kids are doing it.”

      The interenet has evolved so that cloud-based solutions now offer incredible amounts of customization in just about every way imaginable. Bottom line, you can build a professional blog on platforms other than WordPress.

      With an all-in-one solution, I find it was simpler to manage without needing to hire a developer. If something isn’t working properly, I know exactly who is responsible for fixing it. I don’t have the wide range of Plugins as WordPress users, but I have all the same functionality.

      I don’t mean to turn this into a Mac vs PC debate, but I do want to hear more specifics on why WordPress is better. Something other than “everyone is doing it.” Please bore me with the details. Or maybe that is another blog post.


      • Martin Edwards
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 14:58:35

        Hi Lyn,
        I think the main idea of a site like BBT is to guide bloggers in well grounded and researched methods to develop their blogging audience and in so doing to develop their business. The main things here are to start with a platform that is scaleable and that functionality can be plugged in relatively easily. Their hope is that your site will be attracting a huge number of subscribers and commenters and in order to get there and make it work when you are there you will probably find it easier if you have used a “content management system” like WordPress. In my opinion the popularity of WordPress comes from its remarkable ease of customisation (even for non-developers), the availability of free support (via WordPress.org for free themes) and the fact that most of the integration with ecommerce, forums, membership management, email list integration and hundreds of other applications are all handled from the same database structure. Of course the “everyone is doing it” argument is a bit lame but I did hear somewhere that WordPress based sites (not just .com) account for in excess of 20% of the entire internet inventory at the moment. A bit galling for me because I have spent the last three years becoming a Joomla expert! Fortunately they both have MySQL, PHP and CSS behind them so at least I have transferable skills!

  38. P.J. Murphy
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 11:46:31

    This is, as usual, great stuff. I currently count myself among the minimalist blogger category with plans to move on up the ladder.

    These tools will be a BIG help in getting me there. Thanks!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 12:47:16

      Thanks, P.J.

  39. Gene
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 14:10:29

    GREAT content, thank you!

    Quick clarification. You said “he imports the slides into Camtasia, where he records the slideshow with audio”

    I just tried importing slides into Camtasia 8 but they weren’t available under the import media option. pptx is not a supported format.

    Does he do a screen recording of the slides without audio, then adds audio later? Or are you saying he imports the actual slides, then (somehow) inside of the Camtasia editor, makes the video there?

    What am I not understanding here?

    Up until now, I always just started a screen recording, then went through the slide show presentation in PowerPoint, then edited it in Camtasia.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 04, 2013 @ 14:14:58


      My bad. You are correct. You do a screen recording of the slides and import that into Camtasia. Jon adds the audio later because it’s easier for him.

      I will correct that in the post. Thanks for the heads up!

      • Gene
        Oct 04, 2013 @ 14:40:49

        No problem, thanks so much for responding quickly and clarifying.

        Great job again on the list of resources. Very valuable.

        Hope you have a great weekend!

  40. Shauna L Bowling
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 17:00:34

    I’ve noticed most blogs and clean looking websites have been formatted using WordPress. I set my site up on Weebly at the recommendation of a friend. I think I may be regretting that decision. Is there a way to transfer my site to WP without having to start all over again?

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:35:42


      I found this tutorial for migrating your site: http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-properly-move-from-weebly-to-wordpress/

      It sounds like it’s possible, but not a 100% solution. You can import your RSS feed for posts but not for pages, so you’ll likely have to copy and paste, then adjust the formatting.

      So, it’s not starting over, but you will have reformatting to do.

      Hope that’s helpful.

      • Shauna L Bowling
        Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:54:08

        Thanx, Marsha. I just realized, I’ve paid for a year on Weebly, but I’ll keep this info handy if I discover I need to move.

  41. Peter Kanayo
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 00:40:19

    Splendid article Marsha. Does any one have a tutorial on how to set up mailchimp forms?

    Their own tutorial is bit complex may be its because am not a geek.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:37:03


      Yeah, MailChimp form set up isn’t the easiest. MailChimp does integrate with WooForms, which might be an easier solution.

  42. Kaushal Srivastava
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 10:56:15

    great set of tools Indeed A complete package every blogger should know….


    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:37:24


  43. Joseph Adediji
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 11:00:59

    Great Post Marsha,
    I love the way you break things down and made the Post Scannable.
    This is Great resource for all bloggers out there. Thumbs Up.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:37:50

      Thanks, Joseph.

  44. Leanne Regalla | Make Creativity Pay
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 12:13:57

    Marsha, it’s hard to put into words the total awesomeness of this post! 😉

    This is going to be my go-to resource for helping my friends and clients get up and running. Already shared this with 4-5 people.

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:38:12



  45. Jamie Wyatt
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 22:50:39

    AWESOME POST, Marsha! Thanks!

    • Marsha Stopa
      Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:38:26

      Thanks, Jamie.

  46. Susan Velez
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 10:44:09

    Hi Marsha,

    Wow awesome set of blogging tools, I am familiar with some of them but many of them I have never heard of.

    I’m not a big fan of popups either. I have never heard of Unpop and I may have to check it out.

    I will need to bookmark this post and come back to it later so I can keep up with these tools. While I may not need them right now, I may need them later on. Thanks have a great day.

  47. Marsha Stopa
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 14:38:48


    Come back soon. 🙂

  48. Bree
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 22:39:53

    I’m bookmarking this so if — scratch that — WHEN I start to make a lot of money I’ll have a great place to start with updating my blog. 🙂

    Also, if you’re interested in letting readers know how to save some time, I personally find Wysija/MailPoet to be a great email provider because it’s a WordPress plugin that DOESN’T require you to log into another website entirely to set up or send your email newsletters. The premium version is about $99 a year with full support, and connects with Google Analytics.

    Personally, I hate having to go to another site to check or change my email provider info, and having it on my WordPress dashboard has been a blessing on my time.

  49. jasmine
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 10:50:45

    Great blogging tools and thanks a lot for helping me.

  50. Dawn Raquel Jensen
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 13:50:12

    Really well done Marsha! Great content and very thorough. I’ve already pinned and scooped it for syndication. I will be checking back and making sure I’ve not missed something in my blog that would make a difference. Thank you for the time it took to compile and write this. I know this article will make a difference for my clients.

  51. Sophie Lizard
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 16:18:25

    My bath went cold while I was reading this. And I don’t mind one bit. Thanks, Marsha!

  52. Zac Pagin
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 03:28:03

    I think I’m a guilty aspirant blogger LOL. I’ve tried blogging several times without success and still looking for inspirations or motivations to kill the b**tch. Every blog that I have read (some blogs I can get my hands on in my free time) in the past few months are blogs about blogging right. I just hope to get to the core of it once I get settled in my new job. Appreciate your tips and tools. Big Hugs 🙂

  53. Cecil McIntosh
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 11:44:09

    Great resource.
    Thanks for sharing.

  54. Joe Orozco
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 13:32:33

    Excellent resources. My only bone to pick is recommending WordPress as the gold standard for setting up a website. I use and highly recommend Drupal. It’s just as configurable as WordPress and, in my personal opinion, easier to navigate.

  55. Elevate Now
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 20:25:08

    There’s a great load of resources here. The way it is also broken up is a great solution for those not wanting to look at everything.

    Great post.

  56. David Bender
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 04:59:20

    Without a doubt one of the most important articles on the blogs. Anyone who wants to set up a blog, you will have to read any data found here. This is one of the most friendly guides that are online. Available, smart, organized, easy to use and comprehensive. You deserve thanks for the effort you invested.

  57. Vukasin
    Oct 09, 2013 @ 16:09:02

    Very nice list. Most of this I used in the past but never heard for few of this tools. Must try!

  58. Julian Adorney
    Oct 10, 2013 @ 09:46:00

    Great post, Marsha! I love the layout of helping people figure out what they need, and then guiding them to tools that fit. I use Constant Contact already for email courses, and I will definitely check out LeadPages for landing pages.

    Are there any time-saving tools you’d recommend?

  59. Tom
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 15:56:20

    All of these tools listed, and nothing to keep track of what you’re doing. A good old-fashioned day timer for $20 at Staples will help keep you organized. 🙂

    Or if you HAVE to go digital, you can always use the Google Calendar.

  60. James
    Oct 21, 2013 @ 15:22:17

    Your Right about the title I was thinking why I would need to go through the whole list but I have to say this is a really great resource for anyone starting out blogging and some must have tools on the list.

    Many Thanks

  61. Kevin
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 23:26:25

    Wow, this list is incredibly helpful! I’m in the process of setting up a new blog right now and will be using many of these resources. Thanks for offering this.

  62. Sharon
    Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:16:53

    PLEASE tell me how to stop spam comments on my blog. I get hundreds and don’t know what to do about them. Thank you.

    • Mark Brinker
      Oct 24, 2013 @ 15:28:16

      Do you have the Akismet plugin installed? That will definitely help.

  63. Judy
    Oct 30, 2013 @ 08:45:19

    My soon to be launched blog and I sincerely thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. This article is a blog/life saver. Forever grateful….

    Oct 31, 2013 @ 08:28:03

    Wow, just blown away by all the practical tips and insights from your article. I will be going to many of the hyperlinks to learn more. Thanks for this sort of check list of things to do.

  65. Yusri Big
    Nov 04, 2013 @ 10:30:30

    Most people are present on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter and others. Check where we have the biggest number and most active followers and make a public announcement that we’ve started a blog that covers. Write our industry/niche there and add a link to our blog. The first readers are usually your friends, family and acquaintances. They are easy to catch online.

  66. Arbaz Khan
    Nov 12, 2013 @ 09:29:19

    Hey Martha,
    That is a great list of blogging tools. I should say that I use almost all of them, but not the ones related to the email list because I haven’t yet started working on building an email list.
    However a great post and worth referring to in the future if the need arises 🙂

  67. Petr
    Nov 13, 2013 @ 07:16:01

    Very nice list of blogging tools. I would just stress the security aspect and especially the strong password management. If you manage multiple blogs, it is inevitable part of daily routine. There are many password management apps on the market, for example Sticky Password is one of them – http://www.stickypassword.com

    • Steve Lichtman
      Nov 22, 2013 @ 18:55:03

      That’s what I love about being on a Mac now with Keychain Access.. It gives me a password above and beyond anything I could remember and jumps to all my mobile devices as well so I never have to remember anything and I’m not using “ilovegoats222” for my passwords anymore!!

  68. Steve Lichtman
    Nov 22, 2013 @ 16:57:45

    Great tips, I’m going to hammer through the list later tonight and see what I can implement on my blog.

  69. abeautifulcity
    Dec 10, 2013 @ 23:47:01

    Hi. I clicked through to HOST GATOR on your recommendation and have started an account. Thank you.

    However, I will note that if there are any errors with your HG sign up form (such as getting the CAPCHA wrong, or something) the refreshed screen will have ALL their ADD-ON services ‘ticked’ so you have to go and un-check them all.

    This is a red flag for me. Like GoDaddy. Both have scammy checkouts. Not appreciated HG.


  70. Igor Mateski
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 15:21:43

    Excellent list, THANK YOU! I found many tools that I already know and use, and it’s good to expand the toolbox with new ideas.

  71. Seven
    Jan 14, 2014 @ 13:40:13

    I am just starting in writing and this is honestly the most practical and straightforward information I have read for tools I will need. Thank-you.

  72. Merle
    Jan 19, 2014 @ 04:44:26

    Lots of great advice here Mary. Thanks for sharing all your great tips resources.

  73. Zubaida
    Jan 20, 2014 @ 09:04:03

    Nice list of tools for starters but you should add desktop editors for bloggers as well because they are easy to interact with. You can add multiple accounts manage blogs, comments, search content, images, videos and add rss feed from one platform. SmartXBlog is best desktop blogging software for windows and mac.


  74. geoff
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 00:41:32

    Marsha, well done on putting together such a comprehensive list. This is going to be a blogging 101 go to resource I’ll recommend to newbies. Wow. It certainly struck a chord given that its taken me an hour to read through all the comments. I do have a suggestion for another tool under Add a shoppping cart. It makes selling securely amazingly simple from any blog, especially WordPress. Called Selz, https://selz.com (disclosure I do work for Selz). Lots of cool features for bloggers who want to focus on blogging not spending time building and maintaining a website. Its very easy, no programming needed, just copy and paste a small bit of code.

  75. Jeff
    Jan 29, 2014 @ 11:31:30

    HostGator. Really. They are the worst. They got bought out and then throttled back everything. There are much much better hosts out there. But I see your HostGator link is an affiliate link. You’d be better off finding a real host to recommend, even if it pays you less in commissions. I can’t even read the rest of your recommendation now.

  76. Tina
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 09:07:18

    I wasn’t even thinking of a blog website before but a sort of information clearinghouse type thing. Now I see it clearly, Blogging is the way to go, and I have this excellent resource right here at my fingertips! Everything I have been reading seems to be right on with what I feel is right or seems to make such good common sense.
    Thanks so much!

  77. Krissy
    Feb 08, 2014 @ 18:05:39

    Thank you for your entry. I am just getting into the world of blogging today, and I am using your website for beginning! Thank you so much!

  78. Michel Gerard
    Feb 10, 2014 @ 21:16:35

    63 blogging tools is quite a lot thank you. I already knew a lot of them, but still managed to learn new things in this excellent article. Thank you.

  79. Jane Bromley
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 03:36:48

    Very useful. Thank you so much. It’s like a bible of good places to go.

  80. Sean
    Mar 20, 2014 @ 16:51:07

    Hi Marsha:

    Great blog post! Thank you. ElegantThemes.com is awesome! I have been using them for a little over a year, especially with their very highly customizable theme (Divi) that comes with their subscription price for new customers for $69. That includes unlimited access to all of their themes for a year! Including Divi (now their working on Divi 2.0).

    Thanks again!

  81. Pooja
    May 06, 2014 @ 01:35:29

    Thank you for the list Marsha! It’s a surefire way to start esp. for new bloggers.

    Big help!


  82. Jimme
    May 14, 2014 @ 16:43:27

    Don’t forget http://www.datacopia.com for quickly and easily throwing together charts and infographics from your CSV or Excel data.

  83. Sam Adeyinka
    Jun 26, 2014 @ 11:19:30

    Hey Marsha, it’s my first time of reading your article and I must confess that you were awesome and the long post was totally worth my while. Thanks for providing value here. 🙂

    So speaking of the tools, I for one have always believed that blogging success is synonymous with the tools we use and how much time we are willing to spend maximizing those tools.

    I mean it’s one thing to be in possession of tools and yet another to actually making use of them. What say?

    Ma’am, the tools you shared here are actually surefire in bringing desired success, but unlike my friend – Kulwant Nagi who beats everyone to the first position as the first commenter, I use little of this tools as I am not yet earning mch from blogging and so can’t get some of the paid tools. Even though I soon will be getting them for sure.

    Thanks so much Marsha for sharing this great valuable post with this great community. 🙂


  84. Walter Pinem
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 16:00:34

    bookmarked it! really complete and easy to understand post. My favorite blogging tools are MailChimp and Advanced Social Widget MailChimp Edition. It’s easy yet useful widget to generate subscribers. I should try another tools you provided above 😀

  85. Dave @ PancakeWarriors
    Aug 28, 2014 @ 19:25:26

    This was a fantastic read! Thank you for putting this all together.

  86. Garren M.
    Sep 04, 2014 @ 19:02:34

    Excellent tips on growing virtually any blog. Anyone just starting out on a blog just needs to follow these tips, let it all simmer, and will see the traffic returning!

  87. pragati
    Sep 14, 2014 @ 03:29:51

    Hello Marsha, This is such an invaluable list! I know it took me a long time to learna bout all of these. Having them all handy in one place is priceless for someone who is just starting out!

  88. Brad Dalton
    Sep 18, 2014 @ 12:41:52

    Good list.

    This is what i would add:

    1. Genesis eNews Extended plugin for email forms ( works with other themes ).
    2. S2 Member plugin for membership
    3. Limit Login Attempts plugin for security

  89. Christopher
    Oct 06, 2014 @ 06:07:55

    Okay, i’m guilty after reading this article. WordPress is really good and using Hootsuite to manage all your social media accounts is really helpful. As a blogger myself, I make sure that everything is organized and in order. Thank your for sharing this!

  90. Chaubey
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 06:35:15

    WordPress is the best CMS for all Kinda Niches and specially for technical blogging.

  91. Joseph Adamu
    Nov 05, 2014 @ 14:20:57

    Hello Marsha, Such a great read. I love how you broke down the different categories of bloggers. I found that very useful. I’ve recently starting my first blogger, and spent hours researching what I might, and might not need. Your blog helped confirm my thoughts.

  92. Surya
    Nov 07, 2014 @ 00:54:57

    Incredible! Best article on Blog setup, I’ve ever read. All informations at one place. Must read for all type of bloggers.

  93. Jenni Hill
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 10:45:09

    Thanks for such a fantastic list! Printed out and stuck on my wall. Will be ticking off the ones that are relevant to me as I go along.

  94. Anil Agarwal
    Feb 08, 2015 @ 08:33:21

    I bookmarked it for the future reference. Blogging tools not only provide you easy access to achieve your blogging goals but they offer wide range of exclusivity.

    WordPress is a bless when it comes to using wide range of tools and plugins.

    Such a huge list of tools and resources for bloggers! Great collection Jon.

  95. Louie Sison
    Mar 20, 2015 @ 01:13:06

    This is a massive useful list of blogging tools. Got it bookmarked and shared to my twitter. Thank you very much Marsha!