Essential Products And Services For Bloggers

Because WordPress itself is free software, often that fact can lead people just getting started online to believe that everything else you need to use WordPress should also be free. Please know this is not the case. You will need some paid products and services to run a successful website.

Here is a list of the some products and services I use as part of my business.

Email, Cloud Apps And Cloud Storage

I use G Suite. This is an absolutely essential service. You may use some other paid email system, but G Suite from Google is my favourite and I recommend you use it too.

You can of course get a free Google account, which will come loaded with all the associated Google services such as Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Google Drive and more. But they are limited - so after some time you Gmail account will fill up, your Google Photos account will fill up and so will your Google Drive.

Before you know it, you'll have to set up another free account, using a different email address, so you can start again. After several years of this it gets tired. So just don't go there. Decide on your main business domain, and set up your G Suite account to use that.

Advantages of G Suite

The advantages are many - but the main ones I appreciate are

  • Data security - store everything in the cloud so if you lose your computer or its disks, you won't lose your data.
  • Access your data anywhere
  • A proper business email address (so [email protected] rather than [email protected])
  • Unlimited space to store email, documents, spreadsheets etc
  • And last but not least, (this is huge) - unlimited, safe and secure space in which to store WordPress site backups for myself and all my clients.

Email List Software

You will need something to allow you to contact people who have visited your site, and who want to be contacted. Many people will visit a website and then forget they ever saw it, so never visit again. They know this, so if they like your site they may well sign up to be prompted when you have new content because of the fear of missing out. Yeah - that's right. If your content is that good that people will fear missing it, you can't afford not to do use some sort of email list or RSS software

You can sign up to email list software like Active Campaign which offers some CRM features and quite a bit of sophistication or instead a simple RSS feed service like FollowIt. You have to do one or the other. Either one will achieve the same result. People who sign up will be notified of when you publish new content. This means they'll come to your site to read it.

Photo Editing Software

I use Photoshop. It's available as a monthly subscription, but if that doesn't appeal to you, you can get Affinity. You will have to get into photo editing and photo manipulation, as well as simple logo making. You can of course pay someone else to create logos for you, and you might be better off doing that. But if you want to create simple ones for yourself as I do, then getting familiar with a graphics editing package is your bets option. Also you will be forever needing to edit and manipulate photos ... you can't get someone else to do that for you. It isn't practical.

The advantage of Affinity is that is a one off cost and you get free upgrades for life. I haven't used it myself but all the the reviews say it's great. Speaking for myself, I'm not sure I can ever wean myself off Photoshop.

Simple Stats

You will probably use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your site's traffic and performance. Google Analytics is deep and it's not easy to understand everything you'll see there at first glance.

However, for an everyday look at stats, I use Clicky. Clicky is free but if you want more features and more information, then it is best to upgrade to a paid version. It's easy to use and very visual and doesn't cost an arm and a leg like many of the other more visual tools.

SEO Software And Keyword Research

As a blogger you'll normally be interested in search engine optimisation. Sadly, SEO has become harder to execute in recent years as Google tends to favour larger, super deep sites. When you start out with your tiny blog, it won't immediately gain traction with search engines - especially Google. You're going to have to work at it.

To this end you will need SEO tools to help you. I use a number of them. You can sign up for the free tools at ahref's Site Audit, or the paid tools at Neil Patel's website. But, in my opinion, the most all around useful tool is SEMRush.

SEMRush allows you to check your site for technical errors, as well as do keyword research. SEMRush is a paid tool, but they provide in-depth SEO training, which is all free. Most other keyword research and SEO tools base their results on data bought from SEMRush.

If you buy SEMRush then you can use it to do all your keyword research. If however like me you sometimes just want something a little easier to use, then you can get Mangools Tools. Mangools performs keyword research, site audits and more. It's a kind of beautifully presented, easy to use, mini version of the key elements of SEMRush ... and also costs less.

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