Over the course of my blogging, there are some tools I use that I could not blog without. These are the products I have used to grow my blogs and to continue to improve upon techniques for the future.
WordPress.org – Self-hosted WordPress is the only way to go (in my opinion) if you want to get serious about blogging. Not only is it free to download, but there are a ton of different plugins and themes to really make WordPress look like something you can call your own. Even big name companies are using WordPress as a full CMS these days. That should let you know how powerful this platform has really become.
Sliqua – At the bottom of my blogs, you will see a link that says “Wicked Fast Hosting by Sliqua” and that is because it is true. The crew over at Sliqua keep my blogs up and running 24/7 with incredible backups. You pay for that speed and top level service, but…in my world…downtime is money so I am willing to pay a little bit more to get that security.
WooThemes – I have used WooThemes for several blogs (incl. the theme currently live on RobbSutton.com) and I have found their back end management and support top notch. With some simple customizations, you can really make your blog look professional and unique.
Aweber – Aweber is the only newsletter/email distribution service out there in my opinion and having a solid email list will be your greatest asset as a blogger. Aweber has incredible delivery rates, great service, useful features (lightbox hovers, form builders, stat tracking) and great prices. You can start out for only $1. I use Aweber on every single one of my blogs.
MacBook Pro – I am a Mac junkie…so it would make sense that I am running everything on a 15.4″ MacBook Pro with 4 gigs of ram. I don’t know what I would do without it honestly. My entire online life is compiled on the MBP and my iPhone 3GS. My blogging would me much harder without either of those tools.
iPhone 3GS – My iPhone 3GS brings my blogging mobile. With apps to take care of just about everything, I can completely manage my blogs where ever I am. That…and a little software crack…also allow me take my high power tasks mobile as well. 😉
CyberDuck – CyberDuck is a Mac program that handles all of my FTP file transfers. It has an easy to use interface and – best of all – it is free! When it comes to uploading files to my servers, I could live without this rubber duck in my dock.
Blog Mastermind – Early in my blogging, I was seeing a moderate amount of success but I knew I needed to fine tune my processes. I signed up for the Blog Mastermind program and the rest is history. Was I doing a lot of the chapters in Blog Mastermind already? Yes…but it helped me fine tune what I was doing and introduced more valuable blogging information and techniques that would have taken awhile to figure out on my own.
Ramped Blogging – Yes…I use the ebook I published as a resource to improve my own blogging. As much as we all wish we could remember everything to do at all times…that just isn’t possible. So, I created Ramped Blogging as a resource for myself (188 page cheat sheet) as much as I created it to help out other bloggers.
Tweetie for iPhone – The latest version of Tweetie for the iPhone has really streamlined my Twitter use by making it easy to accomplish almost all Twitter tasks on the move. Let’s face it…the times you want to update Twitter the most are when you are away from your computer. Tweetie gets that done for me.
OiOPublisher – If you are ever planning on selling direct advertising on your site, OiOPublisher is a must have. This cheap plugin (available as an easy to use WordPress plugin and works on other platforms) allows you to sell your ad space directly on your site and bill for reoccurring payments through Google Checkout, PayPal and others. It also tracks stats and automatically rotates your ads to make sure they do not get stale to your readers.
InDesign – I have been asked multiple times how I make my eBooks really pop. Adobe InDesign is an extremely powerful app from Adobe that creates incredible looking PDF files. I know…its expensive, but take a look at Ramped Blogging and Ramped Reviews…and that is just scratching the surface of what InDesign is really capable of.