10 Essential resources for Blogging

Every day I use several tools and services for creating, maintaining and promoting my blog, tools that are absolutely fundamental to various aspects of the blogging process. Sure, I probably could get by without some of them…but I sure wouldn’t like to try! And I’m not referring to electricity or the World Wide Web – obviously blogging would be impossible without those!

The common denominator in this list is that they are all free, which probably has something to do with their market penetration. But their value is definitely far higher! Without further ado, here they are, roughly ranked according to how indispensable they are – although as I’ve already pointed out, I couldn’t really do without any of them:

  1. WordPress

  2. This is a no-brainer. I’ve been responsible for a traditional HTML site before, and take it from me – manually updating pages, navigation, etc and uploading updates via FTP is no joke. These days we take for granted how easy it is to publish a post using a content management system like WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, Joomla, etc.

  3. Google search

  4. I doubt a day goes by that I don’t use Google search – as I read somewhere recently, Google has become so ingrained in our culture that the word is now used as a verb (eg why don’t you just Google it?). I use it for news, entertainment, researching articles, finding other blogs, finding sources of technical help, and much more. Sure, there are other search engines, but Google’s market dominance means I never have to use them.

  5. Google Reader

  6. For keeping up with my favourite blogs and finding out what’s happening in my niche, I use Google Reader. This application is a real time and bandwidth saver, and allows me to check my feeds at home, at work and on holiday if I want. It sure beats manually visiting each site to see if it’s been updated!

  7. Feedburner

  8. Feedburner is great not only for knowing roughly how many people are consuming my feed, but also which posts are the most popular (which usually has a lot to do with the quality of my headlines), and which result in clicks through to my site.

  9. Google analytics

  10. Speaking of feedback, Analytics provides invaluable information about a site’s visitors, traffic sources, and how those visitors interact with its content. And the thing is, I only use the basic functionality – I’m sure I could learn a lot more about my site by drilling down a bit further.

  11. Akismet

  12. Spam represents the dark side of the internet, and unless you want to become a victim, you’d better protect yourself. I find Akismet extremely accurate in identifying and quarantining comment spam before it makes it onto my site. Before I installed it I was getting increasing numbers of spam messages every day, and manually moderating them (grr) – what a chore. Akismet stopped it dead in its tracks.

  13. Firefox SearchStatus addon

  14. This great little addon to Firefox gives me a high-level picture of a site’s authority with a single glance down at my status bar, revealing PageRank, Alexa and Compete rankings. It can also automatically highlight nofollow links, and tons of other stuff which is really useful when networking with other sites.

  15. AdSense

  16. Ease of use, and the fact that it’s available to just about everyone makes this the most widely-used monetization option on the net. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should.

  17. Paypal

  18. This is a great way to collect payments from your site visitors without the hassle and expense of needing your own merchant account to process credit card payments. Not only that, but loads of advertising networks and affiliate programs use it to pay partners. Also, the fact that it’s widely used on eBay means your average web user is familiar with it, and thus more likely to use it to submit a payment without fear of having their payment information fall into the wrong hands.

  19. FileZilla

  20. Last, but not least, FileZilla is incredibly handy for transferring files to your web host – images, plugins, etc. I probably don’t use it every day, but when I do need to, it certainly makes my life a lot easier.

I’m sure there are many other essential tools and resources out there – these are just the ones I could name off the top of my head. What about you? Care to share your favourite productivity tool?

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13 Responses to “10 Essential resources for Blogging”

  1. Gravatar of Marsha’s Chicago Salon Equipment 1 Marsha’s Chicago Salon Equipment

    I would add the Web Developer addon for Firefox. You can find it on http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/
    It’s a great tool, you should try it out!

  2. Gravatar of Blog for Beginners 2 Blog for Beginners

    If I were to add, I’m also using tadalist.com to keep track of what I want to do and Twitter to connect with fellow bloggers. Great list anyway, Rod..


  3. Gravatar of Make Money Blogging 3 Make Money Blogging

    I would like to suggest blog directories at least. Without getting maximum exposure, what good would a blog with great content do?

  4. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 4 Rodney Smith

    Yan: I still haven’t gotten around to trying out Twitter yet – do you find it really helps?

  5. Gravatar of Blog for Beginners 5 Blog for Beginners

    Yes, it does to a certain extent but you first need to have a substantial no. of followers for it to be effective..I think you should really consider it for now…


  6. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 6 Rodney Smith

    Ben: I’ve never used directories much – which one have you had the most success with?

  7. Gravatar of Armen Shirvanian 7 Armen Shirvanian

    These are some of the key programs and services that site owners make use of. Google has provided a few essential services, and the others come from various sources. FileZilla, and FireFTP in Firefox, are very easy to work with and make sending files to one’s site quite readily doable.

  8. Gravatar of DStudioBali Busby SEO 8 DStudioBali Busby SEO

    Twitter or Plurk perhaps a great source to gain more visitor

  9. Gravatar of Christy 9 Christy

    I’m a big fan of Feedburner. It gives you great tracking results – you can see how many people visited your site, which pages were most popular, which search terms drove them there, and all sorts of other juicy tidbits. Highly recommend it!

    Thanks for the other tips. I’ve bookmarked this page and shall refer to it again!

  10. Gravatar of Matt Helphrey 10 Matt Helphrey

    Very good tools. I use every one of them. One to add…yahoos site explorer. Gives you a quick view of your competitors to help you out with keyword selection.

  11. Gravatar of insideWebmaster 11 insideWebmaster

    I just recently discovered SearchStatus. Before this I was using some LivePR addon, and it was trash. It worked only when it wanted to. I’ve since installed SS, and it AMAZING. I can’t recommend it enough. Get it.

  12. Gravatar of SEO Services Company India 12 SEO Services Company India

    I would also recommend Google Alerts (as a way to keep track of news related to any keyword), an awesome tool!

  13. Gravatar of Dale Lobo 13 Dale Lobo

    Nice post. i recommend adding google analytics to the list!

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