I’ve created countless blogs and WordPress based sites over the last few years. During the stint of my online creations, I’ve come across hundreds of free and paid services/products that have captured my attention. Of course, many of them didn’t benefit me so I’m not going to recommend these to you. Don’t get caught up in trying to test out every single product or service that comes your way; many of them are a waste of time but some things like Optin Skin can be very beneficial to you and your site(s).
The list below is the items I’ve personally come across over the years that has helped me improve my blog in one way or another. Some of these are paid services so please don’t feel the need to buy them if it won’t help you out. These tools for bloggers should come second to your content and community building.
1. Aweber: Aweber is a great email list provider that is used by many of the top bloggers including Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Corbett Barr of Think Traffic. The paid service integrates very well with WordPress and a lot of the top plugins associated with the platform. If you don’t feel the need to pay for an email marketing provider then Mail Chimp is a great free alternative.
2. Host Gator: Host Gator is my choice for hosting on a budget. They have a great infrastructure and customer service. Plans start at under $5/month with 99.9% guaranteed uptime and other awesome features. You can read my Host Gator review and how it compared to other hosting companies!
3. Gravity Forms: Gravity Forms is a premium contact plugin for WordPress and is very rich in features such as payment integration, user registration integration, conditional elements and more. I not only use it for simple contact forms but also complex sign up forms integrated with Paypal, Aweber and User Registration.
4. Google Docs: Google Docs is a free service offered by Google. I use it to create draft of posts remotely and track my website income and expenses. The great thing about Docs is that I can access it anywhere as long as I have an internet connection.
5. Drop Box: Dropbox has been a godsend to me. I am able to backup and access my files from other computers and my iPhone! The service is free until you hit 2GB.
6. Google Reader: I subscribe to many blogs and I do so using Google Reader. This is another free service from Google that allows you to easily read your subscriptions in one place. I can allot a time in the day to sit down and catch up on the blogs I follow…a real time saver.
You see, as a Blogger, you don’t need too many tools to succeed. Your most important “tool” is your content; this should be your main focus. If you concentrate on finding the best service and products out there then your writing takes a backseat. Expand your knowledge and write unique and well thought out posts that gain traction.