The most popular content management platform in the world. I highly recommend using wordpress whenever possible for the aspiring blogger. You’ll find that there is a lot of support from the community if you run into any bugs. The other benefit is that there is a number of plugins available for wordpress that will make your life easier.
Livewriter (Windows Only)
This is one of the few products where I think Windows just knocked it out of the park. It is a third party blogging program that allows you to write your blog post offline. You can preview your post and upload it right into your blog. You can select your categories and tags right from the program. You can also create links easily and drag and drop images into your post. It’s simple and easy to use. Best of all it’s free!
If you are on a Mac I found that Marsedit is every bit as good as Livewriter. I prefer using a Mac, so I am always on Marsedit. You can drag and drop images, easily create links, manage tags and categories, save local drafts, and much more. I’ve tried all the different third party blogging software for the Mac. Marsedit is definitely the best blogging program on the Mac. Unfortunately, this is a paid program costing $39.99 from the Mac store. I loved it enough that I felt it was worth the price tag. However, you can try the 30 day free trial and see how it works out for you before you make the decision to upgrade.
Your webhost is the engine that runs your blog. It can make the difference between a good and bad user experience. I’ve tried out some different web hosting options. In the beginning, I had a host that was cheap, at $3.50 a month. However, I found that over time, they were inconstant and subject to server errors and slow load times.
In the end, I switched over to Hostgator. I found that the transition was seamless, in that they offer free transfer of your files and domain registration for new accounts. I was in constant contact with their technical support during this time. They answered all my questions and got my blog transfered over quickly. Once I got to Hostgator, I noticed a difference in my blog’s load time right away. No more hesitation and stuttering when I went to the url. I also saw a jump in traffic the very next day. Although it’s hard to say this is directly related to the change in my hosting provider, the timing is oddly coincidental.
While Hostgator isn’t the cheapest host around, they are reasonable at a monthly rate of $8.96 or less depending on the contract, you do get what you pay for. In this case, great customer support, speed and reliability.
You can use my coupon code to get $9.94 off when you sign up for their service.
Coupon Code: richescorner
This is the theme that I use currently. It’s an excellent free theme work with premium features. You can select from a number of different style child themes and personalize it if you know a bit of css. The themes have SEO features built in. In addition, I find that they have a very clean visual style and are compatible with just about every wordpress plugin you can find. A very good option when you are just starting out. While all the themes are free, they do have a paid membership area for support.
If you are looking for a premium theme, there are only a couple that I would recommend. Thesis is the first. Thesis themes pride themselves on their simplicity of use, out of the box search engine optimization, faster page load times, maximum readability to engage and hold reader attention, and point and click design and font controls. Thesis themes are quite popular amongst the blogging community and when you see their design gallery, you can definitely see why.
Woo themes is the other premium theme that I really like. They have a showcase of really beautiful theme designs. They themes are also easy to set up and have search engine optimization and other functionality in addition to their stunning design. They deliver 2 new themes monthly, so you can always find a new fresh look for your blog.
Putting a job board on your blog is a great way to get traffic and provide extra value to your blog visitors. In addition, a job board can bring in some extra passive income for your blog or website. Job boards often pay out in two ways.
Some will pay out whenever someone finds a job and applies through your website. Others will earn by charging a small fee for posting on your board. The Donanza Project Board allows you to both set a price for individuals to post on your job board as well as paying out whenever someone applies for a job. This way you are earning through both methods.
In addition, if you are running a new blog and have not had any project listings yet, Donanza keeps a complete backfill of projects that are aggregated from reliable sources. You are still paid whenever someone applies for a backfill project. This feature keeps your job board constantly populated.
The Donanza Project Board is an excellent choice if you are looking to get more traffic, give more value to your visitors, while at the same time earning passive income.
Mylikes is a program that allows you to post ads through your social network. You get paid per click on your ads. They calculate their payout rates based on your influence throughout your social network and generally provide a very generous rate. For example, in my case, my payout rate is $0.44 per click.
Mylikes also supplies a large variety of quality advertisers to chose from.
The biggest advantage is that Mylikes pays out every friday with a payout threshold of only $2.00. This makes Mylikes one of my most consistent paying affiliate programs.
This is a program that has really taken off for me in the last few months. I like Sponsored Tweets because you can set your price for a single tweet. That way when someone sends you an offer, you know exactly how much you will be paid per offer. It’s not based on clickthroughs. I’ve found that recently the offers from Sponsored tweets have been much more consistent for me. I set my price relatively low at $4 a tweet, but I will receive several offers each week. I can generally hit the payout threshold of $50 each month. If I find that I’m a bit short, they also have a pro upgrade for $1.25 a month that lowers the payout threshold to $25. The premium upgrade is also supposed to feature your offers more prominently to advertisers, so you get more opportunities to earn. Overall, I’m generating very steady income with this program.
If you are looking into building up your twitter following, twiends is a very good service for quickly gaining twitter followers. They work on a point system. You gain points when you follow other twitterers from their site. Then you can offer your points in exchange to get other twitter followers. The only downside is that sometimes followers from Twiends may unfollow you quickly. Despite that, this is a great service for giving you a quick boost in followers.
This is a great twitter management service. Tweepi allows you to easily follow other people’s followers and you can clean out your twitter account from people who are not following you back. This is really useful when you hit your follower limit. You’ll want to use a quick and easy tool to flush the non-followers.
Socialoomph provides several different services to help you manage your social media accounts. In particular, their free service includes the ability to auto DM new twitter followers. This is a really great way to send a quick thank you message to your new followers and direct them to your website. In addition, they also have a premium service to automatically assist you in building up your social media following.
Email Subscription and Marketing
The money is in the list. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase. When I first started this blog, I searched far and wide for a reliable mailing list provider. My main concern was to find a program that provided features such as an auto-responder and an easy to use newsletter creator. My third criteria was that I was searching for a free entry level tier as I knew that it would take time to build up my mailing list.
I tried out may different options before discovering a service simply named Your Mailing List Provier. Unlike other programs, they offer a free entry tier that allows me to have 1000 contacts and 1000 emails per month. The entry level service came fully featured, as opposed to some gimped down unusable version that other services provide.
The control panel was straight forward, informative and easy to use. Finally, I found that the paid options once I reached a subscriber count above 1000 is quite affordably priced, starting at $3.75 per month. Sign up for Your Mailing List Provider.
Definitely a must. Google Analytics is a great robust service that allows you to really see all the ins and outs of your website. You can see what your traffic is doing on a day to day basis and use the information to improve your website’s performance. The only downside is that it doesn’t give real time statistics, so if you are looking for real time stats, you’ll want to supplement Google Analytics with a third party service.
It’s rare that a product can go head to head with a similar google service and come out ahead. In this case, Getclicky really does a fine job of supplying real time analytics for a website. Even though I check in on my google analytics from time to time, Getclicky is the go to service that I use to check in on my site on a regular basis.
The main advantage of getclicky is the real time analytics. I can tell immediately what is happening on my site. In addition, it gives me day by day comparisons of my traffic, so I can tell at a glance my regular peak and low times. This comes in real handy when I want to chose a time to post, I can aim for right before my normal peak times. Also, I can do things such as maintenance during my low times.
Not to mention that it’s just plain fun to see my blog’s stats in real time!
Affiliate and Advertising Networks
If you are looking to Monetize your website. A good place to start is with some affiliate programs. I like commission junction as they have a large variety of merchants. In addition, they have many reputable merchants that people will recognize immediately. There’s a lot to be said for branding and if you can support a merchant that already has some brand recognition, it will be that much easier to convert on their products.
This is the other large affiliate network that I recommend. Much like commission junction, Linkshare provides access to a large number of very recognizable merchants. For example, you can find the Walmart and iTunes affiliate programs here. The other benefit is that they support a large number of merchants that offer rss feeds. This is particularly useful for setting up automated feeds of the deals or offers for your affiliate programs.
If you want to include contextual advertising on your website or blog, google adsense is one of the best programs. Their algorithm is very accurate for reading your content and serving up related ads. This is a very good program for niche sites.
Just to round out the different types of advertising networks available. Adfly is a great link shortening service that gives you the ability to monetize any link. They place an advertisement in the link that you are shortening and you get paid per view. They have a low monthly payout threshold of $5 and are very consistent with their payments. You can use their service with a variety of online methods to maximize your revenue.
If you are looking to make money online, you’ll definitely want to get a paypal account. The reason is that many affiliate networks will payout to your paypal account. In many cases, it’s the preferred method of payment. That means that your networks will offer incentives, such as lower payout thresholds if you accept payments through paypal. I find that it’s a really good way for me to manage my money and keep track of how much I am earning and spending on my blogging business.
The other investment that I use and recommend is peer to peer lending through lending club. Peer to peer lending allows you to invest your money directly in a borrower and earn income based on the interest they are paying on the loan. Lending club takes care of all the loan collection and credit checking details. You just select the investment and start earning. The big benefit is that they indicate an average rate of return of over 9% on your investment. I have a more aggressive strategy and and been earning over 16% interest on my investments. I’ve been investing with them for over a year now and have seen my money earn consistently for me.
This is the book by Problogger Darren Rowse. This is a really great workbook for the aspiring blogger. It takes you day by day and gives you advice and projects that you can use hands on with your blog to build a better blog. I think this is one of the most practical and useful books for building up your blog.
This is a collections and stories, blog posts and tips for new bloggers. It’s written by yours truly. It was my first ebook. For a first attempt, you may find the book a little rough around the edges, but it’s an honest look and example of blogging for the beginner. Of course, the proceeds of the sales of this book goes towards the continued operation of Riches Corner. So, if you enjoy this blog, take a look at this book.