Every pro has their tools they love to use. These are the tools and resources we use and recommend.
Namecheap.com – Simple and cheap domain names. This is our preferred and recommended domain registrar as they always have good prices and are simple to use.
GoDaddy.com – Probably one of the more advertised and well known domain registrars. Some people love them and some people don’t. They do have great sales every once in awhile for cheap pricing for new domains.
HostGator - This site is hosted with them. Jonathan has been using them for a while and loving them and I recently have fallen in love with them as well. They are great for beginners since they have tremendous phone and chat support, but they also offer a variety of hosting packages suitable for even mega-sites.
Bluehost – I have long recommended Bluehost since they are also a great deal for the level of support they offer. They are a bit more limited on different hosting package options. I also often purchase my domains from them as well.
WordPress – While there are many blogging platforms out there, we both believe WordPress to be the best blogging platform out there (free or paid). There are many others that can be used, but for serious bloggers we recommend WordPress.
The Thesis Theme – There are many thousands of decent free WordPress themes out there and using one to start isn’t a bad idea. But I found that having a premium theme like Thesis gave me so much more room to customize (without knowing code) and saved me a ton of time.
Once you start making a few bucks with your site, it would be a very good way to reinvest your earnings. If you get it also make sure to get the Thesis Openhook plugin – together it makes it very easy, even for newbies.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEOmoz – is one of our favorite blogs when it comes to the latest about SEO. What I love about their search engine ranking tool is that it is an online software, meaning you can access the software from anywhere. It keeps awesome graphs so you can see how your targeted keyword phrases rank over time. The tool does so much more then just keep track of your rankings. It will also tell you how to improve your site and what errors exist as well. Go get the full feature 30 day free trial today!
SEM Rush – is a powerful keyword research tool that will help you to find hidden keywords, see your competition, and deliver hundreds of thousands of keyword ideas related to your niche.
Other SEO Tools
Rank Tracker – is a complete search engine ranking software that you can turn on at a push of a button. Put in your sites address and then let the software do its thing. They offer both a free and paid version that you can use. Go here for the free software download.
Odesk.com – We love using Odesk to outsource repetitive tasks. As a blogger you know how much work is needed in running a successful blog. Odesk has workers from around the world ready to work on your tasks for less money than you think! If you are a blogger just starting out, you can use the site to find freelance work as well.
Elance.com – Another great outsourcing tool. Post your job and your budget and sit back as experts from around the world bid on your work. Outsource it so you can keep your blogging moving forward!
XHeader – This is an awesome free blog header design software. It comes with several different high quality header graphics. There is also a text editor that comes with hundreds of fonts to choose. There is also an option to upgrade which will unlock even more categories and header graphics.
99 Designs – They have an option to get a great looking (but not one-of-a-kind) logo for $100. So if you can live with someone else in the world having a very similar logo this might not be a bad idea. They also do the crowd-sourcing logo design which you can read more about in our 99 Designs Review.
Gimp - This is a great free high-powered image editor that gives Photoshop a run for it’s money. We often use it to edit and create graphics for our blogs.
Imagewell - While Gimp is a great high-powered tool, Imagewell is the opposite. It is a very quick and simple image editor that I use everyday to crop and resize images for blog posts, add watermarks, or add text or arrows to screenshots. It costs $20 and is for Macs only.
Google Fonts – Did you know that Google has over 250 free fonts that you can easily plug into your site?
Graphics Package – This is a pretty great graphics package that we downloaded to help us design our landing pages.
Flickr - This is a great site that has tons of free photos that you can use. The downsides are that you have to link back to the author image, only some of the photos are allowed to be used (those with the CC license), and it is often difficult to find a good photo.
BigStock – This is one of the cheapest stock photography sites out there. If you buy a credits package you can normally get photos for about a buck each. We like to use this when a good picture can’t be found on Flickr.
iStockPhoto – This is a pricier (but still relatively cheap) stock photography site. You will probably spend at least $10 per image, but there are a ton of options and some great looking photos there.
Productivity | Time Management
Nutshell Mail - This tool will give you email updates of everything going on with your social media profiles.
Evernote – This is pretty much the most advanced and feature-rich notetaking software tool out there. Free and highly recommended.
Freshbooks – This service allows you to set up billing and invoicing for three customers free of charge.
Dropbox – This is one of the easiest way to make your files accessible from multiple locations. They also have a share feature which comes in handy for documents that are too big to share via email.
Skype – This is one of the best free ways to communicate over the internet. This is almost exclusively how we chat with one another. Highly recommmended.
Many more blog tools to come!