Since becoming a full-time blogger almost 3 years ago I’ve come to rely on a set of online services, apps, and software that help me run my blogs as efficiently as possible. Without these third-party tools, I’d be lost! I spend roughly $700 a month on recurring fees and I’ve probably spent close to $2000 on one time purchases. This may shock some of you but in order to make money, you’ve got to spend money!
This list doesn’t just include blogging tools for beginners, even if you’re a seasoned blogger you can benefit from some of these awesome products and services. So let’s dive straight in…
Not all website hosting companies are created equal! Your blog needs a host with reliable support so if you’re looking to start a blog or are thinking of switching hosts, I always recommend sending some support tickets to them before you commit so you can assess how responsive they are.
Here are my top recommendations:
BlueHost – You may see many mixed reviews on Bluehost but I’ve been using Bluehost for over 6 years to buy domains and host both my blogs and I’ve never had any problems. Their 24-hour customer service is really helpful (which was especially useful when my site was hacked through no fault of theirs – I had an old plugin!)
Gandi – I use Gandi to buy domain names outside of the U.S.
So the number one way to make money as a blogger is to create and sell digital products (if you’re not sure what this means or where to start, check out my #BloglikeaBoss course to learn exactly how I’ve monetized my content.) Right now my main sources of income are online courses and eBooks:
Teachable – My online courses (both free and paid) are built using Teachable. It’s easy to use as a course creator and for customers plus their online community is stellar.
Gumroad – I use Gumroad to sell my eBooks and other digital publishing products like worksheets. You can sign up for a free account but note you’ll pay Gumroad 5% more in commission for each sale you make.
Typeform – This is my absolute favorite surveying tool. While you can use free tools like Survey Monkey and Google Forms, the ability to brand and make interactive surveys that are mobile-friendly make Typeform a hard one to beat. I regularly survey my readers and customers to get feedback.
So in order to sell my digital products efficiently, I need an effective sales funnel. What is a sales funnel you ask? In short, a sales funnel is a process by which you take potential customers from awareness, interest, decision-making and hopefully, action (where they buy your product!) Here are my must-have tools:
MailChimp – I use Mailchimp to send all the marketing emails for both my blogs. It’s easy to use and reasonably priced! Perfect for building awareness of my content and products.
ClickFunnels – Clickfunnels is a great online tool to build sales pages and other page templates aimed at creating interest in your products. Clickfunnels is easy to use and they have awesome customer service.
Deadline Funnel – I use deadline funnel to create digital timers for my sites and emails. These timers are great at creating urgency and encouraging customers to make the final decision to purchase. MotionMailApp.com is a great free alternative but it doesn’t have the abiity to personalize each person’s timer like Deadline Funnel can.
Accurate analytics are a must if you want to scale your blog/business. If you’re not currently tracking what works and what doesn’t at some point you’ll inevitable plateau and you won’t know why. It’s critical that you add an analytics tool to your site if you haven’t already. Here are my preferred analytics tools:
Google Analytics – I use this, along with Google’s URL builder, to track exactly what ad campaign, social media and article links send the most traffic to my digital products and affiliates.
Bit.ly – This link shortening tool is great for reducing those unsightly and endlessly long affiliate links (or even the Google URL links used for tracking mentioned above). You can also track how many clicks each link receives but I always cross reference their numbers with Google Analytics.