I began blogging in 2004. You could say I have a little experience.
I’ve started blogs, and let them die. I’ve begun blogs that seemed like a good idea, only to rebrand them later. And I’ve launched blogs and sold them.
The blogging tools and resources below are the ones I use and recommend. Please note that some links are affiliate. I would love for you to use them, as a ‘thank you’ for sharing the wisdom I’ve gathered through the ages. (13 is ancient in blog years!) But seriously, the wee bit I earn helps me continue to learn more- and share it.
I am not going to write a lot about each tool, but am happy to answer questions you may have- just drop an email to JLHalsted(at)halstedenterprises(dot)biz
I publish all my websites on WordPress. Not the free .com version, but the ‘I’m really serious and investing in my business’ .org version. It’s free, but you do need to purchase hosting & URL.
My sites are all hosted at MediaTemple. I’ve never had a problem with my sites going down or corrupting. The Grid hosting is an affordable way to begin, and they also offer managed WordPress hosting. Use this link to get 20% off your first month of service.
Don’t forget to purchase SSL through your blog host. Many will set it up for you, or assist you in the process.
I usually purchase my URLs through GoDaddy. Prices are comparable to other outlets and, as it’s where I began, I like to keep everything in one place.
I use Sucuri for virus protection and full daily backups. It’s not cheap, but it has saved my websites more than once. Think of it as insurance for when the worst happens. And it will.
My websites are designed by Deanna Garretson, the Design Chicky.
Social Media Tools
Pinterest is often my #1 referrer to my websites- there are months it even beats Google! I use Tailwind for scheduling at optimum times and amounts. Tailwind works closely with Pinterest and follows the API rules- which is incredibly important. Get a $15 credit when you use this link.
I use Later for scheduling my business Instagram posts. Though I’ve tried other apps, this is the one I came back to for 2 reasons- a great phone app for iPhone and Android and the linkin.bio feature which makes it possible to link each image to its own article or web page.
Sprout Social is my sharing platform of choice. With it’s combination of business and personal account setting, inclusion of all major social platforms, and top-notch reporting, it has been irreplaceable for targeted social sharing.
For my evergreen post sharing on Twitter and Facebook I use Post Planner for it’s re-queue feature.
SEM Rush is an investment but the results it can bring to your business are mind-blowing. Analytic reports, keyword tools, deep link analysis, project tracking. Once your website begins to earn a little money this is an investment, even for a short term, that will pay off.
Other Business Tools
I use MOO for my business cards. They are impressive and memorable. Not to mention fabulous quality.
I shoot the majority of my photos with an Olympus E-PL7. I like the size of the micro 4/3 camera and the ability to change lenses. My favorite lens is the 14-150mm telephoto. It rarely leaves my camera as it is a terrific all-around lens.
I adore my GoPro Hero 5. The voice commands and touch screen make this so easy to use. (Amazing compared to my old Hero 3.) It also has the ability of shooting video and photos simultaneously- a terrific asset if you are active!
I tote my camera gear in a Kelly Moore camera bag.
To keep myself on task I use a Bullet Journal. Very ‘low tech’ but it’s the most flexible system I’ve found and it’s the only one I’ve stuck with.
I also have a massive white board (truly huge 4 feet tall and over 5 feet wide) in my office. On it is a 3 month calendar. Each quarter is laid out and planned, then goals for that period are written out- and marked off when completed. It also has loads of space for ideas, personal goals, and maybe a fun drawing if my youngest feels creative. Again, not very ‘high tech’ but it’s highly visible and keeps me working toward the big picture.
Invest in Education
Productivity/ Time Management: Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews
Pinning Perfect by Blog Clarity is the best Pinterest course I have taken. Hands Down
Media Kit Smash by Blog Clarity is a terrific step-by-step resource for creating and perfecting your media kit- a must for brand partnerships and sponsorships.