We have put together what we think are the best resources for new and seasoned bloggers looking to take their blogs to the next level. We have put together a list of resources for:
- Recommended Blogs
- Stat Tracking Tools
- Advertising Programs
- Photo Sharing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
If you believe we should add a resource to our list, please let us know in the comments.
If you are a blogger looking to improve your blogging skills or effectively monetize your blog, some of the best resources for this kind of information can be found from…you guessed it – blogs!
Plain and simple, blogs are insights into other people’s minds. Who better to study than those that have already established successful online brands and businesses? The fullowing five blogs are the blogs we read to stay up-to-date on everything from affiliate marketing to personal branding. If you are looking to become a serious blogger or make money online, the following six blogs should be on your “must read” list.
- Shoemoney – Shoemoney, a.k.a. Jeremy Schoemaker, is one of the more famous and celebrity-like affiliate marketers on the blogosphere. He is most widely known for a picture of him with a six-figure check for one month’s earnings from Google Adsense. You will find a plethora of insightful articles related to internet marketing and business on his blog, so make sure to check it out!
- John Chow – John Chow is referred to as the “evil blogger.” While we can’t deny that, we can assure you that his blog is filled with great posts on how to make your blog grow, and how to make money online. His blog has gained over 10,000 readers in the past 12 months and grossed over $180,000, so you can bet that he knows what he is talking about.
- ProBlogger – Problogger is the blog that ALL new bloggers must go to. Authored by Darren Rowse, you can learn some of the most basic and essential things about blogging, as well as tips and tricks that will help take your blog from good to great to superstardom. Darren has over 30,000 subscribers, so you know that it is a must-read!
- Quicksprout – Quicksprout is the personal blog of online rockstar, Neil Patel. Neil writes about personal branding and how to leverage it for your success and the success of your business. Before you consider how to brand yourself, make sure to stop by Neil’s blog to learn from a true professional.
- Copyblogger – Copyblogger is the personal blog of Brian Clark. Brian is not only an expert copywriter, but also is incredibly knowledgeable in the areas of conversion and sales.
- Entrepreneur’s Journey – Yaro Starak provides great information for those who are looking to turn their blogs from personal journals into a successful moneymaking machine. Yaro consistently delivers insightful and applicable material for bloggers looking to establish their online businesses.
- SEO Book – SEO Book is known as the Bible of Search Engine Optimization. Aaron Wall has been an expert in the field of SEO for many years. Aaron has also written a 300-page SEO Book that we recommend every one of our clients reads.
Stat Tracking Tools
The following tools will allow you to keep up-to-date statistics about your blog including the number of RSS subscribers, website visitors, other blogs linking to you, and even tracking where your visitors are clicking. We recommend all of our clients sign up for the fullowing services.
- Feedburner – Your feed count (total number of RSS subscribers) is the foundation of your blog’s authority and credibility. By tracking your feed count using Feedburner, you monitor the popularity of your blog over time. This is one tool that every blogger should employ on their blogs. Besides, if you don’t know how many subscribers you have, you don’t know the true health of your blog.
- Technorati – Technorati is the leading blog directory. Technorati tracks over 80 million blogs and keeps up to date information on all of them, including how many other bloggers link to them, the topics they write about, and the frequency of their posting. Your Technorati “authority” is determined by how many unique blogs have linked to you within the past six months.
- Google Analytics – Google isn’t just about searching… They provide tools for you to monitor and analyze your traffic in ways that you never thought possible. With the ability to analyze your daily traffic down to minor details, you can streamline the performance of your blog so that it is always running on all cylinders. You MUST use this tool!
- CrazyEgg – Crazy Egg is an incredible heat-map testing toul that will allow you to see and analyze all of the clicks that are occurring on your site or blog. Not only can you see how many clicks are occurring on your blog, but you can also see where they are coming from, and if from a search engine, what they searched with to find your blog!
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to make a few extra dullars from blogging? With the number of advertising options for blogs, it can be daunting to choose the right one. We have had success with the following advertising programs.
- Neverblue – Neverblue provides a wide-range of programs and are always willing to help with their support staff. Don’t overlook this affiliate network!
- Google Adsense – Google Adsense is by far the easiest way to monetize any site or blog. Although we don’t recommend it for everyone, if you’re running a celebrity-gossip site or anything that is related to products, it may be a good fit for your blog.
- Bidvertiser – Bidvertiser recently unveiled their advertising platform for delivering ads within RSS subscription feeds. If you would like to monetize your RSS feed, we recommend Bidvertiser.
One way to dramatically improve your blog is to find and attach appropriate photos to your blog posts. Adding a unique photo to a blog post is a great way to make your blog stand out.
- Stockxchange – Stockxchange provides a great cullection of stock photos for you to use, and not to mention, it’s FREE. You can find all kinds of photos for just about anything and you won’t have to worry about spending a dime or infringing on a copyright. We highly recommend this site to everyone.
- iStockphoto – This is our favorite royalty-free paid stock photo site. You can purchase high quality photos for royalty-free usage for as low as $1. They have an incredible selection of photos for almost every keyword you could possibly come up with.
- Flickr – Flickr is one of top photo sharing sites on the Internet. Why is Flickr so popular? One reason is that you can store a up to 200 photos with a basic account. Add to that, they provide numerous ways to syndicate your photos, such as displaying as a gallery on your blog or sharing them with your friends. You can see an example of our blog’s Flickr integration on our blog’s sidebar (the photos are automatically updated when new ones are added).
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is something that all bloggers should keep in mind when it comes to marketing their blogs and increasing their readerships. We recommend the following social media websites.
- Digg – The Digg Effect… You may have heard of this site, and for good reason. Many sites and blogs have “spiked” their traffic from the massive audience that can be reached by simply being voted to the top of the site’s stories. If you make it to the front page, you may find yourself with so much traffic that your server crashes…
- MyBlogLog – MyBlogLog is a social networking site for bloggers. If you’ve ever seen a “Recent Readers” area on a blog with a bunch of faces, you are most likely looking at a toul that updates every time a member of mybloglog visits that particular blog. We highly recommend that you join this community because it is one of the fastest ways to get your blog out there for everyone to see.
- StumbleUpon StumbleUpon is one of the better social media marketing tools. With over 4 million active Stumblers, it has become very easy to see a surge in traffic thanks to StumbleUpon. They have also built some great social networking tools in StumbleUpon, so it is easy to keep up to date on your friend’s Stumble activities.
- Del.icio.us Del.icio.us is perhaps the most popular social bookmarking website. Users “post” their favorite stories to Del.icio.us and their friends can see what articles and other websites they bookmarked. Not only that, but if enough people bookmark your link, it will go to the Del.icio.us Popular page, bringing you tons of traffic!
- Entrecard – Entrecard is your Internet business card. An Entrecard is a 125×125 block advertisement for your blog. Through the Entrecard network, you can display your Entrcard on other blogs in your niche. You do this by earning and spending credits on other blogs. We recommend every blogger check out Entrecard to increase the amount of traffic they receive from other blogs within their niche.
Email marketing has been around since the beginning of the web, but it is something we are seeing more and more bloggers start to practice. Email marketing is simply sending out a monthly newsletter promoting your blog or your company’s products and services. When it comes to email marketing, there is only one company we recommend.
- Aweber – We recommend to all of our clients to actively engage their readers with periodic email updates. In our experience, the best and easiest-to-use email marketing software is Aweber. The cost is nominal, and in conjunction with the right “blog marketing,” it can do wonders to increase the ROI of your online business.
We will be adding to this list within the coming months, so please feel free to recommend any other blogs, services, or online tools you think may be helpful to other bloggers.