As bloggers, it seems to me that we constantly try to figure things out. Especially when starting out. What blogging platform to use? What email service provider? What plugins? What other tools?
That’s why I am sharing with you all the tools I use to make The Art of Blogging happen.
Blogging Platform: WordPress.com – Business Plan ($300/year)
Now, I’ve decided to go with WordPress as a platform, because even though it’s not as good looking as the others, and certainly not as fast, it’s the closest thing to a plug-and-play blogging platform. It’s user-friendly, easy to set up, and offers the best ecosystem when it comes to plugins and integrations.
Maybe you’re asking yourself this question, “Why WordPress.com?” Why not self-host a WordPress installation?
Well, I also did that, and here’s the thing: yes, WordPress.com plans have their limitations, and in most cases, you’re better off hosting your own blog, especially if you’re willing to get your hands dirty. You can start a blog for as low as $2.95/month with a hosting provider such as Bluehost or Dreamhost.
But here’s the thing… the Business plan on WordPress.com gives you almost all the same features for $25 per month (yes, you have to play yearly and that’s can be a deal breaker to some.)
You get more traffic (unlimited) and more storage and, generally, better performance for those $25/month that you get if you were to pay the same amount to self-host a WordPress blog.
If you have a bit of a following and you’re slowly gaining traction with your blog, I do recommend the Business Plan.
That being said, I believe that there are two main takeaways here:
- If you’re just starting out and don’t want to go through too much trouble, any of the other WordPress.com plans will suit you just fine, provided that you purchase a custom domain name.
- If, on the other hand, want to get the most out of WordPress for as little as possible, then you can’t go wrong with a self-hosted blog, regardless of the hosting provider you choose. You can install plugins, upload themes, and pretty much do anything you want with your platform.
Blog Theme: Goodz Magazine
Ever since upgrading to the WordPress.com Business Plan I’ve tried a bunch of different themes.
I decided to stick with this one because of its relatively modern layout, sticky navigation, and full-page mobile navigation menu.
It’s a pretty cool theme, with quite a few customization options.
Email Service Provider: MailerLite – $15/month
Choosing an email service provider for the newsletter was quite a saga. I’ve used Mailchimp, but I felt it was quite limited in many regards and rather expensive, especially if you plan on sending out quite a few emails.
What I wanted from an ESP was:
- The ability to send unlimited emails
- Transactional emails
- Out-the-box integrations with all the other tools I use
- A mobile app
MailerLite fit the bill perfectly, and it’s one of the most affordable options out there, with pricing starting from $10/month and a rather generous free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers.
I also use the same platform for The Art of Marketing‘s newsletter and landing page.
Online Store: Shopify – $29/month
Here’s the thing though:
To be honest, as a platform to sell digital products, Shopify isn’t the best out there. For instance, Sellfy or Gumroad or even Payhip offer much better integrations/options out there, especially if you want to sell digital products.
At the same time, Shopify is anything but cheap, with plans starting at $29/month, but it does offer the complete experience, customization options, and a plethora of third-party apps and integrations.
For this reason, in order to fulfill the ebooks and tutorials we sell, we also use BookFunnel (that’s an additional $10/month). It’s quite a handy tool, and it does offer you the option to send different types of ebook formats (PDF, ePUB, or Kindle) to your customers.
Learning Management System: Thinkific – $49/month
I strenuously believe that all content creators can and should create and sell online courses. After all, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry, and there’s something you can teach others, so it’s well worth the investment in time and money.
Thinkific offers all the features, integrations, and they do even have a Shopify app. I’ve also used Teachable and Podia, and I can say that Thinkific offers a better set of features at its most affordable price point than the competition.
P.S. If you click this link here you get 1 month free on Pro plan and see if Thinkific is right for you.
Another platform I use is Printful.
It’s a print-on-demand platform that allows me to design, sell, and ship prints and infographics without having to worry about production costs, keeping a stock, and so on.
It’s a rather impressive platform, and the best part? It’s free.
Writing Articles: Grammarly
One of the tools I use when writing articles is Grammarly. It’s prety useful, even though a lot of the suggestions are hit or miss.
Nonetheless, it’s far better than any other auto-correct and automated editing tool, and the free plan works just fine.
Also, there are a lot of apps, plugins, and such available from them, so you can pretty much use Grammarly on any device/platform/app you use.
Graphics: Canva Pro – $15/month
If you want an easy to use, user friendly, and intuitive app to create custom graphics/charts for your articles, then I do recommend Canva, especially if you don’t use the entire Creative Cloud suite of apps.
Article Promotion: Quuu Promote – $75/month
Quuu Promote is a platform like no other. It’s quite interesting, as it allows you to get shares for a far lower price than if you were to pay to promote your articles on social media.
Depending on the type of content you share (and your blog’s niche) you can expect to get a few hundred to even a thousand or more shares for each article you promote.
Article Promotion: Missinglettr – $58/month
Another tool I use to promote my articles after I publish them on the blog is Missinglettr and its add-on, Curate.
P.S. You can read a review of this platform here.
Missinglettr allows you to create automated social media campaigns for your blog posts, sharing images, quotes, etc. from articles across multiple days, up to an entire year. You can share your articles on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. Cool stuff.
Click here to pay only half for Missinglettr (and Curate) for the first 3 months.
These are the main tools and platforms I use for the blog. It’s not the most complicated tech stack, but it does work well, and most of these tools do integrate out-of-the-box with each other, which makes everything far easier.
Let’s talk. What tools/platforms/plugins do you use for your blog? Why do you use them? What are the pro and cons of the tools you use for your blog?
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