Niche Site Resources – Tools of the Trade
I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for essential blogging and niche website tools and information. I am always learning and as I do, I will be updating this page often. I recommend bookmarking this page for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!
- WordPress: The #1 blogging platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of my niche site blogs utilize WordPress.
- The THESIS Theme: This is the WordPress theme and framework that my niche sites run on. Thesis provides out-of-box search engine optimization, faster page load times, maximum readability to engage and hold reader’s attention, point-and-click design and lots of online resources/support.
- Fiverr: Do you need a website logo or banner created? Perhaps some blog content or a YouTube video? You can find all that and lots more, all for only $5!
- Webhosting Hub: My niche sites, including this one, are all hosted on Webhosting Hub. Easy to use, 1-click automatic WordPress installation, unlimited MySQL/WordPress sites, excellent customer service, 90 day full money back guarantee and I negotiated to get you their lowest available price anywhere, starting at $3.95/month. Highly recommended for your first site.
- InMotion Hosting: If you are already have a ton of traffic and are looking for the next level up, I’d recommend checking out InMotion hosting. They offer a number of additional services such as Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and Dedicated Server hosting. InMotion is the parent company of Webhosting Hub.
- Amazon Affiliate Program: Make money by linking to and providing reviews of products available through Amazon.com.
- Clickbank: Excellent site to find products or services to promote and receive a commission.
- Commission Junction: Another site similar to ClickBank offering additional products and services to promote.
- Market Samurai: The number one tool for keyword research available, hands down. Check out my posts on Keyword Research and SEO Competition for step-by-step tutorials on how to set yourself up for success online utilizing Market Samurai.
- Google Adwords Tool: A tool to help you decide what keywords to use for your Adwords campaigns. You can also check to see the popularity of certain keywords and the competition for ads for those keywords as well.
Essential WordPress Plugins
- Optin Skin Plugin: Excellent plugin from Glen Allsopp, ViperChill blogger, that allows you to easily create opt-in email subscription and social media sharing boxes for your blog to increase your email list and drive traffic your way. Check out my full Optin Skin Plugin review for further specifics.
- Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. It will also notify the search engines anytime you create a new post/page (free).
- CommentLuv: Add-on to the default WordPress comment system that rewards your readers by allowing them the option to place a link to one of their recent blog posts at the end of their comment (free).
- FD Feedburner Plugin: Redirects your main RSS feed and optionally the comments feed to Feedburner.com. It does this seamlessly without the need to modify templates, all existing feeds simply become Feedburner feeds seamlessly and transparently for all users
- All in One SEO Pack: If you utilize the Thesis Theme that I mentioned in the blogging paragraph at the top, you do NOT need this plugin. All of the SEO optimization is already built into the Thesis Theme. However, if you are not yet utilizing the Thesis Theme, you can utilize this plugin to help you with SEO.
- Google Adsense: Make money by placing relevant ads on your website that are generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.
- Google Adwords: If you want to begin advertising on Google, you can select keywords and locations and you pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.
- Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool. A must have for anyone with any type of website.
- Google Optimizer: This is another free tool from google where you can test different webpages of the same content, only changing one or two things, so you can see which one works/converts best. It’s basically a website optimizer testing tool.
For Capturing Video / Screencasts and Image Manipulation
- Camtasia Studio for PC: Excellent program for creating videos of your PC screen for use in tutorials and webinars. 30 day free trial available.
- Camtasia for Mac: For Mac users. 30 day free trial available.
- CamStudio: Free open source program for creating screen capture videos on a PC. I have not actually utilized this version, but I wanted to make you aware there is a free version out there.
- Gimp 2: Free image editing software that I dare say, rivals Adobe Photoshop. I liked it so much that I actually removed Photoshop in favor of this software because it ran so much faster and did everything I utilized Photoshop for. I believe it is PC only.
- Cool Text: Free Logo and Graphics Generator
- FreeDigitalPhotos.net: Great place to find royalty free and in most cases, completely free, images to use for your blog or website. The only catch is that you will need to provide a link to the digital artist’s portfolio and give credit similar to what I did for the image at the top of this page. Seems reasonable to me.
- PhotoDune.com: Inexpensive high quality photos, great selection, most are just $1 or $2