I’ve always been looking for a great life/work balance…
…And I know I have to be productive to work less and earn more.
So, I use a selective set of blogging tools that help me run my business blog.
I am quite happy because I earn $10~$20 CPM with ad networks with my blog. Combined with affiliate programs, it goes up to $56 RPM (Revenue per thousand visitors).
In this post, I’ll list the best blogging tools I am using.
Best Blogging Tools In My Toolbox
I choose awesome free tools over paid tools with features I won’t use. One-time payment over residual charges. I pay for subscriptions services only when it is a must.
Web Hosting Tools
My site is hosted on TDWS since 2015. And I am a happy customer.
- my site is loading fast even if I added 8 banner ads on each page.
- I can reach out to customer support anytime to get customized and expert help.
- Plans start at $3 per month and they have awesome services: Cloud, Dedicated and shared servers.
- I can upgrade and downgrade without cost.
- There’s no limit on visits. Plans are limited by bandwidth.
You may want to read: How To Start A Self-hosted WordPress Blog?
I buy my domain names on Godaddy and NameCheap. Namecheap is cheaper. It’s $9.88 per year for a domain with free WhoIs guard for the first year. Compared to $15 on GoDaddy.
AskEustache.com domain is bought from GoDaddy. ElmisePC.com, my fiancee domain, is bought on NameCheap.
This is the free CDN I am using to back up my hosting service.
- It makes it easy to integrate my site with Ezoic to boost my ad income.
- It speeds my site with cache services, servers all around the web and script services.
- And it turns ON the protocol HTTPS/SSL on my blog easily.
Email Marketing Tools
This is the cheapest email marketing service I found that has the features most bloggers want.
- It is free for up to 1000 subscribers and you can send unlimited emails per month.
- Paid plans start at $10 per month and it is still cheaper than most email programs when you grow.
- it has advanced email automation. You can send auto-responder email sequences even with the free version.
- You don’t pay for unsubscribed users you did not delete unlike many programs.
- it has landing page, custom email forms, auto resend, automated RSS campaigns and more.
Create your free account on MailerLite.com.
Recommended Reading: How to Grow Your Email List with Targeted Subscribers.
This is the opt-in tool I use to collect email addresses. It has the most advanced features a blogger needs such as:
- show the right opt-in forms using precise targeting based on posts, tags and categories.
- pre-made beautiful design plus drag and drop designer to get it done in minutes.
- has scroll-mat, sticky top bar, inline post form, sidebar and much more options to display sign up forms.
- advanced reporting
- smart links to stop asking subscribers to subscribe
- exit and smart triggers to display forms
- and much more…
I said, ‘please take my money’, when I see that it is offered at one-time low price for lifetime updates. Not recurring monthly charges like many other premium list-building plugins.
Learn more about ThriveLeads.
I used Sumo.me to collect emails. It collects up to 500 subscribers for free. Then you have to update for the pro plan for unlimited emails.
I list it because with the pro plan, you save huge money collecting unlimited subscribers for the same price if you just send auto-responders.
Otherwise, you’ll still need email software and ThriveLeads would be a better choice. PS: Comparing list-building features. Sumo.me does more than that.
SEO and Search Engine Marketing Tools
This is my preferred SEM tool to gather effective keywords, analyze the market to get more search engine traffic. It helps you to:
- perform deep keyword and competitor researches.
- Find low competitions keywords sites like reddit, Quora, Pinterest are ranking for.
- Analyze your competitors to find keywords you could rank for.
- Audit your site backlinks and find opportunities to build new ones.
It helps me find high CPC and profitable keywords for my blog and my t-shirt business.
SemRush has a free version with limited features. You can use it free to track your most important keywords rank; perform keyword research; site audit and more.
Unlock the power of Semrush with a paid plan.
- You can start a free 7 days pro trial without credit card here. You’ll switch to free after the 7 days. Or…
- I got you a 14 days free trial code. You have to enter your payment info. Start your free 14 day pro trial now. Your first payment will occur after if you don’t cancel.
I use these tools to gather keywords to optimize my existing posts to get more blog traffic.
The free Google Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, helps me discover keywords my posts are ranked for on Google. I can update my posts to rank higher for keywords I did not initially target.
SEO Power Suite, with his tool called Rank Tracker, helps me to gather related keywords in one place. I can gather keywords from Google suggest, Google related keywords, Bing, Yahoo, etc…
I can then remove duplicate, group them, and target my most related keywords based on search-intent.
It is free until you want to save your reports or run tasks automatically and generate reports. Download it for free or buy a pro version.
This WordPress SEO plugin helps me get the work done for one site Search Engine Optimization.
- I can add meta tags to my website automatically.
- get suggestions and a checklist when I am writing content.
- Add data that customize the appearance of social shares, search engine listing, etc…
I use Google Analytics to track how my posts perform. I can see which page are most popular; which one get a high bounce rate and need improvements. Doing so, I indirectly SEO my blog by optimizing user engagement.
To read more on this: 10 Free SEO Tools To Grow Your Organic Traffic.
Social Media Marketing Tools
I use this social sharing tool to load quick sharing buttons on my site with strong features. It helps me:
- set customized images to be shared on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
- recover shares if I switch protocols (HTTP to HTTPS) or change permalink structure.
- show aesthetic, fast, and responsive buttons that are always visible making sharing easier for visitors.
- add UTM tracking to shares so you can track performance on Google Analytics.
You can get it for free. If you want to get twitter share and share recovery, you have to get Social Warfare Pro for $29/year.
I focus on a selected social networks to be active on everyday. I socialize once a week on the others. So, I use IFTTT (If This Than That) to automate my social shares. It is a powerful tool; and it’s free.
Pinterest is more a strategic social network where you can get higher outcome. It is more a search engine for visual than a social media.
Several Bloggers gets more than 100,000 pageviews per month from Pinterest. So, it is a powerful tool to get more traffic to your blog.
I Use BoardBooster to schedule and automate my sharing on Pinterest.
If you did not, start your account today. You first 100 pins are free. Then, you’ll pay $0.01 per pin published. Pro plans start at $5 per month for 500 pins.
Video Marketing Tools
This is the clip-on mic I use to record audio for my videos. It works on smartphone, Iphone, and computer. It gets higher quality audio, reduce noise and make it easy to put a certain distance between you and the camera for better videos.
I don’t really like being in front of a camera. I use this software to create whiteboard, and pro animated videos. It costs $59 per year.
I use it for template such as video intro and outro. It helps me with basic editing editing as well.
This is a YouTube plugin that makes it easy to found popular tags and keywords on YouTube to get more video views. It is free until you need pro features…
Online Programs I Use to Make Money
I am using Ezoic to display ads on my blog. It is linked with adsense. It has a few ad networks competing so the best paying one is displayed on my blog.
I use them because:
- it allows me to add affiliate banners with fixed price to compete with low paying ads. (Tip: Don’t set it too high. For Ex: I set some low paying countries to $0.90 CPC minimum or $2.5 CPM).
- it fixes the SSL mixed content error I got when only CloudFlare was installed on my site.
- it tests ad sizes and placements automatically on pre-authorized positions based on revenue potential.
- I get access to tens of premium publishers.
- It’s free.
- It has flexible payment methods: Payoneer, PayPal, cheque. Minimum payout is $20.
I earn up to $15 per thousand visitors with Ezoic. I have seen publishers getting up to $40 RPM.
I am using them alongside Media.net banner ads.
Most ads are paid on CPM basis. So, you need a blog with 10,000 monthly pageviews to get accepted. Create your account on Ezoic.com now.
Media.net: This is the best CPC ad network I found that can make you as much or more money than adsense among regular ad networks. I get up to $40 CPM with some banner ads on my blog.
There’s technically no minimum requirements to join. However, you have better chance to get accepted if you get U.S traffic.
Create your account today for free. Get 10% bonus for your first 3 months using the previous link.
Get More Done. Get a better Work/Life Balance
I am a solopreneur. I do everything on my blog:
- installing WordPress and designing themes.
- keyword research and content writing.
- online marketing like social share, building backlinks, and community promotion.
- and more…
I have a side day job. But I still have time for my friends and family. Feeling no burn-out.
Thankfully I can use these mostly free blogging tools. I could not do it without them.
It’s true. It helps me to live a somehow frugal life. And I never lose my objective in sight: get more time free. So, I keep my income goal reasonable.
If you get co-worker, if you hire freelancers, you can get even more done using those tools.
Strive to get more done smarter than harder.