Today I will teach you about what kind of tools bloggers need. When you first set out, you have a successful blog, you have to know many things about blogging tools and software and hardware perhaps. This will be the topic of my teaching today.
The first thing that I obviously bloggers need is to have a website. A website where they would set up a blog and publish articles, post and other important information, content. For this in order to happen, you have to have the domain, domain name which could be a generic domain name in your area, in your niche.
Or it could be something fancy less understandable, something that people might want to ask about you. Or it could be simply your name. This is the first thing you need to know. Obviously, to choose the right platform for blogging.
Today, blogging world is so advanced and so sophisticated that literally, there are hundreds, or around thousands of possibilities to choose the right blogging platform. Some of them are free, some of them are paid. In my opinion, it really doesn't matter what kind of platform do you use. As long as it is reliable and as long as you're comfortable with working with it.
Basically, you have to know how it works, how it functions. It has to be easy to use. I have experience with Weebly platform and that's what worked for me. Other people of course admire what's best today and other platforms. Of course, there is not a lot of difference between them. All of them are very easy to use and they're user sensitive and they're easy to manage for non-tech person. Because in earlier days, you had to know HTML, you have to know how to program. Today, basically, you just drag and drop in this kind of interfaces, very easy to use.
If you are stuck in your blog, basically, even before you can blog, you have just a general idea how to start about the blogging but you don't know what kind of platform would you choose. I suggest you simply go to the most popular one and don't bother too much about it. Don't stress out, don't think about it.
Because later, if you don't like, you can even switch and that's completely acceptable. Switch and even migrate your blogging platform to the more advanced which is more needed to your more advanced purposes later on. I would say, the more important thing is to choose it quickly, to set up your platform, to set up the first post, to set up the domain and that's what you need to know for the beginning.
Then, you could really start and produce great blog content. Some of the mistakes people of course make in choosing the platform is if they go to the cheapest one or the free one, sometimes, the free solution is not the best. Because they have perhaps limited amount of space, limited amount of bandwidth, limited amount of possibilities, limited media.
Even when you choose let's say Weebly, they have plans and price and there is options to upgrade. If you are in the long term for successful blogging, you have to choose the right tools for the beginning. I would invest a few dollars a month just to have the right tools.
Because if you are using free platform, then, you cannot really complain if something goes wrong with that platform. If the owner of that platform decides to shut it down and you lose your content. If you're paying your actually deserving your own platform and basically you are owning your own platform. That's much more valuable in the long run.
2. Social Media
The next thing that bloggers need is of course, social media profile, social media accounts. In today's world, of course, there are hundreds of social media. A platforms, not all of them are equal in value and in influence. Why do you even need social media, right?
Once you need to only write your post and be happy with this, in today's world, you see people will not easily find your content. It will not easily come to your site. It will not be able to read your blog, unless you go to where they hang out online. In most cases, people gather online in social media today. It really makes sense to have a strong social media profiles in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, these are three main places you want to actually have strong influence.
If your target audience likes to watch a video content, consume video, then of course, YouTube is a must to have. All four of them of course, are very necessary. Actually, essential. There are few others like Instagram, like Snapchat, like Pinterest, like Periscope. Those are social media platforms that are gaining popularity quite recently.
If you are very prolific and if you have enough time in your day, I would say the more, the better. The more platforms do you own in social media, the more chances you have that people will actually see you. Here is the actually simple problem because time is limited for all of us.
Then, to do all of the platforms right, to do all the social media profiles right, it takes very significant amount of time and we don't have that. We don't usually have unlimited amount of time during the day. I would say, keep in mind that maybe it's even better to concentrate on the few, the most important ones, the right and masters those platforms first, master those social media accounts first.
Only then expand if you have enough time and leverage as well. They all differ in their own, so to say, the specificity. They have their own particular audiences, their own techniques that work or doesn't work.
For example, Facebook is very well suited for visual information, short messages, even more personable information. Twitter is very short instant messages that usually happen around us. People like to document what's happening around us, so that's what works in Twitter. It may or may not work in LinkedIn for example, it's more professional network.
If you have a difficulty in joining other people networks, unless you are familiar with them and unless you have previous connection, work connection or business connection in advance. In LinkedIn, there is more specific information, valuable, more professional, more expertise required than on Facebook.
On YouTube, of course, these are great ideas for video content but YouTube doesn't really like long form content. Two or five minutes is basically quite enough for Facebook for you to hold your viewer's attention. As on LinkedIn, they have a great articles which are long form content, 1,000 words or more.
Keep in mind those different things that are required on each social media platform. In Instagram of course, these are pictures. Most people submit instantly to that platform. If your blogging is very visual, if your field is very visual, then Instagram might work for you too. For starters, I would say, you choose just a few crucial ones and master them. Only then expanding to the other options.
Another tool that bloggers need today is of course, email. Email subscribers, email list, so to say. Because email makes for communication with your readership much more deeper. Because if you think about who is your audience, when they come to your website, to your blog tweet, you really have only seven seconds to catch their attention. If they like your content, if they like your blog posts, they read it, what do they do next? Maybe they read another article, another post, maybe a few more and they leave.
Many people, many bloggers, they have this mistake I see do this mistake basically. On their blog, they don't have a very simple way to catch their reader's email addresses, which is really a must. In the old days, RSS readers where very important tools for bloggers to communicate with each other, to keep in touch, to read.
Today, email is the primary communication tool, of course. You want to have an option to catch your readership email, so that later, you could send updates from your blog and other important information, relevant and useful information. Of course, we don't want to spam people because spamming is not allowed in today's overcrowded bloggers fair.
Really, what you're doing is, you're marketing your blog but you have the permission from your readership to send valuable and useful and relevant content to them. They voluntarily enter email address in their specific field. Perhaps in exchange of some free gift that you design in advance. Maybe a free report, a free audio, a free audio. Basically an important article that you wrote that is relevant and useful for them.
You could also think about creating a mini course for free for them, in exchange of their email. This works great. Of course, they would be really happy to receive this information from you. Then you in exchange, you will have the possibility to contact them later on with your new blog post updates and other important messages that you want to market to them.
4. Payment Processor
Another tool that bloggers need is some kind of payment processor. A lot of people use PayPal. Other systems, it's really crucial to have payment processor of some kind. Because sooner or later, if you are a serious blogger and if you are in blogging world for a long time with long term goals, you might want to have a possibility to collect money from people.
Money in form of payments, subscriptions, or even donations if you don't care about producing paid type of content but that works, too. Because your work is valuable to people, your time is valuable and you produce great information. You help people, that's the main idea of the blog that you have in mind.
Sooner or later, people will have to reciprocate. People will want to say thanks to you and there are a lot of ways to say thanks, right? In sharing your information, spreading the word for you, posting on social media about you. Basically become a mega phone of your work and become your true friends. A smaller amount of people, a smaller group of your readership will really want to work closer with you. Because they want your personal attention, perhaps.
They like so much your free information that you're providing on your blog, that perhaps they want to buy something from you and they will ask you for this. Actually, to have a form of payment, to pick payments online is really a must at some point. PayPal of course is one of the primary ways to do this.
Other important tools include podcasting. In today's world, podcasting means that you provide audio content regularly. It's like an audio blog, so to say.
A regular blog is sort of a text information, with perhaps some sort of pictures, visual content too, other multimedia included but podcast is primarily audio and audio is so powerful because when you talk, people consume your media, your content some time during the day. Not necessarily when they are at their computer but on any device that they have. On the smart phone, on tablet, on the computer, on PC, on laptop. Anywhere they have, on MP3 player, they can subscribe to your audio content.
That's what podcast is. You can submit your RSS link to iTunes, Stitcher, and other platforms, so that people could really subscribe to it in your content. Your great, valuable information will come to them, instead of them you would be looking for your audience.
That's a great way to spread your word because podcasting is very technical. It involves having the right equipment. It involves having expertise to use this equipment. Set up microphones and set up basically the right software to record and then edit that software later.
Of course, you could produce short content, long form content. You could produce of-the-cuff improvised content. You could create more edited versions which basically have really edited podcast with added music introductions, background also, which is a lot of technical work. In today's world, this is an opportunity for people because there are millions of blogs but much less without a doubt, podcast.
You could actually go ahead and create one and much more easily attract audience this way. It involves of course, regular posting. It's quite difficult to keep the phase up in posting and in talking on the podcast. Regularly, you have to decide what is your regularity will be. What time period will you connect with your readership.
Maybe you will want to post everyday, maybe you want to basically talk every other day, maybe twice a week, maybe once a week, maybe even once every two weeks, maybe once a month. There are various podcast like this.
Once you decide, keep it regular like this. Podcast can be created by your own voice, with your own force, so to say. It's personal. Podcast can be great, a way to expand your influence and profile by inviting guest, guest experts. That's what works also for me in my podcast, I invite expert in my field and we talk for 30 minutes to one hour about a certain topic. People can subscribe to that useful and relevant information. It's like an interview.
I always imagine a podcast like informal conversation with a friend while we're having a virtual cup of cappuccino. Some people record live in the studio with their guest sitting in front of them. Some people just use Skype or other online communication methods to connect with the guest and have this live conversation, recorded, edited and upload to the special audio platform.
Platform which works for me is SoundCloud, then I can embed this podcast into my website, into my blog, and so I can get in touch with my own readership this way. It's really great way. It's not easy to keep up but it's a fantastic way to gain influence in your area and make your profile very visible.
Now, the next thing bloggers need to think about is some kind of membership site, premium content site. Let's face it. When you produce great free information regularly on your blog, either daily or maybe weekly, twice a week, whatever the case might be. People love so much this free information.
Then sooner or later, they will ask for your more personal help, more advanced and deeper help. That's where premium content comes in. One of the premium content platforms can be to create a membership site. For this, you have to have the way to not only to take payments but also to keep track of your premium subscribers and also to password protect certain pages because it's a paid content.
You don't want your regular audience, your general readership to comment, read or consume your content basically for free. You have to password protect those pages. You can have a separate, dedicated platform for that, a separate domain name, everything separately.
You could have a separate portion of your own website, separated like this with passwords, so that people who pay you subscription monthly, or weekly, or yearly subscription fee. If they could go to your certain member profile area and access premium information.
Here is the catch. It's great when people pay you month after month for premium information, but then, it's a lot of extra work for you. You have to produce regular extra content, extra valuable and helpful content for them. Either in text, audio, pictures or video, or in any of combination of them. Keep this in mind, although it's fantastic way to monetize your blog, right?
It requires a lot of up keeping and regular posting to your premium area, so that people would love to continue to work with you and to be subscribers for a long time.
In my experience, people sometimes make mistakes in two areas. You sometimes might post very little, extra and premium information for them. Maybe they will stay your members for a month or so. Then they think, "Oh, it's not a lot of premium content." Then, it's not worth the money, right?
Then, the next mistake of course is posting too much on premium content. If you post very frequently, like daily or something and people cannot really keep up with this. If your information is technical and requires action on your audience's part, then it is really difficult for them to spend that kind of time in their days. You have to respect their time, too.
What I found works better perhaps, some kind of weekly content, weekly lessons. A little bit of weekly teachings that really helps people to study the material but not to be overwhelmed too much by them.
There is one more mistake people make with membership sites. They price the premium content in the wrong way. Some people price too low, too cheap, just a few dollars a month which is a problem because it attracts the wrong kind of people.
Maybe it will attract more people but it will attract the people who will complain a lot and they will perhaps limit your possibility to create great and valuable content in the long run, because you have to communicate with those premium members. If they are complaining all the time, asking for refunds, so that's no good.
Another mistake of course is to price your premium membership site too much, make it too expensive. Of course, it will attract the more valuable customers for you but there will be fewer of them.
I think trial and error and great consideration of your audiences' needs and how valuable and how worthy is your content for them, how much help you're really providing for them. How you're changing their life basically with your premium content will determine how to price, on the lower or on the higher end of the pricing table.
Be mindful of those caveats. Don't price it too low or too high and know your audiences' expectations, needs and possibilities.
The tool that is getting popular these days is webinar. For bloggers, webinars means that they could teach additional information, in depth of information to a very specific group of people who are deeply committed to you. Who provide their name and email address additionally to your newsletter subscription, to additional teaching opportunities with you. You could really get very intimate with them during that half an hour or hour with them by providing so much great content, great information and help.
So that some people will choose at the end of the webinar, they will choose actually to work with you in other ways, paid ways, so to say. Webinars generally are free but later towards the end of the webinar, you could introduce your products or services that are related to your teaching area of the current topic of the webinar.
This way, really, you could even sell your products and services. In order to have the possibility to add a webinar, you have to have some kind of video conference call or teleconference call possibilities and to have a group teleconference call, so to say, so that 10, 20, 50 or 100 or more people would gather online at the same time.
You would provide this great content, either in audio or in video, or in combination of both and they would really be grateful for you. For your time and expertise and your help.
You could actually also record your trainings in advanced and use, so to say, an automated webinar services, so that people could get your teachings even when you sleep, even when you are on vacation. That's a very powerful tool.
8. Coaching Tools
Bloggers of course need to have some coaching program and for coaching, I mean, to have some kind of personal access to you. Because there are various ways to train people, to help them and one of them is through your blogs, through your regular free postings that you are providing to your readership.
Some people will really choose to work with you on a more personal level like in a group coaching sessions or a one-on-one sessions. That means that you will teach them what you know, teach them how to get to the next level in your area much faster than they would be doing this on their own.
Well, reading your free information on your blog, of course, they will learn a lot of things and a lot of techniques and strategies. Of course, coaching means that you could help them in a more advanced way and to help them advance much further in a shorter period of time.
For example, let's say you simply want to help people in the area of losing weight and you produce great blog posts with special diets and special posts which include maybe videos and other audio information. For people who really need your more personal help, you could create a coaching program which could run anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, or even a year or longer.
Really, the possibilities are many here and that will be very, very helpful for people to get your more personal attention. Not everybody will choose this because of course, personal attention is very expensive. Your time is very valuable and your time is limited.
Because they're getting much deeper results, much greater results, of course, they will be willing to pay you higher prices. You can think about the length of your coaching program of course, in various ways.
If it's an introductory program in your niche, so you could actually created it as a one month, four-week training program. If it's more advanced, you could do 12 weeks or even a six-month program or even one year. I know some people who have continuity programs when people paid you monthly or yearly fee.
Then, you could provide them coaching basically on a regular basis without limitation, without the end date. Sooner or later of course, people will stop, will cancel their membership, will cancel their account. Because either they are advanced too much or your help will be no longer needed for them. There are still people in your general audience who need your more in depth help.
Some of them will stay for quite some time and if you think about it, the value of such customer who pays you month after month after month is very, very high. Perhaps, hundreds or even thousands of dollars in total during the lifetime of this customer. You should treat those special customers with extra care and attention and provide them very, very amazing help.
In order to have the blog that is relevant in today's marketplace, I think having a text is no longer sufficient. Writing a blog post only in words limits your readerships' ability to consume your content. Because some people like to read, some people like to listen and some people like to see things on video. Another tool to have is perhaps a camera, a video camera. In many cases, people today have a very advanced video camera right in their pocket with their smart phone. It's quite enough.
A lot of times, you don't even have to invest to the special, dedicated video camera that you would need but you always carry one with yourself in your pocket. I recommend you use it more often. If your cellphone or smart phone has the ability to record videos, then, take out it more often and record whenever you feel like you have a great idea for a blog post, for a teaching in your topic, in your area, anything.
Because not only it can be a great additional, extra information for your readership but you can even set up a vlog, which is a video blog. Basically, this is regularly updated video content that you are providing to your video audience. That's something a lot of people are doing quite successfully and they're having millions of people watch their videos overtime.
Of course, having just the smart phone is not enough. You have to have the right kind of editing software to edit and to upload your videos to the video sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo. Basically, you have to add extras like introduction or ending or music background. Something that cannot really be added right from the convenience of your smart phone right now.
You could have very simple tools on your laptop and while you teach people in video, you upload this video on your laptop and edit the video content right there. Then, once you're ready, you can upload the final video, edited video to the video platform that you choose such as YouTube. Where potentially, hundreds of thousands of people can watch your vlog. Keep in mind though that video content takes up a lot of space, both on your camera or your smart phone and on your computer as well.
When you upload, you have to be conscious of your limitations. Does your internet plan provide unlimited data transfer? I suggest you check this out and if you are serious about producing and uploading a lot of video content, then you should really have unlimited amount of bandwidth on your internet plan.
10. Recording Equipment
Another tool that every blogger needs of course to have the right kind of recording equipment. Because your blog not only will not be very advanced in today's world. If it only will use the text information with pictures. Because your audience would love to listen to your voice. There is such a powerful way of connecting with your audience through the audio content.
Since people like to listen to the audio in form of podcast or audio trainings that you provide either for free or for premium prices, they tend to listen to your content, whatever they are on their own device, on their own free time.
Sometimes, during lunch break, sometimes during when they commute. Sometimes, during their free time when they're jogging or taking a walk. They just put on the earphones and listen to your teachings that you're providing in audio.
For this to happen, you have to have the right recording equipment. In many cases, a lot of people today have smart phones which obviously are amazing tools to record. Right now, I'm recording this on my smart phone, on the special software that it is voice recording equipped on the same smart phone. I don't need any other microphone and later, I will upload it to my website and edit the sound. Right now, it's all I need, this phone.
Sometimes, people like to sit in their office and talk to the microphone. You should invest to the quality microphone which would adjust the sound for you and cancel the outside noise. Maybe some people like to invest in headphones as well.
Think about what you need, what kind of audio equipment you need and I recommend you also produce audio content for your blog quite regularly as well. Your audience will be so grateful for this.
11. Screen Sharing
One more thing that people need when they're doing their blogging activity is screen sharing. Screen sharing means that whenever you are doing a webinar or a conference all or some kind of video teaching. Either one-on-one or group, either live or recorded, it doesn't matter. Sometimes, you want your audience to have the ability to see the things that you are seeing on the screen, on the computer screen.
I know that there are ways to even record your screen while you're talking on the smart phone. It's quite a limited possibility, so far. I always recommend screen sharing your laptop or PC information that you're seeing.
Whenever you see the opportunity for people to look at things that you are looking. Let's say you are explaining how to use a special kind of software. As you are using it, you are explaining it. You know how people like to play video games.
Some people record themselves while talking about the game that they're playing, so that their audience would actually see how the game is played. It's also screen sharing and it's very powerful. Maybe in your area, it's something different but think about what you could provide visually this way. This way, your audience might see you in the corner of the screen and on the large screen, full screen. They would see you doing things on your computer. For this to have this screen sharing ability, you need to have this special software as well, screen sharing software.
Camtasia is, of course, a very powerful tool. It's built in any kind of video you have, they have in their possibilities. Just simply use Camtasia. There are other tools to do this less expensive perhaps but quite reliable and you could also invest in those.
By the way, in teleseminars and web conferencing services that usually have live calls, they can also provide screen sharing abilities. I know Skype does. It's very simple. You just have to have a means to record the screen that you are seeing, so that later on, your viewers, your audience would have the ability to see the content that you were seeing during this training. Those are the great tools that any bloggers need.
Let's recap here. You have to have a website with a blogging platform. Social media accounts, email, newsletter provider, payment processor, podcasting perhaps, membership, eCommerce, webinars, coaching tools. Of course, camera recording and screen sharing abilities.
This way, your blogging business will become so powerful. It will become like a studio. You will become a leader in your own field, if you use all of those overtime. Not necessarily on day one but just in the long run. I hope this training has been valuable to you.
What is your experience with blogging tools? Did I miss something? Share your ideas in the comments.
Dr. Vidas Pinkevicius is the creator of Vidas Blog Academy where he teaches people to empower themselves one post at a time. If you want to become a successful blogger, download his free PDF report "Overcoming 12 Challenges Beginner Bloggers Face".