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My Favorite Blogging Tools

My Favorite Blogging Tools
 

Here is my “Top Ten” list of blogging tools I couldn’t blog without:

TEN – A good FTP (file transfer protocol) program for uploading files to my sites. I use two — Filezilla for PC and Fetch for Mac.

NINE – A good browser. I’ve used FireFox for years, and it’s by far my favorite, but there are many good browsers out there. Find the one that works best for you. I do avoid Internet Explorer, though. It seems to be one of the most virus-prone browsers out there. Try FireFox, Safari, or Chrome.

EIGHT – A keyword research tool. My personal favorite is Market Samurai. Once I figure out the main point of a new blog post, I click over my keyword research tool and type in my post’s topic. Then I see which keyword phrases get good search volume and low competition. When I’m blogging with serious Search Engine Optimization in mind, I’ll pick one of those keyword phrases as my post title and use WordPress’s All-in-One SEO plugin to further optimize the post. Google’s Keyword tool is also a huge help when working on some serious SEO.

SEVEN – An excellent image editor. I’m blessed to own Photoshop, but I also recommend the open source software Gimp, which you can download at no charge. If your blog uses images (and in today’s media-mad society, it should), a good image editor is a must.

SIX – A source of stock images. When I can’t find what I need for free, I use iStockPhoto. The best sources for free photos that I’m aware of are Flickr or stock.xchng. (Be sure to check the licensing agreement.)

FIVE – Social media. Twitter and Facebook are the two I use the most today, but to be honest, probably 70 percent of what I know about how to blog, create websites, and all the other geeky web stuff I’ve learned over the years has come from lurking (and sometimes posting) on forums.

FOUR – A handy-dandy email client. I love Gmail. I have a bazillion categories labeled and listed in the left sidebar. It has one of the best spam filters of any email client I’ve used. Plus I love its search capabilities. I’ve imported my other email addresses into my Gmail account so I can check all my email in one place.

THREE – WordPress. I know, I know, you can blog without WordPress. I even got mad at WP for a few years ago and gave it up for a while. (It was over something trivial — aren’t most breakups?) It wasn’t long before I came crawling back, begging for forgiveness and I’ve remained faithful to it ever since.

TWO — Blogs I read. If you’re serious about learning to blog and you’re not already subscribed to Brian Clark’s Copyblogger, you need to subscribe today. Period. It is without question the number one blog on blogging.

ONE – Readers! I love getting to know my blog audience. Besides, blogging is a form of social media, social networking, social marketing — whatever you want to call it, so it makes no sense to sit here and type aimlessly if no one will ever read this. All bloggers definitely need readers.

What are YOUR favorite, can’t-blog-without tools? Leave a comment and let us know.

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