5 ways to make money in your sleep

5 ways to make money in your sleep

You snooze, you lose? Not necessarily. Grab yourself a brew, kick back and check out our top five passive income earners that will make you money while you sleep.

sleeping man dreaming about money

Credit: Narith Thongphasuk (background), VectorKnight (bubble) – Shutterstock

Making money in your sleep sounds like the dream for most. Sadly, there’s no shortcut to getting rich overnight (that doesn’t involve the lottery or jail time!) – but these passive income ideas combined with a little online marketing magic are definitely the next best thing.

Passive income is basically a constant drip-feed of extra earnings that doesn’t tie you down to a set amount of regular working hours. The key lies in low-maintenance side hustles that sell several times apiece!

Passive income is a bit like pocket money for chores: the more time you put in, the better the payoff. Either way, you’ve got nothing to lose by having a go, and could set yourself up for extra cash every year – no overtime required.

  • Sell stock content

    man taking photo

    Websites, advertisers, self-publishers and app creators all need secondary content, from images to music, video and sound effects. If you spend your spare time snapping, sketching or singing anyway, this could be the route for you.

    How do you create content?

    Go through work from previous projects – chances are you already have a ton of unused pictures and video footage.

    If not, get creating! Take photos, film short clips and get your musical head on.

    You can also make the most of the time you spend socialising. Snap a pic of that frothy hot chocolate your mate is digging in to, or the beautiful sunrise you’ve just seen on the way back home from a night out!

    How do you put your content online?

    Upload your work to several stock library sites for users to browse, pick and pay for.

    Royalties are typically low so you’ll need to build up a bank of work before it starts paying off. It’s also worth checking what’s trending or is always in demand and submit on those themes.

    You don’t need to be a pro to successfully sell stock content: niche ideas are in just as much demand as flawless execution. Think photos, logos, jingles, stickers, icons, buttons, banners and beeps. The sky’s the limit!

    Brands are always looking for content that helps sell their product, so who you’re aiming your content at is also one to bear in mind.

    Online libraries for stock content

    While not as simple as using a stock site, you can also sell music and sound FX through iTunes and SoundCloud, and anything else through your own site/store.

    Some sites will ask you to submit your best samples before they’ll accept you as a contributor. If one site says no, move on to the next one!
  • Write an eBook

    If your passion is publishing, then digital has to be worth a punt – the online publishing process is relatively straightforward and risk-free.

    Playing your cards right with online publishing could bring in some cash and set you up well for the future (being able to link to your eBook on your graduate CV is pretty impressive!).

    How do you write an eBook?

    Your secret stash of short stories is always a good place to start. If you’re in it for the money rather than the Pulitzer, see what’s selling and work back from there.

    Check the best-seller lists but don’t fixate on fiction. There’s a chart for everything, from politics to poker, so if there’s a topic you know (perhaps something related to your studies or a hobby?), use it.

    Make use of your Insta capital too. If you have a strong online presence and you’re also a bit of a skateboard pro, why not focus on a “how to skateboard like Tony Hawk” page-turner.

    The main publishing outlets take .doc files (check out some free alternatives to Word), but if you want a bit more say in your book’s looks – and are HTML savvy – grab the free Sigil eBook editor. Amazon has tools for comics and kids’ books, too.

    Once you’ve got a file, you need a platform. To get listed on Amazon you’ll need to take the Kindle route.

    For everywhere else there’s Smashwords, which distributes to a whole host of stores including Waterstones and iBooks. Go with both platforms to maximise your coverage.

    How do you get your eBook on the market?

    Easy peasy. The trick lies in being discoverable. Banging out a few words and sticking a cover on them doesn’t make a best-seller – you’ll need to really focus on getting it noticed.

    In this digital space, people often do judge a book by its cover – so spend time making it look professional. There’s a ton of free image editing software out there you can use to do this.

    Also, ramp up your book’s description and keywords to boost your chances of being found online and to encourage sales.

    But, most importantly (with Amazon anyway), you need to get your book lots of genuine reviews. The easiest way to do this is to leave a note at the end of your book asking or incentivising readers to leave a review (hassle your family and friends to get the ball rolling if needs must!).

  • Build your own app


    Credit: Cienpies Design – Shutterstock

    In terms of passive income ideas, this one’s a pretty cool choice and the question isn’t whether you’ll make a million (it’s unlikely, sadly), but whether you need to be a coding ninja. The surprising answer is: nope.

    How to build an app

    If you’ve got a functional app in mind (i.e. it ‘does something’, or extends built-in messaging, camera or system tools) you’ll need to speak some kind of computer lingo – or, find someone who does and split your profits.

    Until then, MIT’s free browser-based App Inventor lets you drag and drop ‘building blocks’ instead of churning out code.

    If games are your thing, it’s possible to create professional apps – from Sonic-style endless runners to Angry Birds-esque physics puzzles – with next to no coding.

    You’ll need to get your hands on a ‘game engine’: a bit of kit that helps you design, develop and deploy apps right from your desktop.

    There are several out there, including a free app called Unity, which is drag-and-drop friendly and supports multi-platform publishing (build once and launch to iOS, Android and PC at the same time – a must if you want to maximise potential sales).

    How to make money from apps

    You can make money by charging for your app, having in-app purchases (extra lives, hints or episodes) or by running ads.

    However, you’ll lose a chunk of each sale in store fees – and for Google Play and iTunes, you’ll need to pay a developer fee upfront to list your app.

    While you don’t need to be an uber-geek, it helps to be an avid app user for the market you’re going after. Having a couple of cross-platform phones/tablets is handy – but there are plenty of ways to test on virtual devices if not.

    Take note of what you don’t like about the apps you regularly use, or if there’s a feature that isn’t already out there. Finding a niche is hard, but it could be your way into earning the big bucks.

    If you’re serious about making money while you sleep, you’ll need to push at least a couple of apps out there.

  • Affiliate marketing

    make money with affiliate links

    How does affiliate marketing work?

    Affiliate marketing-based websites are basically sites or blogs that plug products and businesses on other sites for a cut of the sale.

    You need to add special tracking links on your own website, or pop ’em out through social media. If someone follows your link – and buys the item – you get a referral fee.

    Best of all, you don’t need to faff about with storing and shipping the products, as the stores take care of that themselves.

    Affiliate marketing has the potential to become significantly more than a passive earner for you, but you’ll need to invest a lot more time and effort to get to that stage.

    Loads of retailers have affiliate programmes – a quick Google will set you on your way – but if you join a network, you’ll only need to sign up once to get access to a range of stores and products. This means you’ll spend less time clicking and more time making dollar.

    Try Awin for starters.

    Best ways to make money from affiliate marketing

    It works well if you’ve got a site, store or social account that already has some traffic, and if the products you’re linking to tie-in with your existing posts.

    Post reviews on your blog for anything you buy online and include ‘buy now’ links. Or add a page for a ‘bookstore’ featuring your favourite titles and the reasons you rate them.

    Good reviews are to-the-point and tend to include relevant details about what you liked about the product and why it’s worth buying. It should be more than a single paragraph, but not so long that you lose your reader to sales jargon.

  • Print-on-demand products

    print on demand mobile phone cases

    The last of our passive income ideas is a bit of a student classic.

    From t-shirts to baby bibs, there are scores of stores that sell customisable gear and gadgets: the opportunity lies in selling your inspiration to other customers.

    How to sell print-on-demand products

    One of the best-known marketplaces is CafePress, which sells just about anything that has a blank surface. Whoever you go with, sign up for a seller’s account (to sell via the store) or a shop account (to sell from your own site).

    Upload your best illustrations, photos or jokes, and pick which products can be customised with your art. If someone buys an item from your range, you get a cut of the sale – without having to manufacture, stock or ship anything.

    You don’t even need any ideas of your own: if you’re fresh out of inspiration, you can list other people’s custom products for a referral fee instead.

    Go for cute or funny images, logos and quotes that work on multiple products. The simpler, the better.

    It’s also a good idea to get snapping your creations and promote them across social media. Get your friend to wear a t-shirt with that hilarious quote you thought up and share it with your followers.

  • Most of the sales platforms we’ve mentioned are free to list with, but they’ll each take their cut in their own way – check it out before you sign up.

    There may also be international tax forms to wrestle with if you don’t want the relevant government syphoning off their share of your takings. In the meantime, get to grips with UK tax rules.

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    How to Make $1,000+/mo Managing Facebook Ads for Local Businesses

    How to Make $1,000+/mo Managing Facebook Ads for Local Businesses

    Our number one goal at DollarSprout is to help readers improve their financial lives, and we regularly partner with companies that share that same vision. If purchase or signup is made through our Partners’ links, we receive compensation for the referral. Here’s how we make money.

    There’s this amazing coffee shop in my city just off the beaten path. If you weren’t looking for it, you’d never find it. But somehow they always have just enough people inside to keep the place feeling lively without being crowded.

    That’s not an accident.

    I see their Facebook ads all the time. It’s like they know I love it there so they seek me out to let me know about their specials and events.

    And they do.

    Facebook ads allow local businesses to advertise to customers, fans, and neighbors in unique and targeted ways to encourage them to become repeat customers. But not all small businesses take advantage of Facebook ads, making this a great side hustle for you.

    Why Managing Facebook Ads is a Good Side Hustle

    Since Facebook ads are still a relatively new way to advertise, it’s not that difficult to get paid to post ads on Facebook for local businesses. You don’t need a specialized degree, it’s not a huge time commitment, and you can even use some of the social media skills and knowledge you already have to give your services an edge over the competition.

    Josh Eberly of 717 Home Buyers said that he started offering Facebook ads as a service after using it for himself to generate leads.

    “I have now been able to offer the same service to other investors who have had great success generating off-market property leads for cheap on Facebook,” he explains. “These leads have been as cheap as $5 on the platform, much lower than a direct mail or lead from Adwords.”

    Even without specialized expertise, there are plenty of businesses with the budget to pay you $1,000 to $2,000 per month to manage Facebook ads for them. You just have to know which niches to target and how to find them.

    Related: 5 Realistic Ways to Make Money on Facebook

    What is Facebook Ad Management?

    Facebook ad management means just that — managing Facebook ad campaigns for clients. A Facebook ad manager creates and executes a Facebook ad strategy that attracts new customers, leads, and traffic that they want for their business.

    The ad manager listens to a client’s goals and creates graphics, ad copy, target audiences, and tests campaigns to try to meet those objectives at the lowest cost per conversion possible. They might also create images, sales copy, and oversee the advertising budget.

    Related: 16 Low-Cost Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

    How to Get Started Managing Facebook Ads for Local Businesses

    There are over 30 million small businesses in the US, making up 99.9% of all businesses in America. That means ample opportunity for someone looking to start a side business helping people grow their businesses.

    Before you dive headfirst into managing ads or even taking a Facebook ads course, you should understand what goes into creating a Facebook ad management side hustle. There are several components you’ll need to learn and details you’ll have perfect so you get the right clients at the right prices.

    1. Learn the basics of running a Facebook ad campaign.

    First, you need to be familiar with the Facebook Ads Manager and the terms used in it. However, if you find it too overwhelming or confusing to understand on your own, you should consider taking a Facebook ads course rather than going it alone.

    The FB Side Hustle course created by Bobby Hoyt and Mike Yanda teaches you everything you need to know in nine modules about creating ads, finding clients, and convincing those clients to sign contracts with you for consistent income.


    facebook ad objective types
    Campaign objective types can be chosen to fit the needs of the business you’re running ads for.

    The objective is the type of ad you’re running. It’s important to pick the right one because the ad is optimized based on your choice. An ad whose objective is “Engagement” will be shown to people who have a history of liking and commenting on posts while a “Traffic” ad is shown to people more likely to click links.

    Knowing the ultimate goal for your ad and selecting your objective based on it will get your client (and you) a bigger return at a lower cost.

    Target audience

    inside look at Facebook's ad targeting options
    Facebook offers robust targeting options allowing advertisers the ability to effectively reach their target audience. 

    You’ll need to determine your intended audience, and you have the option of creating different types of audiences. For instance, Custom or Lookalike audiences allow a business to target past customers or people who have similar interests to past customers.

    Local businesses typically use demographic or location targeting, and you can also narrow down your audience based on interests, behaviors, and more. Every time you make a change, Facebook will show you your potential reach to help you determine whether your audience is too broad, too narrow, or just right for your objective.

    Ad placement

    Facebook Ad placement options
    Advertisers aren’t just limited to the Facebook News Feed. Choose from any Facebook-owned property when finding your target audience.

    Placement of your ads isn’t limited to Facebook. You can use the ad on Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s Audience Network. But not all ads work well on all platforms.

    Knowing what works best on each and customizing images and messages for the different platforms can be important to get the return on investment (ROI) your client is looking for.


    flexible ad budget options with Facebook Ads
    Facebook allows for flexible ad budget options. Advertisers can choose the budget and bid price that fits their needs.

    You’ll also need to know how ad budgets work and which one is best for your client and their campaign. You can choose a lifetime budget or a daily budget, and you can set your ads to run indefinitely or be scheduled to start and end on certain dates.

    The nuances around managing Facebook ads can make them seem intimidating, but it also keeps people away from running them professionally. If you take the time to learn the ins and outs of Facebook ads, you have the opportunity to create a reliable side income.

    2. Learn how to design an effective ad.

    You’ve probably seen hundreds of Facebook ads, but can you remember any that stand out? If you can, there was probably something unique about it. Maybe it had a colorful picture, a rare limited-time offer, or a funny line of text.

    You’ll need to learn to craft your own effective ad visuals to get the highest return on your work and your client’s ad budget.

    If this is starting to sound a little overwhelming, pause for a minute. You can find much of this information for free on the internet, or you can pay to take a Facebook ads course and get all this information in one place.

    Free web-based design sites like Canva or Buffer can help you make high-quality ads with little investment. You might need to purchase photos or vector images, but these programs do have free ones. You can also check out a site like Shutterstock for high-quality stock photos.

    Related: How to Become a Graphic Designer in 8 Easy Steps

    3. Find local businesses.

    There are several ways you can find local businesses that are a good fit for offering your services. Many people start with networking.

    “I found many job leads through referrals, on LinkedIn, and in some freelancer and/or social media professional Facebook groups,” said Stephanie Riel, owner of RielDeal Marketing. “I’ve been able to help brands run up to 30 successful campaigns in unique markets across the United States.”

    Don’t forget about in-person networking. You might also want to consider asking friends who own local businesses or joining your local chamber of commerce to find clients.

    Remember that not all local businesses can afford to pay $1,000 per month to manage ads. But some can. Make sure you’re targeting local businesses that can benefit from Facebook ads and can afford to pay you well long term.

    One way you can find these local businesses, show off your skills, and display the effectiveness of Facebook ads is to run Facebook ads targeting specific types of local business owners. This not only shows business owners you know what you’re doing, but it also helps you practice running ad campaigns while you find clients.

    4. Get potential clients to sign paying contracts.

    You don’t need to be a salesperson to convince businesses of the effectiveness of Facebook ads. They’re affordable, highly-trafficked, and versatile. But you do want to be selective with the businesses you choose to get the most out of this side hustle.

    You’ll want to start by selecting a business that can afford to pay you at least $1,000 per month to manage their ads. Not all small businesses can make the investment. Lawyers, realtors, landscapers, and pool installers are some of the businesses that only need to land a few jobs every year to recoup their ad spending and the $12,000 they’re paying you.

    To ensure that they don’t make their money and fire you or don’t give up on your services before you’ve had a chance to show some results, sign a contract for at least six months.

    5. Track and measure ROI.

    Reil emphasized that though this may be a side hustle, Facebook ads still require daily check-ins and optimizations. She explained that she made it part of her daily routine to check in on her lunch break and at the end of the workday.

    “It definitely made my days a bit longer, but the hustle paid off in the long term,” she said.

    One thing you’ll want to track is conversions, or which ads are attracting paying customers. You’ll also want to see which platforms are performing better. You’ll need to monitor the ad budget, as some ads may start to increase in Cost Per Click after they’ve been running for too long while others may start out with a higher cost than you anticipated.

    As the ads manager, it’s your job to adjust the variables to get the performance your client wants.

    Don’t “set and forget” your client’s ads. Remember, when you work hard, you’re not just ensuring you have extra income, you’re helping another small business succeed. This could make them a repeat customer or encourage them to refer your services to other business owners.

    6. Raise your rates and scale up.

    You may have to take a few clients at lower rates when you’re starting out to build your portfolio and experience, but don’t keep those rates or clients long-term. Raise your rates and client work every month until you get to a rate and workload you’re comfortable with.

    “Be willing to work for cheap, but not for free,” said Kaleb Baker, Digital Marketing Strategist at Market Hoot Agency. “If they won’t take a chance on you for a minimum of $100 dollars, stop wasting your time. If they won’t pay $100 they will never pay $1-2k per month, which is where you need to be at per client to make a realistic living.”

    Eventually, you may get to a point where you have more clients than time. At that point, you can hire an assistant or another ad manager to scale your business. Many people running Facebook ad agencies and making a full-time income from them started out managing Facebook ads as a side hustle.

    Related: 47 Small Scale Business Ideas Perfect for the Beginner Entrepreneur 

    Don’t Quit Your Day Job Just Yet

    You can make money managing Facebook ads for local businesses without sacrificing your day job or much of your free time. And it can be completely free to get started. Check out marketing blogs and Facebook’s Advertising Help Center for advice and walk-throughs of all the Facebook ad basics.

    If you need more or want to skip straight to a Facebook advertising course, then check out The FB Side Hustle Course. It’s specifically designed for people who want to work with Facebook ads as a side hustle or even full time. In fact, many of their students have turned managing Facebook ads into their full-time jobs.

    Related: 6 Ways You Can Make Money Advertising for Companies


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    How to Start a Food Blog in 2020 (Start Food Blogging) Free Guide

    How to Start a Food Blog in 2020 (Start Food Blogging) Free Guide

    Want to learn how to start a food blog, but have no clue how to go about it?

    Then fear not, you’re in the right place. In this free guide, I’m going to walk you through how to start a food blog and get your food blogging career launched in no time.

    Starting a food blog can be a very fun, rewarding and even profitable experience—as long as you’re ready to put in the time, effort and truly learn how to start a food blog (the smart way) and set it up for maximum growth potential.

    You’re starting a food blog with the goal of eventually positioning yourself as an expert and thought leader within your niche—and before you know it, this new site could open doors to unexpected mouth-watering opportunities like book deals, television appearances, cooking product lines and so much more.

    And get this, even if you just want to be a hobby food blogger, you can still make your new blog very profitable.

    The best part? You don’t need any coding or technical blogging skills—or even much of a financial investment in order to start food blogging today.

    So, if you’re ready to learn how to start a food blog that actually makes money, then this guide is for you.

    How to Start a Food Blog in 8 Easy Steps (in 2020)

    1. Choose your food blog niche
    2. Pick a catchy name for your blog
    3. Get your food blog online (web hosting)
    4. Design your food blog with free tools and templates
    5. Create the main pages of your food blog
    6. Plan your food blog content strategy and positioning
    7. Nail your images (the best food blogs have great photography)
    8. Promote your food blog and network with other food bloggers

    In this guide to starting a food blog, we’re going to walk through the eight steps of how to start a food blog—backed by my interviews with some of the world’s most successful food bloggers.

    Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you purchase web hosting using one of my affiliate links, I’m compensated, which helps make this content free of charge to you. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind.

    Now, let’s dive in to my ultimate guide on how to start a food blog.

    1. Choose your food blog niche

    Food blogging is a very broad topic area if left this generalized.

    You may already know exactly which aspect you want to focus your food blog around, but it’s important to start by really sharpening your angle & message.

    How to Start a Food Blog and Pick a Name for Your Food Blog

    Either way, having a specific niche when you start a food blog, will keep you focused and make it easier for you to:

    Right, so let’s look at some different blog niches you can choose from within the overall food blogging industry:

    • Recipe food blog that’s focused on reviving old family recipes from around the world
    • Specific diet food blog that discusses healthy, vegan or gluten free diet options
    • Food blog specializing in Indian dishes, Japanese meals, African dishes or others from your cultural background
    • Food blogs focused on cooking methods like baking, grilling and so on
    • Food photography blog that’s more about capturing amazing shots at top restaurants

    Remember, it’s in your best interest to pick a niche that goes nicely with your own passions, interests, expertise and personality when you start a food blog.

    2. Pick a catchy name for your food blog

    Picking the right name for your blog can make it stand out and quickly catch the attention of your target readers.

    The right name for your food blog also communicates what your food blog is all about, your position in the industry and even who your recipes are for—in mere seconds.

    Take for example the clever, simple and fun name of Gaby Dalkin’s food blog—What’s Gaby Cooking?

    Food Blog Example What's Gaby Cooking

    Your food blog’s name, also known as its domain name or blog URL—will be your blog’s address on the Internet.

    This is what people will type into their web browser’s address bar in order to navigate straight to your food blog—or they could even search for its name on the major search engines like Google. It’ll look like this right here (and you’ll usually want it to end in a .com):

    Start a Food Blog Domain Name URL Address Bar

    While you definitely can start food blogging for free by using platforms like Medium, Tumblr or Blogger (or even by just building up a following on Instagram first), it’s important to buy your own domain name—so that it belongs to you—in case you eventually want to build a business or earn an income from your food blog.

    The free blogging sites of the world will severely restrict your capabilities when it comes to the design, features, functionalities and ability to monetize your food blog.

    Let’s pick the name (and domain name) for your food blog.

    Here are a few quick tips to help you pick a catchy name for your food blog:

    • Look closely at your niche and see if anything clever or punny comes to mind
    • Consider your target audience and what might catch their attention
    • Check out the names of other successful food blogs for inspiration
    • Use a helpful keyword in your niche (to clearly indicate your positioning)
    • Keep it short and easy to remember, pronounce and spell
    • Use domain name generators (like SmartWP’s Name Generator) if you’re stuck
    • Use your own name or a combination of your names

    Even if you’re not quite sure what to name your food blog yet, let’s keep moving—you can always settle on a name later.

    3. Get your food blog online (web hosting)

    Your food blog needs to be hosted online by a web hosting company before you can do anything else (and make it visible on the Internet).

    At this stage, we’ll also be deciding on the blogging platform you’ll use to actually start your food blog—alongside the web hosting plan you’ll use to get your food blog online.

    The blogging platform that 95% of food bloggers use is called WordPress, and the web hosting company I recommend (to get your food blog online) is Bluehost.

    WordPress is a publishing platform that’s been around for nearly two decades and currently hosts more than 34% of all websites on the Internet (including my blog right here). Bluehost is one of the most reputable, longest-standing hosting companies that bloggers use to get their websites online. This is the combination we’ll be using throughout the rest of this food blogging tutorial.

    Disclosure: Please note that when you purchase web hosting using my Bluehost affiliate link, they compensate me, which helps me make this free guide free of charge to you. Know that I also use Bluehost hosting, and I would never recommend a product, tool or service I don’t personally use & advocate for 🙂

    Now, let’s choose the name and hosting plan for your food blog.

    —> Click here to go to Bluehost and then click the green “Get Started Now” button.

    How to Start a Food Blog Tutorial Bluehost Hosting

    Choose your food blog hosting plan.

    Next, you’ll select a hosting plan. I personally recommend choosing the Choice Plus plan (which I use)—because it comes with Domain Privacy, which will protect your personal information (your full name, email address, phone number and home address) from being published anywhere online as the owner of your new food blog. With this plan, Bluehost will guard that information on your behalf.

    Choosing your plan will look like this right here. Click the green “Select” button on your plan of choice:

    How to Be a Food Blogger Choose Hosting Plan

    Secure your food blog’s domain name.

    Next, you’ll get to choosing the domain name you use for your food blog:

    Food Blogging Pick Domain Name on Bluehost

    Just type in the food blog domain name you’d to register (like eatsbyryan.com).

    If your food blog domain name of choice isn’t available, you can either try another option that comes to mind—or (what I recommend) select the option to choose your domain name later after getting the rest of your blogging details squared away and taking some more time to think the name through.

    After either securing your food blog’s domain name (or opting to select it later), you’ll be taken to the final step—creating your account.

    Create your Bluehost account.

    Start by filling in your account details like your name, email address and address until you’ve completed the form on this page:

    Eats By Ryan Food Blog Example to Start

    Select the right hosting package for you.

    This is where you’ll choose an account plan based on the price you want to lock in and how far in advance you’ll pay for your hosting today.

    Food Blog Hosting Plan Options

    Bluehost only offers options for you to pay 1, 2, 3 or 5 years upfront. They don’t offer a monthly payment plan (because most hosting companies that do offer monthly payments tend to charge more). With whichever plan you choose, the price still works out to be a good deal for getting your food blog online.

    Which plan is best?

    Personally, I recommend choosing the “Prime 36 Month Price” if you want to lock in the lowest possible price for your hosting. That’s what I use. And it secures your blog hosting at their lowest rate (and gets you domain privacy) for the next 3 years.

    Ultimately, I recommend going with the longest duration plan that your budget can spring for.

    The total you’ll now see is the amount you’re going to pay today. Remember, you won’t have to pay again for 1, 2, 3 or 5 years depending on the package you choose. Plus, there’s a 30-day money back guarantee in case things don’t go as planned with your food blog.

    Enter your billing information.

    Food Blog Starting Hosting Plans

    Now you’ll input your billing information, check the box that you agree to Bluehost’s Terms of Service and then hit the green “Submit” button.

    It’s time to party! You’ve completed the first major step of how to start a food blog! 🎉

    With the initial signup process complete, it’s time to move into the next stage of getting your food blog fully setup.

    —> Click here to head over to Bluehost and register your domain if you haven’t already.

    On the next page, you’ll be guided step-by-step through the process of getting WordPress installed on your food blog through Bluehost. And if you want to evaluate some more options for hosting, check out my regularly updated list of the best web hosting plans on the market today.

    4. Design your food blog with free tools & templates

    At this point, you’ve now gotten your WordPress-powered blog installed and hosted on Bluehost.

    It’s a blank slate for us to now make beautiful! And we’re going to do that using free tools & templates.

    Minimalist Baker Example of How to Start a Food Blog Homepage

    To achieve success when you start a food blog, not only must your food blog look attractive—it also needs to give your readers a fantastic user experience.

    And that’s why the right food blog design is so important. Check out the Minimalist Baker‘s website for an example of a fantastic food blog layout.

    The good news is that you can design your food blog and achieve wonderful results even by using free tools and WordPress themes. And we’re going to be walking through a few different categories of free resources to use in designing your food blog.

    • A content management system (CMS)
    • WordPress Themes
    • WordPress Plugins

    So, let’s take a closer look at each one.

    Content Management System (CMS)

    First, you need a content management system—also known as a blogging platform—so you can write blog posts, share photos and publish recipes or reviews on your food blog. Take some inspiration from my roundup of honest Bluehost reviews to see the different kinds of formats a review article can come in.

    If you’ve followed along with our tutorial so far, then you’ve already chosen to use WordPress as your CMS. Great!

    You’re in good company. Check out these amazing statistics about WordPress:

    • WordPress is the most popular CMS for the seventh year in a row and holds 50% to 60% share of the global CMS market
    •  WordPress is the fastest growing CMS with roughly 500+ new blogs being launched daily on the platform

    WordPress is search engine friendly (blog SEO), very simple to use, allows you to organize your content strategically, add video and images—while still giving you control over every design aspect of your blog. It’s also free to use (with the exception that you need to secure your own monthly web hosting plan) and it gives you the ability to easily add more features to your blog like forums, an online store and even paid memberships from your readers.

    Now, let’s talk themes.

    WordPress themes for food bloggers

    A WordPress theme is going to be your food blog’s behind-the-scenes “template” that controls the visual layout, look and feel of everything on your food blog. Choosing the right WordPress theme that gives you the options you’ll need therefore, is a very strategic decision.

    Cookie and Kate Food Blog Example to Start With

    With WordPress as your CMS, you can customize and improve the look of your food blog by choosing a free WordPress theme to start out with—and worry about getting a more premium theme with additional features later on down the road once you’re getting some readers to your blog.

    Like I said though, you should start your food blogging journey with as many free tools as possible.

    Here’s my pick for the best free WordPress theme and page builder you should use when you’re just starting out:

    Elementor Page Builder (Free) + Hello WordPress Theme (Free)

    Elementor Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers without Coding

    Elementor’s Page Builder paired with their free Hello Theme is hands down the best combo for new food bloggers to get started with because these two working together allows you to design your entire food blog with a vast amount of customizability—without any coding knowledge—and to great effect with stunningly beautiful page layouts & designs. On top of that, the Hello Theme is also the fastest WordPress theme I’ve ever tested, so your site will load at lightning speed for your readers.

    At the very center of this WordPress theme is its drag-and-drop visual page builder that’s designed to help you easily make a website and design it to suit your needs.

    To get you started, it comes with a collection of diverse page templates, design elements and various widgets that can help enable tons of core blogging features (like email capturing, clickable buttons, video embeds, scrollable Google Maps embed, form submissions and more).

    You can truly design a fully functional food blog without any help—and they also have a vast library of tutorial articles & videos to help guide you through it. Here’s a sneak peek of what Elementor looks like behind the scenes:

    Elementor Best WordPress Themes Drag and Drop Page Builder Example

    Did I mention it’s free?

    If you want to create a relatively simple food blog layout (which is perfect if you’re just starting to blog), then the 100% free version of Elementor will do the trick. Once you’re ready to upgrade to Elementor Pro or evaluate other theme options, you’ll unlock an entire new world of possibilities for designing a standout blog.

    You can head over and get the free version of Elementor Page Builder here. The free Hello Theme is right here too so you can use the two together.

    Once you’re ready to upgrade to a more robust theme, Kate of cookieandkate.com recommends using one of these two top (paid) food blogging WordPress themes:

    Remember, to pick the right WordPress theme for your food blog, it’s important to keep these considerations in mind:

    • Use a theme with a simple, clean and straightforward design so your visitors can engage with your content easily and also move around your food blog without difficulty
    • Pick a theme that makes your food blog look good on all devices whether it’s a laptop, desktop, tablet and mobile
    • Make sure the theme works with all browsers and is optimized for SEO
    • Ensure that the theme support all popular plugins that your food blog needs
    • Look for reviews and ratings to check the track record of the theme 

    Now, let’s examine the must-have WordPress plugins you’ll want to install right away to add some additional functionality to your food blog.

    WordPress plugins for food bloggers

    Because you’re using WordPress as your CMS, you can further improve the functionality of your food blog by using a range of free and paid plugins.

    Simply put, a plugin is a small piece of software that can be added to your food blog in order to improve how it works and add new features without writing any form of code.

    Similar to themes, there are lots of free and paid plugins available on the market. Here are a few of my favorite plugins you should consider installing on your food blog right away:

    • Yoast SEO to optimize your food blog pages and articles to better rank in Google results
    • WPForms to create easy forms (for email sign ups, contact requests, etc)
    • MonsterInsights for Google Analytics to gather insights about the readers coming in
    • Perfmatters for speeding up your food blog and optimizing its code
    • Jetpack for doing regular backups of your food blog

    5. Create the main pages of your food blog

    When visitors arrive on your food blog, it’s normal for them to have questions about your food blog.

    Example of Food Blogger Clean Food Dirty City Homepage

    They’ll often wonder how it’s different from other food blogs in your space—and based on the layout of your site, will very quickly form an opinion of the person (or people) behind the food blog and whether or not your content will be for them. Take Lily’s homepage example from her food blog—Clean Food, Dirty City.

    To answer these questions in advance for your readers, it’s important to create the main pages of your blog, especially these three:

    • Homepage
    • About page
    • Contact page

    The homepage of your food blog

    In most cases, your food blog home page is going to be the first page visitors will find themselves after typing your blog name into a search engine, or discovering it from a guest blog post you’ve done for another food blogger—and your homepage should provide a detailed overview of the various sections of your food blog.

    Take for example the homepage layout of Lindsay’s popular food blog, Pinch of Yum:

    Pinch of Yum Food Blogger Homepage Example

    Keep in mind that your food blog home page elements should ideally include:

    • A simple, clear headline that inform visitors what your food blog has to offer in less than 3 seconds
    • A sub headline that gives a short description of the value your food blog provides
    • Calls to action that direct visitors to different areas of your food blog (where you want them to go)
    • Stunning pictures that capture their attention and introduce them to your visual style
    • Links to your best content so visitors can stay around longer

    The About Me page of your food blog

    The About Me page on your food blog should not only introduce you and your message, it should also answer these key questions:

    • Why should someone tune in and follow along with your food blog?
    • What problems can you solve for readers of your food blog?
    • How can you uniquely help your readers?

    Take for example Beth’s about page on the popular food blog, Budget Bytes:

    Food Blog About Page Budget Bytes with Beth

    Start with my guide about how to write an About Me page for your blog—so that on your food blog’s about page,  you’ll always remember to:

    • State your name clearly and include a picture of yourself to build a stronger connection with readers
    • Add any credentials and certifications you have to boost your credibility as a food blogger
    • Write in your normal conversational voice, so readers can get a sense of your personality and feel like you’re speaking to them
    • Make your story as engaging and relatable as possible

    The contact page of your food blog

    This page should be easy to find on your food blog and must provide information on how best to reach you, whether it’s for reader questions, to enquire about working with you, sponsoring your blog or otherwise.

    Your food blog contact page can be extremely simple. Take Katie’s example page from her blog—What Katie Ate:

    What Katie Ate Food Blogger Contact Page Example

    In essence, your contact page should contain these elements:

    • Quick answers to questions readers frequently ask (or a link to a FAQ page)
    • A short form that’s easy to understand and fill out based on their requests
    • An email address to reach you at
    • Links to your social media accounts (especially Instagram and Pinterest)

    6. Plan your food blog content strategy and positioning

    Without a content strategy to guide you, it can be easy to mix things up and start discussing topics that aren’t relevant to your niche or audience when you start a food blog.

    How to Start Food Blogging and Create a Content Plan (Screenshot)

    But with a content strategy to help chart your course and inform you on what to blog about, you can:

    • Identify your specific ideal readers and their reasons for coming to your food blog (Do they want a specific recipe? Inspiration on mid-week dinner ideas?)
    • Focus on your niche and produce engaging content that provides unique value for your readers

    To create a cohesive content strategy for your food blog, walk through these steps:

    • Think of your goals and what you want to achieve
    • Research, understand and learn everything about what your target readers want & need
    • Identify where your audience can be found online. Are they on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook most?
    • Use keyword research to come up with content ideas and food blog post topics that your readers are looking for
    • Choose the right content format like video, blog posts, infographics, podcasts based on what your readers want most (if you do podcast though, be sure to get the best podcast hosting you can afford)
    • Determine how often you’ll publish new content and be realistic & consistent once you start
    • Create a content calendar so you know in advance, what topics you’re going to write about

    Want some more guidance on building out your content strategy? In my free course How to Build a Blog in 7 Days, I break this process down into an even more actionable, step-by-step checklist for you—packed with everything from finding your target audience, to clever blog post ideas, my writing process, how to write blog headlines, what it takes to outline a blog post and much more.

    Want my Free Course: How to Start a Profitable Blog in 7 Days?

    Enter your name and email address and you’ll get instant access to my course that’s been featured on Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

    7. Nail your images (the best food blogs have great photography)

    Ever heard the phrase that a picture is worth a thousand words?

    Well, this is especially true for food blogs, because successful food blogs are very well-known as having high quality (usually originally shot) pictures.

    Food Blog Photography Example

    Here are some options you can use to produce stunning pictures for your food blog:

    Take your own photographs (the best route)

    Even if you’re not a professional photographer, you can learn to take good photographs as part of your journey in learning how to start a food blog.

    Gaby of What’s Gaby Cooking, is the first to admit that her photos improved only after a ton of practice (and help from other photographers).

    What's Gaby Cooking Food Blogger Photography and Instagram Skills

    She shares this advice for new food bloggers looking to up their photography skills:

    • Always use natural light to take your food photos (especially when you’re starting out)
    • Move around to find the location with the best light (even if it’s outside your kitchen)
    • Take pictures from different angles (from above or from the side and so on) to see what turns out best

    Carefully use free stock photo libraries

    You can still find beautiful pictures to use on your food blog if you’re not a professional photographer—by using free stock photo sites like Unsplash, Foodiesfeed, Pixabay and Pexels.

    Foodiesfeed Stock Images for Food Bloggers to Use

    If you do though, make sure the pictures you want to use are royalty free images that can be used for commercial purposes with no attribution required—and don’t claim that the pictures are your own.

    I recommend only going this route if you’re strapped for time and financial resources in the early days of starting your food blog.

    Once you’re starting to drive traffic and interact with your readers though, it’s important to make a shift to sharing your own images on your food blog for authenticity purposes.

    Use free photo editing and design tools

    With free photo editing and design tools, you can creatively improve the quality of your food photos even if you don’t have prior design, editing or Photoshop skills.

    Some examples of free design and photo editing tools that are perfect when learning how to start a food blog include:

    Don’t forget, you can also crop and edit generic stock photos to convert them into more unique images for your own food blog with the help of these design tools.

    8. Promote your food blog and network with other food bloggers

    Don’t be surprised if visitors don’t magically flock to your food blog the day you start publishing content.

    How to Promote Your Food Blog and Network with other Food Bloggers

    Let’s face it, apart from publishing content regularly, you have to actively promote your food blog—and network with other food bloggers, so you can drive more traffic back to your own food blog over the long run. It won’t happen overnight, but by focusing on these promotion channels, you’ll begin making progress right away.

    Here are a few of the most proven ways to promote your food blog and build relationships with other food bloggers:

    Update your email signature (to highlight your food blog)

    Apart from having your contact information, website URL and social media links in your email signature—you can also go a step further to include something like a link to your latest blog post, an email subscription link, or your latest free downloadable eBook you wrote.

    Follow Gaby’s lead and focus your email signature call-to-action around what’s most important:

    Gaby Dalkin Email Signature Food Blogger

    This is a clever way to casually promote your food blog content every time you send out an email (something you’re doing anyway)—without any additional effort.

    Don’t forget to include the latest blog post headline to capture more attention and spark interest.

    Get your on-page SEO right

    If you want your food blog to rank high in search engine results for specific keywords in your niche (like “apple pie recipe”), then it’s important for you to get your on-page blog SEO right.

    And to do that, follow along with these best practices from my guide to blog SEO right here:

    • Create SEO friendly URLs (permalinks)
    • Begin each food blog post title with your most important keyword phrase you want the post to rank for
    • Have your keyword mentioned in the first 100 to 150 words of your content
    • Boost the speed of your food blog so that pages load in 2-3 seconds or less
    • Use a responsive WordPress theme so that pages load properly on all devices
    • Create long-form content of high quality (that’s designed to rank well in search)

    Start building an email list

    With a massive 3800% return on investment, email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your content when you start a food blog.

    An email list is a group of people who gave you their email addresses, so that they can get email updates from you when you publish new recipes, share new guides and so on.

    You can build your email list successfully when you:

    • Create a high-quality lead magnet (like a free recipe book) as a free gift for anyone that signs up
    • Provide a subscription form on your food blog pages and in each of your blog posts
    • Pick an email service provider by comparing Convertkit vs AWeber vs Mailchimp to see which is best for your needs
    • Write personalized emails to develop a stronger relationship with your email subscribers
    • If you need to hire some writing help, post your opportunity on one of these blogging job sites

    Share your food blog posts on social media (especially Instagram)

    Food Blogging on Instagram Pinch of Yum Example

    Social media can be a strong and effective promotion tool for your food posts, but there are lots of options—ranging from Instagram to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest LinkedIn and many more.

    Instead of sharing your images frantically on every social media platform straight out the gates, identify which platform has a higher concentration of your target audience—and focus on just one or two, to start with. Even if your research produces 3 or more platforms, just start with one or two, to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

    Advice from the top food bloggers suggests you should double down on Instagram and Pinterest.

    To manage your time and promote your content effectively on social media, use tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and Quuu Promote.

    Remember also to include social media sharing buttons on your blog so your readers can share as well.

    Write guest posts (for traffic and SEO benefits)

    One of the best ways to promote your food blog, especially when you’re just starting out, is by writing guest blog posts.

    Your guest posts should be published with an author bio that credits you as the author—and also provide a link back to your own food blog and social media accounts. This gives the readers of other more established food blogs (where your guest post is published) the opportunity to come and follow your content too.

    Pinch of Yum Food Guest Blogging Example

    This makes it possible to create awareness for your food blog, drive traffic to it and possibly even increase your email subscribers.

    Don’t forget to use the following tips so you can write effective guest posts for any food blog you’re interested in publishing on:

    • Take time to study the food blog before pitching (Do they accept guest posts? How are they typically formatted? Does your style match theirs?)
    • Connect and develop a relationship with the food blogger or editor before pitching
    • Follow any of their rules and guest posting guidelines
    • Always pitch an original topic that provides value to their readers

    Once your guest post goes live on the other person’s food blog, work hard to promote it on your own social media channels—they’ll likely do the same and tag you, thus helping spread awareness about your food blog on other social channels as well.

    Network with other food bloggers

    Another smart way to promote your content and create awareness for your food blog, is to consciously build meaningful relationships with other food bloggers.

    You can start laying the foundation for these relationships by taking these approaches:

    • Leave thoughtful comments on their food blogs
    • Share their posts on your social media channels
    • Include them in your own food blog posts (then send an email to give them a heads up, they’ll probably share it)
    • Send proposals to them for doing content swaps either on your food blogs or on Instagram & Pinterest
    • Join free online food blogger communities like group Pinterest boards, Facebook groups and such
    • Become a member of paid membership programs for serious food bloggers like Food Blogger Pro

    Final thoughts: How to start a food blog (and succeed)

    Alright, now that we’ve walked through my guide on how to start a food blog… this is when the real fun begins.

    Whether you want to start a food blog because you’re crazy passionate about food—or maybe you have a food business and want to blog with the goal of connecting with your current customers—there’s no reason to wait any longer.

    Start your food blog today and with a healthy dose of hard work, creativity and the willingness to experiment, you’ll see results quickly.

    Want my Free Course: How to Start a Profitable Blog in 7 Days?

    Enter your name and email address and you’ll get instant access to my course that’s been featured on Forbes, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.

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    101 Best Online Business Tools to Grow an Online Business in 2020

    101 Best Online Business Tools to Grow an Online Business in 2020

    I wish I had known about these online business tools when I first started trying to make money online with my early websites. When I launched my first company (which was a colossal failure, mind you), I was moving full steam ahead with a huge number of great ideas, an insane work ethic, and innate passion for eventually creating my own job – as opposed to working for someone else for the rest of my life.

    Amongst the many reasons why that online business eventually devolved into a fiery inferno, one thing I seriously lacked was an in-depth knowledge of all the incredibly useful online business tools, services, and platforms at my disposal, that could help me more effectively launch a profitable online side business.

    By choosing to start a side business and grow it while keeping my day job, I now had extremely limited time and financial resources.

    It was a constant struggle to bring on help. It takes money to hire talented contract developers, designers, writers, and marketers. Then, after they’re on board, you spend a lot of your precious time (which you don’t really have) managing their progress.

    I knew that all of the top entrepreneurs I followed like Ramit Sethi, Tim Ferriss and Lewis Howes had a big enough business that they could afford to hire help to amplify their efforts. But I was then left wondering, how did they get there in the first place?

    So, I set out to dig deeper into all of the possible ways I could automate, streamline, and outsource the process of building and growing my side business by finding and utilizing the best online business tools.

    If you’re still looking for the right side business that aligns with your skills and passions, check out my list of the 101 best business ideas.

    In no time, I came across intricate email marketing platforms, tools for setting up automated sales funnels, social media scheduling services, website themes, plugins and other online business tools that could accomplish exactly what I was looking to do in minutes as opposed to hours (or days). Not to mention the treasure trove of business books and online business courses my mentors told me to check out. My mind was officially blown.

    How had I gone through so many of the beginning stages of building a business, like designing prototypes, building a website, and lining up manufacturing without looking ahead and proactively seeking ways to more effectively grow my business without so much of my own personal effort?

    Whether your new business is centered around a physical product, a service-based offering, SaaS tool, or the next iPhone app that everyone must have, you need to have an arsenal of useful tools that’ll propel you forward as quickly as possible.

    101 Essential Online Business Tools to Grow Your Online Business in 2020

    Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools I’ve used and believe are genuinely helpful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to purchase them. Most of all, I would never advocate for buying something that you can’t afford or that you’re not yet ready to implement.

    Want the really good stuff?

    Join me today and I’ll send you my weekly tips, strategies, and detailed insights on starting a profitable side business.

    Here are my picks for the 101 best online business tools, apps, resources, browser extensions, plugins and platforms that will help get your website (or online business) to profitability as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

    The Must-Have Online Business Tools

    1. WordPress.

    In my opinion, having a WordPress hosted website backed by the right monthly hosting plan is the absolute best balance between easy-to-setup website and scalable platform for future growth, especially if your online business model shows early positive growth signs. If you’re new to setting up a visually appealing website, there are an incredible amount of online blogging courses, tutorials, and free resources that can teach you how to get started with WordPress. I also put together one of the most in-depth guides on how to start a blog (that covers everything ranging from how to come up with winning blog post ideas, to effective ways you can drive traffic to your blog and actually learn how to make money blogging).

    The free, simple to use Content Management System (CMS) that WordPress gives you is a basic website, published on one of their free default WordPress theme templates in a matter of minutes. For more creative control and advanced features that you’ll eventually want to use for your online business, you’ll want to pick up more complex themes and plugins.

    2. Bluehost.

    While I’ve since moved on to using Kinsta to host my blog now that I get millions of readers, Bluehost is where it all got started. Their hosting plans are some of the most affordable you’ll find online, ranking them amongst the cheapest hosting plans on the market—starting at just $2.95/mo with a variety of different plans to suit your unique and growing needs. Whether you’re starting your first website or you just want to get your online business up and running quickly, Bluehost is my pick for the quickest & easiest web hosting provider, though there are plenty of other best hosting plans to consider today. On top of just hosting, they also give their customers access to 24/7 expert support to help with any questions, troubleshooting, and customization issues you have as you get going. Plus, they back all of their hosting plans with a 30 day money back guarantee. You can get started right here.

    3. OptimizePress.

    How to Start a Blog with Ryan Robinson on the Side and Make Money Blogging with OptimizePress Theme MacBook and iPhone

    OptimizePress is one of the best WordPress themes for creating conversion-optimized websites, and it’s what I use to power my online business as the website builder behind-the-scenes on this blog. The amazingly simple visual live editor and template library enables you to very quickly build high converting landing pages, make a website, construct member portals, offer gated content, and so much more at an affordable price point.

    As an added bonus, all of the pages you’ll create with OptimizePress are automatically fully responsive, so they’ll display perfectly on mobile & tablets—a major consideration when designing your blog layout. The theme is regularly updated with new features, functionalities, and has an amazing support team to answer any questions you have once you get started. On top of that, the theme plays very nicely and has direct integrations with all of the other top online business tools on the market, which makes seamlessly running your business a breeze.

    4. ConvertKit.

    Seva (formerly ConvertKit) Email Subscribers ryrob dot com Ryan Robinson

    A huge part of getting traction with any online business is building your email list and learning to do email marketing. Your subscribers are one small step away from becoming customers, and they’ll serve as your first group for testing new products, sharing helpful insights, and launching new features. I’ve used several different blogging tools for managing my list, but ConvertKit is my all-time favorite. Their functionality is designed specifically for solopreneurs, bloggers, small business owners, and they’re constantly creating new features with these users in mind.

    It’s very affordable (starting at $29/mo) and comes with every feature you need to build lists, quickly generate high-converting landing pages, set up automated emails, message subscribers, and includes numerous helpful email templates to start with. It also integrates directly with WordPress and dozens of other important tools for online business owners, so you can easily install visually appealing opt-in boxes and capture leads. If you want to take your email marketing seriously, check out ConvertKit today, it’s by far my most essential online business tool. Check out this comparison of ConvertKit vs AWeber vs Mailchimp to see for yourself.

    5. Shopify.

    My very first online store ran on Shopify (one of the top eCommerce website builders on the market today). Beyond just their easy-to-build online business storefronts that you can host on your own custom domain, they’ve released a suite of other online business tools and integrations that allow you to sell your products directly on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and you can even embed shopping carts directly into your existing website. But if you’re still looking for the right blog name ideas, then try out a smart domain name generator that can help you land on a great name for your niche.

    With low monthly and per-sale transaction fees on top of a free trial, Shopify is a great option for selling products online without going through the complicated process of custom-building an online store directly into your website.

    6. Hunter.

    This email finding tool (and awesome Chrome extension) can find the email address of just about anyone you’re hoping to email—in the click of a button. It pulls in all of the social profile information, from sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to give you more context about the people you’re emailing, which is essential with my business as a freelance content marketer.

    7. Calendar.

    Time is the most precious resources for any business owner. That’s why it helps to have a productivity tool to optimize and make the most of the time you do have. In my experience, Calendar delivers a platform and app (iOS and Android) that does the most effective job of helping me to win back more time by scheduling appointments, meetings and events. By using machine learning algorithms, Calendar has a smart scheduling solution with an easy-to-navigate dashboard, including the ability to connect your calendars from Google, Apple or Outlook. The free basic plan offers a wide range of features for desktop and app access. For more features, you can sign-up for the pro, business, or enterprise plans. These monthly subscription deliver tools like meeting transcriptions, analytics tools, and more.

    8. Gmail.

    Gmail will help you become significantly more effective with your email follow up (and email organization). Snooze emails to a later date if you can’t deal with them immediately. Send emails to potential clients and trigger them to resurface in your inbox if you haven’t heard back within a week. This online business tool for better managing my email has become an essential part of my content distribution cycle and outreach process for guest blogging—or even when it comes to remembering to follow up on my work from home job or otherwise remote work opportunity leads. The goal of using Inbox is that you’ll never forget to follow up or lose track of important prospects again.

    9. Kinsta.

    After testing several different web hosting providers for my online business over the years, I’ve found an incredible new home with Kinsta. Since joining their premium WordPress hosting service, they’ve helped me make impressive gains on key factors like site load time, in addition to having one of the best customer service teams I’ve ever worked with. Kinsta comes at a higher price point compared to many of  the entry-level hosting providers like Bluehost and HostGator, but once you’re starting to get traction with your website, their unparalleled hosting plans and accessible customer service team makes them the perfect solution for growing your blog to the next level. Check out their month-to-month hosting plans and you’d be glad you did.

    10. MailMunch.

    Online Business Tools for Entrepreneurs MailMunch

    Building your email list shouldn’t be a complicated or time-consuming task. If you want to minimize that legwork from day one (so you can focus on creating content for your readers and getting more traffic to your website), then try out MailMunch. They’re an extremely useful lead generation platform that gives you turnkey tools for turning your visitors into long-term subscribers and customers, with a quick installation in less than 5 minutes. Aside from the speed and ease of use of their tools, they also have a ton of customization options to make your forms and landing pages more personalized for readers—not to mention automatic syncing with your email marketing service provider in real-time. Advanced features you can access include the ability to split test forms, create custom landing pages and send email campaigns from directly inside their application.

    11. Omnisend.

    Top Online Business Tools to Use (Omnisend) Marketing Automation Example Homepage Screenshot

    Widely regarded as a leader in marketing automation for eCommerce brands, Omnisend has been creating tailor-made solutions for more than 50,000 eCommerce sellers, online retailers and direct-to-consumer companies for over 6 years. With a focus on helping small to medium-sized teams (and even some larger brands like Unilever & Fred Segal) to grow their sales revenue without adding more work to their plates. Omnisend’s features include highly-relevant emails, texts, push notifications, Facebook Messenger marketing tools, management of Facebook ads, Google ads and more.

    12. Quuu Promote.

    Since discovering Quuu Promote on ProductHunt back in 2016, it’s completely changed the way I promote my blog posts—helping me get several hundred shares for everything I publish within just a few days. With Quuu Promote, you take 2 minutes to submit a new article you want shared (for example, my 9-step guide to start a phone case business that I recently ran a campaign for), pay $10 – $50, and your content gets promoted across the Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts of more than 60,000 people who use the service (including yours truly).

    Here’s what it looks like behind the scenes:

    Best Online Business Tools Ryan Robinson ryrob

    Think of it as a way to jump-start the activity and social sharing for new content. It won’t replace the massive returns you can get from reaching out to influencers, getting featured in major publications, or sending the article out to your newsletter list, but it’s an incredible supplement.

    Outsourcing Tools and Platforms

    13. Dribbble Hiring.

    Dribbble Hiring Online Business Tool

    Dribbble Hiring is one of the highest quality marketplaces I’ve used when outsourcing design or development work for my blog. If you’re in a position where you have more financial resources than you do time to build an app or work on a website, then choosing to outsource to these top pros is a no-brainer. What’s really great about Dribbble is that they’re bringing you the top designers and developers in in the world, from their community that’s world-renowned for having top talent. Sign up today and start working with freelance designers and developers that’ve won Apple design awards, Emmys and have built products that are used by millions of people.

    14. Upwork.

    Hiring talented freelance help will allow you to focus more on your strengths, and give you the benefit of offloading business tasks that may not be your strong suits. Copywriting, logo design, development, SEO, and even sales & marketing will be crucial to your early success in growing your side business. A platform like Upwork can help with outsourcing and easy payments, plus provide valuable resources to get your online business off the ground.

    15. CloudPeeps.

    This is one of my favorite communities to source freelance content marketers and community/social managers that know exactly what they’re doing (and can build a powerful content marketing strategy). They already have the marketing skills you need in a talented freelancer, so this is a great site to list your blogging job opportunities on too. They vet every freelancer in their community very carefully, and ensure there’s nothing but the best, which is a must when you’re trying to grow your online business without sacrificing the quality of your work.

    16. Guru.com

    With over 1.5 Million freelancers on their platform, Guru’s concentration on bringing together experienced technical and design-oriented freelancers makes them a great alternative to Upwork, where I’ve historically had more quality issues.

    17. Skillbridge.co.

    A notch above the rest in terms of talent pool, Skillbridge brands themselves as the access point to the hidden world of elite business consultants, experts, professionals and even a healthy stable of WordPress developer jobs in a format that focuses more on industry-experts as opposed to skills-based experts. Here, you’ll certainly be spending more money for help, but you’re much more likely to find a pro with broad expertise across an entire industry – a valuable asset if you have more money than you do time for growing your online business.

    18. Digiserved

    This freelance community focuses on bringing in creative talent and offering pre-packaged services like logo design, image editing, newsletter design, blog post writing, crafting press releases, or even whipping together designs for motivational quotes 😉. What makes them different is their quick & simple checkout process that eliminates the need to search for freelancers, negotiate on price, and worry about deliverable timelines.

    19. Toptal.

    Toptal is a great place to look for talented software developers if you have the budget for quality help. The platform bills itself as an exclusive marketplace that weeds out all but the best and most decorated developers working on everything from Java to Python. Best of all, Toptal does the head-hunting work for you, so you’ll spend less time searching for the perfect developer and more time building your online business.

    20. JobRack.

    JobRack is a job board specifically for hiring high-quality Eastern European contractors to help you grow your business. Hiring talented freelancers from Eastern Europe is a growing trend because of their work ethic, language experience and significantly lower wages than Western Europeans. It can be a a great pool to tap into for either outsourcing mundane tasks or getting higher quality results with projects outside of your area of expertise.

    21. Sewport.

    Online Business Tools Sewport for Clothing Manufacturers

    If you’re looking to outsource the manufacturing of your clothing production for a dropshipping or otherwise eCommerce-driven business, then Sewport is a must-stop destination for finding affordable, trustworthy clothing manufacturers based around the world. From sportswear to women’s high fashion, accessories like sunglasses, belts and shoes, more than 7,200+ companies and entrepreneurs are already using the Sewport platform to find and work with high quality factory partners.

    Research, SEO & Marketing Online Business Tools

    22. SEMrush.

    best online business tools semrush

    I’ve used SEMrush for several years as one of my top tools to learn how to do keyword research—and now it’s an all-in-one toolkit for digital marketers. From estimating search volume ahead of time on a set of keyword phrases I’m considering writing new blog content about, to examining competitor pages, drafting a competitive blog post outline, checking for backlink opportunities, paid ad analysis and more, their suite of tools have become an essential part of my workflow as a content marketer.

    Check out their suite of tools by signing up for a 7-day free trial right here today.

    23. Ahrefs

    If you’re new to the world of implementing blog SEO strategies and link building, then signing up for a free Ahrefs account and keeping track of your website’s ranking metrics with this online business tool is the best place to start. Ahrefs tracks a large number of website metrics including how many backlinks are pointing to your website (and where they link to) which builds your site’s authority and ability to rank well on Google, your traffic rankings, best performing content, and much more.

    24. Proof.

    Online Tools for Marketers Proof

    You’ve probably seen social proof notifications popping up in the corner of many websites you regularly visit. The ones that say things like Ben from Austin just signed up or 100 people are looking at this hotel room. Why are marketers using them? Because they work! Proof is the leading provider of social proof software today, helping bloggers and website owners increase their conversation rates by 10-15%. It’s easy to install and can significantly increase conversions on your website.

    25. Voila Norbert.

    Put simple, Voila Norbert is an email finder. It’s used predominantly by people in sales, marketing, PR, blogging and recruitment. Their tool suite has an industry-leading 98% deliverability, meaning you’re almost certain to find the correct contact information for the people you want to connect with. New users also get 50 free credits to find emails, making it easy to test drive and see how well it works for you. If you subscribe to the platform, Voila Norbert has both a monthly or pay-as-you-go option to choose from. In addition to the email finder, Voila Norbert also has an email verification feature, which filters out invalid/inactive email addresses to help reduce bounces, raise your spam score and improve your email deliverability.

    26. Wordable.

    Best Online Business Tools Wordable for Content Marketers

    As a blogger that’s fallen in love with drafting content in the simple Google Docs interface, Wordable has become my right-hand savior with how easy it is to quickly export my drafted articles directly into the WordPress backend of my blog with literally just a couple of clicks. If you’ve ever tried copying and pasting from Google Docs into WordPress, then you know just how terrible that process can be—completely jacked up formatting, images randomly disappearing, the wrong header formats. Wordable solves that problem elegantly. This is one of those tools that I didn’t think I needed, until I tried it for the first time—and it completely blew my mind with the clear productivity gains I’d experience from integrating it into my regular content workflow.

    27. Ucraft.

    Online Business Tools Ucraft Website Builder

    This fantastic tool suite is designed to be a free website builder for busy creators—packed with tons of visually appealing templates, themes and modules to create a great looking website for your social followers to further connect and engage with you. What’s great about Ucraft is that all users get access to a wide selection of fully customizable designer templates ranging from artsy portfolio sites to content-focused blogs and those using eCommerce website builders that can help monetize your audience.

    28. Click-to-Tweet by CoSchedule.

    This tool is as minimalist and straight forward as it gets when it comes to embedding quick and easy tweet-able bits anywhere on your website with an easy-to-install WordPress plugin. I use it within this post!

    29. Headline Analyzer Tool by CoSchedule.

    The CoSchedule team is doing something right. They have tons of great online business tools, including this one that gives you a quick SEO analysis of how your potential headline ranks on a scale of 0-100. It goes a step further and also helps you boost the effectiveness of your blog post titles with powerful word and phrase recommendations, helping you learn how to write a headline that’ll convert better.

    30. Buzzsumo.

    I use this diverse researching tool to concept potential blog post topics, find key influencers to help distribute my content, and identify opportunities to build relationships with potential partner sites. You can use it to see how many social shares a competitor’s blog post has, which will give you insights as to which social channels that topic may perform best on. It’s a great place to see which topics related to your online business get the most attention, so that you don’t go flying blind the next time you write a new blog post.

    31. Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress.

    Yoast SEO Online Business Tools for Starting a Side Business

    Yoast is legendary in the SEO industry, and their optimization plugin for WordPress posts and pages lives up to their reputation. All you do is fill in the sections for meta title, meta description, target keyword, then Yoast scans your content and gives you precise recommendations for how to further optimize your content for ranking well. If you’re starting a blog or relying on content marketing to drive new customers into your pipeline, this is a must-have online business tool for your arsenal.

    32. AddThis.

    This social media-driven sharing tool, has a suite of offerings including the social sharing widgets you see on this site. Their targeting tools allow you to  zoom in on your website visitors to create dynamic portrait based on geography, mobile usage, social media connections, and more.

    33. Narrow.io.

    Created by content marketer, Sujan Patel, this online business tool can help you build a targeted Twitter following that regularly engages with the content you create & share. It automates and streamlines the process of engaging with your target market, based on keywords and hashtags you identify with.

    34. Google AdWords.

    Affordable, targeted paid marketing to as wide or as narrow a client base as you’d like within Google’s sponsored search results or across their vast display network of partner sites. Cheaply test the viability of your product by driving paid traffic at a quick landing page to see if they’ll sign up for more information about your online business. Attract your first customers who are ready to buy, conduct aggressive A/B testing campaigns, and grow your blog with relatively cheap pay-per-click advertising.

    35. Pingdom Website Speed Analyzer.

    Pingdom has a nice free tool to troubleshoot slow load times on your website. Aside from just checking how fast a page loads on your website, Pingdom will send you email alerts if your servers are down, and will also show you the exact web elements, based on content type like specific image files, CSS, and HTML that are causing your site to load slowly.

    36. Social Snap.

    Social Snap is the ultimate social sharing plugin for WordPress. Their features include social sharing buttons, follow buttons, social meta tags, click to tweet and more. It also includes add-on’s like the auto poster for easy publishing to your preferred networks automatically, social login and even the ability to automatically boost old posts. Coming soon is a highly requested feature, their Content Locker that gates content & only releases it after a user shares it through their social channels.

    37. Ghostery Chrome Extension

    See which tools and extensions your competitor websites are using. I’ve used Ghostery to learn about interesting new services I could be using to help amplify my results online, in addition to controlling what information I share about myself to the websites I’m browsing.

    38. MobileMonkey.

    Online Business Tools MobileMonkey for Marketers

    If you thought Facebook was dead for businesses, then think again. MobileMonkey, the leading Facebook Messenger marketing platform has helped small businesses around the world engage more of their fans, generate more leads, and reduce Facebook ad spend with their automated chat bot solutions. With a range of tools to do everything from sending notifications, to capturing leads over Messenger, delivering follow up messages, and an on-site chat platform that connects directly to your website through a WordPress plugin, you’re leaving leads on the table if you haven’t tried an automated chat bot solution like MobileMonkey.

    39. Wishpond.

    This lead generation and online marketing platform is great for small to medium-sized businesses that are looking to generate leads through social contests, landing pages, conversion-optimized popups, and forms. They also have an awesome email and automated marketing platform built-in. If you want more resources for increasing your lead flow, I highly recommend checking out this list of lead generation tools over on the LeadBoxer blog.

    40. NinjaOutreach.

    This influencer prospecting and outreach tool can help you find key influencers to help you the right exposure for your online business content. What makes NinjaOutreach special is that you can do all of the outreach right within the tool. You can find content ideas, see which post are successful on different social media platforms, build a list of influencers to connect with, promote your content, and build a strong backlink portfolio.

    41. User Interviews.

    Quickly get feedback and in-depth reviews on your early products or services from people within your target market with this new service. User Interviews pairs you with high-quality, real survey participants at $10/person with the goal of helping you more easily test new ideas, concepts and products with your target market. You can even publish those insights in the format of a compilation similar to my honest Bluehost reviews list.

    42. JustReachOut.

    Most entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of being able to hire expensive PR firms and when you’re just getting started, you don’t have a fancy bio with impressive accomplishments to share with the press either. This awesome tool enables entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers to reach out to targeted press contacts to help secure a more regular flow of online and social mentions back to your website.

    43. Interact.

    Online Business Tools Interact Quiz Builder

    Welcome to the 21st century. Quizzes are the future of marketing, whether you like it or not—and if you’re not employing them in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with your audience in new, exciting ways. But, it can be a pain to try and set up quizzes that sprawl across multiple pages of your website, use complex plugins or clunky integrations. That’s where Interact, the incredible quiz building tool I personally use, comes into play. What’s really great about Interact is that you can start with pre-made quiz templates, switch up the questions, customize them to fit your brand, match your style and launch them in a matter of minutes.

    44. Statusbrew.

    This top 50-ranked marketing product (as per G2 Crowd) is a social media management tool that helps businesses efficiently manage their social marketing campaigns. With its easy to use interface, you can schedule and publish the posts on multiple platforms at once. Statusbrew also includes customization of posts for different platforms and scheduling, CSV file uploads of multiple posts, an engagement inbox where you can reply to all messages and comments in one place, reports to check the overall performance and insights on your social profiles. They even have the option to add an RSS feed of the industry-leading blogs you care about, so you can share their latest articles on your social accounts. From creating a social media marketing strategy to implementing the day-to-day activities, Statusbrew is a complete package.

    45. Nightwatch.

    This SEO tool is designed to save SEO pros (including marketers & bloggers) hours of time with accurate global and local rank tracking, as well as site auditing, backlink tracking and in-depth reporting. What makes Nightwatch unique in this competitive SEO tool niche, is their intuitively-designed dashboard that’s completely customizable—and gives you a quick overview of how your websites are performing. They have a 30-day free trial so you can fully explore their suite of tools, which I highly recommend checking out.

    Communication & Collaboration Online Business Tools

    46. Acquire.

    Best Business Tools Acquire for Customer Communication

    Backed by the famed startup accelerator, 500 Startups, Acquire is a customer communication platform that’s designed to help you bridge the gap between your sales & support teams—and customers, with powerful features like live chat, co-browsing, intelligent automation bots to answer common questions, and much more. Employed by more than 12,000+ companies like Samsung, Audi, Lexus, Cigna and countless more, you’ll be in good hands with choosing Acquire to help streamline your customer communications.

    47. Google Drive.

    If I were to be stuck on a desert island and could only choose to have access to one online business tool that I’d have to run my company with, Google Drive would be it. You can share and collaborate with others on documents, spreadsheets, slide presentations, video files, and so much more.

    48. Chanty

    Chanty Top Blogging Tools for Team Communication

    Today, there are countless messaging apps to choose from—with the ubiquitous Slack to a plethora of clones and competitors—it can be difficult to decide on which communication tools will be best for your needs, but in my experience, Chanty is a great option. For one, they’re super easy to set up and use, no matter if your team (or community) is technologically savvy or brand new to using online tools. Chanty comes with free unlimited messaging, task management, audio calls and voice messaging. Even as your blog grows, it’s not expensive to upgrade ($3 per user) and you’ll unlock more features like group audio calls, video calls, screen sharing, tons of useful integrations and more.

    49. Slack.

    Funny enough, it’s hard for me to even imagine collaborative work without Slack, despite it being such a relatively new tool in the world of group chat. It has very become the go-to messaging app for distributed teams and startups around the world. It’s perfect for group work and collaboration, and removes the tired hassle of checking long email threads for attachments and missing important information.

    Images, Graphics & Visual Online Business Tools

    50. Venngage.

    Best Online Business Tools for Visuals Venngage

    Venngage is an easy to use tool that allows non-designers to create professional looking presentations, proposals, reports, infographics, and more. Most of their functions are drag and drop with built in font, stock images, and preselected color palettes, making it super easy to learn. Business users also have access to the ‘My Brand Kit’ tool, which allows you to upload your own logos and brand colors, and see them automatically applied to templates. My favorite part is that their templates allow you to produce consistently branded and visually appealing materials without having to learn any complicated software or hire a graphic designer.

    51. Designhill.

    T-Shirt Design and Print Shop Online Business Tool

    As we all know, t-shirt printing has become a very appealing profitable online business. That means more entrepreneurs than ever are seeking out great tools to start designing (and selling) their own t-shirts. From all of my research, I’ve found that the t-shirt printing tool from Designhill stands head and shoulders above the rest. It lets you create a design in minutes, even if you have no experience at design. They have an easy-to-use, drag and drop feature that allows you to add your own artwork or create brand new designs from scratch within the tool. The preview option also gives you the ability to see your design on a t-shirt mockup before printing or sending to a customer.

    52. CanvasPop.

    Online Business Tools CanvasPop for Your Office

    Nobody likes a boring office, whether at home or otherwise. CanvasPop is an easy to use photo canvas printer where you can take photos from virtually any source—Facebook, Instagram, your camera roll, you name it—and create your very own motivational canvas prints. This is perfect for those of you who want to make your home office that much more stylish. Studies show that an office with personalized decor can be up to 30% more productive and have fewer health complaints, so I’d highly recommend investing in making your space feel comfortable.

    53. Design Wizard.

    Online Business Tools Design Wizard

    Design Wizard is another easy to use graphic design tool that has many benefits for those of you starting a side business—especially if you’ve got a boot-strapped project. You can use their 1.2 million images and 25,000 professionally designed templates to create professional standard graphics and save money on design costs. If design work is your side hustle, you can even take advantage of the same image and template library to sell a type of design (with variations) to your clients. The ease of use and speed with using their templates is what sets this tool apart, cutting down the time it takes to create great marketing images. Lastly, one more cool thing about Design Wizard, is that they also have a full library of premium HD videos that you can pick and pull from in order to polish off any video projects you take on—such as highlight reels for yourself, or paid gigs for clients.

    54. Infogram.

    Infogram Online Business Tools for Starting a Side Business with ryrob

    I use Infogram to create beautiful graphic representations of data. It puts Excel graphing and plotting to shame with it’s flexible, easy-to-use interface and vast template library of graphs, charts, tables, and infographic elements.

    55. Canva.

    Canva offers all sorts of great, easy-to-use visual design tools for free. You can filter out photos, add graphics and icons to them (this is especially useful for creating social media-friendly images), design awesome infographics with drag-and-drop elements, create visually appealing eBooks, and more for your online business.

    56. Adobe PhotoshopIllustrator.

    If you want to go for truly unlimited image editing and customization, Adobe Photoshop is the one tool you can rely on to make your images do exactly what you want. A must-have online business tool for those who are ultra design-conscious. Depending upon what you’re doing, having Lightroom to touch up hi-res photos could be a useful, too. Illustrator—the visual creation complement to Photoshop, is the industry standard for creating custom vector graphics, illustrations, icons, and anything else you can think up. If you want to become a master at creating high quality infographics, this will be the tool of your trade.

    57. Designfeed.

    Designfeed is my favorite new online business tool for quickly generating high-quality social images. With their easy-to-use automated tool, you can create awesome visual content, text-overlay social images, and more. What’s even cooler, is that they give you images sized to fit every relevant social platform, and connect with various social media management tools for quick scheduling. You can sign up for free, right here.

    58. Keynote and Powerpoint.

    Sometimes you just can’t beat the features of the original presentation software makers. I use these online business tools to create professional eBooks, white papers, and design presentations for client meetings and webinars.

    59. Slidebot.

    This awesome tool, used by speakers at TEDx, SXSW and other conferences around the world is a recent discovery for me. It takes the manual work out of creating engaging presentations. All you need to do is provide the text that you want on your slides, then SlideBot automatically designs your presentation for you. Each slide is specifically tailored to fit with your content and and you’re able to present, edit, or export a fully editable version to Powerpoint right away. It’s the ultimate value for me because it does all of this in a matter of seconds.

    60. Pikwizard.

    This free stock photo library is packed with over 100,000+ images and videos that are completely for commercial and editorial use, with no attribution required. They’re adding new images and videos to their library daily, with the goal of getting more than 1 million images and videos on their platform—free for publishers to use. One area Pikwizard thrives in particular, is with their vast library packed with pictures of people—which tend to be rare on free stock photo sites. Their stock image library is also directly integrated with their sister graphic design tool, DesignWizard (also on this list, above) so you can easily import images and quickly edit them, making it a powerful combination.

    61. Unsplash.

    Now the largest stock photo website on the market, Unsplash publishes a massive catalog of beautiful, free, hi-res images and stock photos that you can use on your blog without worrying about copyright infringement, as all their images come with a free license to use.

    62. Awesome Screenshot Chrome Extension.

    As the name suggests, this screen capture tool is an awesome way to capture all (or parts) of any webpage you’re on. You can also annotate those screenshots, blur sensitive information, and easily download & share them with collaborators.

    63. Mockingbird.

    This wireframe tool makes designing anything from a simple landing page to a detailed project proposal easy as pie. You can also collaborate with designers, copywriters, and whoever else you’re working with, directly within the tool to create high quality content for your business.

    64. Explainify.

    This highly creative video production studio creates quality, custom-made animations and videos for your business, in case you have neither the skill nor the time to do it yourself. This is definitely something I’d recommend outsourcing in the beginning stages of your business.

    65. Placeit.

    Easily make beautiful app mockups and demo videos with Placeit, an online business tool that gives you hundreds of different mockup templates and scenarios to show off what someone using your app would look like in real life. This is a great tool for adding a human element to your landing pages, long before you’ve actually got the budget for a product shoot of your own.

    Content Creation & Delivery Tools

    66. Teachable.

    best online business tools teachable

    If you’re thinking of getting into the business of making and selling online courses that teach people how to master a skill set you’ve built, then Teachable is hands down the easiest-to-use (and most affordable) online course delivery platform.

    Just shoot your course footage, write your written lectures, create any worksheets students will need to complete and start uploading your content to the backend of your Teachable school. Craft your sales page, connect Teachable to your PayPal or bank account and you’re ready to start accepting payments from students. Teachable also offers regular free information & training webinars to learn more about their platform, selling online courses and if this is the right business model for you. Check it out and sign up right here to learn more today.

    67. LeadPages.

    This great tool is designed to let you whip up high-converting responsive landing pages in a matter of minutes. Their easy-to-use landing page tool includes great integrations with all the major email marketing platforms to help you capture email addresses, phone numbers, and registrations for your upcoming product launches.

    68. Instapage.

    Similar to LeadPages, Instapage gives you a platform to very quickly build conversion-optimized landing pages. Beyond that, they have a robust analytics tool built-in, which allows you to simultaneously A/B test different versions of your landing pages, to increase your conversions.

    69. Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Recording Mic.

    This is a required tool for online educators or podcasters who create content with audio involved. Online courses, podcasts, or screen recording audio over your tutorial videos all require clean audio (and the best podcast hosting too). The mic plugs right into your laptop via a USB cable and features minimal setup hassle.

    70. Amazon Web Services.

    For data-heavy projects, or affordably hosting video files and images on servers that won’t bog down your own site load time, S3 by AWS is the place to go. You can even get a whole year’s worth of cloud services for free.

    71. FlippingBook

    FlippingBook is a cloud-based service for creating professional online documents. If you want to learn how to write an eBook, or make brochures, catalogs and magazines with a cool page flipping effect, then FlippingBook is my pick for you to try out. Their tool allows you to add popup images, GIFs, links and videos to your marketing content—making it more engaging for your customers. Plus, you can brand your digital documents with your own logo, custom background and colors to keep your branding consistent and build trust.

    72. Qwilr

    Qwilr is a tool that makes it easy to create and turn business documents into beautiful, intuitive webpages. This in turn gives users access to analytics and other helpful tools. Reimagine your old PowerPoint decks or PDFs—and dream up creative, inspiring communications that look professional (and are actually easy to make). Check it out by trying Qwilr’s Document Generator, a free tool that automatically generates a pack of personalized proposals, case studies, invoices or brochures for businesses in a matter of minutes. After answering a few questions, the documents are generated and tailored to your own brand.

    Payments, Invoicing & Accounting Tools

    73. Stripe.

    I’ve been using Stripe for several years now. It has totally revolutionized how businesses accept online payments by making credit card acceptance safer, cheaper, and simpler than ever. They have a flat rate of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction, a competitive rate in an industry that is largely unregulated and notorious for charging all sorts of hidden fees to businesses. Beyond that, it’s one of the most well documented and widely used payment processors in use by digital entrepreneurs.

    74. Square.

    Square has been my go-to in-person payment processor since back when I was running my phone case business. Their tool suite of credit card readers, chip card and NFC readers are the perfect solution for business owners who collect payment from customers, face-to-face. With a 2.75% transaction fee on all swiped cards or 3.5% + $.15 on keyed in transactions, Square brings entrepreneurs one of the most competitively priced point-of-sale transaction tools. What’s more is that they’ve now expanded into offering business owners a set of email marketing tools, an online store builder similar to Shopify, appointment booking software and an app marketplace to help streamline your business.

    75. Selz.

    Selz is an awesome eCommerce platform that helps online business owners monetize their visitors by selling digital products. Within Selz, which of course integrates easily with WordPress-powered websites, you can create your own beautiful online store, add buy buttons to your existing website and social channels. On top of that, Selz has a powerful backend that allows you to manage customers, orders and process payments in one simple place. Sign up for a free account today.

    76. Bonsai

    Bonsai is designed to help freelancers get paid on time with a workflow of freelance contracts, e-signing, invoices, and payments. It’s super simple. In just minutes, you can create and send a bulletproof freelance contract for free. You can also send automated invoices and set up reminders that ensure get you paid on time. They’ve helped over 10,000+ freelancers get paid an average of 14 days faster.

    77. Freshbooks.

    Freshbooks Online Business Tool for Launching a Profitable Side Business

    The ultimate cloud accounting, invoicing, expense tracking, payment acceptance, and time tracking all-in-one online business tool. Especially if you’re running a service-based or freelancing business, Freshbooks makes getting paid and keeping track of what you’re owed as stress-free as possible. Which is great, because I personally hate keeping tabs on every outstanding invoice from my freelance clients. They have a great 30-day free trial, and once you get everything set up you’ll realize how useful it is for helping you manage the money side of your online business.

    78. Hurdlr.

    Hurdlr is awesome for a few different types of people. Authors, speakers, digital entrepreneurs, and even Uber & Lyft drivers can benefit big time from this tool. It lets you manage your finances by automatically tracking earnings, expenses, calculating your blog taxes and more. As you’re going, the platform actively finds suggestions on how to lower your taxes, so you can maximize your income.

    79. Churn Buster.

    Every company with recurring revenue knows the frustration of failed payments. Credit cards expire, get reissued, and are declined for many reasons. Without a good subscription management process, failed payments contribute up to 50% of total churn. Churn Buster—an easy Stripe integration—was built to optimize payments for companies at scale, doing everything possible to clear charges before emailing the customer. Past-due invoices get paid, and subscriptions are reactivated automatically.

    Productivity & Organization Tools

    80. Freshsales CRM.

    Freshsales Online Business Tools CRM for Sales Teams

    The Freshsales CRM (built by Freshworks), is an extremely easy-to-use customer relationship management platform that’s designed to help sales teams be more effective at selling. Their range of tools use AI-based lead scoring, get you access to a built-in phone, email with effective tracking and sequences, activity capturing and more.

    81. Plan.io.

    Hailed as one of the best project management tools, Planio was originally built as an internal side project by the company’s founder Jan Schulz-Hofen, and is now earning a whopping $110,000/mo in recurring revenue. What makes this tool special, is that it’s designed specifically for engineering teams to maximize their effectiveness at managing projects. From issue tracking to traditional project management, version control, a help desk, internal wikis, and chat, Planio is growing in popularity with startup engineering teams around the world.

    82. Trello.

    Trello Online Business Tool for Launching a Profitable Side Business on ryrob Ryan Robinson

    Trello is a collaboration-friendly task manager that’s great for team projects. A customizable project board that lets everyone post what they’re working on, allowing for you to easily tick off items that are done, and contribute to different projects that aren’t. Trello is crucial for my workflow in setting due dates and prioritizing which projects and posts are most important in my online business.

    83. ToDo for iPhone.

    This simple yet powerful app turns your iPhone into a personal to-do list and task manager. It helps me keep track of everything from my weekly groceries to a detailed checklist of everything I need to accomplish in preparation for a conference call with a freelance client. It’s the backbone of my time management system.

    84. Close.

    Best CRM for Small Business Startups Close-io

    Close is actually my #1 pick for the best CRM for small business. Why? Well, this a sales-focused CRM does the heavy data entry for you and frees you up to make more sales, which is pretty damn appealing. Your entire sales workflow within Close is consolidated into one easy-to-read interface, and all the time-consuming tasks like logging phone calls and emails is done seamlessly behind the scenes.

    85. Lighthouse.

    This customer support-friendly tool allows you to track your progress on multiple collaborative projects. With Lighthouse, you won’t bang your head against the wall because of missed or late support tickets, thanks to features like automatically organized tasks, reminders, and document attachments directly into your support emails.

    86. Curator.

    Curator is an awesome iOS app that’s perfect for collecting inspiration from around the web and brainstorming ideas until you can put them together into simple presentations.

    87. MailShake.

    Here’s another great one, built by one of my favorite fellow content marketers, Sujan Patel. This online business tool is designed to help salespeople and marketers be more effective at building relationships, delivering the right emails (at the right time), promoting their content, and testing out new ways of how to drive traffic. You can build outreach lists, automate the process of sending personalized emails & follow ups, and track the effectiveness of your campaigns.

    88. Pop.

    Personally, I love drafting out my ideas and business concepts by hand first. There’s something magical about the creative process of physically drawing and writing for me, and that’s not something I want to give up. Pop is great for creating prototypes on paper, and moving those designs from paper into digital versions that’ll get you to the next stage of your business.

    89. Inbox When Ready.

    This Chrome extension hides your Gmail inbox by default (seriously, it’s actually amazing). All other views remain accessible as normal, so you can search your archive or compose messages without getting distracted by emails flowing into your inbox right in front of you. The extension also has a timed lockout feature, which is great if you want to train yourself to only check your inbox at particular times of day, like I’ve been recently experimenting with. In short, using this extension is a great way to improve your focus while working with email and get out of a reactive mindset that’s so easy to fall into when working from your inbox.

    90. Time Doctor.

    Time Doctor is a time tracking and time management software application that helps you get more done every day. It’s a web-based solution that provides time tracking, computer work session monitoring, reminders, screenshot recording, invoicing, reporting tools, integrations and more features that are helpful for freelancers who charge their clients on an hourly basis. Time Doctor offers a solo plan for $5 per month and a free plan with limited features so you can try it out for free.

    91. Zapier.

    Zapier is an awesome automation tool that helps you connect all of the various different applications, online tools and services that run your business. Once set up, the tool moves information between your web apps automatically, so you can focus more of your time and energy on your most important work (which I’m a huge proponent of). This means that all of the services that keep your business running efficiently, are able to work together harmoniously and can seamlessly & securely pass data between each other.

    92. Weekplan.

    Online Business Tools Weekplan App

    Weekplan is a weekly planner app with more 300,000 users. It’s based on Dr. Stephen Covey’s four quadrant model. Most time management systems are good at helping store the tasks you need to do, but Weekplan is different—it helps you not just prioritize your tasks but also motivates you to do these tasks through daily reminders and notifications. It also allows you to mark tasks as important or urgent, so you can view your priority list. By the end of the week, you can clearly see where you spent most of your time. It even provides quadrant view, goals, a journal, reminders and integration with Google Calendar.

    93. Teamgate.

    Teamgate is an Inbound Sales CRM that’ll make your inbound process much easier to manage—thus helping you grow your business. It’s designed specifically for startups and SMBs and is incredibly easy to use. Unlike many CRMs, you can become a pro at using Teamgate within a day of signing up. With the help of our fast and friendly customer service team, you’ll be able to set up powerful insights, new sales processes and focus on closing more deals. Your business will benefit from multiple pipelines, implemented SmartDialer and a wide API connection range. Beyond just the features they offer, the price is almost 3 times cheaper than many CRMs on the market today.

    94. Qbserve.

    Qbserve is a time tracking application for Mac that automatically logs your productivity and work hours—behind the scenes while you’re working. By watching which apps and sites you’re using in real time, it constantly keeps you updated with your productivity score. Additionally, Qbserve can look for keywords in the names of opened documents and web pages, automatically assigning your work time to a specific project you’re working on—which is great if you work with multiple clients because you can later use this data to generate invoices for your clients. Qbserve is a standalone software tool that works without a server and stores all the collected data privately on your computer. They have a 10-day free trial and comes for a one-time fee of $40 once you sign up.

    95. Sked Social.

    Online Business Tools Schedugram

    Sked Social is seriously the ultimate Instagram management platform, it’s got everything you need to visually plan, create, analyze and schedule your Instagram posts. The tool is widely used by everyone from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies saving their customers hundreds of hours every year. Sked Social lets you schedule and post carousels, photos, videos and stories directly to Instagram so you can build a dynamic feed that engages your audience. It’s perfect for agencies, influencers, small businesses and global brands.

    96. Cloudways.

    This managed cloud hosting platform is at the top of their game when it comes to hosting choice, simplicity and most of all—performance. Their WooCommerce hosting service in particular is extremely useful for bloggers and online business owners that need a reliable solution for facilitating online transactions. All of their plans are backed by an expert support team, so that you can stay focused on what you do best—growing your business.

    97. EngageBay.

    EngageBay is a unified sales and marketing software tool for growing businesses. If you’ve ever tried using several different marketing tools at once, then EngageBay can really help to cut costs and streamline your workload  by  consolidating functions like email marketing, marketing automation, landing pages, web pop ups, deal pipeline views, a centralized customer information panel, and many other essential marketing features into one hub. If you can’t afford a more robust marketing tool like HubSpot, I highly recommend checking out EngageBay today.

    Analytics Tools

    98. Mixpanel.

    Best Online Business Tool for starting online business ryan robinson ryrob

    Mixpanel tracks conversion rates for the key events (think: email signup, account registration, purchase) on your web and mobile landing pages. Above is a screenshot of my Mixpanel account, showing the conversion rate from visit to email signup on a recent blog post of mine. Among many other things, it also gives you an immense amount of useful raw data on the sort of activities your site visitors are doing (which is the first step in testing how to improve your conversion rates), all without having to write complicated SQl code.

    99. GoogleAnalytics.

    The original must-have website analytics platform that every website owner relies upon for data like page view statistics, goal tracking, target audience demographics, site behavior, traffic acquisition, and thousands of more granular data points. Use GA to analyze every facet of your website, app, and optimize how you drive traffic into your business.

    User Testing & Survey Tools

    100. Typeform.

    Use this tool to make simple, user-friendly signup forms and surveys, instead of complicated, difficult to navigate ones. Typeform also gives you super useful templates for specific types of forms, such as market research, customer feedback, embeddable website contact forms, job applications, and more.

    101. Feedier.

    Unlike most of the scaled back and simplified survey tools in this industry, Feedier takes a very unique approach—they let you collect valuable feedback from your customers (or prospects) by rewarding them after completing a survey. Their gamified feedback experience is used by over 4,000 companies around the world, ranging from websites to restaurants, eCommerce brands, retailers and more.

    102. Proved.

    This awesome questionnaire app gives you instant access to large focus group quantities of people, allowing you to validate your business ideas, feature concepts, and product designs by getting your objective survey data in front of a potential audience of millions.

    103. Survey Anyplace

    This is a really interesting new survey tool I recently discovered. What I like most is that it lets you create your own interactive quizzes and surveys with a focus on mobile-use first. It also makes use of cool features like a digital scratch card, selfie uploading and swiping that give it a usability leg up above the rest.

    Communities, Blogs & Forums

    104. Discover DHL.

    This insightful resource hub, brought to you by the international logistics leader, DHL, delivers tons of helpful content for SMEs—whether you’re seeking new ideas or following trends to help stay ahead of the game in business, logistics, e-commerce, operations and culture. Their content covers topics like everything from how to design your packaging for today’s visual world, to reducing your cart abandonment rates, marketing a subscription business, weekly e-commerce trend recaps and more.

    105. Content Hacker.

    Launched as a side project by veteran content marketer and agency owner, Julia McCoy, Content Hacker has quickly grown to becoming an authoritative source for brands that want to dial in their content marketing and channel it into meaningful business growth. Topics covered in great depth on their blog include everything from how to become a content marketer, to roundups of the best freelance job sites for marketers, interviews with leading content marketers and more.

    106. GrowthHackers.

    This is a community of growth and marketing-oriented startup enthusiasts and entrepreneurs doing a lot of awesome things and openly sharing their experiences & knowledge on how to double conversion rates, increase marketing leads, more effectively onboard new users, and everything else worth knowing in the world of effective online business growth.

    107. HackerNews.

    This is one of the longest standing, most genuine and reputable forums in the tech community. The content skews more toward a highly technical community of developers and growth marketers, but contributors share an incredible amount of cool, insightful news and learnings from the world of startups. If your product or service is technical by nature, HackerNews is your place to go for very honest (and guaranteed to be brutal) feedback.

    108. Producthunt.

    ProductHunt very quickly became one of my favorite websites when it launched just a couple of years ago. It’s now a hub for checking out new products, tools, and apps before they take off. If your business caters to helping other startups, entrepreneurs, or early adopters, having a strategically crafted, explosive launch on Producthunt can truly mean the difference between success and failure. Dozens of detailed articles have sprung up over the past year, chronicling how to have a successful Producthunt launch. Here’s my favorite.

    109. Quora.

    An invaluable community-sourced tool where you can learn about literally anything, from some of the best minds in the world. Quora allows you to dive deeply into the heads of people who’ve been there, done that, as well as giving you a chance to ask for feedback on the solutions you’re building within your online business. If you frequently answer questions and help others within the community, you can quickly build a loyal following of potential customers within the niche you blog about.

    110. The Hubspot Blogs.

    Hubspot’s marketing and sales blogs feature extremely powerful, well-written sources of knowledge for anyone trying to grow a business. Their blog posts skew heavily towards in-depth case studies, which means you’ll see a lot of real life content marketing in action and will walk away from each post with a new skill or test to try out within your business.

    111. Startup Stash.

    Startup Stash is a carefully curated list of tools and resources for startups and entrepreneurs. It features nearly every possible resource in every category you can think of related to growing a business, and the best part is they’ve really pared it down to the most useful solutions. There’s a ton of great apps, websites, plugins, and more to be discovered here.

    112. Reddit.

    Learn about and share promising new ideas, particularly on discussion threads like /r/apps and /r/startups. Be warned though, if you’re clearly self-promoting or perceived as spamming the Reddit community, you’ll very quickly have your posts removed and are likely to get banned from the forums you posted your overly promotional message in. The key to success on Reddit is building a reputation, being genuinely helpful, and humbly asking for feedback directly within the community, rather than linking off to your landing page.

    113. Devumi Social Media Marketing Blog.

    Devumi is one of my favorite social media marketing blogs. Since 2011, they’ve been sharing insights and commentary on the world of social media marketing, with a focus on Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, LinkedIn, case studies and more. Their content is designed to teach readers how to grow their businesses through social media.

    114. Mill for Business Blog.

    If you’re thinking of starting a business, Mill is a great place to kick off your research, particularly if your business is going to be based around a website. Their blog platform is a one-stop-shop that features a step-by-step dashboard with intuitive, user-friendly business tools in addition to regular educational content.

    Which Online Business Tools Did I Miss?

    Are there any other great online business tools, resources, or communities you’ve used to get your ideas off the ground?

    If so, share with me in the comments below!

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    41 Best Blogging Tools in 2020 (for Marketing, SEO and More) Free & Paid

    41 Best Blogging Tools in 2020 (for Marketing, SEO and More) Free & Paid

    The right blogging tools can make or break your blog-based business.

    Over the last six years of growing my blog from zero to 500,000+ monthly readers, one critical thing I’ve learned is just how important it is to choose the best blogging tools from day one—and to also know when you’ve progressed enough and are ready to move on to the next level of tool.

    When you employ the right tools for bloggers on your website (for the stage you’re in), it can literally save you hours of time that’d be otherwise spent on much more manual work.

    Not only will these best blogging tools save you valuable time & effort, but they’ll also enable you to actually do things that wouldn’t otherwise be possible without investing in hiring your own team of marketers, writers, virtual assistants or software engineers.

    41 Best Blogging Tools in 2020 for Better Marketing, SEO, Writing and Research

    1. Ahrefs
    2. Google Analytics
    3. MonsterInsights
    4. Serprobot
    5. Yoast SEO for WordPress
    6. Buzzsumo
    7. Twinword Ideas
    8. SimilarWeb
    9. Can I Rank?
    10. SE Ranking
    11. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
    12. Hunter
    13. Voila Norbert
    14. Ninja Outreach
    15. Clearbit
    16. Wordable
    17. FocusMe
    18. Inbox When Ready for Gmail
    19. ConvertKit
    20. Sumo
    21. OptinMonster
    22. AddThis
    23. SocialSnap
    24. Click-to-Tweet
    25. Teachable
    26. Quuu and Quuu Promote
    27. Wishpond
    28. YouTube
    29. Adobe Rush
    30. Rev
    31. Albacross
    32. LinkMiner
    33. SEO Web Page Analyzer
    34. Loom
    35. Pichi
    36. Adobe Photoshop
    37. Visme
    38. Logaster
    39. Unsplash
    40. Trello
    41. Affilimate
    42. Paperform
    43. Easelly

    Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. Know that I only recommend tools, products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind. When you purchase a tool using my one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep all of my in-depth content free of charge for readers.

    From keyword research to competitor analysis, writing blog headlines, email marketing, nailing your blogger outreach, scaling your social media promotion and much more—we’re breaking down all of the top blogging tools you need to be using on your blog today.

    Now before we dig into today’s roundup of blogging tools—if you’re totally new to blogging, I’ve put together the ultimate guide to getting started with your blog. Actually getting your blog online and well-optimized (with the right tools) is the first step to laying a foundation that’ll eventually attracts readers. And my 25,000 word guide to starting a blog will position you best for going on to bring thousands of readers to your blog in the near future.

    If you haven’t yet gotten your blog off the ground yet, then head over to my ultimate guide to starting a blog.

    Still Need to Start Your Blog First?

    Check out my ultimate guide: How to Start a Blog (on the Side) Today.

    First up, we’re exploring the most effective research and analysis-related blogging tools on the market today, so that you can take a more effective approach to how you’re growing your blog in the first place.

    Ahrefs Homepage as the Best Blogging Tool for Keyword Research

    Ahrefs has more than earned its reputation as one of the best blogging tools when it comes to nailing your blog SEO strategies, with a special emphasis on keyword research & competitor analysis. Though to be clear, if you’re brand new to blogging—this tool may be a little advanced (and it’s not free).

    Having started out as just a backlink checker back in the day, many bloggers aren’t fully aware of how powerful Ahrefs has become as a blogging tool. Their most relevant features for bloggers, is that it quadruples as a content research and analysis juggernaut, keyword rank tracker (with historical SERP movements going as far back as when your blog began ranking for its first keyword), a competitor research tool and on-page SEO analyzer. I know, that’s a lot.

    New features still come along quite often and they’re never released at the expense of their most loved features—they still boast the largest index of backlinks of any blogging tool in its class.

    While their Keywords Explorer tool is my go-to these days, Ahrefs really earns its stripes as a backlink analysis tool. When conducting an analysis of either your own backlink profile or that of a competitor you’re trying to learn from, you can choose to view columns like only new links, lost links, no follow, or do follow links. You also can group similar links, see just one link per domain name or view links by platform. The flexibility lets you easily get to the bottom of your queries.

    Here are a few of my daily searches on Ahrefs:

    • Top Pages: This shows you a list of the highest traffic-grossing pages for the site you’re analyzing
    • Best by Links: This view ranks the pages of a site based on the number of backlinks it’s received
    • Content Explorer: Allows you to quickly generate blog post ideas that put the spotlight on trending topics in your space
    • Competitor Research: This’ll quickly show the keywords a competitor site ranks for (along with traffic estimates)

    Keep in mind that traffic estimates are calculated based on a site’s organic ranking positions, their number of featured snippets, search carousels and everything else in between.

    As such, organic traffic reports can be shockingly accurate, even for small blogs.

    How I Made $54923 Blogging on the Side in June 2019 Google Analytics Screenshot Traffic

    Since 2005, Google Analytics has been a (free) web analytics service built and offered by Google that allows blog and website owners to track and report on their website traffic. Today, it’s just one of the blogging tools offered inside of the overall Google Marketing Platform brand, designed for marketers and advertisers to reach more readers.

    In the screenshot above (from my own Google Analytics dashboard for this blog), you can see critical data points like how many readers come to my blog each month, the breakdown of new vs returning visitors, how many pages the average visitor views, how long they spend on a page, my blog’s bounce rate—and so much more. Here’s a step-by-step guide from Google on how to install Google Analytics on your blog.

    Blogging Tools to Become a Better Blogger MonsterInsights WordPress Plugin

    To put it simply, MonsterInsights is a dead simple Google Analytics plugin for WordPress—that allows you to view your GA data directly within your WordPress dashboard.

    This plugin makes our list of the best blogging tools because it allows you to easily connect your WordPress blog with your Google Analytics account (without hiring developer or writing any code yourself)—a task that can sometimes be a bit more complicated than most new bloggers bargain for, depending upon which of the best WordPress themes you’re using.

    With the click of just a few buttons in MonsterInsights, you can set up relatively sophisticated event tracking, eCommerce tracking (depending upon the eCommerce website builder you’re using), form submissions and more features that’ll help you better understand your blog readers as you grow.

    Serprobot Blogging Tool for Checking Search Rankings

    Serp Robot is a free Google rank checker that tracks the position of your blog’s articles for the keywords you input.

    It’s forte is accurate rankings—hilarious when you consider that’s the only job of a rank tracker… but not as hilarious if you’ve ever tried using a rank tracking blogging tool.

    Most rank trackers miss the mark, big time. Accurate tracking is key to understanding your blog’s health (as it relates to your ability to deliver organic search traffic), as a heavy decline could hint at a potential manual penalty from Google.

    Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin as Top Blogging Tools

    Quite possibly the most-installed WordPress plugin of all time (made by an independent company), Yoast SEO is indispensable amongst the best blogging tools.

    Whether you’re running a personal blog or working in marketing and SEO for a company that’s put you in charge of managing their corporate blog, Yoast SEO is a powerful free plugin that’s been designed to help make your blog as search engine-friendly as possible.

    After installing the plugin, you’ll immediately see the above mini-SEO dashboard at the bottom of every post on your blog once you’re in editing mode. All you need to do is input your focus keyphrase (target keyword you want the article to rank for in organic search), and the plugin will give you a detailed analysis of how to write a better headline, meta description, alongside recommendations on the number of links your article should contain, the number of times your keyword phrase should be mentioned, article length and more.

    If I had to go down to using just one of these blogging tools on my site today, I’d choose Yoast SEO.

    Buzzsumo Top Blogging Tools for Marketers

    BuzzSumo’s Content Research blogging tool generates a list of the most popular blog posts on a given topic—and you get to view pre-validated ideas for blog posts.

    With Buzzsumo, you can also monitor your blog’s mentions across the web as they happen in real-time. This makes them very useful amongst the best blogging tools specifically for marketers—since you can reach out to unlinked brand mentions and turn them into new links for your growing blog SEO strategy.

    The question analyzer features the ability to search and lists out questions asked on a particular keyword phrase your readers may be searching for—which is important if you want to capture featured snippets.

    Blogger SEO Techniques and Tools to Do Keyword Research Twinword

    Miss the old (free) Google Keyword Planner or looking for a free alternative to some of the more advanced tools like Ahrefs? Well, Twinword Ideas is your next best thing. It’s a free keyword research tool you can use to learn which phrases you should create targeted content for (in order to bring more of the right readers to your blog from search engines).

    Twinword Ideas—a free blogging tool from the team at Twinword—gathers keyword data directly from Google, making it more accurate than most other completely free keyword research tools out there today. So, if you’re wondering… do people still read blogs? the answer is a resounding yes today.

    In addition to just the basic search function, you can view “Popular Topics” together with data that calculates how much SEO competition there will be on the topic—suggesting how difficult it’ll be for your blog to rank high in organic search results. Unlike Google’s original Keyword Planner tool (no longer a completely free resource) that gives a range of monthly search volumes, Twinword Ideas lists exact search volumes you can count on.

    Best Blogging Tools for Marketers to Use SimilarWeb Screenshot

    What I like about SimilarWeb is their ability to turn the often inscrutable numbers into easy-to-understand colorful graphics. Insights that might take hours to glean elsewhere when relying entirely on numbers, can be drawn pretty quickly with the graphic presentations on SimilarWeb.

    The free version of SimilarWeb makes our list of top blogging tools because it lets you see everything that the paid account does—with the exception that your time range is restricted. With a free account, you can see a blog’s website traffic analytics for the past 3 months. With a paid account, you can see detailed traffic reports for six months. It also displays worldwide traffic, broken down by country. There’s also a category rank showing your own popularity within the niche you blog about—for example that could include food blogging, fashion blogging, travel blogging or otherwise.

    You can analyze data on visitor locations, how much search traffic you’re getting, referring sites, social traffic, keywords you’re ranking for, paid advertising data and similar sites you’re competing with today. Traffic figures should be taken with a grain of salt though. SimilarWeb tends to underestimate traffic count for sites averaging below 50,000 visitors a month, while often overestimating traffic for others.

    For example on my blog, SimilarWeb estimates the monthly pageviews for May at 960,587.

    The actual pageviews for May? Only 736,679.

    Laser sharp accuracy isn’t the purpose of a blogging tool like this, though.

    SimilarWeb doles out what Ahrefs doesn’t—helping you to visualize every channel that sends your blog traffic (and take action to learn how to write blog posts that’ll repeat your successes).

    Can I Rank SEO Tool as Best Blogging Tools to Get Ahead on Content

    Can I Rank? is one of the most exciting new blogging tools I’ve discovered this year. At the core of their product, is an AI-powered software engine that gives you actionable blogging tips and advice for how to improve your blog’s SEO rankings, get more traffic and even gather the best blog post ideas to pursue based on your existing content—and which opportunities will provide the most potential traffic value in the months to come.

    Beyond just the SEO-focused recommendations you’ll get from Can I Rank?, their platform gives you detailed DIY instructions for how to best implement their advice—or the opportunity to delegate the task to an SEO consultant within their network. It’s pure genius, and I’ve already discovered several high-impact content opportunities I’m capitalizing on for my blog, so I recommend every serious blogger to give them a try.

    SE Ranking Product Screenshot in Top Blogging Tools Roundup

    SE Ranking is another of my picks for exciting new blogging tools to burst onto the scene this year. With a very broad feature set ranging from keyword ranking tracking to research tools, competitor monitoring, advanced traffic analytics, marketing planning and more—this is one of the most robust new blogging tools I’ve come across in some time, and it’s quickly become an essential part of my workflow whenever I update my blog business plan.

    What I like most about SE Ranking, is that beyond just the keyword position monitoring function that sits at the center of the product, this blogging tool also provides a very extensive website audit function that’ll give you extremely actionable feedback on how to improve your blog’s technical SEO footprint. While this is amongst the paid blogging tools here on this list, if you’re taking your blog growth seriously—then SE Ranking is well worth your while to consider weaving into your tech stack.

    SEO for Bloggers How to Write a Good Headline for Your Article Tester

    CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer makes our list of top free blogging tools because it quickly checks your headline for balance, length, keywords, sentiment and scores it on a scale of 0 to 100.

    Based on your first analysis, you can play with the wording, length and order of words to see if you can get a higher score. It’s important to note though, that even a headline analyzer tool isn’t always perfect—it wants headlines to conform to a template that might be best in ranking for some keyword phrases, but isn’t always a guaranteed best choice. That being said, it’s an excellent blogging tool for writers to get a feel for how their headlines will likely be perceived by readers.

    Outreach-Focused Blogging Tools to Scale Your Content Promotion

    With the more research-heavy blogging tools behind us, let’s dig into the best outreach-oriented blogging tools.

    These blogging tools are designed with the express purpose to help you nail your blogger outreach, scale your content promotion, land high quality guest posts and build partnerships with other bloggers in your industry.

    Hunter for Cold Email Success to Find Email Addresses

    The premise of this free blogging tool is deceptively simple—Hunter scrapes the Internet for email addresses, and allows you to enter a domain and see all of the emails associated with that company (that have made their way into the Hunter database). It’s my go-to email finding tool today.

    Whether you need the email address of a CEO, content manager or social media rep, Hunter’s email finder feature will return either their exact email address or their best guess based on other company emails they’ve uncovered. What ups the ante with this blogging tool, is the bulk feature, where you can upload a list of domains or contacts, in order to find or verify contacts for a larger scale outreach campaign.

    The free plan limits you to 100 searches a month (which is more than enough for implementing a thoughtful blog SEO strategy).

    Blogging Tool Voila Norbert In Action to Find Email Addresses

    Voila Norbert’s remarkable in the way it’s able to process even hundreds of raw CSV files, and feed you highly accurate contact information for your blog outreach campaigns.

    Primarily build to become one of the top lead validation blogging tools, Voila Norbert also integrates with other tools like Drip and Pipedrive, making it particularly useful for sorting your leads and lining up campaigns to launch quickly.

    Blogging Tools NinjaOutreach for Marketers to Use Example

    Ninja outreach is on this list of the best blogging tools because it’s an all-in-one outreach tool that you can use to connect with influencers, pitch guest posts and build relationships with other bloggers in your niche—at scale.

    Its primary function as a link prospector can be accessed within the Outreach section. Enter a topic to find the top blogs you should connect with, with several columns highlighting social stats, SEO metrics, traffic figures and contact info for the people you should get in touch with and email with your collaboration idea.

    The features column even shows whether or not the target website is currently accepting guest posts—making this amazing amongst the top tools for bloggers who want to land more guest posts and attract high quality links as a part of their SEO strategy.

    How to Use Clearbit as a Blogging Tool

    The stand-out feature that makes Clearbit one of the most useful blogging tools for content creators, is its awesome integration with Gmail. Once Clearbit is installed, you can click on a contact you’re about to send an email to—and you’ll get a mini widget with a short bio about the person, their website and company they work at.

    It’s useful for not only personalizing your emails during an outreach campaign, but for also testing & validating whether or not a particular email address you have is accurate 😉

    Productivity-Centric Blogging Tools to Get More Work Done (Faster)

    Alright, shifting gears again—let’s talk about the productivity-related blogging tools—which is something of an obsession of mine.

    These are my picks for the most essential productivity-oriented blogging tools that’ll help you save time on tasks that can be done faster (and more effectively).

    Wordable Top Blogging Tools for Bloggers to Use

    If you’ve been blogging for any amount of time, and have ever gone through the (hilarious) process of trying to copy & paste a blog post you wrote as a draft in a Google Doc—and get it loaded into WordPress, then you know how much of a nightmare the re-formatting will be. Wordable is one of my favorite blogging tools because it’s saved me literally hours of my life.

    Once you’ve signed up for Wordable’s free trial, you’ll download their plugin and install it on your WordPress blog. Then, in literally one click, you’ll be able to instantly export Google Docs into a WordPress post or page on your blog—without any formatting challenges. Seriously. It’s incredible, and it’ll even import images using the titles you’ve given the files originally within your Google Doc.

    Best Tools for Bloggers FocusMe Screenshot in Use

    FocusMe has a special place on my list of the best blogging tools because of how much it, well… helps me stay focused when I need to get critical work done.

    As a website and app blocker, FocusMe aspires to help you kill energy-draining multitasking and limit the amount of time you spend on distracting websites. Its promise of efficiency is set on the belief that setting a daily 2-hour curfew for a specific website or app can translate to 25% higher levels of productivity.

    Inbox When Ready Tools for Bloggers to Be Focused

    The makers of this special Chrome extension for Gmail realized just how obsessed we’ve become with emails today—and sought to rein in that obsession, so you can spend more time on the tasks that’ll actually help grow your blog (rather than answering every single email as it comes in).

    Once installed, the extension helps you batch process emails and minimize how long you spend on each email—by adding a “Show Inbox” button and alternatively a “Hide Inbox” button for when you’re ready to either dive into email or hide your email inbox from sight. Personally, it helps me think twice about opening up my email inbox.

    Another great feature is that you can still compose new emails while the inbox remains hidden, so you don’t have to worry about new emails popping up and stealing your attention. You can also assign a frequency limit on how many times you want to check your email in a day—plus allocate specific time limits for each email.

    Marketing-Related Blogging Tools to Grow Your Traffic and Build an Audience

    Marketing. Like it or not, recent blogging statistics illustrate that you’ve got to promote your blog content if you hope to build an engaged audience—and the right blogging tools can help you do that much more effectively than ever before.

    These are my picks for the most essential blogging tools that’ll specifically help you market your blog more effectively.

    Ryan Robinson Blog Income Report July 2019 ConvertKit Email Subscribers

    While I’ll be the first to tell you stick with free email marketing tools like Mailchimp as you’re just getting started—that won’t be the best blogging tool for growing your email list in the long-term as your business scales and you can afford invest in blogging tools like ConvertKit that’ll do more to create things like automations & sequences that can generate revenue from your email list while you sleep.

    Your email subscribers are just a small step away from becoming paying customers of your online course, the eBook you wrote, or service you’re offering. For example, I’ve been able to set up completely automated sales emails that promote the purchase of either my blogging books or one of my premium blogging courses depending upon when and how a new subscriber signs up on my blog. ConvertKit’s functionality is designed specifically for bloggers, and is affordable (starting at $29/mo) for their jam-packed feature list including building your email list, making landing pages, setting up automated emails, messaging subscribers and templates to start with. They also integrate directly with WordPress and other top blogging tools, making it a crucial dashboard for an experienced blogger.

    If you’re still not convinced, take a peek at my recent comparison between ConvertKit vs AWeber vs Mailchimp.

    Best Blogging Tools Sumo for Marketers

    Sumo actually bundles together more than twenty different useful blogging tools into one single package. Here, I’ll talk about their three social media optimization tools.

    We all know that posts with images get shared more, right? What if your blog visitors also want to share the images they find in your blog posts? That’s easily done in just one click with Sumo’s Image Sharer tool. Beyond that, the Sumo Highlighter makes it easy for readers to share snippets they like from within a blog post by highlighting it (for other readers to notice) and tweet about it.

    Sumo share is a slick, well-optimized set of social sharing buttons that you can embed within a blog post or along the side of your blog, so that readers are encouraged to spread the word about the content they like on your blog.

    OptinMonster Example of Best Blogging Tools for Marketers

    As any new blogger will know, building an email list is essential to eventually learning how to make money blogging.

    OptinMonster lands on our list of the best blogging tools because of how effective it is at capturing the email addresses of your readers. It can be set up on any page of your blog (they have an incredibly easy-to-use WordPress plugin too) and their tools give you the ability to even A/B test different messages to learn the most effective ways to incentivize your readers to join your list or even complete a purchase. Not to mention the fact that their opt-ins can be designed to perfectly match your blog layout aesthetic.

    Blogging Tools for Content Creators AddThis in Use

    The social sharing buttons I use on many pages of my blog are powered by AddThis—and best of all? This is a completely free blogging tool you can install in minutes.

    Beyond just the social sharing widgets, they offer a suite of other blogging tools like the ability to populate follow buttons across your blog, link promotion tool bars that can direct readers to a specific page of your site, email list building popups and even related content bars that can be placed strategically within your content to keep readers moving on to the next article.

    SocialSnap Customizable Share Widget Blogging Tool

    SocialSnap is a WordPress plugin that adds beautiful social share buttons on your blog, with more customization options and faster loading than anyone else on the market.

    Unlike other blogging tools and plugins that add social buttons to your blog, SocialSnap is built to be lightning fast and won’t slow down your page load speeds one bit—an important factor in your overall blog SEO strategy. Plus, their share buttons are available in multiple formats as a floating bar, sticky widget, above or below blog posts and even as pop-ups.

    Blogging Tools Click to Tweet by CoSchedule

    For how minimalist and straight forward this free WordPress plugin is, it’s become one of the highest return blogging tools I’ve installed on my site.

    It’s as easy as it gets when it comes to embedding quick and easy tweetable quotes or content you want to encourage readers to share anywhere within your blog content.

    Blogging Tools Teachable for Course Creation Examples

    As your blogging business grows, making and selling online courses will be a natural evolution along the path to monetizing your blog. Teachable has long been one of the easiest-to-use online course delivery platforms that can not only serve content to your students—but also collect payments on your behalf.

    All you need to do is create your course content, design a sales page using their simple builder, and then connect Teachable to your PayPal or Stripe account—then you’re ready to start selling courses to your readers. Check them out and sign up here to learn more.

    Top Blogging Tools Quuu Promote to Influencers

    Quuu and Quuu Promote are two different things, but both are incredibly useful blogging tools to build your audience and promote your content.

    Quuu users like me receive high-quality daily content recommendations from the niches you choose to share about on your social channels. You can then schedule this content to automatically publish on regular intervals throughout the day or week—keeping your target audience engaged.

    Much of the content you’ll be sharing is courtesy of bloggers who’ve signed up to have their content vetted by Quuu’s Promote program. The payoff for using Quuu Promote is that you’ll get access to a veritable traffic source that keeps giving for weeks to come. Every time I publish a new post on my blog, I submit it to Quuu Promote.

    It’s a win-win for both stakeholders—both content curators and bloggers who want to drive traffic, get more shares and build a brand.

    Wishpond Features and Homepage Screenshot for Blogging Tools List

    Wishpond is actually a collection of blogging tools built around helping you do one thing—effectively market and grow your business. It earns a place here on my list of useful blogging tools for marketers, because of how many different features you get after signing up: an online advertising dashboard, social media tools, email marketing, lead management, referral campaigns, landing pages, forms, call tracking, chat bots and more. It’s a one-stop dashboard of blogging tools once you’re focused on marketing your site.

    The most unique feature about Wishpond, is that you get a dedicated marketing executive to join your team after signing up. It’s their job to  guide you through every step of what it takes to create (and execute) successful marketing campaigns for your blog and niche. They’ll help you stay in the loop with industry trends, look for specific optimizations you can make on your blog and provide ongoing actionable advice to help grow your site in the right direction. The best part? Pricing starts at just $49/mo.

    YouTube Channel Best Blogging Tools Ryan Robinson Screenshot

    Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (behind only their parent company Google)?

    With many millions of people searching for answers to the pressing questions they have every single day on YouTube, that makes it one of the most useful blogging tools to help build your audience, attract more viewers who want to learn from you and grow your influence. In their push to increase the watch time users spend on YouTube, bloggers that publish longer-form videos that keep viewers engaged, will be rewarded with climbing the organic rankings.

    Here are a few YouTube video ideas (and formats) you can use to create engaging content for your readers:

    • Turn your popular blog posts into videos
    • Share stories from within your blog niche
    • Create step-by-step videos that walk through a process readers want to learn about
    • Discuss current events, news and industry happenings (by yourself or with a guest)

    At the end of the day, the more you can publish quality YouTube videos and embed them into related posts on your blog, the higher your rewards will likely be from search engines like Google that value the close connection between YouTube video embeds and long-form written content.

    Best Blogging Tools Adobe Rush for Editing Videos on the Go

    Adobe Rush is the company’s most recent video editing product—a pared down version of their immensely popular Premier editing software—geared toward helping bloggers and creators to shoot, edit and share online videos as quickly as possible.

    Rush makes my list of the best blogging tools because I’m far from a professional video editor. It helps me to take the simple videos I record (like my tutorial on how to start a blog) and edit them into visually appealing content for my blog and YouTube channel in a matter of minutes.

    Best Blogging Tools to Use Rev for Video Transcriptions

    Whether it’s video or podcast transcriptions, captions to include with your YouTube videos, or even foreign subtitles on your content that starts to attract an international audience, Rev is my go-to destination for fast, high-quality services in this world—landing it squarely on my list of the best blogging tools. Side note: If you’re considering podcast, check out my list of the best podcast hosting platforms on the market today.

    Best Blogging Tools Albacross for Lead Generation and Website Analytics

    Albacross is a powerful B2B lead generation platform that gives bloggers (and businesses) the ability to identify and monitor which companies are visiting their websites. You can also gather useful information on the organizations behind your readers—including size, revenue, industry, location and even contact details.

    Having this kind of data about blog visitors at your disposal will allow you to do much more relevant email marketing campaigns to spread the word about your blog and build more partnerships. Their integration with Zapier gives users access to a wide range of applications to pass data to, including CRMs, email marketing tools and more.

    Broken Link and Optimization-Driven Blogging Tools

    Now, one of my favorite aspects of blogging—working hard to get make sure your content is discovered by new audiences by tactics like… landing guest blog posts, finding broken links and coming up with creative ways to get your content mentioned in strategic outlets online.

    These are my picks for the best blogging tools that’ll help you get your blog mentioned on other top websites.

    Blogging Tools LinkMiner for Content Outreach

    LinkMiner is an Google Chrome extension that identifies opportunities for you to build links to your blog content, by spotting broken links on the websites you’re viewing. Once installed, LinkMiner will highlight all 404 errors (broken links), so that you can then contact the blog owner with a similar resource you’ve already created and ask for your link to be placed where that broken one previously was.

    SEO Web Page Analyzer Blogging Tools for Marketers

    This blogging tool is a free SEO analyzer you can use to get actionable advice on improving the pages of your blog.

    Just enter the URL of the page you want to analyze to get a free report. Based on the quick analysis, your page will get an overall SEO score, followed by a report with specific implementations you can quickly make to improve your page score and get it in better SEO shape.

    Image and Video-Related Blogging Tools to Nail Your Visual Identity

    Without a coherent visual identity and well-designed layout (like you can get from these WordPress themes), it’s going to be difficult to stick out in the minds of your readers (and convince them you’re worth coming back to). These blogging tools will help you excel at that.

    From optimizing your images in order to keep page load speeds down, to designing high quality featured images for your blog posts, these are the essential image and video-related blogging tools you need to be using right now.

    Top Blogging Tools Loom for Video Recording

    I discovered Loom just over a year ago and am completely blown away by not only its versatility as a (free) useful blogging tool for recording high quality screen-share tutorials, but at just how effective it is at also capturing direct to camera videos from my computer.

    Loom’s features also include the ability to quickly (and either privately or publicly) share the videos you record with just one click—pasting into your email, over Slack or otherwise. Colleagues or customers can even weigh in with comments on your videos, or you can export the videos and upload to a destination like YouTube.

    Pichi Image Compression Blogging Tools for Bloggers

    This app for Mac lets you resize and compress images in just a couple of clicks, making it essential amongst blogging tools you’ll want to employ as your traffic grows.

    With Pichi, you can achieve up to 95% compression without any noticeable drop in your image quality. Images will upload quickly and as a result, the pages of your blog will load faster. Every additional second in page load time can drop conversions and conversely signal to Google that your content shouldn’t be ranked as high in organic search results.

    Image Editing Blogging Tools Adobe Photoshop

    For truly unrestricted image editing and customization, Adobe Photoshop reigns king amongst blogging tools.

    On the flip side though, it can be one of the most complex blogging tools to learn from scratch if you’ve never experienced it before—the incredibly wide range of customization options to edit and even create visual content means there’s a steep learning curve.

    Visme Blogging Tool for Creating Images and Graphics

    Visme is a free online design blogging tool that lets bloggers create custom designs, blog images, infographics,  social posts and more for your blog—all without having to learn a complex set of tools or skills.

    After signing up, you’ll be able to choose from hundreds of templates to hit the ground running, and you’ll be able to create visually appealing graphics in a matter of minutes.

    Logaster Blogging Tools to Create Logos Homepage Screenshot

    Logaster is one of the top online services for designing your brand assets (especially getting a logo designed) with a focus on both quality and cost. What’s particularly great about this blogging tool, is that you can create a logo in just a couple of clicks—with their online generator creating more than 1,000 creative logos each hour.

    With a specific bend towards helping small and medium-sized businesses, their blogging tools offer the ability to quickly create high quality logos and other visual assets to fuel projects like a website redesign, new media kit, stationary and more.

    Unsplash Stock Image Tools for Bloggers to Use

    Unsplash has a massive free stock photo library, making it a go-to amongst my favorite tools for bloggers.

    Studies have shown that blog posts that feature an image every 75-100 words get double the shares compared to those that don’t have regular visuals embedded throughout. Their powerful search function isn’t the only way to look for pictures either—you can also browse collections sorted into familiar themes. Their library boasts a collection of 810,000+ photos from photographers across every walk of life. You won’t be disappointed in your search for the right blog images.

    Project Management Blogging Tools to Keep Your Content on Track

    Finally, we’ve got my favorite project management-related blogging tool you can use to stay on top of editorial calendars while keeping your remote contractors, partners and fellow bloggers in the loop.

    Trello in Use as One of the Best Blogging Tools for Productivity

    Trello is a collaboration and project management tool through and through. Sign up is super easy (and free with some slight limitations). From creating projects, to assigning team members to specific tasks and tracking the progress of a project, it’s easy to get a visual view of how things are progressing on your blog.

    Want to kick off a new blog post? Create a new card on your editorial board with this blogging tool and assign the right team members to get started.

    41. Affilimate Affiliate Dashboard (Bonus)

    Affilimate Screenshot (Best Affiliate Programs Manager Tool)

    There are two main challenges that come with scaling your affiliate blog income—keeping track of lots of different affiliate programs to log into, and inconsistent or lackluster reporting. For example, let’s say you have a single article which links to products in 5 different affiliate networks. Trying to figure out how much that article is earning in total, and whether it’s trending up or down after your latest changes, is a time-consuming and manual process.

    These are the two core problems that Affilimate solves. It aggregates your affiliate reports into one single dashboard, allows you to build detailed, cross-network reports and automatically attributes your conversions back to specific articles and links on the page (which saves a ton of time). This can be a game-changer both if you’re starting out and want to visualize what’s already working, as well as if you’re scaling up and managing several different websites.

    Paperform (Blogging Tools) Homepage Screenshot of Form Builder for Websites

    Surprisingly, the vast majority of free WordPress themes on the market today just don’t have a great interface for creating beautiful sign up forms—and that’s where Paperform comes into play.

    Paperform is an online tool that allows bloggers and web publishers to (quickly) create beautiful online forms, insert payment forms or create easy-to-build product pages without any technical knowledge. From surveying your audience, to collecting email addresses, taking payments, booking appointments and more, Paperform gives you a short HTML code snippet that can be embedded directly into any page or post on your website.

    Easelly Screenshot (Blogging Tools Infographic Maker Example)

    If you’re looking to increase your blog traffic (but you’re on a tight budget) creating infographics can improve your website authority and rankings. But how do you make infographics? Meet Easelly, a simple infographic maker tool with 4 million users worldwide. With the Pro version of Easelly, you even get unlimited access to beautiful infographic templates and more than 1.1 million free illustrations & images created by professional designers.

    It’s also easy to embed an Easelly infographic directly on your blog. All you have to do is copy and paste a simple embed code from your Easelly canvas, into your content editor. If you’re pressed for time to make infographics from scratch, you can even ask the infographic design team behind Easelly to make custom infographics and animated graphics for you. Pricing for their paid plans start at just $49.

    Did I Miss Any of Your Picks for the Best Blogging Tools?

    Ultimately, I’m a major advocate of getting by on as tight a budget as possible when it comes to purchasing blogging tools, especially in the beginning when you can make the painful blogging mistake of spending too much on paid tools—even though your tool expenses will be deductible on your blog taxes at the end of the year. With how many great free (and very inexpensive) tool options there are today—it’s easy to keep your blogging costs pretty low while still growing your site quickly.

    If you’re not too sure about what’s actually worth spending some money on today—in the name of positioning your blog for long-term success, then use this check list:

    Now, are there any essential blogging tools I missed that should be added to the list?

    Share with us in the comments below!

    Source link

    How to Do Blogger Outreach in 2020 (Template)

    How to Do Blogger Outreach in 2020 (Template)

    In this ultimate guide on how to do blogger outreach that stands out, I’m breaking down how I’ve personally used blogger outreach to help get 500,000+ monthly readers to my blog—including the exact blogger outreach email templates that’ve helped me land articles on sites like Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Fast Company and more.

    Jump To: Table of Contents

    But before we get into the strategies, tactics and templates behind smart blogger outreach, let’s lay the foundation for why you should consider doing outreach in the first place.

    You’ve started a blog. Now, however great your content is, the reality is that nobody will ever learn about your blog—unless you get the word out there.

    And while your family on Facebook or friends on Twitter might be happy to cheer you on, you’re probably going to want to expand your audience beyond the people you already know. One of the best ways to grow your audience is through blogger outreach.

    What is Blogger Outreach?

    Blogger outreach is when you “reach out” to other bloggers, publishers or website owners who might be able to help get your name (and content) in front of their audiences. That’ll usually be through actions like sharing your content on their social channels, accepting a guest blog post from you, linking to a relevant article of yours, or even more creative outlets like appearing as a guest on their podcast, co-hosting a webinar, speaking at a conference or otherwise.

    The ultimate goal of blogger outreach is to build your audience, credibility and business.

    You want the blogger outreach you do, to have a tangible benefit in some way—it should lead to driving more traffic, generating new leads (email subscribers) or even direct revenue.

    Even more importantly, when done right, blogger outreach should be a win-win relationship.

    Want My Free Blogger Outreach Email Templates?

    Grab my 3 most effective blogger outreach email templates in both Google Doc and PDF format (100% free) and send better emails today.

    The blogger or publisher you’re reaching out to should get something from your newly formed partnership too—like a great free piece of guest content for their blog, an expert quote for them to include in an upcoming article or even just a highly relevant resource suggestion they can share in a future post for their readers.

    Today however, most blogger outreach is really bad. And that’s why I’ve compiled my ultimate guide to doing smart blogger outreach, so let’s jump in.

    Be sure to grab my free outreach email templates at the end of this guide!

    Alright, now let’s dive into my ultimate guide on how to do blogger outreach (that doesn’t suck).

    The 3 Biggest Problems with (Most) Blogger Outreach

    Unfortunately, blogger outreach isn’t usually done very well. In fact, the vast majority of blogger outreach is so bad that it’s completely useless (and arguably hurts your promotion efforts much more than it ever helps).

    Here’s a snapshot of just a few of the worst blogger outreach emails I’ve gotten in the past 3 days:

    Blog Outreach Email Examples (Screenshot) and Template for How to Do Good Blog Outreach

    There are literally thousands more of these terrible blogger outreach emails sitting unread in my trash right now.

    The sad reality is that most of the blogger outreach I get comes in the form of mass, un-targeted emails that are rife with bad spelling mistakes and show clear signs of a broken automation tool at work (like mentioning the wrong website, calling me by the wrong name, broken formatting and so on).

    Even the (few) blogger outreach emails that appear to be crafted with care—usually consist of:

    Most blogger outreach sucks. But it doesn’t have to.

    If you want your blogger outreach to be effective in growing your blog, start here:

    Blogger Outreach Problem #1: Focus on Quantity (Not Quality)

    Blogger outreach isn’t a numbers game.

    It’s much better to build one solid relationship with a well-respected, highly relevant website owner that can introduce you to others in their network.

    If you were to instead send out hundreds of emails all at once using an outreach automation tool—with the goal of trying to start dozens of conversations or score a higher volume of links from small, spammy websites—you’re all but wasting your time.

    More on the nuances of link building (and why you shouldn’t do most “link building” in the first place) right here.

    Blogger Outreach Problem #2: Not Personalizing Your Approach

    As we’ll see in a moment when we touch on some real examples, many outreach emails aren’t personalized at all.

    Even those that are personalized, they tend to only include the most basic of details—like the blogger’s name, website name or the mention of a particular article at best.

    You want to be much more personal and engaging than that with your blogger outreach. Show you’re a real human by mentioning something you love about the blog the recipient’s work.

    Blogger Outreach Problem #3: Not Offering Something Valuable First

    If you’re contacting a blogger for the very first time, don’t immediately ask for a social share or guest posting opportunity.

    Make sure you’re doing something useful (or at least offering them something useful) in your initial outreach email.

    To figure out how you can be most useful to the blogger or publisher in question, think about what they want and need. Determine what’s feasible for you to accomplish for them by using your own skills, experience or relationships.

    That could be things like:

    • Leaving thoughtful comments on their blog for a few days or weeks before emailing
    • Regularly sharing their content on your social media channels (and tagging them)
    • Mentioning or linking to their blog from an article you wrote
    • Turning one of their articles into a well-designed eBook they can use
    • Pointing out a spelling mistake or broken link in an existing article on their site

    The list could go on and on.

    Ultimately though, successful blogger outreach boils down to starting a relationship on a foundation of providing value first (before asking for something from them).

    At the very least, you need to offer something genuinely useful to your recipients—like a piece of free guest content for their blog, the promise to include a quote from them in an upcoming article on your blog (or in a guest post for a larger site if you’re still brand new to blogging).

    Now, let’s walk through some case studies of real(ly) bad blogger outreach examples and I’ll show you exactly what to avoid in your own outreach efforts.

    Things to Avoid in Your Blogger Outreach Email Templates

    So what does it look like when blogger outreach goes very, very wrong?

    Face Palm Email Fail

    Let’s start by taking a look at some real life examples from inside my inbox right now:

    Email Teardown #1: Mr. Webmaster Fastmoney’s Epic Fail

    Where do we even begin with this one?


    In case the screenshot (above) is hard to read, here’s the text of that blogger outreach email:

    Subject: GUEST POST

    Hey There,

     I love your site and have been reading a lot of articles on here, its so well laid out and meticulous. I couldn’t help wondering since we are a small business and would love to write an article for you to publish on your website on a topic of your choice for a link back to our site.

    Please provide me the topic you wish us to write about and we will provide you with the content for your approval. This is absolutely FREE and all we are asking for is credit in the form of a link back to our website. The article can be about anything you like and we will write you a 500 word article completely FREE!!

    Ouch. This one’s pretty rough.

    Based on how this email reads, would you want to take that “FREE” 500 word article for your blog?

    Would you feel confident that you’re going to get a good piece of content from a reputable blogger?

    There are a lot of things wrong with this blogger outreach email though, so let’s take them one-by-one:

    • The name of the sender. I mean come on, ha! The name “Webmaster Fastmoney” had me instantly laughing out loud upon seeing this. If I hadn’t been sourcing horrible blogger outreach email examples to highlight for this guide, I would’ve instantly spammed this one and never even considered opening it. Add the subject line into that quick analysis and wow, what a bad start.
    • The all caps subject line is spammy at best. Never send an email to a brand new recipient—especially one you’re hoping to partner with—using a subject line that’s in all capitalized text. It’s a miracle that my Gmail spam filters didn’t pull this one straight into the spam folder.
    • There’s not even a nod towards personalization. This blogger doesn’t bother to even use my name or the name of the site. Not to mention the fact that this email has clearly been sent to 50+ other recipients on the same exact thread.
    • It comes across as disingenuous. The first sentence says “I love your site,” but it’s easy to see from the email that it’s being sent to dozens of people all at the same time—so there’s no indication that this blogger has even read a single post on my blog. In fact, it suggests the opposite since they’re clearly sending identical emails to dozens (if not hundreds) of other bloggers.
    • There’s a grammatical error in the first sentence. We all make some mistakes, but you should be proofing your blogger outreach emails before hitting send. The word “its” should be “it’s” (short for “it is”) in the first sentence of this outreach email. While typos happen, when you’re asking for a guest posting opportunity, you can’t afford to give the immediate impression that your writing is going to be poorly edited.
    • The writing style is just plain bad. The second sentence, for instance, is long and convoluted and doesn’t really make sense—this blogger starts the sentence with “I couldn’t help wondering” but doesn’t actually pose a question, which makes the entire email a pretty confusing experience.
    • The emphasis on the word FREE looks very spammy. Putting “FREE” in all caps and doing it twice, comes across as desperate and pushy. It also seems like an odd selling point, as most bloggers will expect guest posts to be offered for free anyway.
    • There’s no actual pitch. This would-be guest poster asks me to do the work for them and “provide me the topic you wish us to write about.” As well as being rather ungrammatical, this is a red flag because good guest posters will be willing to suggest an idea that they feel they could do justice to.
    • There’s no indication of where “a link back to our website” would go. Bloggers with large sites have worked hard building their reputation, often over the course of years. We don’t want to risk harming that reputation by allowing a link to a spammy website, or one that runs counter to my values. Be transparent about what you’re hoping to achieve in your blogger outreach emails and you’ll have a much better shot at forming a genuine relationship.

    Now that blogger outreach email example is truly one of the worst I’ve seen in quite a while.

    So, to ease back into what makes a blogger outreach email actually stand out from the crowd—let’s walk through a bad example that’s not as egregious.

    Email Teardown #2: The Most Common (Bad) Blogger Outreach Email Template

    This outreach email is a great example of the “average” level of effort that goes into blogger outreach by most people.

    While it isn’t terrible from a pure content perspective, it fails big time in trying to capture my interest. Though to the sender’s credit, this outreach email doesn’t have any glaring spelling or grammatical errors—it’s just not enticing enough for me to take action on.

    Bad Outreach Email Example Teardown

    In case the screenshot (above) is difficult to read, here’s the text of that blogger outreach email:

    Subject: Guest post on ryrob.com

    Hi there,

    First of all, I would like to say that I enjoyed browsing ryrob.com. The content provided is genuine and engaging to read.

    My name is [name] and I work for a company that employs a number of talented and experienced copywriters that deliver content on a wide variety of subjects.

    I was wondering if you would be willing to accept an article that matches editorial style and topics of ryrob.com. Since an article would contain a contextually integrated link to our partner’s website we would be willing to reward you for publishing it.

    Would you be interested?



    While this isn’t anywhere near as bad as the previous example, it still leaves a lot to be desired (and most importantly—it wasn’t effective at getting me to take action on it).

    Believe it or not, this blogger outreach email actually makes many of the same mistakes as our first one, including:

    • No meaningful personalization. Although there’s a small degree of personalization (with my blog URL in the subject line and the body of the email), there’s no indication that the sender has actually ever looked at my site. Plus, I happen to know there are tons of automation tools that can insert a website’s name into the body of an outreach email that’s done at scale—so from the very start I’m already skeptical here because it doesn’t address me by name.
    • The first sentence reads as a very generic template. “The content provided is genuine and engaging to read…” is a very vague compliment that could be used for almost any blog, suggesting again that this is part of a larger, automated outreach campaign.
    • It’s not clear who’d be writing the post or where I’d be linking. They mention, “a link to our partner’s website,” in the email which could be something that’s totally unrelated to my blog niche (or worse, a site that’s spammy and could damage my blog’s reputation).
    • Instead of promising a “FREE” post, this email makes an offer of payment. “We would be willing to reward you for publishing it”. While this may at first seem an attractive offer, seasoned bloggers will know that guest posters offering money won’t normally have high-quality content (which creates more work for me). On top of that, selling a “contextually integrated link” could land your site in hot water with search engines, unless you either Nofollow the link or mark it as sponsored—and it’s unlikely your would-be guest poster will accept those terms.

    On the plus side though, there’s at least a straightforward request—to send me a guest post.

    Though going back to our core foundation of smart blogger outreach here, I wouldn’t recommend making this kind of ask (especially without actually pitching a real idea) before building up a relationship with your recipient first.

    How to Do Smart Blogger Outreach in 10 Easy Steps

    It’s probably clear from these blogger outreach email examples, that there are lots of straightforward things you can do to get your outreach right.

    Screenshot of Sending an Email to Your Prospect in Blog Promotion

    Now, I’m going to walk you through this process step-by-step, to make crafting a standout outreach campaign as easy as possible for you. I’ll also share my own blogger outreach email templates that you can tweak, modify and use in your own blogger outreach.

    Before we get started, though, here’s something important to remember:

    If you’ve tried your hand at blogger outreach in the past and produced emails similar to the bad examples above—don’t worry.

    You’re not here to be shamed… you’re here to learn how to do better blogger outreach that actually gets real results for the growth of your blog.

    While it’s not ideal if you’ve already sent a lot of outreach emails that looked like our examples above—it’s not the end of the world, either.

    Unless you’ve emailed the same bloggers over and over and over again, they’re very unlikely to remember your name or email address.

    Successful bloggers get targeted with so many of these bad outreach emails that most of us just hit “delete” right away without internalizing any of the information about the sender.

    So with that in mind… let’s learn how to do blogger outreach the right way.

    1. Choose a Small Number of Bloggers to Reach Out to

    The root of the problem with our bad examples above, is that the bloggers who sent these outreach emails are concentrating on sending out as many emails as possible.

    If you’re doing that, it’s understandable that you’ll end up with minimal personalization—and that you’ll be pitching to some blogs that are (at best) only slightly related to your topic.

    It’s better to pick a small number of bloggers to target for your outreach efforts.

    When you take the approach of trying to connect with a smaller number of bloggers, it means that you can focus on really high-quality outreach, rather than treating your entire campaign as just a numbers game. Your entire outreach approach will be different (in a positive way).

    A good place to start with who to reach out to in the first place, is with the blogs that you already follow and enjoy.

    For example, if you run a blog that shares in-depth WordPress tutorials, then you’d probably consider reaching out to blogs in your space that produce content in related (but not directly competitive) fields. That might include blogs like mine that write about keyword phrases like:

    Your goal could be something like landing a guest post, getting a quote featured, having your content shared on my social channel or other meaningful pursuit that ladders up to the goals in your greater blog business plan.

    If you don’t yet read many blogs in your niche, ask around for recommendations, do keyword research to see who’s already a heavy hitter in top search rankings, or look at what the big names in your industry are retweeting and sharing on social media.

    2. Build a Relationship in Comments or on Social Media

    While it’s not impossible to cold email someone for the first time—perhaps with a great guest post pitch—and have them accept, it’s always better to establish some kind of connection with the blogger before your email (with a request of them) lands in their inbox.

    Here are a couple of good ways to build a value-driven relationship with bloggers before reaching out:

    • Commenting on their blog regularly. Leave thoughtful, useful comments over the course of a week or two before emailing and they’ll start to notice you. Make sure your comments are genuinely adding to the conversation, though. If you can’t think of anything to say for a particular piece other than “great post,” skip commenting on that one.
    • Sharing their content on your social media channels. Even if you don’t have a large following of your own, this is still a nice gesture and genuinely helpful thing to do—especially if you’re adding some genuine commentary, asking a compelling question and tagging the blogger. Whenever possible, add your own little snippet to the social share (like “I loved tip #9 here” or “great advice on SEO for new bloggers”), rather than simply sharing the title and link to the post. The more personalized your share, the more likely you’ll be to make a lasting impression.

    If genuine, leaving regular blog comments works extremely well at building a foundational relationship.

    Here’s an example of a couple comments (on a recent blog income report of mine) from readers that started by regularly leaving comments on my blog posts… and have since gone on to collaborate with me on a range of projects like guest posts, quote placements, social shares and more.

    Blog Commenting Example of Building Relationships

    Here are some great ways to go even further—and offer your target blogger something more valuable could include:

    • Linking to their blog from your own. Especially if you’re offering a recommendation, using one of their articles as a positive example of something, or including some sort of commentary about the blogger you’re trying to build a relationship with.
    • Rating and reviewing their podcast on iTunes. This is another extremely genuine way to help a blogger out, as well as a good way to get noticed by them. It also demonstrates that you’re actually listening to their content, which will come in handy in convincing them you’re really invested in them once you send your blogger outreach email.
    • Reviewing their book on Amazon or GoodReads. Like reviewing a podcast, this is truly helpful to the blogger in question—and shows that you’ve read at least a decent amount of their work (and in most cases, paid to do so).
    • Proactively offering a testimonial for their product or service. If you’ve bought one of their blogging courses, purchased a book, put a free template to good use or have used their services at some point, it’s incredibly helpful to reach out and offer a testimonial that the blogger can use in their marketing efforts or directly on their sales page. Very few people offer unsolicited testimonials, so this is a great way to stand out from the crowd—I can personally tell you this is a guaranteed way to get a response from a blogger like me. Plus, it also helps remind the blogger that you’re a paying customer.

    3. Make a Highly Targeted Ask (Pitch Them Something They Can’t Refuse)

    How to Build a Relationship with Bloggers and Provide Value First

    Whatever you’re asking for—a quote with a link, a social share or a guest post slot—you need your pitch to be highly relevant to the blog and individual you’re reaching out to.

    I hope it’s obvious that you shouldn’t pitch a guest post about “ten makeup tips” to a blog about SEO. But being highly relevant goes far beyond that simple example.

    You need your ask to match up with the existing blog post ideas they tend to cover—and types of content the blog regularly produces.

    For instance, if you’ve just written an in-depth guide aimed at bloggers who want to get started with SEO, it might make sense to ask for shoutout or share from a beginner-friendly site for bloggers, such as my blog here, or sites like ProBlogger and SmartBlogger. On the other hand, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to ask an in-depth SEO publication like Ahrefs, to link to your guide, as it wouldn’t be the right fit for their target audience or more advanced bloggers.

    When you’re pitching a guest post, make sure your idea is tailor-made for the blog you’re reaching out to.

    Don’t just outline a blog post and then figure out where you might be able to get it published. That’s going backwards (and won’t yield the same results).

    Choose the right blog you’d like to get published on first… and then you can strategize on how to write a headline that’ll resonate with their editors, an enticing outline that’d be the perfect fit for them—and the chances will be much higher that they’ll give you a thumbs up to dive in and start writing a blog post for them.

    4. Make it Worth Their While

    Whatever you’re asking, make sure that it’s worthwhile for the blogger to spend their time and resources (1) evaluating and (2) taking action on your ask.

    Example of Making Your Blog Outreach Worthwhile

    Sure, it might only take them a minute or two in order to check out an article you sent and type out a quick tweet promoting it to their audience—but that’s an activity they’ll be doing on your behalf, instead of working on something of their own. Make your ask a no-brainer that also benefits them in some way.

    Understand that your blogger outreach is asking the recipient to divert their time to something else—make it worth their while.

    There are plenty of ways to make your blogger outreach ask a worthy endeavor for your prospective partner:

    • Link to them first. If you’re asking a prominent blogger to share your article on their social media channels, it’s great if that post already links to them or one of their products somewhere within the article. Note: You definitely shouldn’t make linking to them conditional on getting a share though!
    • Eliminate any potential friction. If you’re asking to write a guest post for their blog, do your absolute best to make the process as hassle-free for them as possible. Pitch a clear blog post idea with a simple structure that relates to content topics they regularly cover, so they can give you a quick “yes, let’s do it” or “no, that’s not for us” without having to do a lot of critical thinking (or back and forth communicating with you).
    • Use your own strengths. If you have a large enough audience—or have a friend that does—make it clear that you’ll help promote your blog post that you wrote for them, or that you’ll be glad to share any of their content that could do with a boost. Note: This won’t have a lot of credibility if your audience only consists of a dozen Twitter followers.

    Like I’ve said many times throughout this guide to smart blogger outreach…

    Blogger outreach that makes an immediate ask is far less effective than when you show that you’re investing into the relationship first.

    5. Don’t Offer Money in Your Blogger Outreach Email

    Unless the blog specifically offers sponsorship options (which is normal in some industries) and you want to go down that path, it looks tacky and scammy to offer money in return for having your guest post published—or getting your content shared.

    The offer of money in an initial outreach email is one of the big red flags I look out for when evaluating legitimacy.

    One example of where you definitely should NOT offer money, is in exchange for a backlink.

    Unless you’re fine with the link to be set to Nofollow (meaning it won’t pass on any SEO benefits), then this kind of outreach is a major no-go.

    Paying for Dofollow links is forbidden under Google’s policies, and can have a lasting negative impact on both your own blog SEO and the SEO of the site linking to you.

    6. Make a Clear (Simple) Request

    Make a Clear Simple Ask in Your Blog Outreach Email Template

    Whatever you’re asking for in your blogger outreach email, be clear and straightforward about it.

    With a nearly 62% of emails being read on a mobile device today, the busy blogger reading your email may also have dozens (or even hundreds) of emails to get through today—and you don’t want them to decide that yours is too much work to deal with.

    To make your request clear and simple, it’s a good idea to:

    • Write a subject line that succinctly reflects what you’re asking for. A few examples of great blogger outreach email subject lines include things like, “Guest post submission: Ten Ways to Get Your First Hundred Subscribers” or “Would you share my post about beginner-friendly SEO?” or “Your feature on my blog” which are all very clear. Subject lines like, “QUESTION” or “Hi” or “(no subject)” are usually instantly archived when I sort through my emails in the morning.
    • Ask for what you want early in the email. For example, if your blogger outreach starts with a subject line that makes it clear you’re hoping to guest post for the recipient, then it’d be smart to position your pitch (and why it’d be perfect for your blogger to run with) high up in the email—so that your recipient doesn’t have to read through paragraphs of text just to get to the purpose of your email.
    • Keep your blogger outreach email short and sweet. If you’re writing a novel in your outreach email, you’re doing something wrong. Remember the purpose of sending an outreach email in the first place… to open up a line of communication, start forming a relationship, provide value to your recipient and eventually make an ask they won’t want to refuse. Jump down to my blogger outreach email templates here toward the bottom of this guide for examples of my most effective emails you can use today.

    To make your request simple and clear, it’s also important to be sure you’re only asking for one thing—not making multiple different requests. That can cause instant overwhelm.

    Don’t ask your recipient to do something time consuming right off the bat.

    Time intensive requests like, “will you review my blog?” or “will you meet up with me for coffee?” will come across as lacking proper awareness—especially if you haven’t yet established some sort of relationship with the blogger you’re reaching out to.

    7. Offer Alternative Ideas

    You don’t want to make your blogger outreach email unclear or overly complicated. That priority comes first and foremost.

    Simple Outreach Email Example Screenshot

    However, in some cases, it might make sense to offer your recipient a couple of quick alternatives to your original ask—especially if you’ve been cultivating the relationship for at least a few exchanges over email, in their blog comments and on their social feeds.

    For example, you might pitch a particular guest post title with a quick outline. And at the end of your email, you could quickly add a clarifying sentence like, “If that idea doesn’t quite fit though, a couple of other articles I could write are How to Do Blogger Outreach in 2020 (Template) and How to Do Blogger Outreach in 2020 (Template).”

    With this very simple mention of some alternative ideas, you’re not only showing your flexibility, but saving them from the back-and-forth of potential situations like, “We’ve already got something in the works on [title #1] – do you have any other ideas?”

    Remember, your goal is to provide value to your recipient—so put yourself in their shoes before hitting send on your blogger outreach emails.

    8. Edit and Proofread Your Blogger Outreach Email

    Proofread Your Emails Before Sending

    Once you’ve written your blogger outreach email, make sure you allow enough time to carefully edit and proofread it for any mistakes.

    This doesn’t just mean checking for typos—though that’s obviously important too. You should also watch out for missteps like:

    • Sentences that are ambiguous or unclear. Rephrase these to make them more straightforward and easy for your recipient to understand.
    • Too much information. You don’t need to give multiple paragraphs of information about your background, the history of blogging or how that inspired you to launch your blog. Get straight to the point and make sure everything you’ve included in your blogger outreach email is extremely relevant to them.
    • Grammatical mistakes. Some easily confused words and phrases won’t be picked up by every spell checking tool (“its” and “it’s” are easy to confuse, as we saw in one of the bad examples above), so proofread slowly—and consult an online thesaurus if need be.
    • Incorrect personalized details. If you’re using a blogger outreach email template, be very careful not to copy and paste it with the wrong name or website name! Make sure you check the spelling, too—especially if the blogger has an unusual name, or the site has a name with unusual capitalization (i.e. “ProBlogger” has a capital in the middle, but “Copyblogger” doesn’t).

    While a small mistake won’t necessarily ruin your chances of forging a relationship with your recipient, you do want to make the best possible first impression.

    This is especially true if your blogger outreach contains any sort of pitch to create content for their audience—they’ll want to see you’ve got your writing down pat.

    9. Don’t Push Your Luck

    Remember, successful bloggers are busy people—they’re running an online business with a lot of moving parts and you’re probably popping into their inbox without an invitation.

    Be Kind in Your Emails if You Want a Reply

    If you don’t get a reply to your blogger outreach email within a day or two, don’t immediately send a follow up. Be patient and considerate.

    My advice is to wait at least 5 days before following up, especially if your email is completely cold and you don’t have an existing relationship.

    If they haven’t gotten back to your first email within a week, then the chances are high that either (1) they’re just extremely busy or (2) you haven’t delivered a pitch that was compelling enough for them to take action on. The safest bet is to assume both—which will inform on how you should best position your follow up. More on that soon.

    If your recipient replies and the answer is no, then accept that (for now).

    However great you think your content is, and however much you think they’re missing out—don’t try to persuade them to take your guest post or link to your content. If the blogger replies back and asks you not to email again, then respect that too.

    The chances of them changing their mind are very slim. And even more importantly, they’ll be much less likely to want to collaborate with you in future if you get on their nerves during your first interaction.

    Your ask probably wasn’t the right fit for them at this time, so don’t take it personally.

    10. Follow Up on Your Blogger Outreach Emails

    Right, right… you know that successful bloggers (and marketers, editors, publishers at top brands & websites) are all busy people.

    The reality of our digital world today is that we’re more distracted than ever. And research shows that long-form content is becoming increasingly more important to ranking high in organic search—meaning that bloggers are having to spend more time on content creation than ever before, too.

    It’s safe to assume that we’re all short on time. That means you should assume the need to follow up on your outreach emails in most cases—especially if you haven’t yet established a personal brand for yourself within your niche.

    The success of your blogger outreach campaigns will be measured by your follow up game.

    Steli Efti, Co-Founder of Close.com has a very simple follow up philosophy that he’s used to build a multi-million dollar startup, and it applies well to blogger outreach too.

    He shares, “I follow up as many times as necessary until I get a response. I don’t care what the response is as long as I get one. If someone tells me they need another 14 days to get back to me, I will put that in my calendar and ping them again in 14 days. If they tell me they’re busy and they don’t have time right now, I will respond and ask them when they feel like a good time would be for me ping them. The key here is to actually keep following up. If someone tells me they are not interested—I leave them alone. But here is the kicker—if they don’t respond at all, I will keep pinging them until they do. And trust me, they always do.”

    Steli goes on to share a story about how it took him 48 follow up attempts to get a potential investor to reply to him. Many months later, his persistence paid off and that person ended up investing.

    Follow up until you get a definitive answer to your blogger outreach emails.

    Now, let’s walk through a couple of examples to break down what successful follow ups look like in the context of blogger outreach.

    Here’s an example of a really fun follow up email I got from Andriana Moskovska at Go Remotely:

    Great Blog Outreach Follow Up

    She had a pretty strong subject line and initial blogger outreach email in the first place, but I hadn’t replied as I was on vacation when her email came in.

    Her follow up email is hilarious and starts by capturing my attention with a funny (fake) quote and GIF from a popular tv show I used to watch and have written about. Her email then wraps up with one polite sentence reiterating the request from her original email without trying to guilt trip me whatsoever.

    Needless to say, Andriana got a reply after that awesome follow up.

    Let’s look at another blogger outreach follow up email example.

    This person has an admirable follow up hustle (2 follow ups within 14 days), but the content of those follow ups weren’t adding any value to the conversation:

    Good Follow up on a Blog Outreach Email Template but Over-Used Template and Not so Relevant

    Because I immediately deemed the original email and request not to be a good fit for my blog (plus it followed a very stale template I get multiple times per day), this blogger outreach was already off to a start that didn’t resonate with me.

    Where the follow ups went wrong though, is that they never sought to add more (or different) value.

    Both of these follow up emails from this blogger just followed the format of coldly nudging me to respond to their email.

    They didn’t offer up an alternative idea, they weren’t humorous or interesting at all and they only referred me back to their original email without a reminder about the context of their initial ask (more work for me to do). Plus, their blog layouts didn’t particularly instill any confidence in me.

    What happens when your blogger outreach succeeds?

    On the other hand, let’s assume that your target blogger does do what you’re asking of them in your outreach email.

    You need to make sure you follow up with them after they’ve done that too.

    First, it’s important to thank them for taking time to work with you—which is just good manners.

    Cultivate that relationship, especially if the first collaboration goes well.

    Depending upon the size of their publishing organization, perhaps after a few weeks have gone by, you might want to send them another guest post pitch, or suggest another mutually beneficial collaboration.

    Take care not to ping your content partners too frequently that you sour the relationship—particularly when you’re asking for something without providing more value first.

    If this sounds like a broken record, it’s because so few people take the approach of giving value first in their outreach.

    Continue helping them out by commenting on their blog posts and sharing their content on your social channels.

    Good Examples: 3 Amazing Blogger Outreach Emails to Learn From

    Alright, now that we’ve gone through my step-by-step process for writing a successful blogger outreach email, I thought it’d be fun to explore a few more examples of great outreach emails I’ve gotten over the past couple of weeks.

    Good Outreach Email Example #1: Jon Dabach

    This outreach email from Jon Dabach at Rhino Marketing Group blew my mind with how much up front value he delivered in his initial pitch:

    Amazing Blog Outreach Email Example and Screenshot of Providing Insane Value

    (Click here to open this full-size screenshot in a new tab)

    His email starts with an excellent subject line that’s (1) funny and (2) immediately captured my attention.

    It then dives straight into a genuine compliment of my content and a crazy value add—he took one of my existing articles and packaged it into a digital eBook for me (including some high quality images to go along with it).

    This is all before making any ask of me whatsoever. How can I not reply to this?

    We’re now working on making a potential collaboration happen over the coming months.

    Good Outreach Email Example #2: Dane Maxwell

    With a killer subject line, Dane Maxwell of The Foundation came in hot with great outreach email seeing if I’d be interested in reviewing his upcoming book, Start From Zero and for considering a podcast interview:

    Excellent Blog Outreach Email Template with Everything Done Very Well

    (Click here to open this full-size screenshot in a new tab)

    This email is packed with great lessons you can apply to your own blogger outreach:

    • Starting with a compliment and showing that you have a real interest in your recipient
    • Building your credibility based on your own unique experiences
    • Making an ultra clear (relevant) ask
    • Note that the formatting of Dane’s email is also very clean, simple and doesn’t feel stressful

    We’ll be doing a podcast interview soon—and have also found a couple other win-win collaborations that make a lot of sense.

    Good Outreach Email Example #3: Josh Crist

    Another recent great outreach email example pitching me on a podcast appearance came from Josh Crist of Be My Guest FM, where he delivered a very standout pitch to have on the CEO of Freshbooks (a brand I’ve worked with in the past):

    One of the Best Blog Outreach Emails I've Gotten This Year (Promoting a Podcast Guest Appearance)

    (Click here to open this full-size screenshot in a new tab)

    Josh starts out by complimenting my podcast and sharing a screenshot of a 5-star review he just left on iTunes, which is light years ahead of any other guest pitch email I’ve ever received.

    From there, he makes a very clear ask, establishes why it should be relevant to my audience (including three different angles I could consider for framing an episode), reinforces the guest’s credibility and wraps up with a clear sentence that reiterates his ask. This is a text book excellent outreach email.

    There’s seriously so much about it that’s amazing—please parse through my commentary on the screenshot above.

    Bad Examples: 7 Terrible Blogger Outreach Emails to Steer Clear of

    Before we get into my personal blogger outreach email templates, I want to highlight a few more specific examples of bad outreach emails… so that you know what to steer clear of as you work on your own outreach campaign.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #1: Formatting Disaster

    Check out the formatting mistakes in this email—ranging from the subject line through the entire body of the email with spacing that’s off and content that’s packed with poor grammar:

    Blog Outreach Email Example Terrible with Bad Formatting Screenshot

    It feels like this one was sent using an automation tool that got something massively wrong. Plus, the email came from a very suspicious sounding @gmail.com account that doesn’t do anything to help their cause.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #2: The Worst Formatting Blunders Ever

    The subject line gets off to a terrible start by using my full blog URL directly in the subject (looks spammy).

    And it truly only goes downhill from here with formatting mistakes and what looks like the entire body of the email being pasted in a total of 4 times (this screenshot only has the first three), including the names of different websites…

    Hilariously Awful Example of a Blog Outreach Email Template Fail with Formatting, Typos, Subject Line, No Personalization and Huge Mistakes

    This one is pretty surprisingly bad. Want to avoid sending an outreach email like this? Don’t use an automation tool.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #3: Link Building Mishap

    If anyone reaches out to me specifically talking about link building, I’m a pretty instant no (as that goes against Google policies):

    Really Bad Blog Outreach Email Template (No Personalization and Bad Ask)

    Add to the fact that this blogger outreach email isn’t personalized, has a lot of poor grammar, spelling mistakes and appears to be sent at scale—it’s a hard pass for me.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #4: Paid Offer to Post Client Work

    This outreach email is just a fancier wording of, “can I get a backlink for my client from your blog?” and offers to pay me for it. Again, an instant no because it goes against SEO best practices:

    Bad Blog Outreach Email Example of No Personalization and Poor Formatting

    There are some obvious formatting blips here too, that suggest this was sent to a big list of people using an automated tool of some sort as well—another sign that I should steer clear of this person.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #5: Am I Experiencing Déjà Vu?

    This (really bad) outreach email is shockingly similar to about a dozen others currently in my inbox:

    Awful Blog Outreach Email Example Screenshot So Much Wrong

    It’s also from an @gmail.com account and makes very little sense from a real conversation perspective. Nope.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #6: Ok Now I’m Definitely Seeing Double

    Yep, we’ve now confirmed that there are some awful email templates (and link builders who use them) floating around out there in the wild. I got this one on the same day as #5 above.

    Shockingly Similar Blog Outreach Email Template Example and Screenshot of Bad Email

    Again, we’ve got a bunch of formatting and grammar mistakes in addition to the email having zero substance. It’s gonna be a no for me dawg.

    Bad Blogger Outreach Email Example #7: You Get the Point

    Ok, ok… this is the last one, I promise. But come on, right?! This is exactly the same as the previous one:

    Horrible Blog Outreach Email Example of Bad Subject Line, Stock Photo, Name and Poor Formatting, Spelling, Grammar Mistakes

    I want to reiterate that the vast majority of blogger outreach I get is this bad.

    Really, I’m not kidding.

    If you want to send blogger outreach emails that actually get you real results… then use one of my templates here.

    3 High Impact (Free) Blogger Outreach Email Templates to Use Today

    If you’re not sure how to write a successful blogger outreach email, try using one of my free templates to guide you.

    While you may want to change some of the language, verbiage and tone to suit your own voice and style—don’t worry about whether or not these blogger outreach emails will be “just another one of these common templates” that appear dozens of times in the inbox of bloggers and publishers each day.

    Want My Free Blogger Outreach Email Templates?

    Grab my 3 most effective blogger outreach email templates in both Google Doc and PDF format (100% free) and send better emails today.

    These templates will forever stand the test of time, I promise that. Why?

    These blogger outreach email templates will never be over-used… because they require doing real work, thinking strategically and providing up front value to your recipients.

    I will continue using these three blogger outreach email templates for years to come—because they require work.

    And building real relationships with other bloggers, brands and publishers requires putting in the work.

    Those that aren’t willing to invest in the partnerships they want to build will send emails like some of the bad ones above, which make these templates rise even further above the noise.

    Blogger Outreach Email Template #1: The Feature Notification

    The entire premise of this blogger outreach email template is that it forces you to take the (first) step in providing value to the relationship you’re hoping to build here.

    In this case, the upfront value comes in the form of a mention I gave the recipient at Copyhackers in a recent post on my blog (about how to name a blog), which I did strategically—knowing that I’d soon want to reach out to see about guest writing for their blog, where they have an audience very similar to my own.

    Copyhackers blog outreach email template example and screenshot

    Here’s a template version of that blogger outreach email you can use for yourself:

    Subject: Your feature in my article

    Hey [FIRSTNAME],

    I’ve been a reader of the [COMPANY] blog for quite a while now, and I always come across your content in the writing I do for other sites like [SITE #1], [SITE #2], [SITE #3] and the like. I actually just mentioned you guys in a recent article I published (here) on the [DESTINATION] blog.

    Would you be up for taking a guest post from me?

    I’d be so pumped to do a piece of content for your readers and would work hard promoting it to my own blog audience, on social and amplify through other channels that I have access to as well 🙂

    Let me know what you think!


    While you likely don’t have the same credentials and audience size to back up your pitch in the same way as I can (now) do today, don’t let that discourage you from using this outreach approach.

    The important part about this angle is that it’s very strategic in starting the relationship off by doing something valuable for your recipient first… and even if you get turned down today, you’ll have a potential friendship here that can grow over time.

    Blogger Outreach Email Template #2: The Genuine Guest Post Request

    When I want to pitch a blog or publication on hosting a guest post from me, but I’ve never mentioned them in my writing before, I’ll use this blogger outreach email template that doesn’t lean as much on the upfront value angle—yet still shows that I’m willing to go to bat for making my article a success for them.

    Content Collaboration Email Template Example

    Here’s the template version of this email you can use:

    Subject: Content collaboration

    Hey [FIRSTNAME],

    I’ve been a reader of the [COMPANY] blog for quite a while now, and I always come across your content in the writing I do for other sites like [SITE #1], [SITE #2], [SITE #3] and the like.

    Would you be up for taking a guest post from me?

    I’d be so pumped to do a piece of content for your readers and would work hard promoting it to my own blog audience, on social and amplify through other channels that I have access to as well 🙂

    Let me know what you think!


    Sometimes, I’ll take my own advice here and include a couple of blog post ideas that I could write for them in this initial outreach email—but as I’ve built my brand and find that most other bloggers in my space already recognize me when I pop into their inboxes, I like to keep my first emails a little on the shorter side.

    If you’re not quite at the stage I’m at yet with your audience, you might want to use a blogger outreach email template that makes the most of your existing credentials and pitches a specific guest post, like next one.

    Blogger Outreach Email Template #3: The Curated Pitch

    Here’s a blogger outreach email template I used from back in 2017 during the days before I really learned how to drive traffic to a blog (and long before I had an audience or figured out how to make money blogging).

    It’s an example of how you can be successful at your blogger outreach efforts with a very simple, human and value-driven email—while having no existing audience of your own yet:

    Blog Outreach Email Template Example Screenshot from My Early Days

    Here’s a template version of this outreach email you can use today, that makes a more direct ask of accepting a guest post than what you’ll see in my screenshot from above. I encourage you to experiment with both versions:

    Subject: Your feature on my blog

    Hey [FIRSTNAME],

    I’ve been a reader of the [COMPANY] blog for quite a while now, and I particularly loved your post [LAST WEEK/A FEW WEEKS BACK/ETC] about [TOPIC/TITLE]. I actually just mentioned you guys in a recent article I published (here) on my blog too.

    Would you be up for taking a guest post from me? I’d love to write about [PROPOSED TITLE] and would cover [SHORT LIST OF WHAT YOU’D COVER IN THE POST].

    You can check out some of my writing here too:

    [Link to two or three of your best articles—ideally guest posts to help boost your credibility if you’ve written any]

    Let me know what you think!


    And that’s a wrap, my friends 🙏

    I hope you put these email templates to good use—and remember not to shy away from the (hard) work that is building real, value-driven relationships with the bloggers in your niche.

    The investment will pay off, I promise.

    Final Thoughts: Win-Win Blogger Outreach is the Way of the Future

    In a world where 99% of blogger outreach emails immediately ask the recipient to take a one-sided action on behalf of the sender… it’s shockingly easy to stand out from the crowd and build real relationships with other bloggers. I could write a book about bad outreach—and in fact, I talk a lot about outreach in my free blogging books, especially the one about how to promote your blog.

    By starting your outreach with a win-win proposition (and using templates like the ones here), you’ll be far more likely to succeed in your efforts.

    Remember, effective blogger outreach isn’t about sending dozens (or hundreds) of emails.

    It’s about finding a small number of bloggers and publishers you can authentically connect to and build a mutually beneficial relationship with.

    The best blogger outreach emails will make your recipient think, hell yes!

    Smart outreach offers something genuinely useful—like a piece of free guest blog content that the blogger’s readers will love—and the best outreach emails are written in a genuine, engaging way.

    Get started with the first 3 steps to effective blogger outreach today:

    • Make a shortlist of the top ten bloggers you’d love to connect with and follow them on social media
    • Look for ways to help by sharing their content, answering their questions, or commenting on their posts
    • Plan to reach out to them with one of these outreach email templates within the next week or two

    Like it or not, starting a blog and growing it into a profitable business is a long game.

    And the relationships you can forge from win-win blogger outreach will help immensely over the weeks, months and years to come.

    Want My Free Blogger Outreach Email Templates?

    Grab my 3 most effective blogger outreach email templates in both Google Doc and PDF format (100% free) and send better emails today.

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