If you want to create a successful blog, it should be created professionally. This is something that can’t be avoided.
What is the difference between a well-built blog, a professional blog, and a blog created by an amateur, for personal use?
In this post we will talk about 7 key tools that in my opinion, are the most important options, if you are thinking about creating a professional blog.
A good hosting for your blog
To create a professional blog today, there is no alternative: the formula is WordPress.org with paid hosting. And in that sense, a good hosting is the base of the process, so I’m mentioning this point first.
Free options like Blogger or WordPress.com (which should not be confused with WordPress.org) and most recently Wix are too limited, when you need to overcome some of these limitations, you will have to pay, and so you will end up spending more than you would spend with a good hosting service.
The hosting you choose must support PHP and MySQL databases, it should be fast, secure and should have good support, because from time to time you will need help and poor support, besides not solving the problems, will cause you to lose several hours trying to solve your problem alone.
Nowadays there are plans at very affordable prices, for all types of projects. In most cases, you can start with the most basic package offered by the hosting and migrate to larger plans only when you need more space.
The email marketing software
If you ask bloggers who managed to succeed, about their most serious mistake, the vast majority will tell you that it was not having been concerned about the subscriber list.
And that is why many use the famous phrase “my money is in my subscriber list. “Actually, I really don’t like this phrase but it conveys very well how important it is to have a good subscriber list.
Have a good database of emails in a blog.
So don’t make this mistake. If you are not working seriously to increase your mailing list and attract subscribers, you’re wasting your time.
In addition, you have the possibility of working with an email marketing software such as Mailrelay, which it is easy to use and offers a fantastic platform, with a free account to send up to 75,000 messages per month, plus the inclusion of an autoresponder.
Only these two things would cost you over 100 € per month on most other softwares. Which means that there is nothing easier than this.
A SEO tool
I can hardly believe the amount of people writing posts without any keyword revision, that is, there is no keyword optimization in the content. When you have a very large number of followers, these articles can bring a good number of visits on the day of their publication and in the next days, but after a few days, you will hardly receive any more visits.
This means that these creators didn’t search the most appropriate keywords for the content being published, so they will not be able to receive constant traffic through the searches on Google.
So my advice is: never create content without checking the keywords for which you can position this content in the main search engines, mainly Google. You can do this very well and for free (with limitations), for example, using SEMRush, Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or Keyword Finder.
Example illustration of a keyword search for “Caring for bonsai” with the keyword Finder tool.
Many times you will not find an interesting niche and this is not a problem, but in many other cases, you will find interesting niches and sometimes, you will end up positioning your page to the point of receiving dozens of visits each day with a single article. As you can imagine, these content are worth their weight in gold on your blog.
Without going any further, I have articles on my blog that receive more than 500 visits per day. If I had not bothered with SEO at the time of their publication, I would have lost all these visitors.
Google Search Console (GSC)
First of all, it’s important to register your blog on the GSC (it’s free) for the blog to be indexed by Google.
But also in line with the above, if you work the SEO of your site, you will need to get some feedback, especially for which keywords, (the phrases) your content is being positioned, as well as which links are receiving these visits.
This allows you to improve your SEO in a very effective way. For example, it often happens that a content is positioned near the first page for a keyword with a good volume of visits, but in fact, you had not planned to use this keyword when writing the article. This type of “gift” can be used to improve the quantity and quality of your visits.
Imagine you wrote a post on how to care for a bonsai and the GSC informs you that you are well positioned for keywords like “caring Of a fig bonsai, ” caring for an olive bonsai “as well as other similar keywords.
If you manage to do this with a niche where your content is in the positions of the second page of Google (positions 11-20) it is very likely that simply by adding more relevant information to these keywords, (Adding some sections with specific examples for each of these types of bonsai) searching for links you can stay in an intermediary position on the first page of Google.
After that, you can gradually optimize the content and improve your positioning, which will help you receive more traffic to your website.
Statistical and analytical tools
When you have a blog, you need information about the visits you receive. For these purposes, I like to distinguish the process in two phases:
- The initial phase
- The growth phase
To give you an example: the initial phase would be until you can get an average of daily visits, with around 100 users visiting your website.
During this phase, my advice is to stay focused only on increasing the number of visits to your blog and for that purpose, a simple and free tool like Jetpack (specifically its statistics module) will be enough.
Also, during the months elapsed until you reach this point, you will have time to gain experience and knowledge that will help you to better understand the next phase and your goals.
After this threshold, the focus changes. It will remain logically essential to continue to grow, but in the second phase, with this volume of visits, it will be important to do what is possible to make this growth smarter, creating a correct strategic, that is, identifying the profile of the readers, how they are accessing your page and if they really are the best visitors for your project.
Here we start talking about analytical information. To do this, the best option I can recommend is the most effective tool for getting this kind of information, Google Analytics, which in addition is free, so you don’t have to spend money on that.
Because at this point, it will be important to know things like the average time of these visits in your blog, which pages they are reading, and which ones they are leaving quickly, the average page views per visit (if these users are reading the article they wanted and leaving the site, or if they are accessing other pages), the demographic profile of the readers (age, country, Etc.) that says a lot about their purchasing power (if we are considering the sale of products or services), etc.
In short, this analytical information will be used to better understand who is visiting the website and what pages are bringing the best results. This information will be critical to making decisions that will allow you to attract visitors who are within your target profile.
All content that is designed to attract visitors must have at least one or two images. It is very important that they are of good quality, because they will have a positive impact and demonstrate that your blog is created with dedication, besides being optimized for files to take up as little space as possible, which will result in shorter page load times.
To do this you will need to edit the images, reducing their size, cutting them, merging different images into a single one, optimizing them, etc.
We work mainly with three tools, all of them are free:
- Paint.net: a powerful free tool, a small Photoshop, ultimately. It offers all the options for what you need to do.
- Picresize: This tool allows you to reduce the size of your images. Although Paint.net can do the same, we almost always use this other tool for this particular task, due to the convenience of being online, we can work with multiple files and because the quality of the results is a little better than Paint.net.
- TinyPNG: idem to optimize file size of the images. Despite the name, it doesn’t only work with PNG images, but also with JPG.
Automation and cloud storage tools
If there has been a significant change over our organization in the last years, this was undoubtedly the storage of everything in the cloud.
This change will directly affect the efficiency of your work, especially if more people are involved. In addition, your data will be safe, when you have backups of your important files.
The security enhancement is due to the fact that having the information in the cloud with a synchronized local copy between multiple people using different computers is a great way to always have an updated backup with no effort at all.
But also, what I strongly recommend is that you don’t use cloud only as shared storage space, but add all your information in the cloud and for this, I recommend Office 365, the product we use.
Illustration ” All information about our company and our website is in the cloud.”
I worked for years with Google Drive and it was ok, but when we started to work together in a slightly more advanced way, how to work on a shared basis with folder structures and subfolders, Google Drive was a total disaster.
The worst was the constant loss of information, with whole folders disappearing , etc. Google Drive was completely problematic, due to this type of serious errors.
So we migrated to Office 365 which with a plan of 99€ per year offers 1 TB of storage space, and 5 Office licenses (for installation on computers).
For me, it seems really a good option.
With this, all our data is shared. To give you an example: we have many Excel spreadsheets for all usage types: Editorial calendars SEO, accounting and finance, etc., etc., etc.
This allows, for example, that although the financial and accounting departments are totally performed by another team, we can see at all times, in real time, all the information about the situation of the company, without having to send them emails for any kind of change since everything is in the cloud, and it is available to all of us.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that we usually exchange no more than one email per month, on average!
If you want to create a professional blog, not everything is content, there is a complete “ecosystem” of organizational tools and formulas which can have a big impact on your blog.
With this post I hope I have given you ideas to encourage you to start working, if you’re not already doing it, because I believe All of these examples are universal examples and good practices that you can apply to almost any blog, on any topic.
You will not regret it, I assure you.