“Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.” -Penelope Trunk Click to tweet
The right tools enhance your ability to complete a project and the wrong ones hinder. Every industry, whether that be construction, science, marketing, or leadership, has tools to help you be more effective.
Today, I’m keeping the toolbox open and sharing with you the tools I use for this blog, Your Leadership Coach.
Before diving into the tools, I want to speak to those who are thinking about starting a blog (or maybe have never considered it.)
A blog is an opportunity to share your passion with the world and connect with others who have similar passions. It’s a chance to refine your skills in a certain area and learn from others.
Michael Hyatt, who is an avid blogger and turned his blog into one of America’s fastest growing companies says blogging has benefited him in these ways:
- Blogging has helped me clarify my own thinking
- Blogging has given me a way to build a platform
- Blogging has led to new opportunities
- Blogging has provided a way to engage with my tribe
- Blogging resulted in a treasure trove of content
- Blogging has established my authority and expertise
- Blogging has provided a way to contribute to others
I can relate. I’ve been blogging since 2009. I started my blog because I have a passion for helping others become the best versions of themselves through leadership development. Blogging has given me the opportunity to share my leadership journey with the world, refine my personal leadership skills, and help others aspiring leaders wanting to grow as a leader. (You can read more about why I started this blog here.)
Now to the tools: for those of you who have a blog or are hoping to start a blog, here are the tools I use to help me blog effectively:
I wrote about Evernote last week and discussed how it is one of my top productivity tools. It is also the tool I use for creating content.
Evernote is my source for new content. I store potential blog topics, quotes, and ideas in Evernote. Then, when I’m planning my blogs for the next month, I review the list. This way I don’t have to create “new” content right away. I have ideas at my fingertips.
One of the number one reasons many bloggers fail at being consistent is because they feel like they have run out of ideas. Evernote allows me to have a plethora of content ready to be crafted.
Bluehost is where I purchase my domain names and it was my first hosting site for my blog.
Let me backup. If you are just starting a blog, I recommend you use WordPress.com. WordPress makes it easy to setup a blog and it’s free. Plus, WordPress will host it.
At some point, you are going to want to have more control over your blog and get your own personal domain name. It makes your site more professional. This is when I recommend you will move to a WordPress.org site.
If you go this route, you’ll need to self-host your website. This is where Bluehost comes in. For those who are on a budget, Bluehost and WordPress go together like PB&H (I like honey better than jelly.)
This is what I did when I first launched my website, shawnlwelch.com. Bluehost let me get the URL and provided an affordable option to self-host my website. And bonus! You don’t need any coding or html skills to do this.
I used Bluehost to self-host my blog for years. However, when I started Your Leadership Coach and launched my company SWCo, I knew I needed to hire a professional to take my website and blog to the next level.
That’s where SkyrocketWP comes in. My good friend, Chad Barnes, started this company for small businesses and bloggers like me who need a professional look without the “professional” cost. I used SkyrocketWP to build my new website and they also provided a graphic designer to help me create my company logo. Their company provides monthly hosting and maintenance. The best parts of using SkyrocketWP are their great customer service and how they take away the headache of needing to be a WordPress expert. Highly recommend.
Every blogger needs a reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. This is a fancy way of saying you need a system for people to subscribe to your blog so that you can create an email list.
Your email list is the holy grail of blogging. The more subscribers you have gives you a greater opportunity to influence others and it also allows you to monetize your blog more effectively.
When starting out, most people use a free service like MailChimp. That’s what I did. Free is your best friend when beginning a blog. However, at some point you want a more customizable and professional look to your emails. This is where GetResponse comes in.
GetResponse allows us to create customizable email templates. We can pre-schedule emails so that we don’t have to be up at 6:00am to send out the latest blog post email. We have also used GetResponse to help with our marketing campaigns including our Summer Webinar Series.
If you are looking for an affordable CRM that will make you look like a pro, I’d recommend GetResponse.
Note: If you want to learn more about the other tools in my leadership toolbox including productivity apps and some of my favorite books, head to my brand new Resources page.
What’s your blog about? Now I don’t mean a physical blog (although you may already have one.) But what passion, experience, and/or skills are you going to share with the world? What avenue are you going to use to share that with us? Social media, blog, podcast, online cohort, etc. Once you’ve given it some thought, get out there and share!