If you mean business and need to market and/or monetise your company, personal brand, website, or blog to take advantage of the opportunities the social web has opened up, then you need the right tools, resources and advice to guide you.
The explosion of websites, apps, tools and resources online is often confusing. These are some of the resources that I use and recommend that I have found helpful with blogging and social media marketing.
WordPress is what I use for my blog and is the #1 global blogging platform that offers flexibility, ease of use and a low cost starting point. Selecting a WordPress theme is the quickest way to accelerate your blog design without starting from scratch.
Themefuse offers a wide range of WordPress themes that can get you up and running in a matter of minutes.
Prices start from $39
WebHostingBuzz is the hosting power behind my blog and offers great price performance with excellent global customer service. I highly recommend using WebHosting Buzz for your first site and it will grow with you as your blog traffic increases.
Learn how to setup your first WordPress blog in 5 minutes.
Prices start from $4.95 per month
Facebook is the largest social network on the planet. Here are some tools and resources to get you going places.
ShortStack: This App allows you to create custom Facebook pages without having to be a programmer.
Facebook Influence by Amy Porterfield: I have learned a lot from her course and it is well structured with a multi-media format including video training, transcripts, summaries and a podcast.
MailChimp: This is an easy to use email marketing platform that is cost effective and easy to get up and running fast.
Exact Target: They have many features for the email marketer for the more advanced user. Their platform(s) include not just email but social media marketing tools for Facebook.
Hubspot: One of the original and still one of the best inbound marketing software providers and blogs on the planet. Their software helps over 9,000 marketers generate traffic leads and manage their online sales funnel. They were one of the primary inspirations for starting my blog.
Copyblogger: I have referenced this site for years and read it often. The Copyblogger name says it all. It started as website and blog about copywriting. Today it is much more and is a great portal for content marketing, SEO copywriting, email marketing, keyword research, and internet marketing in general.
Google Analytics: This free tool should be loaded onto every website/blog to measure what phrases are currently driving traffic to your site.
Google Adwords Keywords Tool: This free tool from Google helps you determine what keywords potential customers are searching for, and the demand level for those words.
These two sites are where I go to on a regular basis to keep up to date on SEO.
When you have created and packaged your online courses and ebooks you need to get some distribution apart from your own website.
– E-Junkie: They provide a shopping cart and secure system to let you sell your downloadable products such as an eBook or an online course
– Clickbank: Helps you monetise your knowledge and audience and is one of the biggest on the planet
On a visual web, having striking images and photos are vital. Here are 3 sites that I use.
– Bigstock Photo: This is a paid service but has a huge library with many in high definition.
– Shutterstock: Again you will pay for their images but they have a library of millions of images and photos
– Flickr: This site is what I use to get access to free photos under the creative commons licence that allows you to use photos with attribution.
Here are some books that will provide some reading to inspire and educate you along the blogging business journey.
My book Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media is available on Amazon in a Kindle format and is a good place to start.
Author: Tim Ferriss
This book inspired me to start my blog. I read this book by Tim Ferriss about 5 years ago when the future promise of the web was starting to become very real as social media took hold. Twitter was just starting and Facebook was getting traction. The book promises to take you from the drudgery of the day job to the dream of doing what you love doing and monetising it on the web.
Author: Ken Robinson, PhD
Want to learn some of the secrets to take your life to another level? This book by Ken Robinson I have read more than once. As I was a teacher in a previous life, it resonated with me. It provides an inspiring insight into how finding your passion and combining it with your innate abilities and talents can take life from drudgery to a masterpiece. He calls this intersection ‘The Element’. Included are examples from famous people that have have found the element such as Paul McCartney, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington.
Authors: Chip Heath and Dan Heath
This book by Chip Heath and Dan Heath is about ideas. If a book inspires you to write a blog post about it, then you know it has touched you. They outline the 6 Principles of ‘Sticky Ideas’ that I now consider when writing or communicating. What are those six principles?
Simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions and stories.
If you want to improve your communication skills and make your ideas memorable, then this book should not be ignored.
Author: Stephen King
Stephen King is known more for fiction books than non-fiction. This book is part memoir (for the first 100 pages) and then he reveals in the last 200 pages the basic toolkit for becoming a good or even a great writer.
His passion for writing is obvious and compelling. His life journey is revealing. Three key messages impressed me: the importance of simplicity, starting, and persistence. That is just the start of what you will find between its covers. This book is not just about writing, it is about life.
This book is written by Jason Fried and David Hansson who are the founders of 37 Signals which is a very successful software development company (ever heard of the software Basecamp?). What you find is a lot of ideas to rework your business that they have discovered from personal experience. If you are living in the 21st century and want to know how business is being reinvented that works in a knowledge economy then this is worth reading.
Short punchy chapters packed full of cool ideas and inspiration.
Author: Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek impressed me when I heard him speak. His core message is what makes leaders great and how that leads to companies that succeed and excel. He uses examples (stories) starting with the Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs.
Get the ‘Why?’ right and then the fun starts. It’s also about the art of influence.
Author: David Meerman Scott
I must confess I read it more than twice and hence it has a lot of coffee stains. What I loved about this book was its revelations on how to communicate and market in a digital world. I was tired of the old ways of marketing and selling and David Meerman Scott opened up my eyes to a new paradigm. It is about being authentic and talking plainly. It is also social media 101.
This book preceded the launching of my blog but it is woven into its tapestry. It should be sitting in your Kindle book list or parked on your shelf after it has been consumed and underlined.
Author: Brendon Burchard
Brendon Burchard is like a ‘mini me’ Tony Robbins. Don’t let that fool you. In this book he reveals how to monetise your knowledge ten different ways and have fun while doing so while adding value to people’s lives. He provides a glimpse into what he has learned about presenting, writing a book, creating promotional partners (affiliates), promoting seminars, educating online and much more.
If you are an expert or thought leader and you don’t know how to package your ideas and knowledge and sell it, then read this book.
Author: Steven Pressfield
If you want to learn more about the art, the challenges and the processes of the creative sphere then this book is packed full of insights. If you are an artist, writer, musician, business person or you are breathing and have a pulse (doesn’t everything involve being creative?) then read this book. It is about overcoming roadblocks and resistance in life. It is about doing the work that is congruent with your purpose and destiny.
Author: Seth Godin
Seth Godin is so visible in the marketing world that he is like a global beacon. I read this book while also reading The New Rules of Marketing and PR. This book flips the model of push marketing to attraction marketing. This book was also instrumental in starting my blogging journey. It is about people giving permission for you to sell to them. I thought that was a cool concept.
Want to see what is important about marketing in a web centric world. Then read this book.
Have you used any of the above tools or resources? What are your favourites?
What tools, resources, online courses, and training would you recommend?
Look forward to your insights and feedback in the comments below.