15 Resources for Pro Bloggers (or Those Who Want to Be)

I get asked every week about the various resources I am using. Last week, a blogger asked about my podcast equipment. Another asked about the productivity apps I am using on my Mac. Still another, asked if I could recommend some leadership resources.

Some Well-Used Tools - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jfmdesign, Image #10304861

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/jfmdesign

So, I thought I’d write a series of posts on these resources, devoting one post to each category. When I get done, I plan to collect these into a permanent page on my blog. In this post, I want to share my blogging tools.

Here are my fifteen go-to resources:

  1. WordPress. I use self-hosted WordPress. This is the big daddy version of WordPress.com. It provides virtually unlimited control and allows you to monetize your site. It is free to download and install. However, you will likely spend money for web hosting. (More about that below.)
  2. BlogWorld. This is the preeminent conference for bloggers and podcasters. I did a workshop at the last conference in New York City. I also hope to be speaking at the upcoming conference in Las Vegas. Between the exhibition hall, the seminars, and the general sessions, this is a must-attend event.
  3. BlueHost. There are dozens of web hosting services available. This is the only one I recommend. (Note: I don’t use it for MichaelHyatt.com. My site is so large, I require a dedicated server.) It is easy-to-use, reliable, and inexpensive. It also has superb, 24–7 support.
  4. BuySellAds. This is the ad network I currently use. It manages all my ad inventory and the payment processing. It requires you to insert some code into your site, but automates everything from there. Advertisers can check your rates, browse your inventory, and make their purchases without your involvement.

    Screenshot of BuySellAds

  5. Byword. This is the minimalist word processor I use to write everything. For the record, I am not a fan of Microsoft Word. It is just too bloated and slow for me. It also doesn’t translate well to WordPress. ByWord is simple and fast. It gets out of my way and lets me write. It also uses Markdown language (actually MultiMarkdown), which I use extensively.

    Screenshot of Byword

  6. Church Analytics. Some analytics packages provide more information than you can possibly use. Some provide less than you really need. Church Analytics strikes the perfect balance and does this within the context of an interface that is simple, elegant, and powerful. Though I use Google Analytics for advertisers, I use Church Analytics for my daily tracking.
  7. Evernote. I use this to store my blog post ideas, outlines, and other resources. I have a notebook called “Blog.” In conjunction with this, I use tags for affiliate programs, code snippets, design ideas, guest posts, post ideas, and web development. I give individual posts their own note and begin with a template. I have written about it here.

    Screenshot of Evernote

  8. EZ WordPress Setup. This is a screencast I recorded to answer the number one question I get from people who want to start blogging. “How do I setup a WordPress blog if I am not technical?” This walks you step-by-step through the process. It will take you 20 minutes or less. It requires absolutely no technical background.
  9. FeedBurner. This is a free service provided by Google. I use it to manage and promote the RSS feeds on my blog. It also makes it easier for your readers to subscribe to your blog via RSS. If you don’t know what this means, read Feed 101. It will get you started.
  10. iStockPhoto. Just like newspapers and magazines, I use photos in my posts to capture people’s attention and pull them into my posts. Ninety-nine percent of the images I use come from iStockPhoto. It is the largest source of commercial photos on the web. They are not free, but you can use my affiliate link to get a 20 percent discount.
  11. MailChimp. This is the service I use to e-mail my blog to my subscribers. It’s free to start and is the most robust service I have found. It gives me near-total control over the output and also provides a very helpful statistics module, enabling me to monitor every aspect of my e-mail campaigns.
  12. MarsEdit. Once I have my post written in ByWord, I copy and paste the HTML into MarsEdit. I could do this directly into WordPress on the Web, but MarsEdit enables me to do it offline. It also provides a ton of formatting shortcuts, insert images, and schedule posts. Best of all, it connects with ByWord, so I can use them together.

    Screenshot of MarsEdit

  13. SnagIt. I use this program for all my screen captures. There are lots of programs that will do this for free. However, this one has some great annotation features and other tools. You can also quickly upload screen captures to the screencast.com website. This is handy for sharing screenshots.
  14. StandardTheme. Currently, I use a customized version of this premium WordPress theme. It is excellent for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is it’s built-in SEO optimization. Prior to this I used a theme from WooThemes. I also really like the Genesis Framework from StudioPress. (Chris Brogan uses this.) ElegantThemes is also worth checking out.
  15. W3Schools. This is a reference site where you can find the answer to just about any HTML or CSS question. It provides the syntax and real-world examples. I refer to it almost daily.

I am constantly trying out new tools. This is my list as it stands today.

Questions: What resources have I missed? What other blogging resources do you use? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress blog? It’s easier than you think! Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it, step-by-step. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    That’s a great list Michael. Thanks for sharing.

    I use about a third of your tools and will, more than likely, be switching over to BlueHost sooner or later.

    Can’t wait to see what other resources your readers will share. 

    • Peter Richmond

      Recently I found this web: http://www.bloggerstores.com
      They give an online blog store for USD29.99 I think it is great for people like me that we don’t know how we can create a store

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    I’m always amazed at lists like this with so many tools to use. I appreciate all of the testing you do so that we can end up with the “Hyatt approved” list. Saves us all time and aggravation.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I borrowed your “Hyatt approved” idea!   We need someone handy with crafting logos to come up with one (or a badge).

      • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

        I like the badge–and one click to hit the resources.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’re welcome, Skip. I like these kinds of posts when others do them too. Plus I usually get a lot of ideas from the comments. Thanks.

  • Repaintmike

    Thank you for this post. I had already begun going back through Platform to highlight things I had forgotten and was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m excited to launch my new blog in September and Platform along with this blog have helped tremendously.

    • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

      Good luck with the blog launch, Mike. My early copy of Platform was dog-eared, underlined, and marked with lists. I found it invaluable in starting a blog.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Great. I am so glad!

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    A great and helpful list of vital “Hyatt approved” WP tools (HT to Skip).

    My current favorite pass time is developing my skills at PHP functions.  Thesis theme makes it super easy to add custom functionality to your WordPress site.

    In fact, for inspiration, I just added a custom welcome box for visitors to my blog referred to my blog via MichalHyatt.com.  

    Always enjoy your posts.  Have 2 friends reading Platform this week too!

    • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

      Hah, it’s kind of like the “Good House Keeping” seal of approval – good one Thad!

    • http://lesdossey.com/ Les Dossey

      Thad,

      That is a great idea, I’m going to check out your site right now.

      • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

        Thanks!  Hope you’ll come back again soon!

  • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

    I have two questions regarding Byword and Mars Edit:

    1) How do you set up Mars Edit to schedule posts? I’ve had a lot of trouble finding where to get my posts scheduled into the future (I try to schedule my posts up to two weeks in advance).

    2) When you say Byword connects with Mars Edit, what exactly do you mean? I’ve been previewing the Markdown language in Byword, copying the HTML code, and then pasting the code in Mars Edit. Is this what you do, or are you doing something different?

    Great list. I particularly liked your opinions on the Standard and Genesis themes. I’m exploring a theme change on my site, and this gives me more information. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      In MarsEdit, just select Post | Edit Date. Now schedule a date and time in the future.
      You can set the external editor to use in MarsEdit under Preferences | Editor. Unfortunately, it does not translate markdown to HTML.

      • Jim Martin

        I need to check out MarsEdit.  I have been using Ecto for about a year and a half and would like to compare the two.  

        • http://www.whiteboardbusiness.com/ Dallon Christensen

          Jim, I was initially skeptical about MarsEdit. I really like it. Having a focused application to keep me off of the Internet is good. I also like being able to get my photo downloaded in MarsEdit. It’s a good investment.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          Man, I loved ecto. It was hard to give it up. Unfortunately (as you probably know), the developer stopped supporting it. MarsEdit does almost the same thing and the developer is very supportive.

  • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

    I’ve never used SnagIt or even heard of W3Schools prior to this post – I’ll start using both. As always, thanks for being so generous with your knowledge sharing. You continually smooth out the learning curve for the rest of us!!!

    • http://lesdossey.com/ Les Dossey

      Tor, 

      I also like http://www.tizag.com/ for those times when W3Schools can’t help.
      True that on smoothing out the learning curve….

      • http://www.thedailyretort.com/ TorConstantino

        Thanks Les, I’ll have to check out tizag!

  • Umesh Nawathe

    My oh my! I am thinking to start my own blog from long time and its like god has sent you to help me. Whatever questions I have came up you have answered them all in this post. 
    Thank you very much! You kept my spirit of writing a blog alive. :)

  • http://twitter.com/CampClem Gina Cleminson

    Hi, I’m a crafting, DIYing mommy-blogger helping other women tap into their God-given creativity. I appreciate this helpful resource. I started my blog a little over six months ago, and am now enjoying over 5000+ views/day, so I’m sorting through how to take it to the next level.

    Two questions:

    Is there a way you track WHY people are showing up on your bloggy doorstep? [I'm thrilled with my views... I'm just now sure how/why people are knocking on my door.]

    Also, I’m on WordPress (.com). Is it as daunting as it sounds to switch over to self-hosting?
    Thanks,
    g i n a

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Do you mean why as in how did they get there?  Which site did they come from or which search engine?  If so, then, yes, you can add that functionality with the Jetpack plugin and configure stats.  It is not as full blown an analytics piece as Google Analytics, but it is very straight forward.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      The only way to find out why is t do a survey. I recommend SurveyMonkey.com. I usually do a reader survey every year. Switching to self-hosted WordPress is not a big deal. You simply export from your current blog and import to the new one.

  • http://www.geekfori.com/ Geekfori

    This is a great list Michael. Appreciate the work you did to share this all with us.

  • http://www.turndogmillionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

    Great list, but Michael, how do you get all the extra options in Marsedit? I also use it, but can’t figure out to schedule posts, add the SEO and keyword options, etc

    Is there an extra plugin needed, or am I simply missing a really obvious aspect?

    Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You add these in MarsEdit under Blog | Edit Settings | Custom Fields. Here is a screen shot of mine.

      • http://www.turndogmillionaire.com/ Turndog Millionaire

        Thanks Michael, I will try and figure it out. Look like it will save some time :)

        Matthew (Turndog Millionaire)

  • http://www.thedailybleat.com/ Joshua Breland

    Great resource list! Will pass it along. 

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    I also use Feedburner, but some time ago I got so mad at its subscription service, I deleted all my subscribers. (This was a particularly bright idea, because ever since, I’m essentially down to one regular commenter.) 

    The reason I got mad was that Feedburner would periodically, and randomly, send out notifications of old blog posts. So every once in a while, out of the blue, all my subscribers would get a NEW BLOG POST email notification that contained the text of and the link to an ancient post. And since I felt this might produce the erroneous impression that I’m sending out these misleading notifications on purpose in order to increase my puny traffic, or simply to annoy people, I summarily cleared my subscriber list. 

    Am I the only one having this problem? And is there an alternative to Feedburner’s subscription service? 

    Ironically, the remote-hosted version of WordPress comes with an email subscription service already built in. But the self-hosted version, in order to provide “more flexibility” for the user, comes without this  feature.  One would think that “more flexibility” should mean having additional options—such as the option to replace the built-in subscription feature with a fancier one—rather than being deprived of features that automatically come with the less flexible version.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have seen this occasionally. It might actually be a change on the WordPress end. For example, if I update the post date to a future date and time, it will send it out again as if it is brand new. This isn’t a bug; it’s a feature. ;-)

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        And what happens if you update the post date to a past date and time? Feedburner enters time machine mode and your subscribers receive a new notification that day?

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    There is a lot of information, tools, and resources here.  Some times everything seems to be easy and getting smaller.  Then a post like this comes along, and reminds you that the best keeps looking for opportunities to get the next advantage and improve.  Thanks for sharing some of you favorite and most helpful tools!

  • http://davidchristian.co/category/articles/ David Christian

    I’ve always used FeedBurner and recently joined MailChimp.  However, Feedburner is truncating my posts in the feed which in turn truncates them in my emails. I cannot figure out how to get FeedBurner to stop truncating the RSS feed so MailChimp isn’t doing me much good right now. Quite frustrating.

    • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

       Hey, David. I used to have this happen as well. What fixed it for me: go to your feed’s Optimize tab and select Summary Burner. Is it deactivated? It should be. Otherwise, FeedBurner will shorten your post.

      • http://davidchristian.co/category/articles/ David Christian

        That sounded plausible. But it was not active.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Have you checked WordPress | Settings | Reading Settings? Make sure you don’t have “For each article in feed” set to “Summary” as opposed to “Full Text.”

      • http://davidchristian.co/ David Christian

        That did it. I would have never guessed WordPress was the culprit.  My MailChimp is now active and in the top right corner of my site according to Platform! You have won a free email subscription to my site (wink wink).

        Thank you for the assistance and keep up the great work!

  • http://www.livebeyondawesome.com/ Jen McDonough

    You are the bomb @MichaelHyatt! Thanks for sharing! One thing I notice people forget is the great social plugins to share blogs easily. It surprises me when I go to share useful info and there is no convenient way to share them as people forgot their plugins.
    I will definitely be saving this blog to reference back to and to share. Many thanks!
    Live Beyond Awesome!
    Jen
    Twitter: @TheJenMcDonough

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m going to share my favorite plugins in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great list, Michael. I use many of the tools on your list. For blogging, I haven’t found anything better than Windows Live Writer from Microsoft. It downloads my WordPress blog theme and allows me to perfectly edit a post off-line before uploading. Unfortunately it is not available for the Mac.

    One really helpful tool I found last week is WordPress SEO from Yoast. This plugin for hosted WordPress installations includes a sitemap tool and a great SEO setup that ties in real well with my StudioPress theme. All I have to do is create a title, headings, and content around a listed key word and the plug-in lets me know I’m good to go with six green lights. It really makes SEO easy. The great thing is, the pages I’ve optimized with this tool are now getting the most traffic on my site, so it definitely works. Highly recommended!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      John, thank you for the resources.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This is one time I wish I used Windows. I’ve heard so many good things about Live Writer.
      I use All-in-One SEO Pack, which is fantastic. It’s been a big help to me on SEO. Thanks.

  • http://lesdossey.com/ Les Dossey

    Michael,

    Your site and the way in which you do what you do are great inspiration for current and inspiring bloggers.

    I wish I had discovered you before the hundreds of hours of work I did just trying to do this thing called blogging.

    My wife says I’m slow but I’m good. 

    I’m not sure but I think she was comparing me to food cooked in a crock pot. :)

    Thanks for caring and sharing

    –Les Dossey…
    http://lesdossey.com

  • Lacey

    I will have to check out EZ WordPress Setup. Thank you for the resource.

    http://www.Donation-Can.com

  • tvalley

    Michael thanks so much for sharing your secrets.  As to the Blog World conference in Vegas in January 2013, do you recommend buying the pass that includes the Social Media Business Summit (which is considerably – about $400 – more expensive than the regular pass) or just the regular pass to the conference?  I have looked over the Social Media Business Summit sessions and they seem to be directed more towards large business owners.  I am just starting up a blog site myself, a Christian devotional type blog, and I’m not so sure the additional expense is worth it for someone like me.  Could you expand on the Summit a little bit more?  Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I have not attended the Summit, so I really don’t have an opinion. Thanks.

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    Great resources, Michael! Thanks for always being so helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather C Button

    Wow, lots of resources for when I take myself off hiatus for my blog. Thanks for all the information!

    Quick Q: if we don’t have quite as much content in our blogs, are the standard WordPress blogs  still worth it?

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Yes the Standard Theme WordPress is absolutely worth it.  The theme comes with many great features.  

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I think so. I switched to Standard two months after starting my blog. Really enjoyed the features and flexibility it offered.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It really depends on your plans. If you are going to develop more content and want readers to find it, I recommend going with self-hosted WordPress.

  • http://twitter.com/jenhoverstad Jennifer Hoverstad

    I typically try to make my own graphics, and I’ve found PicMonkey.com to be the most user-friendly site for editing!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Interesting.  Thanks for the resource.  

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I’ll have to look into PicMonkey. Is it easy to edit and create graphics when you have no clue how to do it?

  • http://orgspring.org/ Craig Grella

    As always, another great article with great resources. I love byword, and mac app store if offering a discount on normal pricing right now. It’s cheap for what you get. As a side note,  i’m not in any way affiliated with Byword, I just like the program and use it for wordpress posts too.

  • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ JD Meier

    I’m especially curious about the choice of MailChimp vs. AWeber for mailing lists?

    Most of the bloggers I know tend to use AWeber as the standard, similar to use WordPress as the standard for blogging platforms. 

    I don’t know how easy it is to port subscribers from one platform to another, so I wonder if it’s an important up-front decision.

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      I am pretty sure you can export and import using CSV files.

      Is AWeber free?  I seem to recall it having a cost associated (but could be very wrong).

      • http://SourcesOfInsight.com/ JD Meier

        AWeber is not free.

        I like that Mail Chimp starts free, but the downside is that free doesn’t include Autoresponder, and I had too many subscribers to be eligible for the free version.

        From the pricing charts, it looks like Mail Chimp gets way more expensive compared to AWeber as the subscriber count goes up — but I need to check that again (and that would be a good problem to have ;)

        Ultimately, I wish Feedburner would add a “mailing list management” capability, but I haven’t heard of any such move.

        Switching gears, but related, I wasn’t sure what my story would be having both a “subscribe to posts with email” and having an “email subscription” for a newsletter … but it looks like a common practice.  
        I’m just now sure how to keep the two separate “emails” clean, clear, and simple for potential subscribers (and I am a fan of simplicity and clarity.)

        • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

          I think it is very common.  The key is to have something already available to deliver — newsletter, ebook, etc, in exchange for the email subscription past the blog itself.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          The last time MailChimp bumped my pricing (because of an increase in my subscribers), I shopped other services for price, including AWeber. They were all pretty close. AWeber was a little cheaper, but not worth the hassle to me to switch.

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

           JD,
          You bring up a great point, and one that has baffled me for a while. I also wonder why feedburner doesn’t offer a mailing list manager! Seems like they are leaving money o the table! I need to make the plunge to mail chimp or AWeber!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Both are free at the beginning levels.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Yes it is very easy to transfer email addresses to Mail Chimp. 

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    I did switch from GoDaddy to Bluehost a week or so ago and the process was beyond painless, even considering I added the complication of moving my domain hosting from GoDaddy to hover.com instead of bundling it with Bluehost. Hover won my loyalty by resolving a problem with me over the phone after answering on the second ring with a live human who never put me on hold and never transferred me. In less than five minutes, she treated me with respect, dignity, and concern while resolving my issue quickly and efficiently and teaching me what I had done incorrectly and how to fix it. (I get no financial benefit from any of these companies, I just love them!)

    Anyway, Bluehost has been a great hosting service for the week or so I’ve had them and Hover will be getting the rest of my domains in the coming weeks. If I didn’t have to do so much of my blog work through a web browser, Byword would be a more-used tool, though I do love it in all its forms.

    And being on a shoestring budget, I’ve discovered compfight.com as a decent alternative to iStockphoto. The quality is not always the same, and you’ve got to put in more time to find good artwork, but it can be found if you’re careful and intentional about it.

    Thanks, Michael. So much of what I’m doing now was driven by advice I received from you before I ever even considered starting a blog!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Bret, I’m thinking of switching to BlueHost from my current webhost. How difficult was it to transfer your current content to the new host? Any tips on how to do it?

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Bret,
      Do you ever see if you can find quality (free) “creative commons” pictures? I awlays start there. About the 15% of the time I can find something on flicker or other places that are free.  Sometimes, if I have the time, I will take my own pic too. I think people appreciate the authenticity sometimes—like, for example, I loved Michael’s picture relaxing yesterday!

      • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

        Compfight is a search engine, basically, that goes through the creative commons pics at flickr and is sometimes easier than trying to go through them by hand. Sometimes not. I’ve also found some good stuff at morguefile from time to time.

        I will say that I had an interesting exchange with a photog from iStockphoto whose shot I used. It was a funny image of a chef, and he found it and commented, thanking me for choosing his shot. I replied thanking him for making it available and including a link to his portfolio (which he had not done). A few days later, a google alert popped up informing me that he had mentioned the exchange on a forum inside iStockphoto and was very complimentary of the experience and in turn, he included a link to the blog post where his image was used. So while I may have wished for a free image, the exchange I had with the photographer returned me far more in goodwill and positive feelings than the small amount I paid for the picture.

        Sorry, I digressed.  :-)

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Bret,
          What an AWESOME story! Nobody has EVER contacted me to thank them for posting their picture, free or paid! It sounds like you made his day! I will have to check out compfight— sounds really cool!

          • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

            And if you’re at all curious, here was the forum post from the photographer: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=345837&page=1. It wasn’t much, in retrospect, but it really touched me and made my day.

            BTW, I work just off 66 and 123. For some strange reason, I keep expecting to see you in a nearby coffee shop. ;-)

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            What? Seriously? Where do you live? we should totally get a cup of coffee one morning? I am a youth pastor in Vienna.

          • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

            I’m pretty far out west, but we could definitely meet for coffee! I’ll tweet you about it next week.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterKremzar Peter Kremzar

    The best tool to write blog posts is definitely the Windows Live Writer.

    You can read more about it here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Live_Writer
    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8621

    It is simple and fast. It connects directly to your blog on server, downloads its style and then applies this style to your post within the Windows Live Writer. You can add photos, videos, albums, maps, photos on Flickr, links, everything what you can do at your blog on web.

    But at the end you just press publish and your new blog post is published at your blog.

    The good thing with this application is that you can connect to several blog sites you may have and you write your article once and publish it to all of your sites at once without copy pasting for each site you have.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I wish there was a Mac version.

  • http://twitter.com/lornafaith Lorna Faith

    Thanks for sharing this list Michael. It’s time to take my blog to the next level :) I’m bookmarking this page!

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Glad the information was helpful Lorna. Go for it. 

  • http://twitter.com/RatedGRomance Gregory Blake

    Michael,What are you using to record your side-by-side video interviews? 
    Sorry if you covered this already and I missed it. 
    Sincerely,
    Greg

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Many people use Skype and recording feature. 

      • http://twitter.com/RatedGRomance Gregory Blake

        Hmmm… That’s new to me. I use Skype but haven’t seen the recording feature. Will check it out! Thanks Tim.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Check out this post, How to Record a Video Interview in Eight Steps.” Thanks.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    These are some great resources, I use many of them myself. Thank you for the list.

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    Great resources! I’m always looking for ways to improve my site.

  • http://twitter.com/ALifeSanctified ~ Felecia ~

    This is the single best post I’ve read from you – but simply because I need it NOW!  (Trust me, I’ve liked other posts as well!)  I don’t want to be a pro-blogger, I want to be a pro-writer; but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want my blog to look professional as well as be easy for me to use.  I’m going to take you up on at least six of these tips – from WP to BlueHost – and can’t wait to get started.
    BIG thanks for sharing your time, energy, and knowledge!!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      That’s great to hear you’ll be putting these resources to use. You won’t be disappointed. Please come back and let us know how you like them once you’ve implemented them.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much!

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    Now, so many bloggers won’t do this and you have. It is like sharing the riches with the commoners! This is what makes you unique. Thanks Michael. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       You couldn’t be more right on here! The value that Michael creates (for the cost) is unparalleled on the web!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, guys!

  • http://www.wonderingwanderer.com/ EJ Juen Jr.

    Hi Michael, I just started my travel blog today with just 3 posts and these recommendations will give me a good start. Thanks. 

  • http://twitter.com/RichDailey Rich Dailey

    I’ve recently started using Zotero with my writing. Looks promising. Also a huge EN fan. 
    http://www.zotero.org/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      How do you find this different than Evernote? It looks similar.

  • Claudia Gentry-Crook

    One tool you didn’t mention is when you use videos in your blogs.  I’m floundering my way through the learning experience with the webcam I purchased.  Do you have any tips for me?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I typically upload the video to Vimeo or YouTube and then paste the embed code into WordPress. You can Google the process.

  • Francesco Salvaggio

    Thank you mIcheal, i’m a blogger too and i use some of you tools as weel….i raccomanded istockphoto in particular, is it possibile to find bright images for few bucks !!

    thanks for sharing

  • Vanessa Martinez

    Much of this vice is very amateurish.  People are under the impression that a good personal blog and a good company blog are meaningfully different.  Perhaps in content they are, but in terms of the details that run the show, a well run blog is a well run blog.  If you hire a consulting firm to help you develop the blog for your business and ANY of these recommendations were made, then you should quickly leave the meeting, end the relationship, and find somebody who knows what they are doing.  Unfortunately, Michael is basically telling you that he eats all of his meals at McDonalds each day and that it’s working out great for him.  However, for you to do the same would be foolish.

  • http://marketingwithsergio.com/ Sergio Félix

    Really cool resources Michael thanks!

    And one small observation though, your link for Bluehost is linking somewhere else, you might want to fix that for some extra revenue man. ;-)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. The BlueHost link is actually working correctly in the post. It was wrong in the newsletter. Unfortunately, I can’t fix that.

  • http://charlesjaymeyer.wordpress.com/ Charles Meyer

    I love seeing things like this.  It really helps me with launching with a few blog ideas I have. I will hopefully launch one of these in the next couple weeks.  I have already decided on using a few of these already.

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  • http://www.jenniferrothschild.com/ Philip Rothschild

    Great post Mike. This series will be super helpful. So you still use Feedburner. Thought you might have migrated to Mailchimp exclusively. My guess is that you have longtime subscribers from feedburner for RSS but most NEW subscribers you point them to Mailchimp? Wonder what percentage of your subscribers are RSS, MailChimp, etc. I’ve been using Constant Contact for my email newsletter distribution, but the most glaring weekness of Constant Contact is they don’t have a blog to email broadcast like Mailchimp and Aweber. I also use Aweber, but I am tempted by the interface and functionality of Mailchimp.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I use Feedburner for RSS and MailChimp for e-mail. About 30% of my subscribers are RSS; 70% are e-mail. The MailChimp interface and functionality is great. Thanks.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Yes, thanks. Someone else also pointed it out. I have fixed it. Thanks again.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    That sounds like a cool service!

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, Michael. I do use Skitch some. I like the shadow effect and annotation features better in SnagIt, but I’m sure it’s a preference thing.
    I use ScreenFlow too. Love it. In fact, in the resource list above. The EZ WordPress Setup link goes to a screencast I creating for installing WordPress. I did it in ScreenFlow.

    • http://www.youthleadersacademy.com/ Rachel Blom

      I’m also a big Skitch fan, especially because of its easy connection with Evernote…

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    They create some beautiful themes too.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    The template issue is highly personal. It depends on your goals, your design preferences, etc. As you can see above, I listed several options. All are good.
    I wrote a post on my favorite WordPress plugins. I plan to update it soon. Thanks.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, William. Honestly, in my experience this is true with almost any theme.

    • http://www.orlandolocal.com William Beem

      I brought this up to the folks who support Standard Theme.  They felt very strongly that having such features in a control panel reduces performance. On the other side of things, I have a few blogs using ProPhotoBlogs themes and don’t see a significant performance impact.  However, that theme allows me to choose fonts, colors, and many other features by the control panel.

      Other themes may vary, but offer more features than I see in Standard Theme.  Elegant Themes, for instance, has features in its ePanel to adjust color.  Pexeto themes offer several features to control appearance, even using different textures for the general background.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Search my blog for “plugins.”

  • Jim Martin

    Wow!  I’ve been away for much of the month and come back to this great post!  This is very helpful.  

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  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Awesome, David. I’m glad it worked.

  • Dave Hanna

    Re-reading this and trying to apply it.  Is it possible to copy a template to another folder in Evernote on the iPhone?  I couldn’t figure out a way to do it.
    Also, it looks like you’re a Mac man. In future revisions, you might recommend alternatives for the Mac-only programs for those of us who use Windows.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I am not sure how to do that in Evernote, Dave.

      Yes, indeed, I am a Mac man. Since I don’t have a Windows machine (and that’s really not my world), I really can’t recommend any resources. Sorry.

  • http://twitter.com/avoidthedrift Stephen Boals

    Great post Michael.  Thanks for the insight.

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  • http://twitter.com/ThomasMcEvoy Thomas McEvoy

    Really loved your generosity in posting this list. However, is there any hope of suggested useful items like this for us poor Windows 7 users?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Unfortunately, not from me. I’m just not a Windows user. Thanks.

  • http://www.campaignforconscience.org/ Enoch Burke

    Great list. Part way there. Part way to go. Have switched to Blue Host on your ethics-grounded recommendation. Thanks!

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  • Jeff A.

    Hi Michael, The Blogworld link still redirects to “Blue Host”. But thanks, this is a career direction I am seriously considering.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeff. I just fixed it.

  • Hugh Ballou

    Michael,

    Your helpful sharing of tools and strategies is very helpful saving the rest of us time and energy.

    Blessings,

    Hugh Ballou
    http://transformationalstrategist.com

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  • http://twitter.com/thompson_nat Nat Thompson

    In checking out BuySellAds it looks like their minimum threshold is 50K impressions per month.  What would your recommendation be for a site earlier on that isn’t quite reaching that mark?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Before I started using BuySellAds, I used a WordPress plugin called OIO Publisher. It allows you to manage ads yourself. It takes a little work to setup, but works well. By now there might be others. Thanks.

      • Jason

         Why do you recommend blue Host? I have my domain names registered at GoDaddy, but I have not purchased a hosting plan yet. I would appreciate and direction. Thanks..

        • Jason

          Sorry,  I was meaning to say any direction.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          I explain my reasons for recommending BlueHost in this post. Thanks.

  • Todd

    Is there an equivalent to Mars Edit for PC users? Thanks, Todd

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Some have suggested Microsoft Live Writer. I have not personally used it.

  • http://twitter.com/StyleMeKelly StyleMeKelly

    Michael,

    Thank you for sharing these tools! I’ve been working on building a website for my new business and decided to build it on StandardTheme because I’ve seen how you and others use it.  All these resources you listed are worth checking out.

    Thanks!

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  • http://www.MariaKeckler.com/ Maria Keckler

    Great list, Michael!  I was most surprised by your use of MailChimp as opposed to a more robust service like aWebber.  I’m curious about what drove your final choice.

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  • http://CraigDesmarais.com/ Craig Desmarais

    On top of W3 schools I also went through the html course on codeacademy.com  You should check that out as well.  

  • http://MacedoniaFilms.com/ Dan Baker

    I love your Evernote blog post template. Might have to give it a shot!

  • williambwalker

    First, I’d like to thank you for sharing such great tools for other bloggers.  Most people keep the secrets to themselves, and I really enjoy you sharing most of your resources with us.

    I have a few of questions about MailChimp:  

    -When I get your Weekly digest, is that a MailChimp Campaign you use?  

    -Is it automatically sent when you publish a post, or do you have to make a campaign for every post?  

    -If not, what do you use to send your post to email subscribers?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome.

      Yes, it is a MailChimp campaign. It is sent automatically. The RSS feed fires it.
      Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/Innovative_Chat Christa K

    Thank you very much for creating this post. It has helped me immensely with getting my blog off the ground!

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  • http://www.valuesdrivenresults.com/ Curt Fowler

    I need some help setting up my subscription service in MailChimp. I’ve got 90% of it done, but I’m struggling to get the nice social media icons like Michael uses in his emails. 

    Can anyone point me in the right direction of how to set this up in MailChimp or point me to a person who can help?

    Thanks so much!

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  • Khuebschen

    Hi Michael,
    Thank you for the great list of blogging tools. I was using feedburner for my wordpress blog, but want to switch to Mail Chimp – which I have set up and waiting. My question is what do I need to do to delete the feedburner feed sending emails so I can set Mail Chimp to go?
    Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You will have to go into your Feedburner settings. Under the Publicize tab, you should find an option for e-mail subscriptions. Turn that off. Hope that helps.

      • Khuebschen

        Thank you very much!

  • http://twitter.com/stephaniesbell Stephanie Bell

    I followed your instructions on how to set up a self-hosted word press blog and am using blue host. Thank you so much! My question relates to photos though. For beginning bloggers, do you suggest uploading photos directly into WordPress to put in posts or to another service like Flickr or Amazon Cloud?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It really depends. If it’s just the occasional photo, WordPress is fine. If you do a lot of photos or are a professional, you will need a gallery plugin. You might Google what is available. Thanks.

  • Pablo Ellsworth

    Thanks Michael!! I really appreciate this list!!

  • http://orgspring.com/ OrgSpring

    Two comments: one of appreciation one of warning. you introduced me to scrivener, which ive been using to write most of my articles and then transfer into wordpress. That’s workflow has been great. I love the compile feature too – works well when i just need snippets. I never found much use for things like evernote and marsedit – they just seemed like an extra step to me.

    Re: bluehost – i use them for a few sites that range in size. i’ve found their servers to be unreliable They’re not setup to offer the highest plan of vps yet, even though they advertise it on their site. That was confirmed by a conversation I had with their dedicated support engineer. Also, they dont scale – at all. If you change plans or your site outgrows a plan they have to actually move you off a server to a new server. That means downtime. I also had to request several server level changes to memory and execution times that are fairly standard on other servers, and more in-line with what wordpress requires. They’re having a cpanel issue right now that is affecting their management portals that is not present with other servers, and neither their legacy nor new backup configurations work correctly. I had a ticket go to the top level of support that we went back and forth on for over a month. Their final answer was to tell me to back up my sites using another method. I have nothing against bluehost, they’re a fine group of people and I applaud them for trying to keep porn off their servers, but for anything more than occasional blogging I would not use them.

  • Jessica Festa

    Hey Michael. I’d also say having some kind of plugin to backup your blog in case of an emergency is a good idea. I’ve been a full-time professional blogger for about three years now, and offer one-on-one consulting through my blog for anyone with questions and concerns pertaining to take their blog to the next level. More information can be found here: http://jessieonajourney.com/do-you-want-to-be-a-travel-blogger/.

    Thank you again for the great post!

    -Jessica Festa