The time is finally upon you. After years of plugging away, you’re ready to take your blog to the next level. It’s an exciting feeling, for sure. But there is a lot that goes into being a large-scale blogger — a lot more than goes into your standard small-scale blog.
Bloggers will need plenty of tools to help with all the new tasks they’ll encounter. Here are five tools that will help any blogger make the transition from C-lister to A-lister.
Even small-time bloggers should probably have accounting software, but it becomes even more important for larger-scale bloggers. Since you need to pay taxes on your income, you’ll need software that can prepare those documents for you. If you hire other writers — and nearly all large-scale blogging projects require multiple writers — you’ll need an apparatus to pay them and keep track of their payroll information for tax purposes.
One solution is to buy an expensive software license. The problem is that you need to buy the same expensive license every year, since the tax code updates constantly (at least in the US). QuickBooks, a long-standing name in the accounting software field, provides these tools at a reasonable monthly price.
It starts at just $13 per month for simple operations, and as little as $26 per month for full ones. Given the headache that comes along with the necessary paperwork, it’s a drop in the bucket.
Get QuickBooks business accounting software here.
The best bloggers realize that the blog itself is not the product. The audience is the product; the blog is merely a means to present them to advertisers. That leaves the blogger in a tough position. We have these large, engaged audiences, and advertisers are collecting a lot for our efforts. There is a way to own your audience, though.
Newsletters might seem like a relic of the past, but they remain one of the most effective marketing vehicles available. When people sign up for your newsletter they are actively choosing you. When they visit your blog it is more of a passive relationship. Giving up your email address is very personal. Newsletter software like MailChimp can bring you closer to your audience in a more direct way.
Get MailChimp newsletter software here.
3. Photo Spin
Small-time bloggers can get away with a lot. When they want to add images to their posts, they can just browse through Google Images and find an appropriate one. Problem is, images found through Google Images are mostly copyrighted. If a large-scale blogger does the same, she might find herself served with a cease-and-desist order, even if she provides the proper credit. Bloggers absolutely need a source of royalty-free images.
Yes, iStock remains one of the biggest names in the game, but they are also massively expensive. Larger enterprises and sources that use images infrequently might be able to afford it, but bloggers need something more economical.
A service called Photo Spin provides a high volume of downloads, 750 per month or 50 per day, for $430 per year. That might sound like a big up-front cost, but it’s just $36 per month. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal on images.
Get the PhotoSpin image library here.
Every business owner needs a plan in case disaster strikes. Online business owners need a doubly safe plan. If we store all of our information on our computers and our computers get stolen or lost in a fire, what are we to do? Don’t even mention hard drive crashes, which happen more often.
In the latter case an external drive backup will work well, but there’s a chance your external drive can go along with your computer. You need a remote backup.
The service Mozy is one of many online backup services. Why go with them over Google Drive or Dropbox? Because they specialize in backups. They also provide a free 5GB, with a referral program to get more for free. On top of that, their rates are a bit more reasonable than Dropbox. So you get a remote file storage solution that is built for system backups, for an affordable price.
Get Mozy’s online backup system here.
5. Raven Tools
We save the most expensive, but perhaps the most useful, for last. Any expanding blogger has a lot to worry about in terms of promotion. One thing that any expanding blogger needs to do is build backlinks. While the game is a lot different now than it was years ago, backlinks are still the backbone of search. Neglect this aspect of blog building and you probably won’t get far.
As with any promotional campaign, link building requires detailed planning. Raven Tools provides that better than any software on the planet. It not only lets you plan your link building campaigns, but it allows you to perform keyword research, which helps with your own articles. Even more, it provides tools to help manage Twitter, Facebook, and other online presences. Expensive, yes, but worth the cost.
Get Raven Tools marketing software here.
Joe Pawlikowski writes about technology and blogging. He is currently operating MobileMoo, which combines the Android, BlackBerry, and cellular sites he previously operated.