I thought it would be a good idea to share how I run this blog as I’ve had a number of readers ask me how it’s done because they want to start their own blogs which is brilliant. As well as that I get lots of questions from where I get inspiration, the books that I recommend, exercising equipment I use, my favourite movies etc. etc., the list goes on and on.
I’m gonna be updating this as time goes on with everything I know about blogging and the products & tools I use. I want to make it clear, I’m by no means a blogging/weight loss/fitness expert, I’m just a guy that’s “done it” (well doing it…slowly), and this is what I’ve learned.
My Top Picks
Out of everything that I use, these are my best of the best, their the “I couldn’t live without them” kinda products; they’ve helped me so much, and save me tons of time each and every day.
This online tool is a live saver, hands down this is the best tool I use to improve my writing. As you’ve probably guessed, writing is a pretty big (huge) part of blogging, and my spelling and grammar skills are shocking, and that’s being generous, but with Grammerly I simply write my articles, emails, what have you. Paste them into Grammerly and let it work its magic; it will find everything that’s wrong with my writing and show you how to correctly them; it’s like Microsoft spellcheck on steroids!
PicMonkey is a great online photo editing, and collage tool, its can help you transform your normal pictures into masterpieces that not only help your blog posts look sexy, but also help to increase your blogs exposure and traffic via social sharing sites like Pinterest & facebook; people love to share and pin cool looking pictures. If that’s not good enough, you can use picmonkey for free; there are some limitations compared to the pro version but if your just starting out its perfect.
Top Tip: Make sure you’ve put your blogs URL in your pictures with PicMonkey text feature.
I love, love, loveeeee this tool! It’s so clean and simple to use and has upped my productivity tenfold! You simply make a project and add all your tasks to it. It shows you a really nice, day and 7 day view so you can see what you’ve got to get done. I like it because it keeps my head clear, instead of trying to remember everything I just put it all in Todoist. Free accounts are available, and Ii highly recommend you give it a go.
Starting a blog
Without a shadow of a doubt WordPress is the world’s best platform to run your blog on, it’s so simple to use, easy to customise and so widely known that there is always someone that can help you do something you can’t. I’ve never used any other platform.
Having a good looking blog is hugely important, and thanks to the power of WordPress themes it couldn’t be easier to do. Themeforest is a huge marketplace packed with awesome designers that create some of the best website theme online; they’ve got over 3,500 WordPress themes alone. I love em’!
Domains & Hosting
I’ve used a number of domain registrars in my time, but one I’ve always stuck with is Dynadot, their simple to use, competitively priced and most of all they don’t pester your with up sell like the infamous GoDaddy! Seriously if there one site I do my best to stay away from its GoDaddy
Hosting is the beating heart of any website, without it you’ve got nothing full stop. So having decent hosting, with a good uptime reputation is essential. I’ve been with InMotion for a while now because my old host (HostingZoom) just wasn’t cutting it. There not the cheapest you’ll find out there but that’s because they are by far one of the best, and their 24/7 customer support is impeccable.
Plugins are one of the main reasons WordPress is so flexible and powerful; if you want your site to do something, I’m 99.9% sure that there’s a plugin out there to do it!
A brilliant plugin that lets you create some awesome looking email optin boxes for your site without all the hassle of coding, it’s got a really simple user interface; just insert your text, pick your colours and you’re done. It’s even got shortcodes to make placing them anywhere on your site a breeze.
A must use plugin on every WordPress site, hands downs. It stops all the spammy comments people try and get onto your site; on one of my sites it’s stopped over 300,000 junk comments! That’s a lot of time saved.
I use this on all my sites; it allows you to add specific titles, descriptions and keywords to all your articles which is great for your potential readers seeing you in on a search page like google, they’ll be able to see what your article is about and then hopefully click! You can also use this plugin to tell search engines to noindex/nofollow which is great if you didn’t want a certain page to show up in google.
There’s always going to be broken links to your site and on your site, and when that happens a 404 page is displayed, this isn’t a great first impression to a potential new reader, but the effects can be minimised thanks to this plugin. It allows you to create a nice custom 404 page where you can apologise for the page not being there and then offer them something. Personally I like to have a list of articles I recommend they read and a free downloadable gift just for them as a way of saying sorry, and collecting emails.
If your gonna have pictures on your blog, and I hope you are! You need to have this plugin, it adds a button to every image that appears when a reader hovers their mouse over it. The button then allows them to pin it directly to their Pinterest board, which is great for getting the word out about your site, and increasing traffic.
I LOVE this plugin! It’s so neat, tidy and free! I’m sure you can guess what it does from the name, that’s right it allows you to make links look pretty! Lets say you want people to go to your facebook page; you could tell them to go to facebook, search your name/website/email; they might find you if they’ve spelt everything right OR! You could tell them to go to www.yoursite.com/FB and that would redirect them to your facebook page, just like that! I use it with a lot of my articles because it make it easy for me to share a small pretty link when im talking to someone face-to-face instead of the full long URL; for instance I’ve got an article about Muller light yogurts.
The real link is – http://www.fatboysdiet.com/warning-muller-lights-worse-than-we-first-thought
The pretty link is http://www.fatboysdiet.com/muller
You can see how much “prettier” the new link looks can’t you. I strongly recommend you use it.
Allows you to use any of the hundreds of google fonts that are on offer and boy do some of them look sweet!
I’m pretty new to Zemanta, but I think its worth a mention because is doing wonders for me. It lets you choose what posts you want to be shown at the end of your articles keeping readers interested, and on your site. You can do this either when you are writing the article or when its published and live; you can change them on the fly! It also gives you mobile options and statistics showing you how many people have clicked through to read another article. Huge thumbs up in my book.
Add a cool share bar down the site of your articles making it easy for readers to spread your words or wisdom!
If you’re an avid Instagram user this plugin will be right up your street; it pulls your latest Instagram uploads into the sidebar of your site sharing them with all your readers. Updating your site with sharing pics on IG…brilliant!
Everyone who own a blog wants to know how many people are coming to it, and that’s where Statpress comes in. Giving you detailed information of the number or visitors, where they came from and even what search them they used to find you.
Simple plugin that will work automatically in the background once you’ve installed it. Smush.it reduces the files size of your image without effecting the quality; this helps to keep your site loading nice and fast.
Editing your blog
If you’re new to running a blog it can be daunting and quite frustrating at times when you can’t get something to work, I’ve been there. It happens. The best thing I can say to you from experience is stop and get help from some that knows what their doing. We all like to think that we can do everything ourselves, and we could if we had unlimited time, but we don’t have that, and when it comes down to moving something on you blog that would take a programmer 2 minutes and $5 instead of 3 hours doing it yourself, it make total sense to get help, don’t it?
Great site for hiring people to do anything and everything, all for five bucks. Search around on there and for what you need doing as there are so many great people to choose from. Make sure you check out their ratings from real buyers like yourself to chose the best person to work with.
Another great place to higher people to with your projects. This one goes a further than fiverr; you post a job detailing what you need doing and then candidates (each with highly detailed ratings & feedback) will apply for the job with a price they will do it for, you simply choose the one you want to work with and your good to go.