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Every blogger who has turned their blog into a business knows that it takes a little more than just posting a few blog posts and some pretty pictures up on a website in order to start seeing some return. Below are a few of our favorite tools for running a successful online business and blog. We've used, purchased, paid for, subscribed to all of them and stand behind them as great choices. There may be an affiliate link or two in there, but it's only because we loved them enough to list them here in the first place.

eBooks and eCourses

Every smart blogger knows that the key to being successful is to never stop learning. It's important to continue your learning and development as a blogger and business owner even after you've set up the foundations to your business so that you can continue to expand and grow. Here are some great tools we love and recommend for you to continue your L&D for your blog and business.

  • Instagram Essentials: 10-day eCourse

    This course is for anyone who hopes to grow their audience and increase engagement on Instagram. It gives you clear, explicit instructions on improving your images, thinking about how you schedule them, and introduces you to apps and tools that can help in every step of your Instagram workflow.

  • SEO Essentials: 10-day eCourse

    This course is for anyone who knows that they should pay attention to SEO for your site, but don't quite know where to start. It gives you clear, explicit instructions on improving your site, thinking about how you blog, and introduces you to apps and tools that can help in every step of monitoring and improving your organic traffic. Each day you'll have a short lesson followed by an engagement assignment. In most cases, you can do both in under 20 minutes. It's simple but effective. What are you waiting for?

  • Udemy

    Access hundreds of different online courses ranging from a wide variety of topics. Learn how to create your own custom code, uncover the keys to email marketing, or get a crash course on self publishing your own book. Udemy is a great resource to use for finding just about any online course you can imagine!

Web Hosting

The first step to turning your blog into a business is to sign up for a reliable hosting service where you can begin to build your platform. Here are a couple great hosting servers we recommend.

  • Blue Host

    Blue Host is one of the most popular web hosting platforms for bloggers who are making the initial leap from a hosted blog on Blogger or WordPress, to a self-hosted install. You can purchase a domain name, and get basic hosting starting at only $3.49/month. Plus, Blue Host can easily grow with your site at a reasonable price, so as your traffic grows, you won't have to worry about changing your hosting for a very long time.

  • Flywheel

    If you've already got substantial traffic and are looking for more robust support and hosting, we recommend Flywheel (it's actually who we use here at IFB). They'll help migrate your site for you and are reasonably priced when you're getting significant traffic.

     

Creative Resources

Whether you want to edit, create, or enhance something within your brand, you can use this list of creative resources to make sure your content is top notch.

  • Creative Market

    Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. You can find everything from stock photography and illustrations, email and website templates, fonts and photoshop actions.

  • Theme Forest

    Theme Forest is a huge depository of website templates and themes covering WordPress, basic HTML, email templates & more.

  • Shutterstock

    If you're looking for a larger collection of stock photography, look no further than Shutterstock. They also have stock video footage and music if you need those resources as well.

Social Media

Having a strong social media presence is an important part of being a successful blogger; but don't let the pressure of managing so many accounts get to you. Use these simple tools to effectively manage your social media accounts so they don't manage you!

  • CoSchedule

    What we love about CoSchedule is that you can write and schedule your blog post in the same interface that you write and schedule your social posts. Instead of juggling around multiple platforms, you can do everything at once in the same tool. It's essentially an editorial calendar that you can assign, draft, edit, and schedule blogs and social posts all in one spot.

  • Hootsuite

    Here at IFB, we use Hootsuite to help manage our social media accounts. We can have multiple members of the team log-in and schedules posts. And now that it integrates with Instagram, as well as Facebook and Twitter, it can really handle most of our social media marketing needs. Even the free plan can be a worthwhile tool as you're starting out to help keep you organized.

eCommerce

  • Gumroad

    Allows you to sell any digital product directly to customers without having to think about secure payments or delivery. They take care of it all.

 

Email and Marketing

It's important to start capturing your readers from the first time they come to your site so that you can stay engaged with them over and over again. Here are some email marketing tools and services to get you started.

  • Campaign Monitor

    Campaign Monitor makes it radically easy to create, send and measure the impact of your email marketing campaigns.

  • MailChimp

    Online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results. Offers more integrations than Campaign Monitor.

  • Sumo

    SumoMe has a whole suite of free tools that can be used to grow your website's traffic and email subscribers. Easy to install, maintain and customize.