Inspired by Mashable’s latest streak of publishing insane link lists for their readers (covering images, audio, video, analytics and podcasting), I decided to publish my own personal toolbox for bloggers in general. Enjoy!
- Add This! – Make it easy for your visitors to bookmark your blog and subscribe to your feeds. Saves you the real estate of using tons of bookmarking icons, and also provides tracking stats.
- BlogStorm – A free service allowing you to track the number of websites linking to your blog posts.
- Clicky Web Analytics – One of the best stats services I’ve seen out there next to Google Analytics. They have a premium version you can try out free for 3 weeks, and it only costs less than $2 a month to use (if you sign up annually). Worth every penny, and offers even more features than Google does. Check here and scroll down for a comparison between Clicky and other analytic services.
- Google Analytics – Arguably the most comprehensive analytics service out there, now with a much improved interface and look.
- HitTail – Reveals in real time which keywords people use to find your website, while offering optimal keyword suggestions you can use for marketing and SEO purposes. They have a basic free service.
- Sitemeter – One of the oldest and most popular tracking service of choice for bloggers.
- Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem – Get a rough idea of where your blog ranks in the blogosphere. Determined largely by link popularity and Sitemeter stats.
Buzz Buzz Buzz
- Google Trends – You can view the latest Google search trends here. VERY useful for getting a sense of what the most popular keywords searches currently are, so you can possibly utilize them for your next blog post.
- Nielsen BuzzMetrics’ BlogPulse – Find out what the blogosphere is currently abuzz about. Also contains helpful tools to track stories and conversations between bloggers.
- Sphere – Excellent service that can help you find blog posts and media articles related to your content. They provide a widget you can install on your blog as well. Very helpful if you want to find other bloggers who are posting content similar to yours.
- Spotplex – Provides real-time ranking of blog articles based on actual impression count. Similar to Digg, but without the voting.
Everyone’s Got An Opinion
- Co.mments – I use this over coComment as it runs faster and it’s easier to use. Comment organization is rather simplistic though and can be hard to read through sometimes.
- coComment – This is more community oriented than Co.mments but it can get VERY buggy (and at the time of this writing there has been a lot of issues and complaints regarding its integration with Technorati.) Still, when it works it does prove useful.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money, Mo’ Money!
- AdBrite – A versatile ad marketplace that offers you a variety of ways to publish ads and advertise your own site.
- AuctionAds – Display live eBay auctions on your blog for profit.
- CafePress – Merchandising, merchandising! Where da REAL money from da blogging is made!
- ChipIn – A cool widget that provides an easy way to do fund raising.
- Chitika – A contextual advertising company that offers the popular eMiniMalls ads you can place on your blog for profit. Best for blogs that are more product oriented.
- Google Adsense – Google’s ad publishing network, one of the foremost and most widely used networks by bloggers.
- Kontera – A service where you can change some of your text into link ads for profit.
- Openads – A huge ad-space community that offers powerful software to help you rotate and control ad space on your site. The ability to rotate ads will also make it far easier for you to use multiple ad services to help monetize your blog.
- PayPerPost – Write about web sites, products, services, and companies and earn cash for providing your opinion. As with most monetizing efforts, your blog should get a considerable amount of traffic in order to truly benefit from the service.
- Text Link Ads – One of the most popular context advertising services on the Internet, where you retain full editorial control over the advertisers that appear on your blog.
- Radio.Blog.Club – One of the first stand-alone players that lets you stream sound on your blog.
- BlogTalkRadio – Host your own live talk show for free. A great alternative to podcasting, and allows call-ins to your show as well.
- BlogTV – Broadcast live and recorded video shows for your blog.
- finetune – A visually appealing widget that allows you to build your own custom playlist and embed it on your blog. Not as versatile as Radio.Blog.Club though.
- Flixn – Fast and easy way to upload a webcam video to the web and your blog. Very easy to use and perfect for those times you want to make a quick webcam vid on the fly.
- Gabbly – Chat service including code you can use to embed a chatroom on your own blog.
- Hipcast – A service that can take a lot of the guesswork out of podcasting for you. Offers audio and video blogging capabilities.
- Meebo – Meebo now offers you the ability to embed any chatroom you want on your own blog.
- myBlogTunes – Create your own radio station and embed it on your site.
- Odeo – Podcasting portal that recently assimilated Audioblogger into its service.
- Project Readon – If you’re a hearing impaired blogger, this site offers closed captioning for many popular Internet videos.
- Quizilla! – Got blogger’s block? Here’s a site with tons of quizzes you can take, the results of which you can post on your blog. There’s also a directory of lyrics, poems, stories, games and more.
- YouTube – Again, if you don’t know what this is by now, there is no hope for you.
- Bloglines – One of the oldest and most popular free online readers for searching, subscribing, creating and sharing news feeds, blogs and rich web content.
- FeedBlitz – Gives you the ability to offer email subscriptions to your readers, though it’s not without its problems. There’s a newsletter edition as well.
- FeedBurner – It’s FeedBurner. Nuff said.
- Feedster – A new service that gives you the ability to jazz up your favorite feeds and include them as widgets on your blog.
- Google Reader – Despite still being an experimental service, it’s already become one of the most popular feed readers out there. Neat and simple, though some features remain severely limited.
- Popurls – Digg, Reddit, del.icio.us, NewsVine and more, get it all in one neatly organized page here.
- Topix – This might prove useful if you want to blog about local news rather than national or international (which is what every other blogger does.)
Picture Worth 1000 Blogs
- 123Flickr.com – Takes the guess work out of creating Flickr galleries for novices. The galleries are basic looking, but they can spare you a lot of coding grief.
- Flickr – You really, REALLY should know this one by now.
- PhotoBucket – Along with ImageShack, both sites provide one key service that will serve you well: the ability to offload your images elsewhere, thus relieving the stress on your own server during peak traffic times.
- SlideFlickr.com – Instantly turn your Flickr photos into a slideshow, which you can then embed on your site.
- Blog Carnival – A directory of carnivals you can join to help promote your best blog posts.
- Digg – Want to try bringing in a horde of obnoxious, drunken, one time visitors to your site? Then Digg is the perfect place to go! :-D
- Meshly – Not as popular as the major user driven news site like Digg, but it offers an interesting way to submit news articles (via instant messaging).
- Netscape.com – one of the largest user driven news sites, but it’s a bit slow and hard to navigate. However, it contains far more topics you can choose from to submit posts to, so your content is more likely to hit the popular front pages here than at places like Digg.
- Reddit – Another user driven news site, but one which can be more effective in bringing traffic to your blog. The quality of visitors also seem to be far better than the Digg community as well.
- StumbleUpon – Randomly surf the Internet with a toolbar to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests. Also proven to be a great for bringing traffic to your site. (For more info on stumble promotion, read this article.)
- Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone – READ THIS THREAD from Webmaster World. It provides the best advice I have ever seen for optimizing your blog for search engine traffic, and truly reads like a “condensed SEO Bible.” Even though it was written in 2002, it’s just as true now as it was back then.
- Technorati – Where’s the Fire? – You probably already know
about Technorati, but you may not know about their new WTF feature. It’s not as active as the more popular aggregators out there, but that fact means it also makes it easier to get your content voted into the front pages for more exposure.
- Truemors – This might be a good site to submit postings of a gossipy/rumor related nature.
- Twitterfeed – A free service where you can feed your latest blog posts directly to your Twitter account.
Reach Out And Blog Someone
- Blogathon – A blogging community that does an annual marathon (where bloggers post every 30 minutes in a period of 24 hours for the charity of their choice). Creates good exposure for your blog, as well as offering a chance to give something back to the community.
- BlogCatalog – A directory and community for bloggers. Contains a discussion forum and a well designed directory to help you find like minded bloggers and readers. In my view it’s far superior to MyBlogLog, which lately has become more stagnant and prone to spam.
- BloggerTalk – An up and coming blogging portal which includes a forum. Looks promising and may become the go-to spot for bloggers once they get enough members.
- Blog Mad – Traffic exchange network, where you earn credits while surfing other blogs. Great way to find new bloggers and expand your community, but the interface is HORRIBLE.
- BumpZee! – Similar to BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog but tedious to navigate, plus the community seems to be more narrowly focused on niche marketing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-D
- del.icio.us – You ought to know this one by now. Excellent and popular social bookmarking service, not blog oriented but it can be used that way. It’s a bit on the geeky side though, along with an interface about as attractive as Britney Spears without hair. If it doesn’t suit you, Ma.gnolia is a viable alternative that sports a much better looking interface.
- Feedslice – Currently in private beta, but keep checking back for its official launch.. It’s designed to be a niche social network themed around syndication feeds. Sounds very promising!
- LouderVoice – Review network that allows you to publish reviews both to their network and your blog. You can also use Twitter as well.
- MyBlogLog – Blog community that emphasizes connecting with readers of some of your favorite blogs. It’s more stats oriented than BlogCatalog, but it’s become stagnant lately and more prone to spam abuse.
- TheGoodBlogs – Clunky but interesting blog network. They still need to work out some of the kinks though.
- Twitter – A microblogging service where you can tell the entire world (who could care less) what you’re doing in 140 characters or less. Can also send tweets via IM and SMS as well (that is, when it works.)
- Webmaster World – Though some forums require premium membership and the site is tailored for web designers, there are still many free forums you can participate in to get help for maintaining and designing your blog.
Tools For Fools Bloggers
- .HTACCESS Banning Generator – Provides an easy way to modify your htaccess file for banning purposes.
- Browsershots – Want to make sure your blog still looks spiffy for Bulgarian readers using the Konqueror browser on their Linux box? Then this is the site for you.
- Copyscape – A Google like search engine that can help you find sites that might be plagiarizing your content.
- CSS Compressor – An online tool you can use to compress your stylesheets. Compressed CSS files can sometimes boost the response time and speed of your blog.
- Google Adsense Sandbox – Helpful tool to get an idea of what kind of ads might display on your blog from Google’s Adsense network.
- List of User-Agents – If you’re the sort of blogger who loves to check his logs regularly, here’s a directory of user agents you can look up to determine who owns or runs some of the spiders and bots that are crawling all over your blog.
- Market Leap Search Engine Marketing Tools – Several free tools you can find here, from checking link popularity to keyword discovery.
- SEO Toolset from Webconfs – A lot of cool tools you can use here, from checking backlinks to Kontera ad previews to making sure your URL redirects work.
- ServerMojo – Free monitoring service that can check your blog every 15 minutes to ensure it’s up and running. Includes various settings and notification options you can choose from.
- Test Everything – More online tools than you will ever need to test your blog.
- ZapTXT – Use this service to receive notification and alerts when sites are updated. The site relies on feeds to determine whether a site has been updated or not.
But I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Not to worry, here’s a list of sites I subscribe to via feeds, providing some of the best resources, tips and advice for blogging.
- Andy Beard – Offers lively blogging posts that focus on niche and affiliate marketing, social media and blog search engine performance.
- Blog Herald – A stylish group blog offering commentary and valuable articles from some of the Internet’s most prominent bloggers.
- Blogging Tips – Just recently added this to my feed, but so far he writes good stuff (though the Superman logo hurts my eyes.)
- Blogging Pro – News, plugins and themes for blogging applications, though most of it is geared towards WordPress.
- Copyblogger – Emphasizes copywriting skills to help promote and build a successful blog. Note, that’s copyWRITE, not copyRIGHT. :-D
- Daily Blog Tips – Shockingly, this site provides blog tips on a daily basis.
- DoshDosh – An always informative blog with articles focused on helping you promote and monetize your blog. Really wish he would drop the anime images though and replace them with Jessica Alba photos instead.
- eMoms at Home – Don’t let the name fool you. There’s some valuable content to be found here for blogging whether you’re a Mommy or not. Personally I’ve always considered myself to be my beloved car’s Mommy, so I fit in just fine. :-D
- North x East – An offshoot of FreelanceSwitch offering weekly but informative articles for bloggers.
- Problogger – Darren Rowse is a machine. Nonstop advice for professionally minded bloggers.
Lorelle on WordPress – She’s been around since before blogs became blogs, and provides some of the most insightful advice for successful blogging I’ve found to date. She also recently published a short book to aid beginners in successfully launching their blogs.
For some reason I seem to have a hard time finding popular message boards and forums specifically dedicated to blogging. If you know of any that might be worth checking out, let me know!
As it turns out, Mashable also published a Blogging Toolbox a few weeks before I published this one, and I completely missed it (though this was before I started subscribing to their feed. And here I thought I was being so original too, *sniff*. The good news though is that there’s not much crossover between the two lists, so I’m glad to see I still managed to list a ton of goodies that went unnoticed by the Mashers.
Still, you should find their “toolbox” highly useful as well, so go check it out.