My Favorite Blog Tools and Resources
by Keith Pascal

 

Other martial artists have asked me about my favorite blog programs, blog-hosting sites, themes, plugins, and widgets.

What follows is a short account of how I have come to use what I do. I hope you find these resources useful, as well:

It all started with articles. I wrote lots and lots of articles about practical-application martial arts. And I started posting them to my site. Ugh, what a mess. In the end, I had two html pages with random lists (long lists) of links to some of the articles I had written.

I needed a better way to organize my site.

That’s when one of my subscribers recommended that I load everything into a WordPress blog (example). He told me that I would have instant organization, archives, and so on.

He also told me that I’d do better in the Search Engines.

So, I went researching. I found that the two powerhouse blog programs (both Free) are Blogger and WordPress. Many articles and experts will tell you that they are absolutely equal. I disagree.

I feel that WordPress is better supported, and in the long run, it will survive and thrive. Also, the themes (site look) was more to my taste … and seemed easier to manipulate.

Next, I had to decide whether to get a blog on the WordPress site, or upload the program to my own site. For me, that was a no brainer. I wanted ultimate control. I wanted the traffic to my site and links. And I wanted more security than the public version seemed to offer.

So, I used Fantastico in my Cpanel to upload WordPress.

 

Choosing a Theme

I tried free themes … there were thousands available. I bought a premium theme for $50, which had all sorts of compatibility issues, and was pretty buggy … even though the creator was very indignant that everything “should work fine.”

So, I researched what the big marketers were using. There were some expensive options, but in the end … I chose the best theme for those who want to make money online with their blog … OptimizePress. I chose this theme for a variety of reasons:

The price was right

It was super versatile. I could easily create any look I wanted.

There were simple, two-click buttons, dividers, and unique headlines.

They have video tutorials for everything related to WordPress and their program.

Embedding videos, adding delay buttons, and delayed text became simple.

I also wanted to switch sidebars, numbers of columns, etc. at will. This is the only program that allows this, that “I” could find.

 

List Hosting

You can use any sign-up form you want in the sidebar or on the site with OptimizePress. I chose Aweber.com as my list hosting company. Sign-up to my list is automatic, I can have join forms on every page, if I want, and each form can be customized … even in the sidebar. Wow.

 

Wordpress Plugins

I use plugins less and less. OptimizePress (sorry for the enthusiasm, but it has been a godsend). On the sites that I haven’t converted to OP, yet, I have noticed that I use the following Free plugins:

WP Super Popup — I use the free version that pops a message the first two times they enter the site. I want as many people on my list as possible.

Plus One – This adds the Google +1 feature to your posts and pages in WordPress. This will help with a popularity boost and maybe even an increase in traffic.

Google Analytics Plugin — I use Google Analytics to track my stats. With this easy plugin, the code is automatically embedded in each page I create.

Spam Free WordPress — I haven’t paid for the Askimet key, so, I use this free plugin.

Widgets

Widgets are like plugins … they help you design your sidebars the way you want. You can add calendars, games, images, and a lot more. I only use a few as utilities.

For Widgets, I use:

  • Tag Clouds
  • RSS
  • Categories
  • arbitrary text boxes.

Do these resources help?

Is there anything else you’d like to find out?

Let me know (info “at” martialartsmoney.com)

 

                  Keith