5 Services Every Blogger Should Know About

There are many, many blogs out there. Some are better than others. Some that are not so good seem to get more traffic than they may deserve and some really good blogs remain fairly obscure. There are ways to give your blog a competitive edge however, so I’ll run through them just to even the score a bit. These are very much aimed at the “beginner” end of the market, I’m sure you pro-bloggers out there can add to this list. And hey, these work for me, you and your blog may be different. As always, your mileage may vary.

  1. Feedburner – So you’ve got a feed on your blog? Great! Thats a step in the right direction. Why not spruce up your feed using Feed BurnerFeedburner Logo. Not only does it give you detailed stats about your subscribers but it also lets you easily promote your feed and add some cool toys such as del.icio.us links and tools to email stories. Also, once you sign up to Feed Burner it lets you email your new stories to your readers, this is a great tool if the subject, or readers, of your blog are less tech savvy and/or scared of that little orange RSS symbol.
  2. Google Adsense – So you’ve got your blog, and you’ve got some readers. Now, how about paying those bills? Even fairly small blogs can run up some substantial bills. This blog, for instance, uses around 10Gb of bandwidth every month. Getting that much allowance in a host that isn’t pig slow isn’t exactly cheap. The best way to pay the bills for bloggers is still Google Adsense. There are others out there, such as Text Link Ads, but their different approach can lead to the smaller sites not making a proportionate amount. The reason Google Adsense works for bloggers is that your advertisements change when your content changes, and we all know bloggers aren’t too hot at staying on topic. The key is to make your ads clickable but not obtrusive and annoying.

  3. PinGoat – Awful name, good service. What Ping Goat does is simple, it lets a whole bunch of sites know about your content. You pick the sites you want to inform, enter the address of your site’s RSS feed and hit go. From there it will let all the sites you selected know about your content. Bookmark the results page and then just call it up each time you add new content. It saves you having to do the work manually and submits the info to allot of sites.
  4. Stikkit – Oh, how I love Stikkit. As someone who really needs to be pushed to add new posts (its a memory thing, really) Stikkit always keeps me on my toes. The way it works is, you create a Stikkit Meetingstikkit which is just a box that allows free typing, and stikkit figures out that you meant and then acts upon it. So, I have a stikkit with a list of post ideas, stikkit translates this into a to-do list so I can check them off to avoid repetition. I’ve also added a simple line to the end, “remind me every tuesday 5pm”, which means stikkit will send me an email every tuesday reminding me to blog! The reason I like stikkit is simple, it works for me as a blogger but it would also work for me as a project manager or whatever else I want to use it for. Its so adaptable and so easy to use, it really makes your life easier as a blogger.
  5. News Sites – Its quite hard for most bloggers to be proactive in creating content, most are reactionary creatures, posting articles about whatever the hot news is at the time. So finding this hot news is increasingly important. One of the best ways of finding this content is to have a list of sites that either aggregate this content or provide you with whats popular. For this purpose, sites like digg, del.icio.us, Technorati, Google News, and for those interested in tech news, Techmeme, are absolutely invaluable.

Is there anything I’ve missed? If so, let me know in the comments. I’m sure something like a statistics package should be in there, something like Google Analytics, but you need a fair amount of traffic before something like that is really necessary.