Building and maintaining a website, setting up and managing multiple social media profiles and all of the other tasks it takes to run a business can be time-consuming and difficult to learn. The Internet is full of courses, ebooks and webinars that can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Many of these products are well worth the time and money. I have also found many low-cost and free products that have proved invaluable to me in my business.
I am a writer, not a website designer. There are tons of fabulous website designers out there who can do fantastic things. But with the help of WordPress and a well designed theme, I can have a wonderful website at a fraction of the cost. I used the Thesis Theme for WordPress to create this site. Thesis and the Genesis Framework are essentially frameworks that come in a plain white wrapper out of the box.
To get the look you want you have to customize them, either on your own or with the use of ‘child themes’. StudioPress.com has a wide variety of child themes and for Thesis, I like the child themes on Themedy.
Being a great writer does not make you a great blogger. Blogging takes a different set of skills, combined with technical knowledge in order to make your blog effective. Darren Rowse’s popular blog, Problogger is the go to source for creating a successful blog. With his blogs, Digital Photography School and ProBlogger, Darren has made a six-figure living as a full-time blogger.
His daily blog can help any blogger improve their site. I love the tips and information on his blog so much that I purchased his e-book Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, which gives 31 daily lessons on how to improve your blog. I actually started this site by using the lesson found in Problogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.
Understanding the details, techniques and intricacies of SEO (search engine optimization) is one of life’s great mysteries. There are many self-proclaimed experts, but the leading authority on writing content for the web and SEO is Brian Clark of Copyblogger Media.
He is the man behind Scribe, a premium WordPress plug-in that guides you through the steps of optimizing your website copy. Having well written SEO content on your site is the key to increasing your website’s traffic.
To learn more about Scribe, SEO and writing website content, click here to grab your free SEO report.
Creating landing pages is in great demand with many online businesses. It requires not only great copy writing, but a winning headline and an attractive design. Copyblogger Media’s Premise is a WordPress plug-in that works with any WordPress theme or framework and lets you easily create several different styles of landing pages. It includes custom graphics, and control fonts, colors, and styles and copy writing advice, all without code. Premise also has options for easy split-testing and SEO tools.
The recently updated, Premise 2.0 has these added features:
- Build rock-solid membership sites with WordPress
- Take recurring payments with automated access management
- Automatically drip content out over time
- Securely sell ebooks, software, and other digital downloads
- Confidently create private forum areas with vBulletin
- Quickly set up password-protected content libraries
- Easily build check-out pages for PayPal and Authorize.net
They are currently offering the Ultimate Plan for Premise 2.0 for $70 off the regular price of the old Premise. For more information, read Brian Clark’s blog post: Premise 2.0: The Complete Digital Sales and Lead Generation Engine for WordPress
As a busy freelancer, who can spend valuable time updating social media profiles? I use Hootsuite to update my Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and other social media profiles. The Hootsuite Dashboard shows all of your profiles on one page. The best part is you cna have up to 5 social media profiles for FREE.
With Hootsuite Pro, you get unlimited profiles, which is ideal if you manage social media for your clients. I also like that you can use it to schedule updates in advance, add team members and analysis reports. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Sign up for a Free 30 day trial of HootSuite Pro
Books…Books… and more Books
My nightstand, desk and bookcase are full of books. With each new skill I learn, there is a book that has helped me along the way. Even with the many excellent blogs available online, I still enjoy reading a book.
My reading list includes Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World, the fantastic books by Malcolm Gladwell and a few books on freelance writing, like The Well-Fed Writer and The Wealthy Freelancer.