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How To Make A Blog Part Six: The Tools I Use To Make A Full-Time Income

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The next step in the ‘how to make a blog” series is all about the essentials tools and plugins you need to make a successful blog.

(Please note, all the tools and plugins in this post I use personally and some of the links are affiliate links.)

Making a blog is cheap but if you want a successful one you must invest in better tools.

Unfortunately there are far too many bloggers who set up their blog and then spend thousands of hours TRYING to make it successful. Many don’t invest in the right tools and many invest in far too many tools and get sucked into buying the latest ‘shiny gadget or tool’

I agree you do have to invest, as investing in tools will save you time and make your blogging more efficient and attract more traffic (and the more targeted traffic you have the more income you can make).

So here I share with you the tools and plugins that I use on this blog to make a full-time income.

How To Make A Blog: The Essential Tools

Premium Themes

There are hundreds of free and premium (meaning you buy) to choose from and it really comes down to what you want from a theme.

Without doubt the best theme I have used and the theme this blog is built on is using the Canvas theme from Woothemes. It’s just so versatile and easy to use. Try it…you will not regret it.


Using a Content Delivery Network can vastly improve your blog’s loading speed. It costs me less than $3 a month (I use RackSpace) and makes my blog load faster. Check out my video:

Speeding Up Your Blog: The Only Guide You Need

Keyword Research

We’ve talked about this tool before in part two of this series: Finding The Best Keywords For Your Chosen Niche

I’m mentioning Market Samurai again because not only can you use it to find your initial targeted keywords for your blog…you can also use it for the best keywords you want to target for each post.

And you can use it for your related ‘tags’.

Using the best keywords for each of your posts will generate more free traffic – find out how to get this traffic by investing in Market Samurai.

Get invaluable keyword insight and stats – they offer a free trial and a number of helpful videos to get you started.

Here’s the link: Market Samurai

A Good Video Camera, Microphone and Headphones

Video is an essential part of successful internet marketing, so make sure you have a good camera, microphone and headphones.  There’s no excuse. You can get great quality products for a low outlay these days.

A series of well-made videos will bring your blog tons of traffic.

Sound quality is as important as picture quality so don’t skimp on the microphone / headphones.

There are too many great videos on YouTube that you can’t hear properly – don’t make the same mistake!

For a hand-held video camera I use a Sony Handycam:

Sony HD Handycam

And I’ve just purchased this headset microphone/headphone combination:


Video Processing

Camtasia has all the tools for creating professional videos without having to go to film school!  You will soon be making videos to train, educate, and sell more.


Few people will buy your product on the first visit, and if you can capture their e-mail addresses you can build a list (we talk about list building later in the series) and start an effective e-mail marketing campaign.

Regular emails also act as little reminders about your blog.

To do this you’ll need to pay for an auto responder service. Aweber is probably the most well respected, but there are many others to choose from.

An autoresponder will save you many hours of hard labor. All you do is compose a series of e-mail messages that are delivered at pre-set times on specific days or intervals. You can also send out a monthly newsletter through the service.

How To Make A Blog: Free WordPress Plug-Ins

There are many different opinions about which free WordPress plug-ins are the most valuable and often it will depend on what you intend to do with your blog. Here are my recommendations:


I’ve included this one because internal linking your blog posts is great for SEO purposes. And this plugin makes it easy.

Login LockDown

Adds some extra security to your WordPress set-up.

MaxBlogPress Ping Optimizer

Only pings the ping sites when you publish a post and not when you edit a post. Without it you could be classed as a ping spammer!

Secure WordPress

Helps improve the security of your WordPress installation.

SEO Friendly Images

Automatically adds alt and title attributes to all your images – this helps with SEO.


Adds actionable social bookmarking buttons to your site

W3 Total Cache (or WP-Super-Cache)

Speeds up the loading speed of your blog.


I don’t use this plugin for backing-up. I use it to automatically optimize the database files. See the Backup Buddy plugin (below) I use for backups.

WP Smush.it

Reduces the size of image files and improves loading performance. Useful if you have a large number of graphics.

Yoast’s WordPress SEO

There are numerous SEO plugins to choose from and the majority are excellent.

From day one of my blog being built I’ve been using the All-In-One-SEO plugin but recently I moved across and started using Yoast’s WordPress SEO. It’s pretty complex and involved numerous settings. Get the settings wrong and you could be penalized. But I like it and am really pleased I moved across.

How To Make A Blog: Premium WordPress Plug-ins

Backup Buddy

Imagine creating a blog and your host goes out of business or you do something so bad your entire blog gets deleted?  Or you get hacked and lose all your data.

The alternative to suicide is Backup Buddy – a fast an easy way to restore your blog.  If you decide you hate your host’s lousy customer service Backup Buddy will also quickly migrate your site to another host.

CommentLuv Premium

CommentLuv Premium is a great plugin that encourages comments, stops spam comments and creates backlinks.

MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate

MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate is not only great for making some affiliate cash, it can also help with building internal links from blog post to blog post.

You can use the same plugin to set-up keywords that automatically link to other posts on your site. What that means is you are giving your posts extra automatic Google link juice!



If you want to make SEO much, much easier, then use ScribeSEO before publishing your blog posts.

This plugin removes all the SEO complexity and you’ll achieve higher search rankings and increase the targeted traffic to your site!

Click Here and Take Scribe On A Risk-Free Test Drive

In summary

As stated above these are the tools and plugins that I use to make my blog as successful as possible. Unfortunately you do have to invest and these are the best tools I have personally benefitted from.

The previous blog posts in the ‘how to make a blog’ series:

Part One: How To Make A Blog: Getting Your Niche Right Is Crucial


Part Two: How To Make A Blog: Finding The Best Keywords For Your Chosen Niche


Part Three: How To Make A Blog: Monetizing with Affiliate Products


Part Four: How To Make A Blog: Monetizing with Digital Products


Part Five: Choosing a Domain Name and Hosting

In the next post on the series, “How to make a Blog” we shall cover the topic of “Blog Content”

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141 Responses to How To Make A Blog Part Six: The Tools I Use To Make A Full-Time Income

  1. Young February 7, 2012 at 3:49 am #

    Wow, this is a really cool FREE tutorial to earn some money by blogging. I am going to check out the CDN more later.

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm #


      The CDN costs me very little each month and when I tested it…it knocked 2 seconds off my site loading speed. So worth looking into.


  2. Stephen Peters February 7, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Wow you pulled out all the stops on this post. I think you could make a post on just about every one of those tools. RSS Link Bomber sounds interesting. I’ve never heard of it. I will check it out.

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm #


      making a post on each one – perhaps that’s my next series!



  3. Jane February 7, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I’m closely following this series Andrew. I’m sure its a lot of use not only to newbies but also to established bloggers 🙂 I’ve learned some great important tools too!

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Thanks, Jane…I hope it has helped, no matter how small.


  4. Amanda Silver February 7, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    That plugins list is very useful to me… Thanks! I am motivated now to search even more tips in your series

  5. Dan Lew February 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    These plugins are no doubt to me that they gonna help us bloggers to make a full-time income, especially MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate, RSSLinkBomber and Commentluv (which 3 of them are my own keys).

    Dan Lew

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm #


      You’ve certainly mentioned 3 of the best plugins around!


  6. Sergey Plotnikov February 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Great post Andrew. This is the third newsletter that I received from you, and it is very VERY helpful…. I am currently changing our website and you guys have the best advice…..

    I look forward to receiving more updates from you..


    Sergey Plotnikov
    Curing Capital Inc.

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm #


      I’m so pleased the newsletet are helping.



  7. Debbie February 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Wow Andrew! i was listening to the RSS Link Bomber on the link you provided and this really sounds like something that might help me. Would really appreciate your advice on this. Great post again and I always learn something new from you.
    Thank you and blessing to you,

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm #


      I have the license to add RSS Link Bomber to all my monthly clients sites (yes…that means yours).

      I just haven’t told you yet (until now!).


  8. Corinne Edwards February 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Dear Andrew –

    The best course on the web.

    People should print it all out so they don’t have to pay for the book.

    You are going to make this a book, right?

    • Andrew February 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm #


      Yes…it will be a book. That’s the plan (with a few extras of course!).


  9. Joe February 8, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Hi Andrew, Interesting you use Headway. I found it very confusing. Did you do this headway site yourself or did you use a child theme?

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:03 pm #


      I did it myself. I’m not into Headway child themes as yet!

      With any theme there is a learning curve but with Headway I think it is worth getting through the learning curve and out the other side!


  10. sai krishna February 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    i’m also doing keyword research but i’m using alexa , Google free keyword tools only .. you prefer to buy any special keyword research software ?-

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm #


      Yes… Market Samurai is the best around.


  11. Chris February 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Great post, pretty in depth. I’d never even heard of a Content Delivery Network before so thanks for the help!

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm #


      A CDN can knock off a couple of seconds on your loading time and for a few bucks that is worth it.


  12. Matt Kinsella February 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I must, must, MUST start making short videos for my blog. I am never in one place long enough to do it confidently. I know I can do it on my phone but I think it would be good if I could sit down properly at my desk and create some nice little video posts. Good info, thanks again for the advice.

  13. Owen February 8, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    A great post and worth following. I always see recommendations from experts about plug-ins but very rarely you see a post or a video about the settings of these plug-ins. Some of them need a degree. I have only 3 plug-ins and looking for more. I don’t know if I got the settings right. Some plug-ins I just deleted as I could not figure out how to set them up.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm #


      Your are right…some plugins you can just install and leave along. Others take a lot of tweaking and get tthe tweaks wrong and it can ruin your site.

      What plugins did you delete?


  14. Joel February 9, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Great list Andrew. I’ve yet to start using a CDN, I could easily but it’s another thing on the to-do list. I have just moved over to the latest version of Headway though, one step at a time! Thanks for providing such a valuable and useful series.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm #


      I agree…one step at a time!


  15. TheGreenovator February 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    I learn something everyday. Checking out CDN as soon as I leave this comment so I can help increase my own link juice…lol

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

      As I have said to others here…a CDN can knock a couple of seconds off your site loading time. Well worth it.


  16. Tushar February 9, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Using CDN is very good and it decrease the loading time . I am using dropbox as free CDN and my blog loading time is veryy less.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm #


      Excellent – nice to hear that!


  17. Beat Schindler February 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

    Wow … this post as well as the preceding ones in the series, priceless. Okay, worth gold. Any blog beginner, or any seasoned blogger stuck in
    zero-growth, who comes across your free (!) “How To Make A Blog” series, will benefit tremendously and consider him/herself very lucky indeed. I’ll do my part to spread the word.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Thanks for those kind words, Beat. I appreciate any promotion!


  18. Raymond Chua February 10, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Thanks for the great list of plugin, Andrew.

    I’ll pick some and use it on my blogs.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      You are welcome, Raymond. I hope some help!


  19. Girlie Blogger February 10, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    Market Samurai – sounds like a great place to visit. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have never even heard of this, or a lot of the stuff you mentioned.

    • Andrew February 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Well…I hope Market Samuria and some of the other tools help you.


  20. sai krishna February 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    yes mate 🙂 i will agree with you .. in starting journey i’m also confused with this lot factors ..

  21. David Rogers February 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    As ever, you share some great resources. I learnt of Smush.it and MaxBlogPress from previous posts of yours. Now I’m about to look at Content Delivery Network, which I’d never heard of. Thanks

  22. Eren Mckay February 14, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    These are all excellent tips. I knew some of these plugins but others I definitely want to go and check out. The page loading one is a must since this makes a huge difference if the visitor will stick around or not.
    All the best,

    • Andrew February 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm #


      Please see my comment to David above – you may want to check out my blog series on page loading time.


  23. Ayush Agrawal February 14, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    Thanks for sharing such a mammoth collection of useful tools.

  24. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis February 14, 2012 at 7:38 am #

    I am new to blogging and not so familiar with wordpress. Would you have any advice for me that how can i make my blog looking good and easy to navigate.

  25. Chris February 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    I’m new to blogging as well, but know my way around wordpress a bit. I’m glad I came across your site… There seems to be a wealth of great information here and I really enjoyed this post. Thanks!

    • Andrew February 19, 2012 at 10:12 am #


      I’m glad you found my blog as well!

      And thanks for commenting.

      I hope to see you again soon!


  26. Angel Collins February 15, 2012 at 10:32 am #

    What more can you ask for if you make money in doing what you love. A lot of people are making their way in the blogging community. These tips will be of great help for them.

    • Andrew February 19, 2012 at 10:13 am #


      I believe there are a lot more people who are NOT making their way in the blogging community. Assuming you meant by ‘making their way’, making some income!


  27. martin gover February 17, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Thanks for the info – and the great links – that rss bomber looks awesome

  28. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny February 17, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    Hello Andrew,
    Your lists are always jam packed with useful tips and information. I have to check my market samurai. I have it, but it wasn’t working properly. May have to enable it again and see if the glitches have been worked out.

    • Andrew February 19, 2012 at 10:14 am #


      Market Samurai is one of my best investments. Great tool. I use it everyday!


  29. Ed Parton February 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Wow… most excellent resources. I need to get more busy and download a tip or two from your awesome list.

    Now, if I could only make a few bucks doing this.

    Ahhhh, a labor of love will do it.

    • Andrew February 19, 2012 at 10:16 am #


      Persistence…that’s what you need to make the blogging world work for you.


      P.S. And a little investment in tools

  30. Bhupendra February 20, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    All these plugin is very helpful for every blogger. Thanks for Your lists it will really help me. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Corine February 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Great Post. Very informative. This information should save many brand new internet marketers from making the common mistake of believing all the mis leading get rich quick schemes that are being advertised all over the internet. It is refreshing to read honest internet marketing information instead of all the false promises that so many blog posters write. Have A Wonderful Day Corine Miller

    • Andrew February 21, 2012 at 10:17 am #


      Thanks and I agree.

      We need to get the word out that there are no ‘get rich quick schemes’.

      Unfortunately, so many are still ‘sucked in’ by the hype.


  32. Joe February 21, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Is login lock-down ok to use with the current WordPress? it has not been updated in a VERY long time

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm #


      Yes it is. I think it is a plugin that doesn’t really need updating.


  33. Chris February 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I am glad you pointed out what a CDN will do for your blog. I was weighing what options I could use to make my blog load faster because I know readers are not very patient so I want to make sure it comes up within a reasonable amount of time. I did have a question that I didn’t see addressed in the topics I saw: do you have any suggestions on how to optimize a blog for mobile devices? It seems to me that this a major trend of blog readers to use mobile devices rather than a desktop or laptop. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm #


      For mobile devices, I tend to just use the WP Touch plugin.


  34. Amit February 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    Hi Andrew ,

    That is really great tutorial ..Thanks for posting

  35. great barrier reef February 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    A great post and worth following. I always see recommendations from experts about plug-ins but very rarely you see a post or a video about the settings of these plug-ins. Some of them need a degree. I have only 3 plug-ins and looking for more. I don’t know if I got the settings right. Some plug-ins I just deleted as I could not figure out how to set them up.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      I agree…setting them up can be tricky. You have to do a fair amount of reserach.


  36. Jack February 22, 2012 at 8:07 pm #


    Thanks for the great series on making a blog. I, like many others, am also have problems with page loading times, I will definitely take a look at the video on the CDN.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm #


      Using the CDN could knock off a couple of seconds on loading speed. Worth it for a few bucks per month.


  37. Jame February 24, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Thank you very much for the great list! I definitely have to check out CDN for my blog soon. By the way, would you please advise us about the loading time of these plugin? I’m afraid if the loading time is too long, the reader will leave.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:31 pm #


      You really have to test out each plugin youself.

      The loading speed of your site will be determined by a number of factors including the hosting company you are using and the size of images.


  38. Michael Kincannon February 24, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Great post. I think I have too many plugins on my blog right now. I really love your point about get rich quick schemes. Making money online takes work and success doesn’t come overnight. Thanks for sharing.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm #


      It’s a sham more people like you/us don’t have the same thoughts towards the get rich quick schemes.

      Have you ever been sucked in by them?


  39. ReviewGates February 26, 2012 at 7:07 am #

    Absolutely great article. It helps me a lot since I am a newbie to wordpress. I’ll install all the plugins you mentioned one by one and see the progress. Thanks a lot for sharing these wonderful plugins with blogging community.

    Good luck.

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

      I hope they make a difference!


  40. kashish786 February 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    You are my inhalation, I own few blogs and sometimes run out from post 🙂 . “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” by E. B. White.

  41. George Maloney February 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    This post is really incredible, one of the most helpful I have ever read, inded. You really are a pro, you use a lot of tools and you always have everything under control, that’s a great thing. I use a few of the plugins mentioned here but I didn’t knew about the other. I will try these very soon for my websites. Thanks for sharing!

    • Andrew March 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm #


      Thanks for your kind words. I hope the tools make a difference.


  42. Prakash February 29, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    Great plugins I have ever seen. I will use it for my blog now…It’s very useful post for me.
    Thanks for sharing it……..

  43. Victor February 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Thank for such a great review, Andrew! Not always you can see so many useful tools in one post! And I also think review for each of them would be a great series of posts!

  44. Sire March 4, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    I agree 100% about having a professional theme but for me it was FlexSqueeze. Once I got my hands on that I stopped looking for others. Also, because I use and recommend it it has paid itself off many times over and continues to do so. Paying for a good theme is a great investment.

    I also agree about CommentLuv Premium and other there are many other premium plugins that are worth the investment. Honestly, if you want to grow your business you have to be prepared to invest more than just your time.

    • Andrew March 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm #


      Totally agree…investing in the right tools is crucial.

      Any other tools you recommend?


      • Sire March 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

        Well I use several others including OIOpublisher Ad Manager, Restrict Content Pro and WP Zon Builder.

        • Andrew March 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm #


          Thanks for coming back and sharing the tools you use.


  45. Linda March 6, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    If there is any particular one I would recommend (although all of them are fantastic), it would be “SEO Friendly Images”. You can’t imagine how often I overlook the ‘alt’ attribute when posting images online. Surely I can’t be the only one! 🙂

    • Andrew March 6, 2012 at 11:30 am #


      You are not the only one…many people don’t and also they don’t have the plugin installed!


  46. Prakhar March 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Investing in tools and plugins is definitely necessary but as you said one should spend for it wisely.

  47. JOHN March 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    I’ve ever used both Yoast’s WordPress SEO and All-in-SEO plugin. But i still love All-in-seo better. I think it’s simple, powerfull and friedly. Yoast’s WordPress SEO is so good, but i still like all-in-seo better.
    Thanks for your tips! I will regular visit your website to find something i need.

    • Andrew March 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm #


      Why do you like all-in-one-seo better than Yoasts?


  48. saha March 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    Great post andrew…!
    Step by step guide in series is really helpful. Specially for new comers in this field. Plugins are really very important for better performance. Thanks for the great series on making a blog.

  49. Matt Clarke March 8, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Some great tips here, especially the premium WordPress plug-ins. I have only used the free plug-ins so far due to lack of recommendations but the few you mention seem great. I particularly like the sound of the RSS Link Bomber…exactly what I have been looking for! Thanks for sharing

    • Andrew March 11, 2012 at 7:38 pm #


      RSS Link Bomber is a great one – set it up once and each of your publised blog posts gets backlinks automatically.


  50. Julie March 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    The CDN services are really worth to hire, after my decision, my loading speed was as fast as hell! Thanks for listing the most useful WP plugins as well, I haven’t heard about the most of them!

    • Andrew March 11, 2012 at 7:39 pm #


      Great to hear that!

      And CDN’s don’t cost much!


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