I’m pulling back the curtain to give you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the software toolbox I use to manage my websites. This list is subject to change as my needs vary, but at this point in time, these are some of the most important resources in the software toolbox for my website. I’ve arranged the resources alphabetically.
Note: This article contains a few affiliate links. Since I use the software myself, my admiration for it is obviously sincere.
My Website Software Toolbox
- Akismet: This WordPress plugin helps you eliminate most comment spam. Before I started using Akismet, I was swamped by comment spam. Although I tried a lot of different plugins to help eradicate it, including several different versions of Captcha, I was not successful. Once I activated Akismet, I was able to remove Captcha from my sites, which made one less obstacle to my readers commenting. With Akismet, you don’t need to require visitors to register before they can comment.
- HostGator: I use Hostgator as a hosting service for my WordPress website. If you’re not sure what I just said, a web host is a company that both stores your website’s files and keeps it on the internet.
- MailChimp : This is the service I use to manage my email subscribers. It is user friendly (but expect learning curve), offers great analytics, has powerful features. Best of all, the Forever Free plan allows you to send as many as 12,000 emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers. Some features are only available for paid plans, but the free plan is generous. My post, How to Set Up a Mailchimp Tab on Your Facebook Page is an example of one of its awesome features.
- Google Analytics: Keep track of your website’s page views, unique visitors, bounce rate, referral sites, and more. And it’s free. Here’s how to get started with Google Analytics.
- Morguefile: Including a picture with every blog post helps my websites rank higher in search engines. I try to use my own original photographs where I can, but sometimes that’s not possible. When that happens, I download free images from Morguefile. Unless there’s a model release included, I avoid using images of people.
- PicMonkey: I use this online photo editing software to create Pinterest-friendly graphics for my blog posts. I’ve also made logo images and website banners in PicMonkey. The software is extremely easy to use and gives away a lot of value for free.
- Yoast WordPress SEO: Among other things, this plugin helps you assign keywords to posts for better search engine optimization, let’s you edit the descriptions of your posts shown in search engines, and allows you to verify your site for Google, Bing and Yandex webmaster tools, as well as for Alexa and Pinterest.
- WordPress: This is the free software that powers all my websites. It has an easy-to-use interface and a mind-boggling array of themes and plug-ins just waiting for use.