In order to build a successful writing platform writers should try to utilize the wide array of resources on the internet. Here is a list of my favorite tools that I use or have used in the past. Let me know if I am missing anything that has helped you navigate your writing adventure!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to purchase something. Please remember that I have experience with all of these companies and products (unless otherwise noted), and I recommend them because I believe they can help you in your career, not because of the small commissions I make if you make a purchase. Many of these products are free as well, since I think they provide more value than alternative products that require a fee. Please do not purchase any of these products unless you feel they will be helpful in achieving your own goals.
- WordPress: When building a platform through a blog, there is no match for WordPress. You get a free blog, along with unlimited plugin options for customizing your site if you use a self-hosted site.
- Genesis Framework: It seems like I have experimented with just about every blog template out there. The Genesis Framework is what I use on my site and it’s one of the best decisions I made for easily building a platform. The email capture capabilities, sleek design and simple customization provides a high-quality blog regardless of design experience. You can pick a theme here and then they typically include the Genesis Framework along with your theme. The theme that I use for this website is the Focus Theme in case that interests you.
Website Hosting and Design
- Bluehost: Making sure your site doesn’t crash during an influx in traffic is important to keep people coming back to your blog. I only recommend Bluehost for a handful of reasons. You can setup your own self-hosted Bluehost site and see why I only recommend Bluehost here.
- Freelancer.com: This is where I started my hunt for freelance writing jobs and I still occasionally grab some gigs off Freelancer today. You’ll stumble upon many bidding wars that won’t pay much, but it is a great portfolio builder and if you take the time to communicate your skills and past experience, you can find many nice paying jobs.
- Problogger: You won’t find any stingy employers on Problogger. This is a high traffic site so get your bid in early, and if you land a job, this is a great place to build relationships for future work.
- Flexjobs.com - A great site for finding freelance, work-at-home and part-time positions. You get 67% off when you click through this link.
Article and Book Submission Databases
- IStockphoto - Photos have become essential to my writing career for two reasons: It makes my blog and blog posts look more appealing to read and they provide inspiration for my writing. I would recommend signing up for Istockphoto even if you don’t plan on purchasing anything. They send you two free photos to download per month and allow for reasonably priced photos when you can’t find anything on a free site. Also, for some of the pictures I have used online I don’t want a credit to be shown underneath.
- Creative Commons - For those of you pressed for cash I would highly recommend searching through the Creative Commons library of photos. However, make sure you always abide by the attribution licensing and provide credit to the photographer.
- Mailchimp: This is what I use, because it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers and after that, Mailchimp has some inexpensive monthly plans. If you are just starting out your email list, go with Mailchimp.
- Aweber: Another email marketing client that actually has some extra features that Mailchimp lacks. They provide amazing looking templates and really cool autoresponders that help you engage with your followers.
Improve Your Writing Skills
- The English Emporium is a great blog for sprucing up your writing skills. I know many writers don’t have any formal training (myself included) or for those know-it-alls who do, it always helps to get some reminders. Chelly is an English and Language Arts instructor and she provides help with everything from sentence structure to formatting for letters and envelopes.
- The Alchemist - Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Kobo (eBooks)
- You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One)
- The 4-Hour Workweek - Barnes and Noble, iBoookstore, Kobo (eBooks)
- On Writing - Barnes and Noble, iBookstore, Kobo (eBooks)
- 2013 Writer’s Market
- Read a lot? - Try Renting Books
Selling Your Stuff
- The Writer’s Task List and Word Count Tool: I make all sorts of writing tools in Excel sheets. This is one of my more frequently used spreadsheets as it helps me stay organized and on task.