The Ultimate Toolbox For Freelance Writers

Toolbox for Freelance Writers

Every craftsman needs a toolbox with essential tools to get the job done. I thought I’d share with you mine. I’m sure you’ll find these useful and they will enhance your freelance writing career. Enjoy!

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 make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals. Thank you in advance if you do decide to purchase any product through one of my affiliate links!

  1. Domain Registration, Web Hosting, Web Development & Graphic Design

    • Ultimate Domain Manager – Ultimate Domain Manager is one of my own personal companies, offering a range of domain management services ranging from domain registrations, transfers through to affordable and reliable shared cloud hosting for your domain.
    • BlueHost – Bluehost’s dedication to excellence has placed us in the top position of shared hosting companies. Bluehost utilizes the latest in server and server room technology to insure our customer’s uptime and website speed isn’t compromised. Bluehost is reliable and trustworthy, knowledgeable and helpful as well as innovative and stable.
    • JustHost – Just Host is dedicated to providing their customers with the most reliable web hosting service possible. Fast, reliable, web hosting at an affordable price with secure servers, and 24/7 technical support make hosting your website with Just Host the obvious choice.
    • JustCloud – Professional Cloud Storage from JustCloud is Simple, Fast and Unlimited. Just Cloud will automatically backup all your documents, photos, music, videos and more to the cloud so you are never without files again.

  2. Website Building/Blogging

    • WordPress – WordPress is web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. They are proud to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.
    • Thesis Theme by DIYthemes – This is the WordPress theme and framework that runs on. Thesis promises out-of-box search engine optimization, faster page load times, maximum readability to engage and hold reader´s attention, and point-and-click design and font controls.
    • Thesis Awesome – If you are using the Thesis Framework and you don’t have the time or skills to build your own website from scratch, then Thesis Awesome Skins might be just the solution you are looking for. Although quite deeply customised by myself, runs on the Thesis Framework and the Product Skin from Thesis Awesome.
    • Catalyst Framework – Even with no coding experience, you can use Catalyst to build your own fully-functional website from the ground up. Unlike other theme frameworks, each Catalyst website looks completely different.
    • Elegant Themes – Amazingly beautiful WordPress themes. Get 100% complete access to their current collection of 78 and counting ready-to-go themes at only $39!
    • Start A Blog That Matters – Corbett is one of the few bloggers out there who has the exact same mentality as I do when it comes to doing business online where staying transparent, being honest and helping others are the top priority, which is why his new blogging course has my top recommendation if you´re looking to start a brand new blog. He has consistently launched successful, meaningful (and profitable) blogs and has structured a course to help anyone potentially do the same.

  3. SEO Tools

    • SEOmoz – SEO & Social Monitoring Made Simple. SEOmoz PRO combines SEO management, social media monitoring, actionable recommendations, and so much more in one easy-to-use platform. Try it free for 30 days.
    • Market Samurai – Market Samurai is a leading keyword research tool with a bunch of other features and applications to ensure you do complete and effective research that will take your optimization to the next level.
    • Google Keyword Tool – The Google Keyword Tool is a free keyword research tool by giant Google which helps you to do complete analysis of keywords and competition in terms of SEO.

  4. WordPress Plugins

    • Prettylink Pro – Customizing all your outgoing links with your own domain name, “hiding” all your affiliate links is just one of the many useful features of this great plugin.
    • Easy WP SEO – Easy WP SEO takes care of all your on-page SEO needs when composing your next blog post. It “forces” you to optimize your content with your chosen keyword, helping you have the correct keyword density to ensure maximum optimization for search engine rankings.
    • Commentluv Premium – CommentLuv Premium is a fantastic WordPress plugin that will magnetize your readers, socialize your comments and viralize your posts! Reward your readers and have fine grain control over dofollow, keywords in the name and the ability to add twitter names to comments.
    • Contact Form 7 – Integrate fully customizable conact forms throughout your WordPress site with the simple use of shortcodes. Design your own forms, add any type of axtra fields. You name it, you can do it with Contact Form 7.
    • Digg Digg – Make it as easy as possible for your website visitors to share your content on their favourite social networks. Easily add social media sharing buttons almost anywhere to your site with ALL major networks supported.
    • Google XML Sitemaps – Have sitemaps automatically created and submitted to the three biggest search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing to help them index your pages and content much easier and a lot faster.
    • Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin – Andy Bailey, also the cerator of the Commentluv plugin created this absolute must if you want to keep spammers out from your website and comments. If you use the premium version of Commentluv then this plugin is already integrated but in case you’re not, download this as a stand-alone plugin to take care of them spammers once and for all.
    • Hyper Cache Plugin – There are many caching plugins out there that helps speed up the loading time of your website and pages by creating HTML versions of everything without recalling various scripts etc of every function that runs on your website. I prefer Hyper Cache as it’s never given me any problems whereas some of the others frequently interfered with other plugins.
    • IQ Testimonials – With IQ Testimonials, you can easily manage the testimonials for your website. You can specify the number of testimonials displayed on your WordPress site according to wether they are being displayed on a page or widget. You can feature, sort, and set the status (Hidden, Pending, Public) of testimonials. There is even a form so your users can submit testimonials right on your website. Best of all, they are marked pending and require your approval before they go public!
    • Peter’s Collaboration E-mails – If you have more contributors to your site, what this plugin does is as soon as another contributor has submitted a post for review, it sends a notification email to the administrator notifying them of posts pending review. Then as soon as the administrator has reviewed the post, and either publishes or schedules the post, it sens another notification email to the original author notfying them of this new status.
    • PhotoDropper – Without ever leaving WordPress, PhotoDropper allows you to sort through the millions of photos on Flickr to find the perfect one for your blog post (just like at the top of this page). The best part about PhotoDropper is that once you´ve found that gem of a photo, it just takes 2 clicks to insert it into your blog post.
    • Really Simple CAPTCHA – Take care of them spammers by adding those few characters one must enter before you can submit any contact form or comment. This simply ensures normal human activity which prevents spambots from abusing your contact methods.
    • WordPress Editorial Calendar – If you run a multi-author site or you have a lot of posts scheduled for future dates, this plugin helps you manage your posts and the datyes they are scheduled for. Drag and drop between various dates as well as quickly add or edit existing posts.

  5. Video Production

    • Camtasia Studio – More than a simple screen recorder, Camtasia gives you the tools you need to truly customize and edit your videos. Record on-screen activity, add imported media, create interactive content, and share high-quality, HD videos that your viewers can watch anytime, on nearly any device.
    • Sony Vegas Pro – VegasTM Pro 12 is an integrated, forward-thinking production environment designed for a new generation of creative professionals. Combining a familiar track-based timeline with hundreds of thoughtful workflow innovations, Vegas Pro 12 is a refreshing, modern approach to post-production. Supporting more formats, more workflows, and more creative control than ever before, Vegas Pro 12 makes it easy to deliver your message and express your artistic vision.

  6. Images & Photos

    • Free Digital Photos – Royalty free photos for corporate and personal use.
    • Flickr – Use high-quality photos and images for your web applications under a Creative Commons License.

  7. List Building & Email Marketing

    • OptinSkin – Create great-looking opt-in forms from various designs or create your own custom design and implement them anywhere on your site with shortcodes. Integrates with all major email marketing software providers.
    • Aweber – Create profitable customer relationships for your business! AWeber’s email marketing tools like professional email signup forms & autoresponder services make it easy for you to build your email list and stay in touch with prospects.

  8. Surveys & Statistics

    • Survey Monkey – My favourite way to do market research and survey my visitors in order to improve my products or service delivery.
    • Google Analytics – Keep track of your website stats in order to make adjustments where needed for optimum conversions.

  9. Improve Your Writing

    • Write Like Freddy – Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing is not called the Freddy Krueger of blogging for nothing. He is an expert content creator and writer. He will teach you how to write great posts, get them published anywhere you want, and get the traffic, reputation, and sales that come with it – without having to be a great writer!

  10. Additional Resources & Books

    • ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – Written by two of the world’s most successful bloggers, it’s one of the clearest books out there on how to earn an income from your blog.
    • The Best Website Traffic Generation Strategies By 10 Top Bloggers | A Tribute – I have worked with 10 top A-list bloggers and put together the ultimate eBook guide on the best website traffic generation strategies these guys and ladies each use on a regular basis to drive the massive amounts of traffic to their content. The physical and social proof of their personal success speak clearly for itself. What they do, they do well and what’s more – it WORKS! They show you step-by-step how you can do the same to achieve similar or even better results.
    • The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss – Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.
    • Engagement From Scratch! by Danny Iny – Engagement from Scratch! contains the most important lessons learned from over 135 years of persistent effort and experimentation by some of the world’s most successful audience- and community-builders.
    • The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau – In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead a life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.
    • Survival Is Not Enough by Seth Godin – The book that does for companies what WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? does for individual employees, SURVIVAL IS NOT ENOUGH provides a groundbreaking new way to organise companies and thrive during times of change. Everything in our world, from marketing to technology to distribution to the capital markets, is moving at a faster pace than ever. Yet most companies view change as a threat, and survival as the goal. This book transforms all that.

I trust that you will find the above list as helpful as I do in my own business!

Until we meet again, my best of freelance writing success to you!

Ruan Oosthuizen | Freelance Writer | Professioanl Blogger