Here are courses I’ve developed, courses I’ve taken, and products or apps I use and heartily recommend. Blog Post in a Box and The Fast Track to Polished Prose are my own contribution to your development as a writer. Others are products I’ve used that might be just what you need right now.
Blog Post in a Box makes writing blog posts so much easier.
It’s a system. A tool for writing blog posts without breaking a sweat. Just pop open your kit and choose a blog post type that fits your purpose.
Then fill in the blanks. Tweak a headline from over 100 proven formulas. Review, edit, and proofread—you’ll get help with that, too—and presto! Your blog post is ready to go. Click on the box to learn more.
What makes a writer successful?
You might think big bloggers and published writers are special. Gifted. Naturally talented. A Muse sits on their shoulders, or they have the kind of creativity that never seems to burn out. Or maybe it’s the coffee they drink. Whatever it is, you want some. You want the know-how and the confidence that goes along with it.
But here’s the thing. Behind the magic and the Muse are hardcore writing skills that usually take a long time to learn. But The Fast Track is a little different from most writing courses. Click on the box to learn more.
Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging Training
Writing guest posts for other sites means your writing gets exposure, readers learn about your site, and your site traffic and subscription rates increase dramatically. I know. I’ve done it. And it works.
You’ll learn about the best blogs to write for, how to approach owners, and how to write a winning guest post every time. You’ll also get expert guidance from experienced editors, plus you’ll learn by watching other students’ progress in the forum.
The best part is you can take it at your own pace and review material over and over again, if needed. I joined in 2011, and I still have access. I’ve taken a lot of courses and belonged to many writing or blogging groups, but I rank Jon’s Guest Blogging at #1.
Grab one of Jon’s freebies right here:
Headline Hacks Ebook (I’ve been using it for years)
I’ve used Scrivener for three years, and I love it. It’s word processing created specifically for writers (especially fiction writers) who need to stay organized with long documents. I’ll never use anything else! Seriously: Stuff I’ve written in both MS Word and Mac Pages are heaps of chaos. Phew.
I’ve used Scrivener for ebooks and three novel manuscripts, and it’s surprisingly robust, especially considering the affordable price. You’ll continue to find handy ways to do things that make your life—and your writing—easier.
Learn Scrivener Fast
I love Scrivener, but it’s not easy to learn—and I’m a tech-head who picks stuff up fast. There’s nothing like an expert coach to lead the way. It saves time and frustration because you’ll learn so much faster than you will on your own, no matter what kind of a tech-head you are.
Unconventional Guides from Chris Guillebeau
Can you imagine having a coach who sends you an email every day that’s loaded with extraordinarily helpful information and wisdom you can put to work right away? Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit provides “case studies, video interviews, transcripts, and a 365-day email series (the longest in history) designed to help you build a lifestyle business in one year by doing one thing every day.”
I took the course in 2010, and I more than got my money’s worth. Chris’s calm, compassionate attitude combined with an incredible amount of knowledge is just what you need if you’re thinking of jumping ship—or already jumped, like I did—and living life on your own terms. As Chris says, “It will help you escape the tyranny of a conventional working life.” Check it out.
I was hesitant to use a pop-up optin form, and I resisted for years. And when I finally decided to make the leap, I couldn’t find one that worked on my site. Even the most popular plugin optin forms (that include branding on the free versions) either didn’t work or the design was shoddy. And support was awful.
Then I found Optin Cat by Fatcat Apps. Beautiful forms, super-quick and easy setup, and (so important) friendly support. You can even get a free, 5-day course on how to double your email list. On top of that, Fatcat Apps has a couple cool freebies, like Feedback Cat. That’s the survey form in the lower right corner here at Simple Writing (and no branding even though it’s free). Best of all, my subscriptions have skyrocketed. They’ve got some other apps I plan to try, too. Check it out!
The Tech Side of Blogging
First, it’s robust enough to dig in and set things up the way you want them with an almost unlimited number of possibilities. If you’re a little handy with tech stuff or WordPress (you don’t have to be an expert or even know code), you can do a lot as a beginner but still have plenty of room to grow.
Second, the support forum is amazing. My questions are always answered promptly and thoroughly by friendly experts, and in a few cases I’ve had a response within minutes. There’s also a huge collection of resources to browse through if you’d rather figure things out on your own or do a little of both.
The price is right, too, whether you get the Personal or the Developer’s Option. A lifetime of upgrades comes with it (that’s awesome), plus a 30-day money back guarantee and much more.
By the way, Simple Writing currently features the Promo skin on Thesis 2.x. What you see is pretty much “out of the box.” Cool, eh? I needed a quick solution for mobile responsiveness with no fuss, and it’s great. You can check it all out right here.
Web Hosting with (mt) Media Temple
For three years, I used one of those low-budget web hosting companies with the cute little animals jumping around on their websites. You know who I mean. But think about it: what kind of customer is their branding meant to attract? Not a serious writer or blogger with a lot of traffic, that’s for sure.
Those companies might be fine—perfect for someone just starting out or someone with few needs and low expectations. But I wasn’t getting what I needed. It was time to move up.
I chose (mt) Media Temple for two reasons. First, they offer what I need with options to upgrade. Second, (mt) Media Temple passed my simple test. I called three times to ask a variety of questions—just to see what customer service was like. A+ each time. And they’ve been top-notch in every respect for over two years (I actually love calling them! It’s like calling a friend).
Even if you’re just starting out, save yourself some hassle and get your website hosting from a company good enough for Starbucks, Adidas, Samsung, and Toyota. And me.
Note: If you choose to purchase any of these products (other than my own), you should know that I’m an affiliate, and I earn a commission from the sale of that course, product, or app at the usual price (you don’t pay any more than you would otherwise). And you get my personal “seal of approval!”