There are so many free applications and services available for bloggers that many of us get into a mindset of being anti paying for anything. However sometimes you get what you pay for in life and as a blogger wanting to build your blogging into a business there are some things that can be well worthwhile paying for.
In this post I wanted to look at some of the tools that I do pay for:
Skype – Skype has become the backbone to my online communications. I use it as my primary instant messaging tool as well as to chat voice to voice with business partners and in networking. For the main it is free – however I pay for a couple of extras to make it even more useful.
The main thing I pay for with Skype is calls to landline phones and mobiles with SkypeOut. I regularly call overseas and the rates on Skype are considerably cheaper. I also pay for SkypePro which gives free calls to landlines within my country, free skype Voicemail and a discount on having an online number (something I also have). I spend around €20 a month on Skype.
Aweber – For a long time I used a free newsletter service to send out weekly newsletters to many thousands of subscribers. However I increasingly found that you DO get what you pay for. Emails were not being delivered in greater and greater numbers and I was finding the service quite unreliable. Since switching to Aweber I’ve felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.
It works – every time. Emails are delivered in much higher numbers and the tools that Aweber offer are leave anything else I’ve used for dead. This is one tool I should have paid for years ago. Pricing varies depending upon how many subscribers you have but starts at $19 a month.
ImageWell – this image editor (for Macs) is amazing. It is a light image editor that gives you the power to do a whole heap of image editing quickly yet professionally. It is how I edit most of the images that I use here on ProBlogger and allows the adding of text, cropping, adding borders, reshaping and in it’s latest version the ability to change contrast, brightness, saturation and sharpening.
Yes you can do all this in photoshop – but this is a much lighter and easier to use tool. It used to have a free version but recently it became a paid only tool – well worth the $19.95.
Picturesque – this tool is similar to ImageWell as it is another Mac image editing tool. In many respects it leaves ImageWell for dead as it’s got some great extra features (it allows you to make images 3D, add reflections etc – however the only thing that it doesn’t do is add text to images (something I need).
Still – I’ve paid for this one too and am using it more and more. It costs $34.95.
ecto – regular readers will know about this one already as I’ve been an ecto (for Mac) fan for quite some time. I’ve tried other Mac desktop editors and they are quite good but ecto ‘fits’ with my own posting rhythm so well. The only one that I’ve been playing with lately that I’ve found increasingly useful is Scribefire (a firefox add-on). However I tend to do a lot of offline writing so ecto works well for me. It costs $17.95.
I’ve only picked out five tools that I pay for – but of course there are many other services and expenses that can come into blogging including hosting, domain names, paying writers, advertising, ISP costs, computer costs, blog design etc
With most of these you can find ways to do them for free – however sometimes the outlay can be worth it.
What blogging tools and services do you pay for?