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Blogger Tools That Every Blogger Needs (and yes, I use these)

Women on the Road has been my passion for more than a decade, but running this huge website takes time - and somewhere along the line I have to eat and pay for the roof over my head.

Sites like this one - and most travel sites and blogs, in fact - have a variety of ways of making money. Some take major advertising, others sponsor posts paid for by others, and some sell their own products. There isn't one right way, and not everything works for everyone.

Most of the income for Women on the Road comes from something called affiliate sales - if you use my links to products, WOTR gets a small commission. There is one basic rule I follow no matter what: I only promote products and services I either use myself or know are worthwhile.

If you are a blogger or an aspiring blogger, these are some of the basic blogger tools that every blogger needs - and that I use in Women on the Road.

Travel blogging tools for beginners: how to blog and how to write

If you wanted to be a travel writer and could afford only one course, this should be it. In my opinion it rises head and shoulders above every other travel writing course because of the teacher: David Farley, an award-winning writer who has been published... everywhere. And who provides personal feedback. Exactly. Wow. (There's also a blogging course but I've only taken the writing one so I can recommend it!)

And this is the course that stands behind so many of the travel blogging world's successes. In addition to expert instruction, TBS offers an amazing Facebook community where all the big names in travel blogging hang out. So if it's travel blogging you're after, you'll do no better.

Technical tidbits: the mechanics of running this site

The first thing you need if you're starting a blog is a... name. That's something you have to buy to make sure no one can then 'steal' your name and use it to build their own traffic. I use NameSilo because it's the cheapest - and because my non-tech self was able to search for buy some domain names with just a few clicks.

Most blogs or sites encourage you to join their mailing list (as I do) so we can keep in touch between posts with special promotions and information. My sign-up system is powered by LeadPages, which makes sure you receive everything you were promised once you subscribe.

Once you subscribe, your name is added to my mailing list through aWeber, which I use to manage all you wonderful supporters of Women on the Road News and make sure you receive it on time. Before aWeber I used Mailchimp but changed as my list and needs expanded.

To get the SEO right on my posts and pages, I use a bit of professional help from Keysearch. The essential keywords make what I write visible (and even appetizing) to Google and therefore to you. (And do use the coupon KSDISC for 20% off if you sign up!)

How Women on the Road earns a living (hint: affiliate sales)

Much of this site's income comes from affiliate marketing (read up on it here if you don't know what that is). If you have a blog and you're serious about learning to use affiliates properly (and make money with them), Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing School will teach you how, clearly and simply.

Are you a blogger who is desperate to make money from your blog? Fellow blogger Sharon Gourlay has written an absolutely fantastic guide called - wait for it - How to Make Money from Blogging. Just implementing one or two of her suggestions has made a difference in my traffic and income.

I NEVER travel without travel insurance, not since I was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery in the very expensive USA. I was lucky my employer's insurance covered me (without insurance I'd still be paying off the nearly $20,000 cost). No longer in that job, I now buy my own travel insurance from World Nomads

Another great affiliate and one that I use often is HotelsCombined, a search engine which compares different prices for the same room. It links to various booking engines (such as Booking.com) and finds the lowest possible price, a win-win.

Here's an affiliate that would earn both you and me money - I'm an affiliate of MyTEFL, but teaching English is also one of the most rewarding ways of earning money when you travel. If you need certification, use my special promo code, SCRIBE35, and get 35% off the course.

Airbnb doesn't exactly earn me a living but it has a referral service, which I use often because I like to travel slowly and have always had good experiences with them, from Milan to Istanbul to Seoul. (In case you're not familiar with Airbnb, here's where I explain how it works)

Since most people do at least some of their shopping online, it wouldn't make sense to leave the top retailers out, from Amazon to REI to eBags and more. In my Women's Travel Shop, I offer readers the best clothes and accessories from these and other shops, and when you buy something by clicking through, I receive a small commission - as usual, you pay no extra.

If you're looking for travel resources

These are my best blogging resources and services to help you earn an income online but if you're looking for travel help, please visit my travel resources page