How this blog works? List of free tools which bloggers look out for
01 December 2013 By Bhavyanshu Parasher
Hi, today I am finally going to reveal out how I developed this blog in just INR 500. I will also be telling the complete technology behind this blog and what tools/services I am using. This blog code can challenge any single service tells you that they serve better. The benefit of free services is that it is free and all you have to do is to perform a little research before going for any service. The drawback is that you are never sure till what date the service is free & offers some restrictions that you have to live with. But I guess I can live with it even if it’s just for next 5 years. Being a student, money is always an issue and we often look for free stuff on the Internet. I mean who buys on the Internet? Blah! maybe you do but I never.
#So here we go..
Jekyll - Transform your plain text into static websites and blogs. So the basic idea behind using jekyll is that you won’t have to bother about managing databases, web application security issues and won’t have to constantly stay updated with the CMS security patches. Because when you use jekyll, you build static pages on your local machine and deploy them on remote server. That’s all you need to do. So for a jekyll powered blog, you need hosting that supports ruby, a domain name, free domain name email host and you are done. I use github as my host and bigrock as my domain registrar and zoho mail as my free domain name email host. Keep reading below to understand them all.
Jekyll has inbuilt feature for social media commenting and most of the themes already have features for social media buttons. All you have to do is to enable them using the
_config.ymlfile provided by the jekyll. Read more on this awesomely written blog post.
Github - Free hosting with GitHub Pages. Are you sick of dealing with hosting companies? GitHub Pages are powered by Jekyll, so you can easily deploy your site using GitHub for free and use custom domain and all. With addition to this, jekyll hosted on github has a major issue of caching the web pages that it gets pretty much of a headache to keep reloading the pages again and again if in case you make small changes to the site and just want to view it on remote server without building it on your local machine. So for this issue we need cloudflare as it reduces this cache time and you can view your changes very quickly.
Cloudflare - CloudFlare is a content delivery network and distributed domain name server service marketed as improving website performance and speed and providing security. CloudFlare has both free and paid services. Its customers have included the Turkish government, Stratfor, and Metallica, with many customers outside the United States. CloudFlare uses a modified version of Nginx as a key technology. As of April 2013, it had 23 data centers. CloudFlare offers 4 types of service plans: Free, Pro, Business and Enterprise. My site is currently using Free plan and it’s simply awesome. It works perfectly well to my needs and even the free plan offers cloudflare integration with various apps like google webmaster tools and google analytics. Don’t know what they are yet? Keep on reading.
MailChimp - MailChimp is an email marketing service provider, founded in 2001. It has 3.5 million users that collectively send over 4 billion emails a month through the service. Okay, you might be thinking why I use this service, right? Let me clear out this suspense and reveal that I use this service for managing mailing list and subscriptions to my blog. I like it how they have divided everything in the form of campaigns and has sign up form templates for each campaign which you can modify. The best thing is that they support RSS campaigns as well. That means you provide them with the RSS blog feed which is provided by jekyll (look at mine) and they will automatically generate and send emails to the subscribed users as your daily/weekly newsletters whenever there is an update in RSS feed and whenever they find latest updated posts. Yup, you can select this time frequency as well. It is one awesome and free service with an android application. Beautiful, isn’t it? Under free plan you get upto 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails/month can be sent. So if you have just started a blog and looking for a good mailing/subscription list manager, you can use this amazing service. Once you start generating some revenue, you can get a better plan. That’s what I am planning to do. I will invest all my site revenue in making these services better.
</head>tag of your website and you are done. In few minutes you can check in real time who is visiting your website and from where. It has much more than listed above and it would take me a whole post to write all the features for it. So just go ahead and take a look at it yourself. It also has an android app. Thank me later.
Google Webmaster Tools - Get data, tools and diagnostics for a healthy, Google-friendly site. Again, it’s a free product by google.You can link google webmaster with analytics as well. This tool is important because it tells the index status of your website for google search results. It also has stuctured data highlighting tool that I find very useful. It also comes in with a feature that you can submit your sitemap to google so that they can index your site in a better way. Oh, also have you heard about google+ authorship? Go ahead a look for it. It basically let’s you add your authorship status to any blog content you write and integrate with your google+ site. Awesome, right?
Zoho Mail - You may not require this but I use this service because I do not have any actual hosting. Github does not provide you an email hosting for your own domain name. So I have used Zoho Mail. It provides me with free 5 GB mail hosting with my domain name bhavyanshu.me and I think this is an awesome free servie. This is how I got my [email protected] domain for free. So basically if you already have a domain name and you just want and email associated with it without paying extra for the email hosting, simply go to zoho mail link (above) and get yourself a free 5 GB email hosting for your domain name. Moreover you can sync it with your gmail or android client because it comes with POP/IMAP and SMTP support. Superb, isn’t it?
EventBrite - Everything you need to sell tickets and manage registration for any kind of event. So basically if someday I plan to hold an event like a hackathon, trainings, classes or something, i just simply need to register my event over there and it will automatically help me distribute e-tickets. So i guess it’s a pretty awesome service and it’s for free. It also has an awesome android app.
PollDaddy - I use this service to create surveys and manage those surveys. It is good and useful because it is free and has lot of great features under the free plan. Moreover it has support for E-mail, RSS and HTTP POST notifications of new responses. Which I find really awesome.
That’s all, I hope you are able to host your blog in just Rs. 500 atleast for an year. That’s enough time for a blog to grow. Comment below, share this article or write me a thank you note if this has helped you in any way. If you still have any questions then you can follow me via different social sites listed on my homepage. I would really appreciate it. Goodluck and happy blogging!
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