Tools for bloggers? Yes, that’s right! Blogging requires a set of tools to succeed, just like any other vocation or art.
A plumber wouldn’t show up without a wrench and a basic tool kit, and so bloggers should be using the tools available to them to make their work as impressive as possible.
When I first started blogging, I had absolutely zero idea what I was doing. I just opened Blogger (shudders), wrote a text, highlighted and bolded the headers, and published.
It was terrible. It was amateur hour 101, and even though I did attract a few readers back in those days, I laugh at myself now when I look back and reflect on what I used to post.
If you’re just starting out as a blogger you will find this post extremely useful. It’s just a list of a few blogging tools, but they will save you time, energy and wasted effort and get you to your blogging goals a lot sooner.
I wish somebody had shown me these things at the very outset. Luckily, you have me, and so you can discover them a lot quicker.
My Top 5 Recommended Blogging Tools
Even back as far as my days as a TEFL teacher, I knew that native English speakers have the worst spelling, punctuation and grammar in the world.
Students who study English as a Second Language run rings around us as far as getting things right in this department goes. It’s just the way it is. We don’t explicitly learn the rules the same way they do, and it’s mortifying when you get a program like Grammarly and realize how many mistakes you’ve been making all of these years!
Grammarly is 100% free and one of the best parts about it is it can be set up on Chrome, Firefox and other web browsers. It can even check your Facebook and Twitter status updates before you post, saving you from some embarrassing moments!
This shouldn’t just be on a list of tools for bloggers, but for everyone writing anything on the web.
Aspiring writers won’t realize this yet, but blogging is a highly competitive business and there’s a whole other world behind it that you won’t discover until you’ve been doing it for a long time.
One of the keys is building and implementing a content strategy. You can’t just write about whatever you feel like and expect to top the Google charts. You’ve got to actually insert keywords and phrases into the right places if you want to get noticed by search engines, and that requires research.
Tools like SEMRUSH are an all in one package. They allow you to see what your competitors are doing, what keywords you are ranking for, what position you are ranking in Google for them, how competitive they are, and many other things. You can analyze both your own sites and those you are competing against to get an understanding of what they’re up to and how you can hijack some of their more useful achievements such as backlinks, guest posts and keyword placement.
Who would have thought blogging was an all out war? Yet when you consider that the top ranked site on Google gets 33% of all the traffic, you’ll see that as far as making money blogging goes, it pays to be at the top!
80% of my traffic comes from two articles on this site which are ranked highly on Google. I won’t reveal what they are, but SEMRUSH and other similar tools helped me get there and it pays dividends to this day.
Check out your site or a site you’re interested in for free right now:
This is another 100% free resource which can really help you to generate ideas.
Eventually, even the best bloggers run into a wall and realize they’ve said most of what they have to say, based on their current knowledge base. This can be a problem, or it can be a chance to grow and become more so you can offer more.
Quora is a huge resource full of questions and answers. You’ve probably seen Yahoo! Answers before, well, Quora is like that on steroids.
Many of my post ideas have come to me while reading about a problem someone was having online. Quora is a great place to generate just such inspiration because it is jam-packed with questions and people looking for answers. There’s a good chance (if you’re browsing under a topic related to your blog) that you’ll either have an answer which you can share, or you’ll have an idea for a post from reading on Quora.
It’s a fantastic resource and it’s useful for other things other than just generating blog post ideas (like learning). Use it!
Google Keyword Planner
I mentioned before that SEMRUSH is an excellent tool for all things SEO, but there’s a much more basic and useful tool which can get you started when it comes to picking post titles, keywords and terms to insert into your post.
Google Keyword Planner comes free with a Google Adwords account. You can see exact search volumes and trends for keywords you are interested in using, and other information such as how competitive they are, how much people pay to big on them, and even other similar keywords and phrases.
Keyword planner is fantastic and, even if you don’t have a clue about anything related to SEO, it’s idiot proof (I managed to use it before I knew what a bid price even was!). It will give you plenty of options and even using one or two of the keyword suggestions can increase your blog traffic by a fair amount.
There’s nothing more disheartening than writing an epic post and seeing it fall flat. Using some of the less competitive keywords suggested by Google Keyword Planner will help you get the clicks you deserve.
Can Stock Photo
When you begin to take your blog seriously and treat it as a growing business, rather than a hobby, you’re going to need to make a good first impression on all the new readers landing on your homepage.
Professional, royalty free images are just what the doctor ordered! I use Can Stock Photo, and I find them to be fine for my purposes, but you could just as easily use Flickr or any of the other big names out there. Prices will vary, but I topped my Can Stock Photo account up with $100 when I started AoS and it’s still going strong now, so that should give you an idea of what to expect price wise.
It’s tempting to skip this step, but as the old saying goes ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. You can take that to the bank. An ugly site is selling nothing to no-one!
This is a mere glimpse into the wide array of tools available to bloggers who aim to be the best.
You literally can’t compete against competitors who have these tools if you don’t make use of them. They’re designed to give you an edge and make your life as a blogger easier. If you’re competitors and peers are using them, you should be, too!
What other tools for bloggers do you use? Have you had success with any of the above? Drop a comment and let others know.
Desire. Decide. Persist.