“Blogging isn’t just a hobby, or a career. It’s a lifestyle…”
… as I’m sure most of you reading this have discovered.
If blogging isn’t the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about when you go to sleep, then you’re not doing it right.
You can also look forward to dreaming about posts when you sleep like I do once you’ve done this for a while. There are numerous resources out there to help alleviate the laundry list that every day brings for a blogger.
[Tweet “Check out the top blogging tools that all experts are using everyday”]
To help all my fellow bloggers out there, I’ve compiled this list of top blogging tools that will make your life a whole lot easier.
If you haven’t already started a blog, check this out first.
This job is about as fun as it gets, but if you don’t take advantage of resources out there, it’s going to consume you in a cloud of high-quality content.
- We’ll talk about the finest blogging tools out there
- I’ll feature some great resources to improve your content, Internet Marketing, and ultimately your SEO
- You’ll even find out how to set up your blog (if you’ve yet to do so) and get it running in no time!
Blogging Tools to Improve Your SEO and Create High-Quality Content
To fully optimize your blog, you need to understand the basic concepts of SEO. In addition, you need to create high-quality content that is not only relevant, but also provides your readers with something easy and fun to read that simultaneously provides them a great value.
The following tools are designed to do just that, empowering you to blast off your blog.
1. Blog Topic Generator
This easy to use program from Hubspot does exactly what it sounds like: it gives you inspiration for blog posts. While the algorithm isn’t perfect (you may need to tweak the titles it gives you) this is a quick fix and a great tool for dealing with that dreaded writer’s block.
It’s Easy to Use too:
- You just put in three nouns
- Click “Give Me Blog Topics!”
- BOOM! You’ve got yourself a set of blog post topics to choose from!
Now, while that two-step process is tempting, don’t forget that there are plenty of other blog post ideas out there. In addition, using tools like this too often can dull your mind’s edge. Only use this when you’ve really hit a wall and you can’t come up with anything whatsoever.
You’re in this business for your readers, and the worst thing you can do is lean on a crutch and let your blogging legs turn to jelly. Quality research and unique ideas will always serve you well, and backups like this give you strength when you’ve got nothing left.
Unless you’re some kind of alien from another galaxy, you probably don’t enjoy editing your content. It would be nice if there were something more reliable than spell check to check your content for errors or place where it can improve.
Trust me, spell check isn’t enough, but luckily I found a far more reliable program with the Hemingway App that you can use online for free!
All you have to do is copy and paste content into the page and click the “edit” button. The program looks for a number of things that can complicate and hamper your content. It nicely points out these things for you with colored highlights that represent each category.
Here’s what it will tell you:
- Number of Paragraphs, Words, and Characters
- How many Adverbs you have (and how many you should have)
- Overly Complicated Sentences
- Words or Phrases that Could be Simpler
- Instances of Passive Voice
The score you get represents the lowest possible grade level required to understand your content. I’ve always said you shouldn’t write like Shakespeare, and this program will tell you if you are, so you don’t alienate your readers. It’s nice like that.
Another easy process for using this tool:
- Head over to the website (linked above)
- Copy and paste your text into the field and click the “edit” button
- Tailor your results and you’re good to go!
Price: Starts from free, then they offer a handy desktop app that you can purchase for a lovely $6.99 if you so desire.
Registration for this SEMrush is free with a limited amount of searches. The true value of it requires a small investment. That being said, there’s not much out there that’s better than this for researching your competitors.
Not only do you see what keywords your competitors are using , but you also receive countless other pages of data that allow you to size up other websites in your market and find out what’s working for them.
These metrics allow you to understand not only the competition, but your own site as well. You can take these results, data, and rankings, and use them in conjunction with other tools to create a game plan for your business moving forward.
This knowledge will also give you a strong direction as to where your research and keyword seeking efforts should be focused.
Here’s how to get started:
- Visit the website and put in your competitor’s URL
- Notice the updated graphs, keywords and other useful data
- If you like what you see (which you should), visit their subscription page to learn more about the plans they offer.
Price: Limited access for Free, then pricing plans start from $69.95/month.
4. Atomic Reach
Possibly the most delicate part of creating high-quality content is ensuring that you’ve tailored it to your audience. At first, it may be difficult to truly understand your readers, but once you’re at the 100 posts mark, you’ll have a wide variety of content to examine. This is where Atomic Reach comes in.
This tool works for established blogs and fuels a proper focus moving forward. The free options allows you to examine your audience based on three different types of sites: blogs, content marketing, and Publishing.
The “Atomic Score” as it were, allows you to see how well you match up with your brand and your audience.
Setting up the account can take time, but the more you put in, the more you’ll get from it. Include your social media profiles and your RSS platforms in addition to your blog.
Here’s how to get started with it:
- Head over to the website and set up an Atomic Insights Account.
- Once the account is made, you can download the plugin and link it to your blogging platform
- After that, you’re ready to see how your content stacks up, and you can tailor it moving forward to better serve your audience!
Price: The service is free, but you can also pay for tools to help you better target the content you create, starting from $250/month.
Wise people (including myself) who have been blogging for some time will tell you that the best way to create high-quality content is to answer a question on your reader’s minds. Well, how are you supposed to do that without knowing the question first?
Enter this beautiful tool named Quora.
This site allows you to see what people in your niche are asking about. You can post an answer of your own and encourage them to find out more on your blog once you’ve written a piece on it.
Not only is this a great resource for finding the hot button questions about your topic, but it’s also a place to engage with potential readers!
Here’s how to get started with it:
- Create an account on the Quora website
- Search for keywords within your niche and see what questions people are asking
- Answer those questions in your own posts, then join the conversation and invite them to check it out!
6. Moz On-Page Grader
For those of us who have begun to delve deeper into the rabbit hole of SEO, it has become increasingly important to not only utilize keywords, but to understand them and how they work together.
Beyond simple words, we need to find ways to expand on those topics and cover more ground through synonyms and close variants.
This tool brought to us by Moz, allows you to receive an overview of your keyword optimization and your on-page SEO. With 30 different elements that it checks, this is the fastest and most reliable way to find out exactly where your page stands and how it can change to better fuel your traffic and ranking.
Here’s how you can get started with it today:
- Visit the website to sign-up as a Moz Subscriber
- Use the program to spot-check for opportunities where you can improve on the SEO of your pages
- Take action immediately for the best results and run the test often (subscribers have the option to automatically runs tests weekly)
- Receive access to OpenSiteExplorer.com, a similar tool to Majestic SEO and Ahrefs that allows you to review your competitors backlinks, top pages, etc.
Price: Starts from $99/month
7. WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
When it comes to choosing your blogging platform, I always recommend WordPress. I’m not alone either, there’s about 68 million WordPress websites out there.
One of the reasons it’s so highly supported is because of its plugins, which are extensions to the program that improve the features of the platform.
Among these, the SEO plugin by Yoast is hands down my personal favorite. If your website runs on WordPress, you owe it yourself to have this plugin.
Using this tool, you can perfectly optimize and track the way you’re using keywords, curating your content, and making it easy for people to find.
This must have plugin is free for the base version, this is all you need to do:
- Search for “WordPress SEO” in the Add New section in your plugin tab
- Install it through the dashboard or by downloading the zip file
- Notice the new box you have beneath your content when creating posts. Use it to keep track of your SEO
Tools For Visual Design and Social Media
Moving into the next phase of our toolbox, we reach the world of design. This goes beyond simple paragraphs and colors though folks, this is about creating engaging and enrapturing layouts that pull the reader in and never let go.
These tools are designed to help you get that look that tells your visitors that you hired an expensive graphic designer without actually having to do so.
With a nickname like “The Swiss Army Knife of Visual Content” this tool isn’t messing around. Using this tool, you can create your own infographics, presentations, banner ads, and plenty more.
Creating an account is free, and you can also login with your Facebook profile to further streamline the process.
There are over 40 templates to choose from, or you can start from scratch. You simply choose what type of project you’re looking to start with (graph, presentation, etc.) and use the intuitive and simple tools to bring it to life.
They have an “animate” button to add movement to your objects, and a vast selection of fonts to choose from.
Beyond this, you can insert charts, graphs, and widgets with ease, while also entering all of your data into the image. It’s truly an amazing tool!
Here’s how to get on board with this:
- Visit the website to create your account
- Create your design content and download it in a variety of formats (including HTML 5, which ensures that animations remain intact)
- Fill your blog with exciting images and data driven infographics!
Price: The first three projects are free. From there it’s only $4.50/month for the standard license.
Promoting your content is almost as important as writing it in the first place. Social media is the way to spread the gospel of a blog, and this handy tool will help you on the Twitter front in a big way.
Since Twitter is constantly exploding with new tweets, timing is crucial. Tweroid helps you by telling you when to post on Twitter to best reach your audience/followers.
Here’s how to get started:
- Sign-up for a free account on Tweriod.
- Link your Twitter account and wait for the report to be sent to you
- Use this information to promote content at the best possible times each day
Price: The service is free for one report on a monthly basis. From there, you can choose from several packages that allow you receive multiple reports and more thorough results. The free version will show you what times of the day during the week and on weekends, that your followers are most commonly online.
Last, but certainly not least is this beautiful social management dashboard known as Buffer. This tool integrates with your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts and allows you to create and schedule posts ahead of time.
When you want them up, they go up without the need for you to drop everything and post it yourself.
In addition to this, the program is free to use. This version of it allows you to create posts across the various sites and schedule them up to a week in advance!
There’s also a suggestions area where you can see what topics in your niche are getting the most attention and tailor your posts accordingly.
Here’s how to get started:
- Head over to Buffer
- Create your free account and link your social media profiles
- Write and schedule posts with ease, setting them up a week in advance (if you want)!
Price: Starts out free, if you want even more features and accounts, it’s only $102/year to have the full suite of options.
How to Set Yourself Up for Success
These tools can help your blog thrive, but ultimately how aggressive and engaged you are with blog promotion will decide how successful you can be.
You cannot overlook one of the most effective marketing strategies for your blog, and that’s blogger outreach. Ryan Biddulph with Blogging from Paradise certainly hasn’t forget even while living in paradise! We’ll delve more into Social media is the way later on.
It’s also important to consider how crucial the platform and hosting service you choose to go with.
As I’ve said before, free websites aren’t the best idea, especially if you’re serious about starting a career in blogging. Beyond the litany of obstacles (sub-domain, space limits, etc.) free blogs just don’t put the control in your hands.
When it comes to creating a blog, there’s no reason not to self-host on your own domain. This gives you total control, it gives you creative freedom, and it empowers you to utilize the tools mentioned above. Of course, you’ll have to choose a platform and a hosting service before you can even begin working.
Each of the platforms have their own pros and cons, but as I’ve mentioned countless times before, WordPress is the best balance between ease of use, and functionality.
The catalog of free and paid plugins allows you to wield the ultimate tools of a blogger while also relying on a safe and secure platform.
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With WordPress as your platform, and Web Hosting Hub as your service, you’ll have everything you need to create a successful blog in any niche.
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Before You Go…
Parting is such sweet sorrow. I am sad to see you go my friend, but before you do, why not leave a comment and tell me what you thought of these top blogging tools?
There’s plenty more out there, so you can also let me know which ones you’ve discovered. Thanks as always for reading, and keep putting your blogs on blast until we meet again.