As much as I love blogging, without the proper tools, it can be a struggle.
I’ve been blogging since 2011 and needless to say I have learned a ton since then. I’ve tried different strategies used different tools, got rid of certain tools, and feel like I know the best tools for bloggers who want to be successful.
I am a huge fan of tools in general. Especially when you have a task that takes you a long time. Finding a tool to make that task more simple is a fantastic feeling.
While there is not a tool for everything when it comes to blogging, there are a lot of tools that can make it easier for you.
I put a list together of the 15 best tools for bloggers that I currently use on my blog that make it easier to manage. Check them out.
I like telling the story of what my life was like before I discovered WordPress. Actually, I would like to tell the story of what my life was like before I learned about content management systems in general. Simply put, a content management system is a tool that makes it much easier for you to upload different content to your website without having to code it manually.
And if you’re wondering, yes, I was manually inputting HTML code into my blog before I learned what a content management system was. Once I discovered WordPress and how it was as easy as typing in a Microsoft Word document, I was in heaven. Then I discovered publishing and even scheduling a blog post ahead of time, and I was happy as a clam. When I found out it was free, I was just blown away.
I note this tool first because this was my first time I realized that life could be easier if you are struggling with something in your blog and that there could be a tool out there to help. So it opened me up to a world of other tools out there that could help me.
Email marketing is an important part of your blogging business; even if you do not know it yet. If you have not heard the saying “the money is in the list.”, You are most definitely missing out on some potential income.
But before you can start earning money from your list, you first have to start building it. I’ve used some email marketing tools that not only confused me but really got out of hand on a monthly cost basis.
The email marketing tool I use today is called ConvertKit. What I like about ConvertKit is that it is an email marketing platform design for creators. So all the functions they develop is with bloggers in mind. They make it easy to create automatons, forms to collect emails, and you even can create landing pages with easy drag and drop elements.
One of my favorite things about ConvertKit is that they send you an email that gives you different tips and tricks on developing your email marketing. They even have the occasional webinar. I've used ConvertKit for a few years now, and I highly recommend them as one of the best tools for bloggers when it comes to email marketing.
I cannot talk about this next tool without first talking about the social media platform it was designed for. Tailwind is a social media scheduling tool for Pinterest.
Pinterest is a very important part of the blogosphere. Pinterest was developed with bloggers in mind. If you ever clicked through a pin on Pinterest, you more than likely ended up on a blog post. This is what makes it a great place for bloggers to drive traffic to their sites.
For every blog post, you create, you should be creating a Pinterest pin to add to that post. And once the post is published, you should be sharing your pin to Pinterest.
Now as you continue to develop more content, this is easier said than done. At Miss Millennia Magazine, we have over 2,000 blog posts, all of which need to be shared on a regular basis. So how do we do this? We use Tailwind.
I like Tailwind because it allows you to schedule out your pins in a smart way. It picks the time when you are getting the most action on your Pinterest account to get the most traction to your pins.
But it also allows you to schedule as far in advance as you want. I currently have some pins schedule for March 2019 as of writing this.
What I like about Tailwind is a feature they have called Tribes. Tailwind Tribes make it possible to share other peoples pins to your boards all while having them share your pins in exchange. I like Tribes because it gets my pins out on some other boards.
If you’re wondering about what tribes to join, you should check out my post with 101 Awesome Tailwind Tribes You Should Join.
I know I already talked about WordPress, but you do not have a blog without hosting. A hosting provider is a company that makes it so that your blog can be found on the Internet. And a good hosting provider helps you figure out some of your tech difficulties you may face with your blog.
I like Bluehost because they have 24/7 phone support. So no matter what time you need help with whether it is 2:00 in the afternoon or 2 AM, you can get help. They also have a very affordable price is $3.95 a month, so even the beginner blogger can have great hosting.
You can check out my blog post called How to Start a WordPress Blog on Bluehost That Makes Money.
I already talked about a tool to get social shares for Pinterest, but I did not share one of the best blogging tools for bloggers when it comes to sharing on other social media accounts. Social media sharing is an important part of content marketing. And you have to have a good tool to be able to do this successfully.
I use a tool called SocialBee because it schedules on different social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. And my favorite part about this tool is that it saves posts for me to use more than once if I would like.
I know there are a variety of different social media sharing tools you can use, but one of the key drivers for Social bee for me was the price. I only paid $199 for a lifetime of use for this tool. Compared to other tools, I was spending way more than that per year on monthly charge tools.
Remember how I said that the money is in the list? Well once you have your email marketing tool, the next step is to build your email list strategically.
Sumo makes it possible to do just that. Sumo is a WordPress Plugin that has a number of different pop-ups and screen takeovers that keep your reader engaged enough to give you their email address at the right time.
They even have different analytical tools for you to see what your readers are doing an all of your pages so you can optimize even further.
And the best part is that the tool is free! Sure there are more options you can sign up for that cost a little more, but it's a lot to offer for free.
So you've been tasked with creating social media images for every blog post that you create. Remember how I mentioned that in the Tailwind section? When I first started blogging, I was very nervous about creating my first Pinterest pin or any visual content on my blog for that matter since I was not great at designing.
That is until I found Canva. I love Canva because they have templates you can use to create beautiful Pinterest pins every time. I like this design tool so much, that I also used it for my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter images, as well as any other visual content I have to create.
At this point, any type of creative that you see on my website with my branding was developed in Canva. The best part about Canva is that it’s free. Sure they have a paid program you can sign up for as well, but the free version gets you pretty darn far. Click here to sign up for Canva.
I LOVE this tool. As much as I enjoy writing, I have never been great with grammar. Grammarly keeps me in check.
It’s a browser extension that you upload into Google Chrome, and it checks your spelling, grammar, and it gives you tips and ideas on how to make your reading more understandable. Think of is having a grammar teacher looking over your writing as you go.
It makes notes on your article in WordPress and once you’re done writing, you can go back for all the reviews and make little revisions here and there. It is a great alternative to having an editor review every single post you do.
I like Grammarly because it makes me a better writer over time. It even sends me an email every now and again that shows what words I’m still struggling with a regular basis.
9. Yoast SEO
This is a tool most bloggers swear by. And I am one of those bloggers. Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that improves your overall SEO (search engine optimization.)
If SEO is an unfamiliar term to hear for you, I highly suggest you look it up and do some research. it could mean more traffic for your blog if you do! SEO is what is responsible for your blog posts showing up on Google and other search engines. Unless you enjoy paying for traffic, it is wise to become fluent in improving your SEO.
What I enjoy about Yoast, is that it tells you what to do on a particular blog post to improve your SEO. All you have to do is follow the instructions they give you until you get green checkmarks. Because of this tour, you can expect to come up higher on search engines.
BONUS TOOL: SEM Rush
SEM Rush is another tool that helps with your overall SEO, but it is so much more than an SEO tool. It not only increases your search volume but is an awesome keyword research tool.
It can help you determine ways to make the blog posts you've already written better by pointing out broken links and helping you find easy ways to show up on Google. I love this tool so much, that I had to include I here as a bonus. Sign up with my link here to try it for yourself for 14 days for free.
Buzzsumo is a wonderful tool for bloggers. While I do not pay for it, I do use their free searches every day. What it does is allow you to look at bloggers in your niche and see which of their blog posts are being shared the most on social media.
Buzzsumo gives you a good idea of what type of blog topics resonate well with the audience you’re trying to go off after. If you can afford to go with the paid version, I definitely believe it is money well spent.
It even gives you an idea of what content on your site is trending and on which social media channels. Who knows; it may be worth it for you to share an old post again on Facebook or Twitter.
Trello is a great tool for staying organized. You pretty much put a bunch of things from your to-do list on the board in Trello and then as you complete steps of a particular item you move it down the pipeline.
Now, I've seen bloggers use this in a variety of ways. You can use it for the various phases of a blog post. Or you can use it for a different task within your business such as checking email, creating Pinterest images, and responding to different campaigns for sponsorship.
But the reason to have Trello is to clear all the items that you know you need to do out of your head and into a tool so that you don’t forget anything important. Trello is another tool that is free to use and I love it.
12. Google Analytics
Once you download WordPress onto your new blog, the first thing you should add is Google Analytics. This is the tool that all bloggers use to track everything on their site from who is going to it, and when, and from where.
It is impossible to grow if you do not know these basic things. Also, when you get to a point where you are trying to monetize it, it is impossible to qualify for any sponsorships, advertising, or partnerships without knowing the data on your website.
So sign up for a free Google Analytics account and make sure that the tracking code is on your site. The best way to get it integrated on your site is by installing the free WordPress Plugin for Google Analytics.
13. Headline Analyzer Tool
OK, this is one of my very favorite tools even though it is free. I got to a point where no one was clicking on my articles and reading them. And I could not figure out why. I later found out that it was because I was using cutsie headlines for my articles instead of what the article was actually about.
For this reason, I ended up using the free CoSchedule Headline Analyzer tool and made a point to get at least a score of 70 on a headline before it can be used in a blog post. What happened next was nothing short of extraordinary.
I was getting more traffic, more clicks, and more engaged readers on my content. Yes, having the right headlines can do all of these things. That is why this is the tool I have used religiously for years. If you want more traffic or comments from readers, I highly recommend you use this tool.
Another beautiful tool… well it’s more of a website, is called Unsplash. Unsplash is a stock photo website. I have gone to the site to get images to use on many of my blog post on Miss Millennia Magazine.
You should know that it is not okay to do a google search for an image and use that image on your blog without knowing if it is royalty-free. If you use an image that is not royalty-free, you open yourself up to possibly be sued for copyright infringement.
There are a number of other royalty free websites out there such as Pexels, Pixabay, and iStockphoto.com. But I have found that Unsplash has great quality photos that you don’t consistently see on all those other sites. Not to say I don’t use those other sites if I don’t find what I’m looking for on Unsplash they’re all helpful. But Unsplash happens to be my favorite.
15. Social BlueBook
Last but certainly not least is a tool called Social Bluebook. I am so surprised when I find other bloggers out there who are working to monetize their site but do not know how to set a price for what they are doing.
Social Bluebook is a FREE tool that allows you to charge what your influence is worth. What you do is link your various social media accounts to the platform, and social Bluebook tells you what you should be charging based on your reach.
As I mentioned earlier blogging is no easy job. It takes a lot of work, dedication, and focus. Having the right tools will not make blogging a breeze, but it will make things easier. I hope that these tools can help you and your blogging journey. What tools have I missed? Let me know in the comments the tools that you love to use for blogging.