6 Essential Blogging Tools
As a regular blogger, I have a set of tools or resources that I turn to on a regular basis. Each one earns its keep in different ways at different times. It's worth remembering as well that these are all tools, not rules. It's up to you to use it in a way that chimes with how you write, rather than letting it dominate how you write. That said, here are my 5 essential blogging tools.
This is part 2 in my series on essential tools. Part 1 was 4 Essential Social Media Tools.
This isn't quite as obvious as you might think. It's the 'easy to use' bit that's key. The harder your blog is to use, the less likely you are to write. It could also be harder to integrate images, video, or to edit. Don’t’ sniff at updating and republishing older blog posts because doing so can send positive signals to Google’s search engine. The fewer barriers there are the more productive and happier you'll be.
Whether we're commuting, heading to a coffee shop, or searching for some peace and quiet in the park, we can all find ourselves moving around a lot in the day. An app to enable you to keep blogging on your tablet or phone, while you're away from your desktop or laptop could be what gets that blog post out today rather than tomorrow. Then, when you make it back to your office, you want an easy to use...
I'm assuming that you use search bars. How else are you going to know what's going on in your field? I keep myself as informed as I can, remembering that there are limits to the amount of information that one person can stay on top of: we're all still human! I routinely find what I talk about on social media by using Google's search engine and the search bars integrated into Twitter and Pinterest. It's known as 'active listening' because you're making an active effort to hear and learn more. Yes, some of what you find will be short and may only be suitable for Twitter, but I've found many things this way that have inspired blog posts. The more you're listening, the more you'll learn, the more of an authority you'll become, the more valuable your blog will be to readers, and the more likely it is that your blog will be discovered. One way of approaching what to type in the search bar is to use your areas of interest/expertise. So if you're blogging about TV shows, maybe you'll want to type in 'cancelled tv shows', or 'tv pilots'. Come up with a list of terms you can search on that will keep you in the loop so you can provide the best information to your readers. Another approach is to use the keywords you use on your website/blog. If you do that, then you've got a good chance of finding something that's going to be relevant to your interests. If you don't have keywords, then you can always try the following tool.
Portent Title Maker
So, what's the title of your next post going to be? Umm... It's really easy to get stuck on such simple things, but by entering a topic word into Title Maker you could get a great title that you could run with straight away. In practical terms it's probably going to be of more use in setting the tone and approach in a creative way that you could lead to you generating more ideas. This approach is more likely to help you create than simply taking something you've already written and dumping a potentially irrelevant headline on top of it.
Pixabay and Pexels
These are great sources for free to use images. You might be wondering what that has to do with blogging, but carefully selected images can be illustrative, entertaining, and act as 'pit stops' for readers. Both Pixabay and Pexels allow you to use photos free of charge without having to give credit. If you have the budget, you can tip the photographer on Pixabay and donate to Pexels. What I find appealing about both is that they offer far more than just the usual stock photos full of people in offices in white or blue shirts. Pixabay in particular offers a wide range of photos, including some that are really creative.
Was your last blog post popular? If you're swamped by comments, shares, and tweets, then that'll give you some information, but it's like reading one page of a novel and expecting to understand it. Analytics, whether it's an inbuilt tool for your blogging platform, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, or another tool, are essential for staying on top of just how each blog post is received. Doing this will help you understand much more about who's reading your blog, what they searched for, how long they stayed on your site, and more. Achieving this level of understanding can help you understand what people enjoy and what they're looking for. You can then dedicate more time to providing it.
These are my 6 essential blogging tools, but what are yours? What is it that keeps your blogging productivity up, the confidence rolling, and the great content pouring out? I'd love to hear more about it in the comments so we can share tools and techniques as widely as possible.