There’s a lot of work that needs to go into a successful one and often times there are tools that can help you on your journey.
Here’s a list of all the tools I use and that you will find super helpful:
Feedly is a platform that allows you to keep all your content in one place based on interests.
This doesn’t mean it allows you to store your personal content but rather, you can input your interests and Feedly will provide an up-to-date feed based on those interest which it collects from all over the internet.
The reason why it’s great for bloggers is it allows you to see what people within your interest are writing about or track trends.
For example, I put out a piece of content about the Vero social media platform. This was largely because I was seeing frequent mentions of it and decided to capitalize on the trend.
It’s very easy to get lost in the content and I do believe that there is such thing as too much content. Like Facebook and how many hours can be waster scrolling. The same is with Feedly.
Try to input only interests that actually matter.
Don’t get distracted.
2. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
This tool has completely changed the way I approach headlines for my articles. I even use it to improve the headlines we use at my day job.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is a tool that will help you optimize headlines based on what will create the most impact and get the highest engagement.
You want to get over 70 for a headline score but that’s not all. Try to include emotional and power words. Even if you score below 70, these headlines may perform even better. Sometimes it can be as simple as switching a couple of words around.
Speed is one of the most important factors for ranking on Google. Along with page size, content and number of HTTP requests. There’s also a lot more, but these are super important.
Website.grader.com helps with all of that.
Once you put in your URL, it will crawl it and give your page a ranking based on its quality.
The reason why I love it so much is because a lot of tools like Website.grader.com are confusing and packed full of irrelevant information. But this one tells you what’s wrong and how to fix it.
Once you get your score you can boil down what you need to do pretty easily.
- Page size — if your page size is too large you can almost guarantee the images sitting on the page are too large. Try resizing them.
- If you’re getting too many HTTP requests — try installing W3 Total Cache.
- If page speed is the issue — see the above point. Install the plugin but read this article.
4. Blog Ideas Generator
I used this tool fairly often when I was getting started and I suggest you do the same.
Blog Ideas Generator allows you to enter a keyword of which you want to rank for and will generate 5 possible headlines. Now, I must mention that it will recommend almost the same every time but if you’re willing to pay, it will supply you with 250 ideas.
While this is good to get your mind started, I highly recommend you build on from the ideas as opposed to using them. Don’t forget hundreds of thousands of people use this and are all suggested the same ideas.
Here’s the process I use for creating blog ideas:
- I think about the topic I want to write about
- I go onto Buzzsumo and search the topic
- I create the headline with Coschedule Headline Analyzer
- I start to write
The reason why I search on Buzzsumo is for validation. This tool allows you to see the top posts on the internet that are about the topic. Then it shows you how many shares and engagements those posts have.
I don’t think you need to be told. But this will tell you if people are interested in this topic or not.
Don’t skip this. Try and do it with every post. It will help you better strengthen your content strategy and ensure the content you’re putting out will actually be read.
Possibly the first blogging tool I ever started to use is SEMRush. I love it. Although, I only use the free version.
SEMRush is a great tool for tracking keywords day-by-day. It will tell you the changes in rankings, new keywords, keywords lost, organic traffic.
It’s amazing. Use it.
Be smart about what you look at every day. As it will only let you make 10 requests per day for the free version.
I recommend you include keyword changes in those searches.
7. SE Ranking SEO Research
This is like SEMRush on steroids.
In that, it gives you everything SEMRush gives you plus a lot more accurate data. This is largely due to the fact that it doesn’t update daily but rather monthly. Giving it time to adjust.
While SE Ranking Competitor Research suggests it’s for competitor research, you can use it exactly the same with your own blog.
It can be very easy to get caught up with SEO rankings but be patient. When it takes time. In fact, months. So don’t check-in daily. Rather check in weekly or monthly.
If you’re not using Medium, you are screwing yourself over. It’s the social media for writers and is a great place to build your following.
In fact, most of the connections I’ve made (if not all) have been from Medium.
I cannot stress how important Medium is to building a blog.
With Medium, it’s very easy to get at least a few hundred views per day when you’re just starting your blog. Share all your content to it and treat it as your most valuable outlet.
Don’t just post your articles to Medium. If you do, you’ll get nowhere. Make sure you comment on articles and clap for them.
Also — don’t use the like/unlike technique of building a following. On Medium, it doesn’t work.
Being active on Quora is an amazing way for you to boost your following and get backlinks to your blog posts. Users ask questions on specific topics and then other users answer them.
Not only that but it’s a great way to get traffic back to your blog. Like a lot of traffic. Just make sure you remember to put a CTA at the end of your answer.
Oh and one more thing, when you’re answering, treat it like a blog post. Put some time into it and produce something that actually helps people.
I stumbled upon this a few years ago.
AnswerThePublic is a way to generate ideas for blog posts but on a level, you couldn’t believe. I mean, look at the image below. That’s what you get when you search for ‘content’. Well at least, it’s one section.
I won’t say too much about AnswerThePublic but I highly recommend introducing it into your content strategy.
11. Smush Image Compression and Optimization
Do you have issues with large images?
Then Smush Image Compression and Optimization is going to help you a lot! Especially, if you forget to resize your images when you upload them to your blog.
The Smush plugin automatically compresses your images as you upload. Drastically improving your blog’s load speed and Google rankings.
If you’ve already got a lot of images uploaded, Smush can run a compression to all your current content.
It won’t compress any images that are over 2mb. So make sure they’re smaller than that before you upload. Otherwise, your blog will be littered with oversized images.
Canva is the photoshop for dummies.
It’s super simple to use and will do everything you need in terms of design for social media, blog posts, logos, and ebook layouts.
I use it for everything.
From my Instagram images to my blog post headers.
Try to put in some time to figure out how Canva works. I say this because I see their templates littered across the internet and it’s not a good image to look the same.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Grammarly but if you haven’t — you need to.
Grammarly is the ultimate tool for correcting your content.
It will automatically run a check through what you right as you go. You can then go back, click on the mistake and Grammarly will give you suggestions on how to fix it.
You can program it to learn how you right. For example, if you spell something in a different way to how Grammarly would, you can teach it to remember the way you write it.
It’s been super helpful when I include personal touches on my posts.
15. Google Trends
The final tool is Google trends.
Use this for keyword research and trying to identify what people search for.
The blue line in the below image indicates interest over time. In this case, for the keyword content. As you can see it’s quite high. Making it a good keyword to use through content.
You can also compare other keywords. So in this example, I could have added ‘writing’ to see which one was more popular.
Try to compare a couple of similar keywords when using this tool. That way you will have a better indication of the way people search in relation to that topic.