5 Free Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Have

Blogging Tips, Tools & Resources, Tutorials

Before I found these free blogging tools I was committing the ultimate blogging crime by not updating my blog for months then gone at it like a bat out of hell and posted consistently for a whole 2 weeks! It’s been a vicious cycle…

On. Off.

Hot. Cold.

Thinking…is it good enough? Then thinking…Oh that’s shit!…delete.

Before I found these free blogging tools I was committing the ultimate blogging crime by not updating my blog for months then gone at it like a bat out of hell and posted consistently for a whole 2 weeks! It’s been a vicious cycle… On. Off. Hot. Cold. Thinking…is it good enough? Then thinking…Oh that’s rubbish!…delete.

It was a tough gig for the first 18 months of blogging for my business. I’d agonize over every word, sentence and paragraph and when things got tough, I’d simply find ‘more important’ things to do and content creation would drop down my list of priorities. But over the past 6 months I’ve found some amazing blogging tools to help me streamline content creation.

Here they are, 5 Free Blogging Tools Every Blogger Should Have.

Pocket

Pocket is my #1 sidekick. I would be totally lost without it as I use it everyday!

I use it to bookmark any content that will help me research certain topics for upcoming blog posts. Information like stats + facts, that’s the sort of thing I want to keep handy so I can easily find it again.

I follow some pretty awesome blogs + Pocket helps me keep track of posts or information I think followers of my social channels would find helpful, inspiring or simply make them smile. This is an awesome way to never get stuck for something to post again. Plus, you can’t be talking about yourself all the time can you.

Pocket boasts multiple ways to ‘pocket’ but I’m a simple creature so I’ve  installed the one-click browser add-on

How to use it?

When you find a post you want to bookmark simply click the Pocket icon in your browser and it’s automatically added. If you want to be able to find all your different content effortlessly, simply tag them. For example, I only use 3 tags because I love to keep things simple.

  • Social Bites is the tag I use for posts I want to share to my social channels.
  • Research for posts I think might help me to research an upcoming post I’m writing.
  • Personal for my other creative pleasures. I often go hunting for new cake recipes and can spend hours looking at furniture restoration projects.

Google Drive

Google Drive has quickly become my #2 sidekick that let’s me stash my stuff in the cloud and allows me to access my documents on all my devices. It’s user friendly and convenient.

Before Google Drive I used a paid app to access my documents on my mobile devices but the problem was I had to sync my documents manually. Let me tell you, the amount of times I’d open up that app on one of my devices only to find I hadn’t synced them!

You can close the document you’re working on from your desktop, open up the same document on your iPad and pickup where you left off.  In fact, youcan have the same document open in multiple devices and all of them would read the same. How convenient is that!

How to use it.

  1. To start using Google Drive you must have a Google account but you can use any email account to create one.
  2. Create yourself a new folder for your blog posts by clicking the red ‘create’ button you’ll see at the top-left of the screen.
  3. Then again click the red ‘create’ button and choose ‘Document’ to begin creating your new blog post.

Google Analytics

If you’re not tracking your visitors and what they’re doing on your website it’s time you did. It’s the only way to know what content is working and what’s not and can save you a lot of time creating posts that your visitors don’t find important. Google Analytics is free and easy to setup, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using it.

How to use it.

      1. Again, you will need a Google account if you don’t have one – see Google Drive point 1 above.
      2. Once you’ve set it up, navigate to the ‘Reporting’ tab to access your dashboard.
      3. Then scroll to Behaviour –> Site Content –> Content Drilldown to see which posts are getting the most traction.
      4. You can then go to Audience –>Visitor Flow where you can see a visual flow chart of where your visitors go to after reading popular articles and more importantly, where you’re losing them so you can focus on plugging up the holes.

HubSpot Blog Topic Generator

If you find yourself wondering what to write about, I might just become your most fave gal when I show you this awesome tool. It’s recently come to my attention and I’m so glad it did.

Hubspot has a blog topic generator that will keep you and your readers happy for the entire year!

How to use it.

I create a monthly content strategy and this month was made really easy with this tool.

  1. Go to http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator
  2. You’ll be asked to enter 3 nouns. If you’re not sure which terms to use? Answer questions like these: How do people describe your products or services? What problems do your products or services solve? What industry keywords do you want to rank for on Google?
  3. Hit the ‘Give me blog topics’ button and you’ll be given 5 blog topics to get you started
  4. You’ll also be offered A YEAR’S WORTH OF IDEAS if you complete the form on that page. I suggest you sign up for this, it’s an amazing resource to have at your fingertips.

Editorial Calendar

You do have one right? For the past 4 months I’ve maintained an editorial calendar, which is the end result of a content strategy and completes our list of the free blogging tools.

Most of us just enter a few topics into our diary and leave the writing for the day before publishing. That often doesn’t work too well because having a content strategy is more than just writing a blog post and tweeting it a handful of times.

I strongly encourage you to create a monthly (or quarterly) content strategy to help you keep to task and maintain your Editorial Calendar.

How you can use it

  1. Download my (quarterly) Editorial Calendar template (spreadsheet)
  2. Each quarter I plan to launch something whether that be my services or something free so my editorial template consists of pre-launch posts, guest posts + post launch posts. You can come up with some ideas for these in the Concept column.
  3. Next give each a headline. It doesn’t have to be set in concrete but I find it’s better to have some direction when it comes time to write the post.
  4. Decide what type of post you’ll write and place that in the Archetype column – this post explains more about a post archetype
  5. If it’s a guestpost and you know where you’ll be submitting it then note the url in the Guestpost url column.
  6. Give each post a publish date – and be firm on this or it’s likely that you won’t follow through.
  7. You also have room there to write out a few social messages and notes.

 

I invite you now to share with us in the comments below…

Your thoughts on these 5 free blogging tools every blogger should have and any tools or resources I might have missed. What are you using that makes content creation easier for you? I’m listening.

Have you downloaded The Essential Website Planning Checklist yet?

I invite you to go ahead and do than now. 

Discover what it really takes to build a website that actually works to meet your goals.

 

GET THE CHECKLIST!

Pin It on Pinterest