This is where the tools come in: with the right tools, producing content for your blog as well as managing it doesn’t have to be a full time job. With that said, here are some tools you can start with:
Tools For Generating Blog Post Ideas
The success of your blog relies so much on the quality of your post ideas. Are they compelling enough for readers? Do they solve a specific problem? Would these topics quickly grab their interest and attention? Because of this, bloggers are under a lot of pressure to come up with engaging topics - especially if they have to publish frequently. Here are some tools that can help any blogger get their post ideas on the right path:
Portent’s Content Idea Generator and HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. If you’re looking for general ideas to start with, these two tools are useful for brainstorming. All you have to do is enter relevant keywords to your industry or topic, and these tools will generate ready-made headlines that you can use for your blog posts.
Buzzsumo. An alternative approach is to check out the types of posts that get a lot of social media engagement, and generate your your own blog post ideas from that. This is where Buzzsumo comes in. You can enter keywords relevant to your topic - or even your competitor’s URL - and you’ll see the latest relevant posts with the most social shares. The free version shows only a handful of the most shared posts, but this can be useful enough for brainstorming.
Topsy. If you want your blog to include the latest news or discussions in your industry, you can use Topsy to generate ideas. Basically, it gathers the latest Twitter discussions around a keyword. It can also tell you how many tweets have mentioned the keyword in the past few days, which can tell you whether something is still a hot topic or if it’s yesterday’s news. Their social analytics features can also show you the discussion trends in greater detail, helping you compare the Twitter trends behind 2 or 3 different keywords.
Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Planner. For those who have SEO goals for their blog, Ubersuggest can give you ideas based on what people are searching for.
Make Your Content Creation More Productive
Photo credit: Morguefile.com
Now comes the hard part: writing your blog posts. Fortunately, there are many tools that can make the process easier and faster even for those who are “just not a writer” or worse, suffering from writer’s block. Here are some of those tools that can help:
Dictation apps can make it easier to write, especially if it’s more natural for you to convey ideas through talking rather than typing. You can try a web-based app like Dictation or mobile apps like Tape-a-talk (Android) or iTalk Recorder (iOS) if you want to dictate on the go.
Writing blog posts requires a lot of repetitive work. Because of this, serious bloggers might benefit from using text expanders, which let them type short abbreviations for longer text or code snippets, or even help you autocorrect the words you typically mistype. For Windows, you can use Phraseexpress or Autotext, while Mac users can use the native text expander in OSX or external apps like Typeit4me or TextExpander.
Apart from writing posts, you also need to make sure that they are polished and free from any grammatical or typographical errors. You can use the free tools from Grammarly and Hemingway App to identify what needs fixing.
Since images can breathe more life into your posts, it also makes sense to add graphics and photos – but without the hassle of designing them yourself. Tools like Canva and PicMonkey allows users to quickly create beautiful graphics just by dragging and dropping elements. There are also quick and easy ways for you to add stock photos to your posts, so that you don’t have to spend hours scouring the web for the perfect photo.
Another way to become a more productive blogger is to have the ability to create and publish or schedule posts even when you’re not logged in to your blog’s dashboard. This can come in handy when you encounter a good idea or suddenly feel a surge of inspiration just as you’re idly surfing the web or tinkering with a mobile device. You can use tools like ScribeFire (browser based), Blogo (Mac), Windows LiveWriter (Windows), and BlogJet (Windows).
Easily Manage Multiple Blogs
If you feel like managing one blog is a huge responsibility, imagine what it’s like to manage several blogs: every day you have to track your site analytics, make sure that your sites are up, check that the right content is posted, and that your software and plugins are updated. This would be easier if you could see and manage all your sites in just one dashboard, which multiple blog managers let you do.
For blogs that run on WordPress, you can use Jetpack’s Site Management feature on Wordpress.com (which also lets you add your self-hosted WordPress sites to the dashboard), or tools like MainWP (free) or ManageWP (free for 5 sites).
Sites that run on Drupal have their own multi-site manager, while sites that run on Joomla can use extensions like EasyBlog and JMS Multisites.
Other Must-Have Security and Admin Utilities
Photo credit: Morguefile.com
Running a blog smoothly also comes with other responsibilities such as optimizing your readers’ experience and making sure that everything is secure. For odd jobs like these, here are some tools you can use:
For securing your Wordpress blog, you can use plugins like Wordfence, Sucuri, Bulletproof Security. These tools are becoming must-haves, especially since 73-percent of WordPress sites are actually vulnerable to attacks.
Drupal sites have modules like Security Review and Login Security to help keep your site protected, while RSFirewall and myJoomla can be used to secure Joomla sites.
You can also use tools like PageSpeed, Pingdom Speed Test, and GTmetrix to make sure your website loads quickly for your users, especially if they’re using older browsers.
Another crucial thing you should monitor is your blog’s uptime. Take a look at our list of the best free website monitoring services.
One last tool that we should mention is IFTTT, a fantastic free service that lets you integrate dozens of tools and automate your workflow. You can use it, for example, to connect your blog to your Google Drive to automatically store a backup copy of your posts, or to your social media profiles to “push” and promote your new content as it goes live.
Use The Tools that Work Best For You
Should you use all the tools we listed above? Not necessarily. Many of these tools are either free or have a free version, so they’re worth trying out if you’re looking to become a more efficient blogger. Also bear in mind that this is just a very small list; there are literally hundreds of tools and services out there that are worth checking out.
Are there any awesome blogging productivity tools we missed? What are your favorite tools that help you be more efficient as a blogger?