Whether you’re an experienced blogger or just getting into the game, having a few great tools in your back pocket can be a gamechanger. Once you’ve created high-quality content, these tools can take your site to the next level, driving traffic to your blog and improving the user experience.
The Best Blogging Tools
These 27 tools serve a range of purposes, so pick and choose the ones that are most valuable to you.
If you think you are done writing that engaging blog post and want to find out what more you can do, you might want to read about the top WordPress Plugins.
Blog Management and Social Media Tools
Managing a site and driving traffic to it using social media can be a time-consuming challenge. With the right tools, you can spend more time creating content and less time making sure your content is getting out there.
Formerly known as SumoMe, Sumo is meant to help you automate your site growth with a variety of apps and add-ons. Some of our favorite Sumo features are The Sumo List Builder Popup, which will show a dialog with an email collection field one second after your page loads, and share buttons, which allows you to add share icons to the left side of the window, at the start of the article, and to the end of the article.
If you’ve taken the time to create excellent content, you want to maximize its lifespan. Revive Old Post helps you do that by allowing you to schedule shares of your older content on your social media outlets. It helps increase site traffic and tracks clicks so you can monitor site visits and post popularity.
Your followers never take a break from social media, and with Buffer, you can make sure your posts don’t stop when you step away from the computer. Buffer provides a centralized hub where you can manage all of your social media platforms. You can schedule posts to any (or all) of your social channels, analyze performance, and add multiple team members with different permissions levels.
Social media has serious power and understanding what works and what doesn’t is invaluable for any blogger. BuzzSumo provides insight into what kind of content is resonating with your target audience. It will show you what’s trending in a given topic, and where and how things are being shared on social media platforms; it also analyzes who the top influencers are in a category and what type of content they’re most likely to share.
Grammar and Readability Tools
Nothing scares away readers faster than tons of misspellings, typos, grammar mistakes, or boring and unreadable copy. Here are a few tools that can help you maintain credibility and ensure your writing is the best it can be.
Grammarly acts as a universal spelling and grammar checker. The plugin catches errors in just about anything you type, from social media posts, blog posts, and emails to Word and Google Docs. Grammarly automatically underlines incorrect words or phrases and offers replacements. It can also identify plagiarized copy. The free version does a decent job, but if you want to step it up, even more, you can opt for the paid version, which has broader capabilities.
Ginger is a browser add-on that detects grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in your writing. Although some reviews claim that the program catches fewer errors than Grammarly, Ginger is easy to install and will catch some syntax-related errors. The premium version will even allow you to translate text between languages.
Don’t underestimate the importance of a great headline. The title of your post is what people will see first, what will entice them to click your links on social media and in search engines, and ultimately, might be the only thing your site visitors will actually read. But writing a great title is surprisingly challenging, and even good writers may struggle with it. Enter Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule. It analyzes your title’s ability to capture your readers’ attention, based on length, word balance, and conversion potential.
It’s easy to fall into a trap of using bigger words to make yourself sound smarter, or to rely heavily on synonyms you found in a thesaurus to make your writing seem more “interesting.” The fact is, simplicity is usually best. Gauge the readability of your content with the Readability Test Tool from WebFX. It tests for a variety of indicators, such as number of words per sentence and number of syllables per word, and gives you a score in each category. If your scores are low, you’ll know you need to make some edits.
The Hemingway Editor is an easy-to-use readability checker. Unlike WebFX, which offers number scores for various indicators, Hemingway identifies problem areas using color-coded highlights. It will tell you where you’re using sentence-weakening adverbs, passive voice, over-complicated words and terms, run-on sentences, and more.
Slick Write is, essentially, a virtual proofreader. It goes beyond basic checks of spelling and grammar to give you insights into readability, vocabulary variety, structure, and even flow. It also gives you plenty of statistics and data about your writing. If you like quantitative analyses, this might be the editing tool for you. You can use their online interface or you can install the browser extension so you can use Slick Write with WordPress and Google Docs.
SEO and Keyword Tools
One of the most mysterious, yet most essential, parts of any successful website is great Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Good SEO tactics are the best way to drive traffic to your posts by making sure your site shows up in search engine results. Part of good SEO is knowing how to use keywords in your posts and knowing what keywords you’re most likely to rank for in search engine results. SEO and keyword research can be tricky business if you don’t know what you’re doing. These tools can help you master these essential skills.
The Yoast SEO plugin helps you optimize your posts so they’ll rank higher in search results. You can check your keyword usage, preview your search results in Google, check readability and scanability, and get help with the technical parts of SEO, like making it easier for search engine crawlers to find your site. The premium version does even more, like offering content suggestions, giving you previews of your social media links, and optimizing for related keywords in addition to your main one.
Ahrefs is a tool that allows you to do keyword research to ensure you’re targeting the best keywords with the highest traffic and lowest competition. With their massive data index, Ahrefs is arguably one of the most in-demand SaaS tools out there. While it’s known as a tool for checking backlinks, Ahrefs is capable of so much more.
Blogging is a dog-eat-dog world, and no one understands this better than SEMrush. Their reports can help you analyze your competitors’ keywords, ad strategies, backlinks, and more so that you can compete more efficiently. You can also identify and optimize your keywords to improve your SEO.
Data is knowledge and knowledge is power, and Google Analytics puts all the data you need in your hands. It gives you lots of reports that show you how exactly how your site visitors are engaging with your content, from the moment they land on your site to the moment they leave. Knowing your visitors’ habits means you can more effectively create high-value content for your readers.
The free tools on Moz can help you bring your SEO game to the next level with keyword and link intel and page metrics of any site you visit. They can help you zero in on keywords that can help increase your site traffic, and identify link-building opportunities. If you’re serious about improving your SEO (and if you’re a blogger, you should be), Moz is a useful tool.
Email and Outreach Marketing Tools
Building a loyal list of subscribers and keeping that audience engaged is key to a successful blog. But it won’t happen without good outreach in the form of email marketing and newsletters. Choosing the right tools can make all the difference.
Email marketing and newsletters are an important part of any social outreach, and Mailchimp makes it easy to create and send these kinds of emails. With professional-looking templates (that are optimized for desktop and mobile), automated email functions, and analytics tools that show you open rates, click-through rates, and more, Mailchimp gives you lots of control over your email marketing. The free version allows you to send emails to up to 2,000 subscribers. You can also create pop-up forms, Facebook and Instagram ads, and more. The premium, paid version offers even more customization options and extra features.
Get opinions from your site visitors and customers with SurveyMonkey, a tool that helps you build and distribute customized surveys. With easy-to-use templates and real-time results analytics, you’ll be able to gain a deeper understanding of your audience. SurveyMonkey can be integrated with Mailchimp too, so you can send surveys right to your existing email lists.
Sendgrid is a powerful email marketing tool that is geared toward those with very large-scale email operations. Although there is a free version, it has somewhat limited capability (you can only send 100 emails per day). It does offer flexible templates, as well as segmentation, A/B testing, and analytics, so you can discover what your email recipients really respond to.
MailPoet is a WordPress-specific email marketing tool that integrates seamlessly with your WordPress blog management interface. The MailPoet plugin allows you to create and add newsletter subscription forms to your website, manage your subscriber lists, build and send newsletters, create automatic welcome emails, and more—all without leaving WordPress. The free version allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers.
All those marketing emails and newsletters will be useless without an email subscriber list. OptinMonster can help you build your subscriber list with its online lead generation tools. They have lots of templates so you can customize your lead capture forms and popups, plus create personalized messages based on visitors’ behavior. You can even A/B test different forms to see which one resonates better. The catch: It’s not free, even for the basic package.
Great design is one of the most important parts of a blog—it makes your site appear professional and will give readers a better experience. Plus, a cohesive brand design will help readers recognize your blog or business. Even if you’re not a designer, these tools can make your blog beautiful.
Design Hill puts a world of graphic design pros at your fingertips (whether you need a simple logo or branded packaging, clothing, and more). All you have to do is post your project to the site and launch your graphic design contest. Artists will submit their designs to you, and you can give feedback and get unlimited revisions until the design is exactly what you want. Best of all, you get full ownership of your preferred design.
Canva is a tool for creating custom images that you can then use either on social media or as part of your blog posts. Canva allows you to overlay text onto images and create and save templates for images such as headers. You can even upload your own pictures to insert into your custom designs.
Stock Photo Sites
Not a photographer? You still need imagery—whether for social media, site backgrounds, or just to make your posts more dynamic and appealing. These stock photo sites have hundreds of high-quality, free images, all of which are royalty-free, require no attribution, and can be edited, modified, and distributed for any personal or commercial use.
Here are some related articles on blogging you might be interested in:
- Top 8 WordPress Plugins for Bloggers, Writers, and Entrepreneurs
- How to Make a Content Calendar for Blogging Success
- How to Promote Your Blog: 10 Strategies for Boosting Your Traffic
- 6 Reasons Authors Should Be Guest Blogging (and 3 Ways to Find Host Sites)
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.