12 Essential Tools for your Blogging Toolbox
Are you a new blogger looking to find the perfect tools to keep in your blogging toolbox? Or maybe youâ€™re a seasoned blogging professional just looking to see if thereâ€™s anything you have missed. If so, then this post is for you.
Evernote is basically an online notepad â€“ it allows you to, as you may have guessed make notes. Donâ€™t be fooled into thinking thatâ€™s it though â€“ the beauty of Evernote means that you can use it anywhere as everything is synchronised online. Meaning you can make notes on your iPhone, and when you log onto your laptop â€“ theyâ€™re right there for you to read or add to. Itâ€™s a great tool for idea generation. The fact its ultra compatible with practically any device you can think of means it’s a must have in the toolbox.
Google Keyword Tool and Insights for Search
The google keyword tool Google Keyword Tool and Google insights for search are must have tools for any blogger – they allow you to spot ideas – and make sure you write content that’s going to attract traffic. Have a hunch that searches for “Google Places Optimisation” are on the rise – check it in google insights, then have a look in the keyword tool and see what other related searches are around. Then get writing!
The search function on twitter has just had a major facelift, and has changed location from a sub domain to a directory – you can now find it at: http://twitter.com/search
This is a great tool for finding topics to write about – spot trending topics and you can react instantly – and because google favours fresh content – you can rank for these things rather quickly meaning a spike in traffic. You can also find topics/trends via locations, which means if your blog is popular within certain geographic areas – you can make your writing even more targetted.
Dropbox is a cloud based file sharing system – so you can make notes, start blog posts etc, save them – and access from another computer or smart phone with ease. Dropbox is extremely easy to use – simply install it, and it creates a folder on your computer called ‘my dropbox’, this folder is replicated in the cloud – meaning you can access it from anywhere providing you have an internet connection. To top it, a basic account which provides 2gb worth of storage is free.
Followerwonk is a great tool for searching the bio’s of twitter users – use select phrases and keywords and you’ll be able to track down useful influencers in your niche. So if you’re a tennis blogger try searching peoples twitter bios for keywords such as “roger federer” “tennis fan”. Notice I’ve put them in quotes – this narrows down the search so you don’t see peoples bios that have only the word “fan” in it. As lets face it, that will be a fair few.
Now ideally – you want to communicate with these people – not just spam your article to them asking for a retweet. Of course you can do that if you wish, just there’s probably better ways to go about it. And a sole retweet might not make a huge difference in traffic, however, building a relationship could result in every one of your articles being retweeted forever more. Which would you rather have?
Onlywire allows you to post your content to a number of social bookmarking and networking sites simultaneously. The basic plan is free, and thereâ€™s also a paid option allowing more submissions and greater levels of tracking. It really does take the time and pain out of having to individually submit to each site. So rather than heading over to stumbleupon, folkd, reddit etc etc separately – just head over to onlywire and roll it into one.
Hopefully this one should already part of most bloggers content strategy – but let’s include it just because Twitter is one of the best ways to get your content out there. Twitter allows you to share content, communicate with relevant people within your industry and also helps build your reputation as a blogger. Try to remember to help promote other peoples content and not just your own. Nobody wants to be following a shameless self-promoter.
Bit.ly is a URL shortening service – when you consider that when using twitter you only have 140 characters to play with – this service is invaluable. Simply paste your URL in, and it automatically creates a shortened version of it. Not only that – you can track the number of clicks your URL receives – so put it out on twitter – and see what happens. There’s also a pro version where you can create custom links to make them even more memorable with your brand name on the end. At $995 dollars per month, it’s hardly a steal but if you’re a big enough brand like Pepsi then it might be worth it. But hey – it’s something to work towards!
MyBlogGuest is a great service developed by serial blogger Ann Smarty. The benefits of using myblogguest are two fold – you get to expose your content to new audiences, and you get the opportunity to have free content provided for your blog by other bloggers. And who in their right mind turns down good free content? Especially when it will result in traffic.
Feedburner, powered by Google is a system for handling your blogs RSS feed and improving its delivery – you can have it delivered to email subscribers, automatically post new blog potsts to social networking accounts – and its powerful inbuilt analytics allow you to closely monitor how best to optimise your feed. Feedburner also is able to populate the number of RSS subscribers you have – and it lets you display that in a handy little widget. So if your blog becomes popular, then you might want to display how many xxxx subscriber you have and watch it go up on a daily basis.
Ping o Matic
Ping O Matic is a pinging service that notifies search engines, blog aggregators that your blog has been updated with fresh content – it can help with quicker indexation, as search engine crawlers will head over to your site to see what all the fuss is about. This in turn brings traffic. Don’t abuse it though – as your blog could get blacklisted by the ping services.
Where would any blogger be without Google analytics? Tracking visits to your site is the cornerstone to becoming and running a successful blog. Google analytics lets you drill down to some serious metrics to glean information about how visitors are behaving on your site – are they bouncing off? Do they visit the pages you want them to visit? All this can be ascertained from your analytics dashboard.
Jonathan Moss is a keen advocate of blogging to help businesses, he helps create content for Integral IT- an IT Support company based in Yorkshire who blog regularly around their industry with tips, hints in areas such as cloud computing, visualization and hosted desktops.