Blogging isn’t easy.
There’s a common misconception that bloggers just write. And as a full-time blogger for your own site or maybe multiple clients, you know that writing is just one of many responsibilities.
Beyond writing creative text, bloggers must develop attention-grabbing topics, create eye-popping visuals, and promote their posts on social media. Plus, there’s the business of blogging that includes tracking time, signing contracts, and collecting payments.
That’s why it’s so important for bloggers to use tools to make their lives less hectic. Here’s a list of 15 tools every ambitious blogger needs to excel in their craft and business.
1. Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator
So, it’s time to write. You sit down at your computer and stare at it for 30 minutes. You’re experiencing a bad case of writer’s block. The creative juices aren’t flowing.
To break through this mental barrier, try using Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator. This tool will help you generate ideas fast. Type in a few terms in the form. And voila! The generator produces a week’s worth of blog topics.
Most writers will agree that writing is only 20% of your job. The other 80% is editing. Writers continue to refine their writing to give readers their best work. It’s how they master the skill.
Grammarly makes you a better writer by spotting grammatical errors and offering synonym suggestions. It’s like having a virtual editor.
“With Grammarly, we have managed to eliminate almost every type of mistake that could potentially sneak their way through our editorial process. Grammarly has lead us to much higher customer satisfaction rates and fewer headaches for everyone involved in the content creation process,” says James Kosur, chief marketing officer at Presto Media.
3. CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer
Headlines rank as one of the most significant parts within a blog post. If you can’t capture people’s attention in a few seconds, it’s likely that your post will never get read.
CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer helps you solve that problem by scoring your titles. The analysis includes the overall structure, grammar, and readability of your headline. Moreover, you’ll learn whether your title needs an added boost of emotion.
Blogging is very competitive with the growing number of content pieces being published every single day. People want their voices heard.
To scope out the competition, use BuzzSumo to explore what types of content get traction. Also, learn who is sharing content and how that content compares to your posts.
“With BuzzSumo you can type in a specific keyword and get a list of the most shared content related to that keyword. That way you can see what was involved and attempt to duplicate the results (or “10x” as they say),” writes Jordan Lore, a content marketer and PPC manager at Wishpond.
Research uncovers that content paired with a relevant image boosts people’s retention of the information by 65%. Therefore, it’s essential that your blog post contains jaw-dropping visuals.
With Canva, you can produce high-quality graphics for your post. Choose from millions of images and hundreds of fonts. It’s drag-and-drop feature makes designing easy for beginners. If you ever need inspiration, check out the brand’s interactive tutorials.
6. Keyword Planner
How will your target audience find your content? It all starts with boosting your organic search traffic.
Google’s Keyword Planner is effective for forming keyword ideas, viewing historical statistics, and generating traffic forecasts.
“Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start plugging in keywords that are relevant to your site to see what the competition for each of those keywords looks like. This will help you eliminate the ones you shouldn’t be optimizing for and select the ones that can work best to drive traffic to your site,” states Forbes contributor Jia Wertz.
7. Sprout Social
Content promotion amplifies the reach of your work. So it makes sense to use social media because it helps spread your message to a diverse audience. However, managing multiple platforms is a time-consuming task.
That’s where Sprout Social comes to the rescue. This platform lets you schedule and publish your content across several social channels. With its powerful analytics, you’ll identify your best content and discover trending topics in your mentions.
8. Constant Contact
Email marketing plays an integral role in connecting directly to your audience. Your subscribers are already familiar with your content and want to read your emails.
With customizable templates, Constant Contact gives you the flexibility to shape your message. And you can track your success in real-time.
“One of the key perks to using Constant Contact (vs. sending emails manually) is that you can track the successfulness of your emails. Constant Contact tells you how many people opened the message, clicked a link inside the message or forwarded the email to a friend,” says Jeremy Marsan, a business analyst and staff writer for Fit Small Business.
An online presence is critical for bloggers to build their brand and attract new readers or clients. A website makes it possible for you to show off your skills and portfolio.
From site building tools to templates, HostGator gives you everything to launch your website right now. The WordPress Hosting plan also empowers bloggers to manage website content more efficiently.
When you’re engulfed in your work, it’s easy to forget how much time has elapsed. Knowing the time it takes to complete specific tasks helps you manage your time efficiently.
Toggl makes sure you never lose a minute of your billable time. To increase client satisfaction, you can send reporting straight to their inboxes. No Wifi? Not a problem. The tool offers offline support.
When tax season rolls around, scrambling for pertinent documents will only add to your frustrations. Every professional blogger needs accounting software to create, send, and track invoices.
Wave helps you stay organized and run a better business. Within the software, track income and expenses to understand your cash flow. You also can connect your bank accounts for transactions to appear in your bookkeeping.
It’s difficult to stay productive when you receive hundreds of emails per day. Without even noticing, a few crucial emails might slip through the cracks, causing more chaos.
“With Sortd you can sort your emails into actionable lists. Just drag and drop an email from the left pane—your inbox—into one of the lists you’ve created on the right. You can use the lists for follow ups, receipts, or anything else you see a need for.”
Whether you’re signing brand partnership agreements or a new client contract, you don’t want the burden of paperwork. You need a digital solution.
DocuSign starts the signing process with quick access to your documents. Trust that your electronic signature is secure and legally binding. The platform uses the strongest data encryption technologies to protect your privacy.
We live in a mobile culture. You constantly bounce around between multiple locations. So it’s common to forget your laptop that contains all your work files somewhere.
Dropbox solves that problem by giving you access to your files from any device. Forgot your laptop? Just open them from your mobile phone. The tool also makes it convenient to collaborate on projects with your partners or teammates.
Want to receive timely payments? Of course, you do! However, invoicing payments to your overseas clients isn’t always a simple task.
TransferWise calculates the real exchange rate so you don’t lose any money. Choose to send payouts to your email or bank accounts. On top of that, this tool is 8x cheaper than banks.
Take Your Pick
Yes, the life of a blogger is sometimes unorganized and stressful with back-to-back deadlines. Fortunately, you can move in a positive direction.
Start using these tools to accelerate your writing and business. They will help you increase your productivity, so that you can become a better blogger.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.