When it comes to running a full-time blog, there are lots of things to be done – Create and curate content, reply to comments and emails, schedule social-media posts, interview influencers – the list goes on and on and on. It would, obviously, be impossible to do everything by yourself. In fact, there’s a lot of mechanical and boring work that you ought to put on auto-pilot. In order to do this, you’ve got to have access to the best available tools and resources to make sure your blogging goes smooth.
In this article, I’ll be sharing various blogging tools that’d help you and your blog grow. In fact, some tools are so important that it’d be impossible to survive in the blogging world without them.
These blog tools would help you to utilize your precious hours on things more meaningful. For now, I’ve tried to list as many I’ve come across. But over the period as I come across more cool stuff I’d replace them or add them to this list.
Note: Read Disclaimer page to know more about the links on this website
This Post has been divided, the tools and resources into various categories in order to make it easy for you to find a specific tool. Under every category hundreds of tools are available. In this article, Every tool has been described briefly and hence I’m mentioning only the ones I’ve used and thus I recommend.
The data on your website has to have a place to live. A hosting service provides with space for your data to live. You can get started for FREE on WordPress but it’s always better to shift to self-hosting and your own domain name as it has its added functionalities and you are the boss of your content.
- BlueHost The most widely used by hosting for WordPress based sites and recommended as #1 by WordPress. With over 2 million users and reasonable rates, I personally use and recommend BlueHost.
- Hostgator has over 8 million domains registered and is one another widely used hosting service around the globe.
- DreamHost Has been in the market for over 20 years and claim to have over 1.5 million websites, blogs and apps.
Generally, the above services are great to get started with as they provide everything you need at the start at affordable rates. But, as your site grows to millions of visitors you’d need to upgrade to a more powerful service which can handle that kind of traffic. Once you get there you can choose from one of these.
- WPEngine WPEngine provides managed WordPress hosting for critical sites around the world.
- Web Synthesis Provides secure and fast WordPress hosting. Even Darren Rowse from of ProBlogger uses this on his site.
- SiteGround SiteGround is another reliable web hosting service, which more than 500000 domains around the world use.
Choosing your Content Management System (CMS)
Choosing a CMS is another important aspect that you’d have to take care of when getting started. A CMS simplifies your job of handing your website as it provides a superb layout to add new pages, blog posts and other media to your site without much effort.
- org WordPress.org works best for beginners. With an easy to use interface – WordPress has made creating and running a blog extremely simple.
- com Wordpress.com comes with free hosting. Your domain name, though, would look like SiteName.wordpress.com (eg: growingmetrics.wordpress.com).
- Joomla It is best for e-commerce stores. But requires some technical understanding.
- Drupal It is comparatively difficult but equally powerful. It requires considerable HTML, CSS and PHP skills.
- Blogger It is an alternative that was bought by Google in 2003. It’s free to use and comes with basic blogging features.
- Tumblr It is owned by Yahoo, is another free blogging platform.
Of all the Websites that are based on Content Management Systems, WordPress is preferred by almost 60%.
Registering your Site’s domain name
Once you are decided with a name for your website you have to register it with a domain-name registrar. Usually, it’s best to register your domain name with your hosting service provider, but in case you don’t want to, here are your alternatives:
- NameCheap This is a leading ICANN-accredited domain name registrar and web hosting company. NameCheap has over a million customers and more than three million domains under management.
- GoDaddy publicly traded Internet domain registrar and web hosting company. It is said to have over 61 million domain names under management.
- NameJet This is a domain auction service that allows its users to register expired and deleted domains as well as special listed domains from registrar partners and other third party registrants.
Design and Themes
Attracting visitors of your website with eye-catching design, best user experience and easy to browse user interface – are an integral part of a successful website. And to ensure that – you’ve got to use a clean and Search Engine friendly theme.
- ElegantThemes This is a leading WordPress theme development company, it has large database for themes and provides user-friendly features
- ThemeForest There are over 27305 templates and themes, starting from over $2 on themeforest.
- Studiopress Has one of the best collections of most elegant premium themes. It might cost you a bit but it’s definitely worth it. GrowingMetrics is powered by the SPI theme from studiopress.
- MyThemeShop Has a customer base of over 74000 members and that too in a short span of 1.5 years. They have free as well as paid themes suitable for every different type of website.
- ThemeJunkie It has dozens of themes to choose from free as well as paid, themes suitable for every kind of website can be found; standing in market since 2009 it has over 25000+ customer base.
- ThemeFuse This is also a leading WordPress theme development company with dozens of themes to choose from, most of the themes are paid. Themes suitable of every kind of blog can be found.
When it comes to running a successful blog, remember, nothing’s more valuable than your visitors’ email address. You must, from day 1, start building your email list.
- AWeber It has a 31-day trial period, and is comparatively cheaper than others as your subscribers grow.
- MailChimp: MailChimp is a great email marketing software to get started with, as it’s FREE to use for up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month.
- ConvertKit ConvertKit is a premium, but powerful, email marketing tool which will help you maintain and grow your mailing list.
- Constant Contact This tool helps small businesses and organizations achieve success by creating and growing relationships with current and prospective customers.
- Email Hunter This tool doesn’t have anything to do with setting up and maintain email lists but it’s a very necessary tool. Email Hunter is the easiest way to find professional email addresses. Give a domain name and get the list of all the emails related to it found on the internet.
WordPress is an easy-to-use and highly recommended CMS by top bloggers around the world. If you go with WordPress, here’s a list of plugins you MUST install.
- Yoast A very popular WordPress plugin with over a million downloads. Many top bloggers use and recommend this. I’d definitely recommend you to install Yoast.
- All in one SEO pack Another very popular SEO plugin in WordPress. With over 15 million downloads it’s been powering many blogs since 2007.
Site Performance Plugins
Site loading speed is a factor in Google’s sophisticated ranking Algorithm. Moreover, you don’t want people to stop visiting your site because of a reason as silly as Site loading Speed. To ensure your site loads quickly install the following plugins.
- W3 total cache The most used plugin to increase site performance; it has some awesome caching abilities like page cache, database cache, object cache, browser cache, CDN integration and many more. It’s highly recommended by Hostgator.
- WP super cache This is a static caching plugin. It generates HTML files that are served directly by Apache without processing comparatively heavy PHP scripts, thus boosting the site performance.
Site Backup Plugins
Imagine a scenario, you’re a successful blogger running a huge blog, driving traffic and satisfying a huge audience with your content. Then one day, god forbid, your site gets hacked and all your content is vanished to the very last word.
What’d you do?
Such things happen even with the top-most bloggers in every industry.
In such a scenario you’d be better off if you’ve got the backup of all your data. Here’s some plugins that do this very important task.
- Backupbuddy Provides complete database and file backup that includes not only your WP database, but also your entire media library, theme files, plugins and everything else.
- Backwpup Schedules automatic backup of your WordPress installation and you can push this backup to an external backup service like Dropbox, S3, FTP and many more.
Websites, especially the ones with the huge audience are prone to viruses and attacks by hackers. It’s said Prevention is better than Cure. As we’ve discussed earlier about the site hacked scenario, wouldn’t it be better to take necessary steps and try to improve your site’s security rather than having to take backup once your data’s gone.
- Securi Is hands down the best and most effective (cost-wise) security service in the WordPress industry. It saved SmartBlogger (previously BoostBlogTraffic) from getting destroyed when it was hacked.
- Wordfence Wordfence security is fairly new created in 2011; it continuously prevents patrols and protects your WordPress websites against today’s ultra-advanced cyber-attacks, hacks and online security threats.
Social Media Sharing Plugins
To ensure the visitors share your articles with their friends and followers on social media, you’ve to make it super-easy to share your articles.
- Sumome Within its suite of incredible free tools, Sumome also provides responsive floating social media buttons.
- Floating social bar Floating social bar is one of the best plugin social media sharing plugin available for WordPress. Floating social bar is a light-weight WordPress plugin that adds a horizontal floating share bar to your blog posts, pages, etc.
- Monarch I would recommend this personally, it has over 20 social networks to choose from, you can add sharing buttons in 5 different locations; it has 6 automatic popup and fly in triggers.
If you have ever wanted to build your website (the structure of your site) the way you want, you can make use of page builders.
- Velocity page It brings intuitive page layout abilities to WordPress. This plugin is compatible with every theme you choose, this is a great tool if you want to build awesome pages.
- Page builder by SiteOrigin This is another cool drag and drop page layout building tool. There’s no need to have any technical knowledge to build pages using this tool.
Blog Writing and Note Making Tools
Creating awesome blog articles is one of the most important tasks if you’ve got a blog section on your website (which you should). It’s always better to have good software to create content. It’s not just about writing blog posts. You could note down a couple ideas for creating new content and run through them later. You could write transcript for your next podcast or video.
- Evernote This is a cross-platform, free tool which is specially designed to take notes and to sync your notes to any of the cross-platform devices. It’s really awesome, you can take notes anywhere you want – while commuting, while attending a seminar, etc. and everything you’ve noted will be present in your computer when you get home at night.
- Microsoft Word MS Word doesn’t need mentioning – it’s world famous with incredible features. I usually use it to draft my blog posts.
- Open Office Suite If you don’t have access to MS Office you can draft your Blog posts by creating a text Document from the Open Office Suite. It’s FREE of cost and extremely powerful. A tool I’ve personally used and still do. It comes in with a great tools suite:
- Open Live Writer A great tool to draft your blog posts. You can add images, videos and then upload it on your website. Integrates well with a variety of platforms like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Mobeable.
Title Generation Tools
Titles have a very huge responsibility. 80% of people ignore what’s following after reading the title. Thus, it’s necessary – you create persuasive titles that would compel people to continue reading. Some cool tools that’d help you come up with titles for your content:
- HubSpot Blog Title Generator Insert some nouns and keywords around which you’ve written your article and HubSpot’s title generator will come up with a couple combinations. This will help you get some ideas for your title and you can easily create a new title.
- Title generator by tweekyourbiz It gives lots of topic ideas. You’ll be overwhelmed by the number of ideas it generates, it produces titles based on different categories.
- Portent Title Maker Enter your subject and you’ll get a title with some notes around. You can get as many titles by hitting the refresh button next to your subject.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer Enter the headline you’ve decided for a piece into the analyzer. It’ll analyze it based on its algorithm and provide you with how much your headline scores in different tests:
No matter how much you try, your articles will always have some minute errors, like a few grammatical and/or spelling mistakes. So, it’s better to get your articles scanned. These are some of the tools, that’d help you with it.
- Grammarly proof reader This is an online tool which automatically detects grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice and style mistakes in your writing.
- Polish my writing It is an easy to use grammar checking tool, just paste your text and this tool will come up with suggestion.
- Paperrater This is another awesome online alternative.
- Spellchecker This is an online tool, which is integrated with intelligent speller and grammar checker. It offers several options that will help you better understand the corrections made to your text.
Images for your Content
Images add rich value to your content. But finding and adding the right images is not easy. Many times you’ll find the right images but they’ll have some copyright issue and you cannot use it on your website. A couple times you’ll not find the images at all. These are a few sites where you’ll find stock images that you can use on your website.
- Pixabay Pixabay is a great place to start with when you want to find images for your articles or social media posts. It has a huge collection of over 730,000 FREE images.
- FreePik On this site you’ll find thousands of awesome graphics, vectors and photos. And they’re all FREE to use.
- Unsplash Here you’ll find images of the highest quality. The best part? They are FREE to use wherever you want, for whatever you want.
- Gratisography Free high quality images. Can be used for personal as well as commercial projects.
- Flickr Flickr owned by Yahoo, it has different kind of licensed images, out of you want to find images with a creative commons license. You can use them on your site for free; just make sure you give proper credit.
- Shutterstock Incredible collection of images, but it’s a premium tool – plans start with 49$.
Content generation ideas
Finding topics is one of the toughest tasks. It’s necessary to choose topics which are still relevant, do well on social media, get traction and haven’t been covered in detail yet.
- BuzzSumo BuzzSumo is a great place to find influencers. You’ll find topics – categorized – based on the time scale, most shared, etc. It offers a 14-day free trial. If you aren’t sure – you can sign-up and check it out for 14 days.
- Quora Very much under-valued. Quora is another great place to find ideas. As it’s a Q&A site, you’ll get first-hand information about the problems people in your niche are facing, for FREE.
- Google trends You could create content around a trending topic in your niche. Or, you can check out if the topic you’ve chosen hasn’t got out of trend.
- Ahrefs This will help you to find the most shared content for any desired topic, type keywords like ‘content marketing’ and you will get desired result.
- Google Related Searches: Whenever you are creating content on a topic, Google it and head down to the bottom of the page – where you’ll find searches that are related to the topic you entered. It’s a great way to come up with a long tail idea.
If you want traffic from organic search results, you need to list out some keywords that you want to rank for and analyze the competition for that keyword and incorporate them in your blog posts.
- Google keyword planner Keyword planner is a free AdWords tool. You can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even create a new keyword list to get even better results.
- Google suggest This is nothing but your Google search bar, where you search for different queries, and get the desired results, start typing keywords you will get further suggestions.
- Wordstream This is another keyword research tool. It’s free but restricted to only 1 search per day which is almost nothing, so you’ve got to get the paid plan.
- SEMrush This is a tool is an all in one SEO tool including keyword research tool.
- Ubersuggest Another free tool, you can use to get a variety of keyword ideas.
Image and video editing tools
Sometimes, you’ll want to edit images and videos that you want to use on your website. Here are some tools to get that done.
- Canva This is an online tool specially built for design purpose. It has a wide variety of design features with hundreds of free and paid templates and images to choose from. Even if you’re not good at designing you can come up with some decent graphics for your blog.
- Camtasia This is a screen recording tool, which has the ability to record any part of the screen, you can edit audio and video separately, add your own recorded audio, etc.
- Magisto A free online tool, which provides some basic video editing functionality.
- CamStudio Is an Open Source, free tool that’ll record all the video and audio activity on your computer and create industry standard AVI video files.
- Sparkol videoscribe Another awesome video editing tool, which I’d personally recommend.
- MakeWebVideo This is one of the best professional animation video makers. ShoutMeLoud’s ‘Harsh Aggarwal’ achieved some great results using this.
- Piktochart Pictochart is an easy way to design Infographics, reports and presentations It has a weekly updated library of 500+ professionally designed templates.
- Photoshop You’d definitely heard of this one. Certainly one of the best, but not recommended if you don’t already know how to use it – as it would take a couple weeks to learn and get started.
- Gimp This an open source tool, with the ability to manipulate images, easy to use, packed with basic tools needed for image editing.
- Audacity This is an open source audio editing tool, As of July 2015 it has exceeded 10 million downloads.
Social Media and monitoring Tools
With millions of people using Social media, it’s necessary to utilize these platforms to the fullest.
- Buffer Buffer is an awesome tool to share and schedule your social media posts. If you’re a beginner you can get started for free.
- Hootsuite Hootsuite is an incredibly powerful social media management tool. With this tool you can engage with your audience, schedule posts and measure your growth on social media. Like Buffer even Hootsuite is free to get started.
- Tweriod It’s a free Twitter tool that analyzes your Twitter audience and tells you what the best time to tweet is.
- Followerwonk A twitter analysis tool by Moz, which provides features like analysis and optimization. It comes with free as well as paid plans.
- SocialQuant Social Quant is a paid tool to boost your Twitter growth and get relevant, targeted followers who’d be ready to do business with you.
- Conversionsbox It’s a great free tool to help boost your Facebook likes through your website without annoying your audience.
- BuzzSumo I know I’ve already mentioned this. But it’s must I mention it here. BuzzSumo is an awesome place to find the influencers in your brand and what topics are most shared on social media.
- FanPageKarma Another social monitoring and analytics tool that comes in with a variety of features and many plans.
- Socialmention This is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information.
- PinGroupie PinGroupie has a collection of almost group boards from Pinterest. You can find boards relevant to your business from PinGroupie.
- BoardBooster BoardBooster has a variety of Pinterest automation features like scheduling pins, clearing up unwanted pins, finding out your best boards and the best time to pin.
Blog Stats and Analytics
If you want your reach, brand and audience to grow over-time – you’ve got to monitor your growth and plan things accordingly.
- Google Analytics As soon as you create your site you must sign-up for Google Analytics. This is the best free analytics tool available.
- Kissmetrics This is another awesome tracking tool, built to optimize, track, and analyze your digital marketing.
- Crazyegg Another alternative you could try out.
- Open web analytics This is an open source web analytics tool that you can use to track and analyze how people use your websites and applications.
- Jetpack Plugin It comes with a feature called WordPress Stats, wherein you’ll get a detailed report of the number of people who’ve visited your website based on segregations like daily, monthly and also on the basis of countries.
Once you started creating good content, bring in traffic you can monetize your blog. Not that you can’t do it from the start but it won’t fetch you as much as when you’ve got traffic.
- Google AdSense This is probably where most of the people start with. You can generate revenue, using this tool, on the basis of pay-per-click or per-impression.
- Amazon and Flipkart affiliate Just place ads of affiliate products from amazon and flipkart on your site and you will get a certain commission on every product people buy after clicking through the advertisement on your site.
- Outbrain This tool is an advertising-focused content discovery platform whose content marketing module is designed to help internet publishers increase web traffic by presenting sponsored website links.
- Chitika This is good alternative to Google AdSense, but, with lower payout.
- Other affiliate products Like Amazon, many services provide have their affiliate program wherein they’ll pay you if you could send some customers their way via links or banners on your site. To know more check out this article or this and maybe this.
Pop Ups and opt-ins
You can use popups or opt-ins to grow your email list or to sell your new product.
- SumoMe SumoMe is an incredible collection of free tools which will help boost your email list. They also have paid plans which come with great additional features.
- OptinMonster Create and A/B test beautiful lead capture forms without having to code.
- Popover A popup box that appears when the user clicks on an element. The popover can contain much more content.
- Afterpost This is a powerful plugin to add text, signature or a form at the end of each post. So this way after reaching the end of your article people may sign up for your email letter.
- MailMunch Used to build beautiful lead generation templates to grow your business. Comes with free as well premium plans.
- Hellobar This an awesome tool, which helps to promote your content with buffer, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter, helps in increasing your following, getting more email subscribers, direct visitors to a page on your website and helps in testing the messages that work best for your website visitors.
- Leadpages This is the easiest tool to generate best landing pages for your blog. You can customize copy, colors, and images and more, it has extensive font collection to match your site, you can turn any page into an Opt-in, sales or webinar page, easily integrate with email service providers, you can setup all of these things in minutes.
Website to host your Videos
Whenever you create a video you need to upload it somewhere so that it has a place to live. The following are some options:
- YouTube Obviously, the first thing that’ll come to your mind when you hear the word video. With more than a billion users YouTube is the most popular video streaming channel on the planet.
- Wistia Wistia is a video hosting company wherein you can host your videos and they can be embedded on your blog easily.
- Vimeo Like YouTube, Vimeo is a video hosting and sharing platform and can be used as an alternative to YouTube.
As a Blogger – with all the content creation and promotion, time sometimes flies away quickly. So it’s necessary to keep track of what you’ve done and what you still have to do. This can become simpler with calendar apps that you can use to schedule your day.
- Google Calendar A widely used Google app, which can work very well to schedule your day. I personally use Google Calendar and like it very much.
But, for some reason, if you hate Google you can check these out:
- SolCalendar An awesome Android app which schedules your month plans your events, checks forecasts and does lots more. It can sync in with your accounts like Google, Daum, Yahoo, etc. and can fetch all your schedules from those accounts.
- Sunrise Chrome extension and browser based application. Available on Android, iOS and the web.
- Momentum Available on Google Chrome, as an extension – it will help you stay motivated to meet your deadline.
Get Your Job Done
Once your blog grows, things become difficult to handle and manage. This is the time you need help. Creating content, maintaining social media profiles, writing blog posts, the list is endless. There’s loads to do.
- Fiverr Is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services, starting at a $5 per job performed, from which it gets its name.
- Upwork Is a place where you’d find people for almost every job – from web designing to accounting – ready to work for you on an hourly wage basis.
- Freelancer Is another similar platform like Upwork – where you can find freelancers to get your job done.
- 99designs Great place to get your logos, banners, graphics done. Also offers web designing services and much more.
- Truelancer Truelancer is an Indian startup; where you can hire freelancers and grow your business.
Promote Your Blog
Blogging isn’t just about creating content and sitting back, hoping for people to find and like your content. Promotion must be an integral part of your blogging strategy.
- Flipboard This tool collects content from social media and other websites and presents it in magazine format, and allows users to “flip” through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company.
- WiseStamp WiseStamp enables users to include social profiles and dynamic Email Apps in their emails. It integrates with email services such as Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail, Hotmail, and Live Mail. Users can design their email signature and link to their social profiles.
- Triberr Triberr is a social network for bloggers. The idea is to find other bloggers who write about the same topics.
- Social Media With 1.65 billion people using Facebook, 300 million people using Twitter, 700 million people using Instagram and millions using other mainstream social media platforms, ignoring social media to promote your blog would be a risky move.
- Social Bookmarking Similar to Social Media, bookmarking platforms like Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon have gained a lot of traction. With more than 100 million people using Social bookmarking – it’s another great place to put your message out.
Content marketing tools
Some of the best tools to attract your readers via content marketing ( Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action)- content marketing institute.
- Feedly This tool offers a better way to organize, read and share the content of your favorite sites.
- Sumome As I’ve already said – Sumome is a set of free tools, to increase your website traffic, it also comes in with some premium additions. But to get started the free tools are powerful enough.
- Buzzstream Buzzstream will help you in better outreach and link building.
- Tomoson This tool provides a service to find bloggers who are interested in doing product reviews or where bloggers can find products that they would like to review.
Leads and Conversions
When running an online business it’s necessary to monitor your visitors’ behavior, generate leads and convert.
- Optimonk Optimonk helps harness the power of onsite re-targeting to recover lost leads, turn visitors into customers and boost conversions like no other software on the market.
- Markethub Markethub is a Premium Twitter lead generation platform to generate inbound leads from Twitter and maximize your Return on Investment.
- Sniply You can add a call-to-action to every link you share. Whenever someone visits that particular page your link is pointing to they’ll see your call-to-action.
Link Shortening Tools
- Bitly Bitly is a link shortener. You can shorten links that are too big. Short links usually get more clicks on social media. All your shortened links can be tracked and analyzed to see what performs the best.
- Google URL shortener Google’s alternative to the URL shortening service. It provides similar features like bitly. You’ll be able to track and analyze shortened links.
other important tools:
- KingSumo Helps you host a giveaway competition to boost your mailing list. One of the most widely used tools when it comes to creating viral giveaways.
- SEOQuake A free software for browsers that provides powerful Search Engine metrics for any page many other features like SEO Audit, examination of internal and external links and much more.
- Visually Create beautiful visual content that works using visually. It’s a premium but renowned service.
Let Me Know!
What are your favorite blogging tools? Which ones did I not include here that you would add to the list?
I’ll test them and add or replace them if I find them better than the ones already present.