Blogging largely started as a hobby for people who loved sharing details about their day to day lives in written form. It has metamorphosed into a lucrative business that everyone wants a piece of.
These include big brands and small business owners who have realized the true potential in content marketing. It’s such a great way to put yourself out there while building an online presence.
If you want to make money blogging today, you have to start thinking like a startup and develop systems that scale your blog like a business, not a hobby.
Generally, tools help increase your productivity at any level of work. Technology continues to reduce the struggle and save on time; thus we should continue leveraging it in our daily personal and business use.
We shall highlight the 13 essential tools key to running a successful blogging business — whether you own your blog or you write for other blogs.
WordPress is an open-source system for content management that is reliable enough to create a blog, website or app. This platform is an ideal host that provides security, page speed and SEO features you need to start and scale your blog.
You only need basic knowledge to start your blog. The drag-and-drop block editor simplifies the process of customization.
If stuck, there are so many tutorials online that can help you with it. Otherwise, you can outsource a web developer to help you set up the blog, website or app.
Buzzsumo is a content marketing research tool that helps assess the content that already resonates with an audience to design better content around it and decide how best to promote it.
It lets you assess how popular a target keyword, blog topic, content in specific niches or how a particular URL is on social media channels. It can also help search for popular social media influencers for your email outreach.
Buzzsumo pricing plans range from $99-$499 per month. Google Trends works the same and is free.
Ahrefs is one of the most popular and comprehensive keyword research tools on the web.
Ahrefs provides in-depth keyword research, content analysis, search traffic data and competitor analysis, which are all needed to help grow organic traffic for your business.
The idea is to target the best keywords with the highest traffic and lowest difficulty to rank for.
Ahrefs plans have a $7 7-day trial plan, and the basic plan starts at $99 per month. Moz, SEMrush, Google Keyword planner are suitable alternatives.
Organize all your blog ideas and editorial content on Trello. Trello is a powerful visual project management tool that is ideal for managing all your tasks in one place.
I use it for my first raw blog drafts. The Kanban method of arrangement allows all the cards (tasks) to be visible through a bird’s-eye view. You can also manage team projects within Trello. The features are limitless.
One of my favourite power-ups from this productivity app is the calendar tool which allows you to assign due dates to a card and integrates with Google Calendar – making it possible to access assigned tasks from anywhere. This way, I remind myself of the order in which I shall write and publish the blog posts.
The free version available on mobile and web, has practically everything you need, but Trello still has the paid versions ideal for large teams.
Evernote is by far one of the best note-taking apps around. For writers, article ideas can pop up any minute of the day, and if you have no capture system, you might lose out on a potential life-changing story.
Evernote’s web clipper allows you to add notes and tags in the very organized notebooks, save search engine pages, collect clip articles and access them from any device with a simple search on the app.
Evernote supports PDF and other file formats, making it possible to save any media file or document. Its integration with Google allows one to preview Google Drive links from Evernote.
Evernote has a free plan as well as a premium and business plan.
Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar and spelling checkers. After pouring hours into research and writing, this tool comes in handy to suggest proper grammar for the articles you copy-paste in the editor.
You might as well draft the post there. It is a tool that underlines incorrect words or phrases, typos, or punctuation mistakes. It used to work so well on WordPress, but ever since the introduction of the block editor (Gutenberg), it is not as reliable on WordPress. You can still use it everywhere else.
You can use it together with a readability score checking tool such as the Hemingway App that enhances vocabulary and simplifies complex sentences into readable easy to grasp text.
Grammarly has a free version, though for more advanced editing features you have to upgrade. It also has the plagiarism checker feature, which is equally useful. It is available as a mobile app or a browser extension for your computer.
Canva is a graphic design tool that helps anyone to create social media graphics. Audiences are leaning more towards engaging visual content, and this should reflect in your web content.
Besides displaying quality images for your blog (use Pixabay for stock photos) that complement your words, you need branded graphics and templates for social media, which are interesting to look at and tell the story that drives audiences to react.
Canva is free and straightforward to use and does not need any prior graphic design experience, which makes it ideal for bloggers. You can still upgrade for more robust features. It is available on the web and as an app.
Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that publishes your Tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins and Instagram posts at the time you have scheduled. After writing content, you still need to promote it online to increase traffic to your pages.
Buffer does precisely that, saving you lots of time that you can redirect to other tasks. You can queue the blog posts according to the timings you have throughout the day. You can even schedule to send them multiple times, using different images and headlines each time.
Buffer’s free plan, which is available on its app and web, offers a maximum of 3 social media accounts and ten posts per day for one user. Hootsuite, the alternative, also works well.
9. YOAST SEO PLUGIN
By far, one of the best SEO plugins for WordPress. Yoast helps to optimize your content for search engines.
It guides the user with ease through each step of on-page optimization once you come up with a focus keyword. It displays how your title and meta description will look like on Google Search; hence you can make edits along the way. Correct anything in red or orange until you achieve good SEO or a green Y next to the publish button.
Another rich feature on the free version is the readability tool which suggests how you can improve your grammar, reading level and sentence structure. You can also change how the default featured image and description for your social sharing.
10. CHECK MY LINKS
Link building is an essential component of SEO that can determine whether you rank for Google.
While devoting time to get backlinks to your blog, and add internal links, take time also to check if the links are working. Those 404 errors can chase away prospects.
This free Google Chrome extension is a pretty fast link checker crawls pages for broken links and reports them almost immediately.
11. GOOGLE DOCS
Google Docs is a free online storage software that also doubles up as a content writing tool. It is the most popular app from G-suite.
Its automatic saving feature comes in handy, especially whenever you have interrupted power connections. All the data is stored in the cloud where you can easily access it from any other device as long as you have a Google account.
It has a user-friendly interface, making the writing process enjoyable. On the left-hand side of the document, table of contents are well summarized, allowing for a quick search within the same workspace.
The research tool enables one to search for more data from Google to add to the article such as quotes or visuals.
You can submit your work as an editable link, making it easier for the client to make direct changes to the document instead of first downloading it to create a copy.
Wave is a budget-balancing and management tool. It is a tool designed for freelancers and small businesses to keep track of your cash flow in expenditure and earnings.
It offers features such as accounting, invoicing, receipt storage, billing, payment tracking and finance management. It is available on the web and as an app.
MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics plugin on WordPress that showcases its data directly from the dashboard. It has a seamless tracking integration with services such as Woo Commerce, Google Adsense, and Yoast plugin.
You do not have to learn code to set it up, Just a few clicks and you’re well on your way to tracking eCommerce and other stats than can help understand your audience better.
Bloggers should use the right tools that ease their work, creating more time to scale the business and achieve significant results. To be a better blogger is to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow.
What tools are you currently using to blog or write online? Which ones mentioned here will you start with right away? Let us know.