16 Blogging Resources to Improve Your Blog
Are you looking for tools to make the process easier?
Blogging is hard work and it takes a lot of time to do it well. Wouldn’t it be great if you could streamline parts of that process?
In this article, you’ll find a list of tools, apps and advice you can use to find your groove and take care of blogging business.
#1: Brainstorm Blogging Ideas
When you need inspiration for your next blog post, where do you go? You can avoid blogger’s block by trying out these idea-generators to quickly get your creative juices flowing.
How to Use Quora to Cook Up Great Content: Adrienne Erin writes a pretty inspiring post about scanning Quora to find popular conversations and using those topics to create blog content.
Don’t Know What to Write About? Get Ideas From the Blog Topic Generator [Free Tool]: Ginny Soskey introduces HubSpot’s handy new topic generator. You simply put in three terms (nouns) you’d like to blog about and the tool spits out several topics. Of course, the topics aren’t always 100% perfect, but you can tweak them to make them work for you.
Need a Google Alerts Replacement? Meet TalkWalker: Since the future of Google Alerts is unknown, this alternative tool, suggested by Gary Price, might do the trick.
#2: Get Organized to Be Productive
You have ideas, but now what? Keep track of them and organize your thoughts with cool online tools you can access from anywhere. Check out these resources that help you manage your ideas so you can make the most of your time.
How to Use Evernote as a Blogger: Michael Hyatt kills it in this timeless post where he shares his personal workflow using Evernote. His suggestion for setting up a blog template in Evernote is definitely worth the click.
15 Tips & Tricks to Get More Out of Google Drive: If you’re not using Google Drive, you’ll be surprised how much you can get out of it! Brian Voo’s article introduces some cool ways to use Google Drive to do everything from mind-mapping to editing images.
How to Use Google Calendar to Create an Editorial Calendar: The best way to keep track of your ideas is an editorial calendar. Some people use spreadsheets, others use pen and paper. Rebecca Livermore explains why you should switch to Google Calendar and even gives you a step-by-step guide for getting started.
#3: Optimize Your Content
Keywords not only help readers find you, they can also help you flesh out your post ideas. If you don’t know much about SEO (and really, even if you do), check out these posts that give you tips and advice about tools that can get you started.
Google Keyword Planner: The Ultimate Guide: Ask Ian Cleary any question about social media tools and he’ll write you an “Ultimate Guide.” So if you’re wondering about the ultimate tool for keyword research, look no further than his outstanding post about Google’s Keyword Planner.
Get SEO Tips When You Need Them: For novice bloggers who aren’t sure how SEO works, Matthew Tschoegl does a great job introducing InboundWriter’s WordPress plugin. It’s basically a “consultant on your dashboard.” It’s a paid plugin, but definitely check it out to see if it’s a fit for you.
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO: Moz is the SEO site. Their guide has been downloaded over a million times! That’s a good sign that it’s info you need. Even seasoned bloggers will learn a thing or two.
#4: Find or Make Your Own Images (Fast!)
You know how important compelling images are for your blog, but it’s not always easy or cheap to find them. These articles show you how to find copyright-free images or make stunning graphics of your own!
How and Why I Use Photo Pin to Find Free Images for My Blog: John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing explains why he stopped using iStockphoto, Shutterstock and other image sites and started using Photo Pin. Be careful—you might be persuaded to change your mind too!
Tool for Screenshots: Awesome Screenshot: If you’re still trying to capture screenshots using Command-Shift-3 or -4, stop! There’s a better way. Check out this simple demonstration by Amy Lynn Andrews.
How to Make a Banner for Your Blog Using Gimp (for free!): If you’ve ever wondered how to make cool banners and incorporate them into your blog post, this article by Karen Lewis of Simply Amusing Designs illustrates (complete with screenshots) how it’s done. Give it a try—it’s not difficult at all. [NOTE: This site is in construction until 2/28/14. Check the link next week.]
Creating a Header Image for Your Blog: PicMonkey is an awesome free site (with a premium subscription option) to create and edit photos for your blog. Julie DeNeen, from Fabulous Blogging, also offers more advanced tips in her post, 10 Design Tips Using PicMonkey That You Might Not Know About!
#5: Tell the World
After all of the hard work of writing and optimizing your blog post, you’d better make sure everyone in your network sees it and shares it with their friends too. Here are some nifty tools and guides to help your blog post go that extra mile.
5 Social Sharing Plugins Reviewed: Dan Norris lays it all out with “what we like” and “what we don’t like” about five popular sharing plugins. Now you’ll know what to expect before jumping in.
Need a New Tool? 3 Social Sharing Tools That Do Something Specific: I like how Amanda DiSilvestro emphasizes the “do something specific” aspect of these tools. Indeed, these three tools are so specific you’ve probably never heard of them, but you should definitely give them a whirl.
The Essential Guide to Content Sharing: Yes, another Ian Cleary article (because he’s the tool guru, remember?). This time Ian’s “Ultimate Guide” includes 13 tools you can use to get the word out about new posts. Some of the tools you’ve seen, some you haven’t and some you should probably use more. Definitely check this one out.
What do you think? Which of these tools have you tried? Please share your experience in the comment box below.