Creating and maintaining a blog can be hard work, as it takes a lot of trial-and-error and can cause many headaches and frustrations. If you truly want your blog to succeed, you have to treat it as a business; this often involves putting in long hours of research, tweaking, optimizing, and much more. While those who are new to blogging often don’t realize what they’re getting themselves into, they quickly learn that blogging is not for everyone. If you’re not willing to put in the work and effort, then you might as well quit while you’re ahead.
However, if you’re willing to go the long mile and do what it takes to keep your blog going, here are 5 essential tools that can help you with that. If you’ve been blogging for awhile, then you know that there are way more than 5 essential tools that you need as a blogger, but these are definitely 5 that you should be using if you aren’t already.
If you’re a Google Chrome user, this is one of those tools that almost makes it worth it to switch to Firefox (at least for blogging). This Firefox Add-on helps you find the most sought-after keywords for whatever you’re writing about. It happens all within the Firefox sidebar so that you never have to leave the current window/tab.
This is a very essential keyword research tool that shows you how popular a keyword is and then shows you how often it is used within your content, thus helping to increase your search engine rankings for those keywords.
There are a few ping optimizing plugins around that you can use for your WordPress blog, but MaxBlogPress is one of the most popular. Whenever you publish or edit a new post, WordPress pings it. This means that a single post could be pinged 10+ times in a matter of a few minutes. Unfortunately, this excessive pinging puts your blog at risk for being banned altogether from ping services, because it appears as if you’re spamming. So a ping optimizer is essential because it helps you to control how often your blog pings so that you won’t lose out on traffic.
While some users believe that these plugins are no long needed, since WordPress supposedly fixed the issue a few updates ago, it definitely won’t hurt to use it for extra precautions.
nrelate offers extremely useful and stylish tools for publishers like in-text linking, a most popular plugin, and a related content plugin. However, my favorite plugin of theirs that is great for any blogger (and eye catching too) is the flyout plugin. It works by flying out from the corner of the page once users scroll to the end of your article; it’s really great for suggesting more content that they may like.
This is “not just another related posts plugin, it’s a patent-pending technology that continuously analyzes your website content and displays other related posts from your website”. This, of course, results in higher pageviews and lower bounce rate since users will remain on your blog longer.
Additionally, you can also enable advertising for the plugin and it will display sponsored content mixed in with your related content, so that you can also make money. There are many different styles to choose from such as an animation style to thumbnails with text to Huffington Post style.
Social Sharing Buttons
There are so many social button options out there to choose from, that finding the right sharing tools for your blog can be overwhelming, but it’s definitely essential! If you’re looking to increase your Web presence and want others to be able to share your content, you must have share buttons somewhere on your blog. Some prefer buttons above their content, others below, and some even prefer on the left side of their content. There are also social toolbars that you can add that encompass social sharing buttons, plus a lot of other great features.
Here are a few choices that provide options for all preferences.
- AddThis – The AddThis Social Bookmarking Widget allows any visitor to bookmark and share your site easily with over 330 popular services. (Blogger version)
- Share and Follow – Add Share Icons, Follow Links, Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet and other buttons in the way you want. Simple & adaptable social networking.
- Sociable – You can get more Sociable with Sociable Skyscraper and easily getting Rating and Review of: posts, pages, comments, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Twitter.
- ShareThis – The ShareThis plugin seamlessly enables users to share your content through Email,Facebook,Twitter, Google +1, Like, Send and many more. (Blogger version)
I’m sure that I don’t have to tell you how important and essential it is to use an analytics tool. You can’t measure how well your blog is doing and you certainly can’t create a marketing plan if you don’t know anything about your traffic (how much you’re getting, where it’s coming from, what is being viewed the most, etc). Personally, I prefer a real-time tool to a static one because I can see everything as it happens.
So let’s take a look at a few tools (besides Google Analytics) that can really help.
- Woopra – Features real time web analytics, live chat, and web statistics including tracking conversion and funnel reports.
- Leftronic – Create a website dashboard in minutes. Combine data from Google Analytics, Twitter, Chartbeat, and others tools. Easy web reporting templates.
- Cyfe – Web-based software that helps you bring all your business metrics into one single location. Monitor individual departments, multiple websites and anything else.
- Newsbeat – Tracks the activity of every page you publish in real time, from the top performers to the diamond in the rough.
What are some of your essential blogging tools that you regularly use?