What blogging tools do you use to stay productive? To create content? This week I share 10 of my favourite blogging tools on the Blogcentric podcast.
I remember my dad’s toolbox clearly. It was layered, slightly rusty and creaked when it opened. Like every father in the 80s he tried to avoid DIY, that shelf never did get put up.. but his toolkit was always at the ready even if he wasn’t.
I too have a toolbox and even though it’s almost empty, a hammer, some screwdrivers, bike fixing tools and a set of Allen keys.I still feel kinda proud of it. These are my tools, they represent my ability to fix stuff.
My online toolbox does the same thing. It gives me the ability to fix things. Today I’m going to have a rummage around and pull out 10 blogging tools that can help you create better content, banish procrastination and stimulate ideas.
Listen Below To Discover My 10 Top Blogging Tools
Tool 1 – Written Kitten
I find it really hard to write straight into WordPress, I’m not sure why but even in ‘distraction free mode’ I get distracted. I also find it hard to write in applications like Microsoft Word, I get distracted by layouts and fonts.
For years now every single thing I’ve written; blog posts, letters, quotes for work have been composed in Written Kitten.
What is Written Kitten?
Written Kitten rewards you for every 100 words that you write, with a picture of a cat. It’s a simple as that, there’s not text styling or fancy buttons. All it does is register the number of words you have written and shows you pictures.
If you don’t like cats you can choose something else as a reward. Dogs, rabbits, cake, chocolate, whatever takes your fancy.
Written Kitten is free to use.
Tool 2 – Wordcounter
Wordcounter is a more sensible distraction free, word counting, writing tool. It has some nice features. For example, if you are a speaker or a podcaster it will estimate how long it takes to read your work out loud.
If you are focusing on SEO it will measure your keyword density (how often the term you want to rank for on search engines appears in your copy).
According to Yoast the ideal keyword density for your posts is between 0.5 and 2.5% of your content. Wordcounter makes it easy to stay within those limits.
Wordcounter is free to use.
Tool 3 – Hemingway Editor
I write at speed and rarely look beyond the last five to ten words I’ve written. This helps me beat procrastination. If I don’t stop I can’t get distracted. My next step is to edit that mess into something a bit more readable. That’s where Hemingway app comes in.
When you paste your work it into Hemmingway editor it picks out sentences that are hard to read and very hard to read. It also highlights if you use passive voice, too many adverbs or complicated phrases.
Eliminating these highlights can make editing an almost fun experience.
Hemingway offers a free online tool and a downloadable premium version.
Tool 4 – Strict Workflow
If you are a procrastinator there’s some good news. According to ‘scientists’ procrastination is a sign that you are a creative person.
This doesn’t stop procrastination being a problem. Strict Workflow, a plugin for the Chrome browser could be the solution. It limits access to sites like Facebook and Twitter for 25 minutes at a time.
Strict Workflow is based on the Pomodoro technique. It is free to use.
Tool 5 – Grammarly
I suffer from mild dyslexia and although I use regular spell checkers both online and in documents I still make mistakes all the time. Grammarly has been a life saver for me. A regular spell checker misses lots of grammatical errors and common word misspellings. Grammary picks most of them up.
This is another Chrome browser plugin. It underlines grammatical errors in green and spelling errors in red. Just hovering your cursor over an underlined word will prompt solutions and replacements.
Grammarly is free to use and you can upgrade to a premium version.
Tool 6 – Mailchimp
If you compose an email by hand each time you want to send your latest blog post to your mailing list you are wasting a lot of time. I use Mailchimp to automate the process using the ‘RSS driven campaign’ option.
This will check your blog at set periods and email your list either each time it finds a post, or you can ask it to send a weekly digest of posts from your blog.
Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
Tool 7 – Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer
Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer evaluates your blog titles for emotion. In theory, if you evoke emotion with your headline people are more likely to click.
I’ve been using this religiously ever since episode 18 of this podcast. Although it’s too early to know if I’m getting more clicks on my titles I can see a definite improvement in the quality of my headlines.
This tool is free to use.
Tool 8 – BuzzSumo
BuzzSumo identifies the top shared posts related to any keyword or phrase you give it. You can also ask it to search your own, or your competitors website to find top shared content.
This is a useful tool for finding inspiration, understanding what sort of posts get shared and for finding content to share on my social media channels.
BuzzSumo is a paid tool with some free features.
Tool 9 – PS Express
Do your phone photos lack a bit of oomph? PS Express (short for Photoshop Express) is my default photo editing tool for my phone. It allows you to automatically enhance your images, add filters, frames and edit contrast, brightness and colours.
PS Express is free to use and is available for iPhone, Android and Windows.
Tool 10 – Canva
You start with a social media template, there are loads to choose from. I use the ‘Facebook ad’ size for my main blog image and ‘Pinterest’ for the Pinterest share image at the bottom of my posts.
Once you have created your first image it’s easy to duplicate it and tweak the design for each new blog post.
I upgraded to ‘Canva for work’ and it’s well worth the investment. I can plug in the elements from my style guide (I talked about these before back in episode 9) making it easy to quickly create on-brand images every time.
Canva is free. Upgrading to Canva For Work costs $12.95 USD per month.
Bonus Tool – PicMonkey
Although Canva is great for creating images if you are serious about image editing you’ll need something a bit more robust. That’s where PicMonkey comes in*. If you sign up for royal (and it’s well worth it) You get access to all sorts of editing tools including one that will airbrush out your wrinkles (not that I’d ever use that).
PicMonkey is free to use. The upgrade to Royal costs $33 USD per year.
These are my top 10 blogging tools. I’ll be looking at WordPress plugins in episode 22 so don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes.
Let me know if you use any of these blogging tools and find them useful. I’d also love to hear your own recommendations in the comment section.
Don’t forget to tune into my weekly Facebook Live show every Friday at 4pm on the Spiderworking.com Facebook page. I’d also love to meet you on Snapchat where I share a mixture of tutorials, silly facts and backwards talking (you’ll find me by username ‘spiderworking’)
*Affiliate link – I get a cut of the sales if you buy after clicking this link.