I have been blogging for the last 5 years. I started my blogging journey with Blogger.com, but soon I switched to self-hosted WordPress blog. Over the period of time, I came to know about lots of blogging tools that helped me perform different tasks related to blogging. Whenever I want to perform a specific task, I look out for different ways to do that. It’s also true as my experience in blogging niche increases; I will become a better blogger and will have much improved list of blogging tools.
I came to know about lots of blogging tools through my own experience and there were some tools that were recommended to me by my follow bloggers and my blog readers. In today’s post, I’m intended to share the list of best blogging tools I’m using in personal and would recommend the same to you to become a professional blogger.
Image Related Tools
For doing activities like image resizing, screen capturing and for making small changes into images, I use the following tools:
I love to use MS Paint for image editing, resizing and screenshot capturing.
I use PicResize.com website for image resizing and for saving images in different extensions. I do all these activities to lower down the size of images that I’m uploading on my blogs.
Limitation with lots of image capturing tools including MS Paint is that, they used to capture just visible area on a web page. What you will do if you need to add an image of many screens on your blog posts. This is where Fire Shot comes in handy. I’m using FireShot Google Chrome extension for screen capturing related activities.
New Content Ideas
As a blogger, I need lots of ideas that I can use for drafting my blog posts. Some of blogging tools which really help me in this direction are:
I have subscribed to lots of blogs in the blogging niche and I keep track of their latest blog posts through my Google Reader account. If I manually start keeping track of latest blog posts on my favourite blogs, things could be really difficult. Reading blog posts from blogs of my interest increase my knowledge about different topics; give me more ideas for future blog posts, blog posts for commenting and finding blogs for guest blogging kind of activities.
You can keep track of latest happenings around the topics of your interest through Google Alerts. You can find latest news, discussions, blog posts, videos and books etc. about the search term you enter into your Google Alert account. There are lots of customization options available to make sure your inbox is not flooded with too many unwanted alerts. I’m using Google Alerts to keep an idea on latest offers and developments about the products related to blogging. And if you are blogging about news items, Google Alerts would be one of must have blogging tool for you.
SEO Tools for Effective Blogging
No doubt I use lots of tools and plugins in my daily routine. Here I’ll be sharing few most effective SEO tools for highly effective and professional blogging.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
I use Google Adwords Keyword tool for doing keyword research around topics of my interest. When I enter a search term in it this keyword research tool from Google, I get lots of valuable insights about that keyword like monthly searches trend, competition and average cpc for that term. Apart from that term, I get lots of additional keyword ideas that can be the base of my future posts. Best thing about this keyword tool is that, you can search keywords according to a specific country and the kind of money you will need to invest if you are thinking of running a PPC campaign on Google adwords or the amount of money you will be making (Through Google Adsense) after getting top rankings on Google for those keywords.
Manual Search on Google
Before blogging about a topic, I also used to have a look at the kind of competition I will be facing on Google for that topic. I look at the authority and popularity of websites that are ranking in top 10 results on Google for that term. I make searches for exact search term and usage of targeted term at title level. If you ask me what are the targeted terms for this blog posts. I would say blogging tools, best blogging tools, list of blogging tools etc.
So I would be making searches like “Blogging Tools” and intitle:”blogging tools” on Google search to get a better idea about the competitive websites for these terms.
Easy WP SEO Plugin
No doubt Easy WP SEO is a great tool for doing Onpage optimization for your blog posts. I have been using it for more than six months now and have been really happy for choosing it. It’s available with a one-time fee of $37 only. Easy WP SEO is available as a plugin for WordPress blogs. You can know more in detail about EasyWPSEO plugin from this link.
SEO Smart Links
You can use SEO Smart Link plugin to interlink your blog contents in an SEO optimized way. It’s a great way to build some targeted internal links for blog posts of highest priority.
Broken Link Checker
For standard websites, I use Xenu, a broken link checker tool to find broken links. But for WordPress blogs, there are easy and cool solutions available. Xenu will just give you a list of broken links only. But with WordPress, there are plugins like broken link checker which will give you the list of all broken links on your blog and also help you in carrying out the desired actions on these links.
Keyword Density Checker Tool
I use to carry out keyword density for my own and competitor websites contents using Keyword Density Analyser Tool from SEOBook.com website here. There is no exact percentage which can be called as ideal keyword density. But the way Google is carrying out various changes to its search engine algorithms, keeping keyword density in lower range of 2 to 3% should keep you safe for longer period of time. If you are using a keyword density of 8 to 10% in your blog posts, that could be treated as a method to differentiate between quality blog posts and keyword rich and spammy blog posts by Google in its feature updates.
Visitors and Website Performance Tracking
I use the following blogging tools to keep track of visitor’s activities and to carry out different webmaster related activities on my blogs:
I’m a big fan of Google Analytics as It gives me deep insights about my blog visitors behaviour without asking me for a single penny. I use Google Analytics to keep track of most performing keywords, new keywords, bounce rate with other engagement metrics and locations from where I’m getting traffic on my blog. I came to know about other websites that are sending traffic to my blog through referral section in Google analytics. Apart from these there are many more features I use from Google Analytics. Once you start using Google analytics, you will automatically start knowing more in detail about it and how to use Google Analytics effectively for carrying out better SEO and Engagement related activities on your website.
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools account serves lots of purposes. Here are some of activities you can carry through your Google Webmaster Tools account:
- Geographical targeting. You can decide your target market like US, UK or India
- Display URL with WWW or without WWW
- Crawl rate settings
- Handling Google Sitelinks if available for your blog
- Keep track of crawling errors
- Blocked URLS’s and malware warnings
- Search queries with their respective impressions, clicks, CTR and average position on Google
- Who links to your website
- Google Plus one report and search impact
- submission of XML Sitemap. I get my XML sitemap created automatically through Google XML Sitemaps plugin
- HTML Improvement section
- Website Speed performance etc.
For Content Uploading
Most of time, I used to install themes, plugins and WordPress updates etc. on my WordPress blogs through build in facility from our WordPress admin panel. But whenever I need to upload or download some files or folder, I use Fire FTP, WinSCP and File manager from my Hostgator Control panel. FireFPT and WinSCP are two FTP clients.
Some Mixed Blogging Tools
Here are some more blogging tools I’m using on my blogs:
I’m serving RSS Feed for all of my blogs through FeedBurner. Through feedburner, I’m able to manage my blog RSS and Email subscribers efficiently.
I use HootSuite.com a social media management tool to manage my presence on major social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. It also help me auto publish my latest blog posts on Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter Profile. I will soon be writing a detailed review about HootSuite.com soon.
For Content Creation and Editing
I use Windows Live Writer and MS Word for creating contents for my blogs. You can know more in detail about using Windows Live Writer from this blog post of mine.
It would be interesting to know about your best blogging tools. Are you finding any of tools that I’m using worth giving a try? Do share your favourite and thoughts in the comments section. I will keep on adding more blogging tools to this list as I start using them and find good enough to be shared here.