10 tools to help you blog better
Sometimes a blog post flows out of you with ease. You’re typing at 100 words per minute, just trying to keep up with how fast the words are coming to you. You feel like you were born to write the most glorious blog post ever.
…and sometimes it doesn’t. Writing blog posts can be hard. The blogging checklist is long: after you think of an original idea, you have to write, edit, add media, optimize for the web and try to promote it through your social network.
To help you better work through the blogging process, here are 10 of my favorite tools.
1. Gather ideas with Springpad
Similar to Pinterest, people create notebooks using images and text around topics and then share them with the Springpad community. Springpad makes it really easy to explore new content with large categories like Food and Drink, Design and Technology and specific tags like #beer, #Boston and #startups. Use this tool as a jumping-off point for your brainstorming.
2. Save ideas with Evernote
When you’re brainstorming, you need to save your ideas in a central location. This app allows you to create and edit notes that are synced across all of your devices and currently it’s supported by almost every browser and mobile device. When you’re out shopping with your friends and inspiration hits, you can put a note in Evernote and have it available on your computer later. Use this app to keep your inspiration organized wherever you might be.
3. Vet your ideas with Quora
Sometimes you want feedback on your content before you write it, and Quora is the perfect place to have this. A much more sophisticated version of Yahoo! Answers with a tremendous user base, Quora allows you to have a Q&A with some of the smartest people in your industry. Use this resource to ask them questions or have a critique of your content.
4. Manage your time with E.ggtimer
It’s easy to get too deep into your blog post and neglect the other things on your to-do list. Use this online timer to block out an hour or two to write and then step away. This tool is perfect for helping organize your time, which is crucial when you are trying to have a successful blog and a life at the same time.
5. Get focused with Songza
Everyone has music that gets them focused to write. No matter what your musical preferences, Songza has it. If you aren’t sure what type of music you’re looking for, use the Music Concierge to help you decide based on your mood and current activity. Find music to get you fired up or keep you calm—whatever gets you to stay focused.
6. Start your post off right with Headline Split Tester
Having a catchy headline is crucial to the success of your post—you only have a few seconds to hook your readers. If you’re having trouble deciding on a good headline, use this WordPress plugin to help you decide. All you have to do is put in two different headlines, and it will test them for you. If one is getting more clicks than the other, the plugin will automatically display that one over the other. It’s definitely a smart way to help you find which headlines are effective.
7. Optimize your post with Google Keyword Tool
You have to make sure you blog can be found if you want a large reader base. Determining which keywords to use in your blog is just one aspect of optimizing your blog to be searchable, but it is one of the most important aspects of your promotion strategy. Use this tool to find out the keywords to attract users to your site.
8. Get (legally) visual with Flickr
We all know that humans are visual animals, so make sure to include photos and videos on your blog. To ensure you are finding images that you can rightfully use, use Flickr’s Creative Commons search and then add them to your blog. Don’t forget to properly attribute them to their author!
9. Check your work with After the Deadline
Editing can be a grueling process, so use this WordPress plugin to make it easier on yourself. After the Deadline checks spelling, grammar and semantic usage, making it almost as good as another person editing your work. While you still can’t skip the editing step, this tool can hopefully take some of the load off your shoulders.
10. Share your content with Shareaholic
Once you’ve brainstormed, written, edited and optimized your blog post, you have to share it to your social networks. Shareaholic offers quite a few options for you to share your content. Embed our sharing buttons on your blog to make it easy for your reader to share or just use our browser extension to share directly with your favorite social networks. I’m a little partial, but it’s definitely an easy way to share your content online.
Do you have some favorite tools to help you blog? Let me know in the comments!
Ginny Soskey is the Marketing Manager for Shareaholic, a company that creates content sharing tools for publishers. You can follow Shareaholic on Twitter @Shareaholic and get daily content tips on the Shareaholic blog.
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