Whether you’ve been blogging for years or months, to create a success of your site a whole lot of time and effort is needed. You need to make sure your posts are constantly relevant, that your following improves and never begins to fall, and then there are things like SEO to consider! The great thing about being involved in the blogging scene is that there are a huge host of sites, guides and tools dedicated to helping bloggers of all calibers make a success of their ventures. We’ll constantly be giving you the latest on what to be using, but to get started we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 essential tools for bloggers.
1. Google Keyword Planner Tool/ Google Insights- Keyword Research
The first rule of blogging is to make sure you’re writing about something that people will genuinely want to read about. This may sound primitively simple, but it can actually be harder than you might expect. If you’re not writing about things people may search on the internet it’ll be incredibly difficult for you to widen your readership and attract new followers. Plenty of sites swear by the Google Keyword planner, and we’d certainly advise you give it a go. Keep on top of search trends in your chosen genre and make sure you’re producing content which is fresh, relevant and searched by a wide audience.
You can also use Google trends to keep on top of the popularity of certain trends, which is almost essential for all niches whether it’s fashion, tech or food you focus on.
2. Google Alerts – Content / Link Building
If you run a blog focusing on a certain niche, the ideal is that you are able to place yourself as an expert in your field. Google Alerts is not only a great way to stay ahead of the game news-wise, but will also help you build links with relevant sites.
As you’ll probably be aware, building links is a great way to build up your blog’s authority and improve your rankings on Google. If you set up alerts from Google to tell you what’s being said in your industry you’ll be able to get involved in relevant conversations. It’s also so handy to look for guest posting opportunities allowing you to build up the links to your blogs. Always remember to only write for trustworthy looking sites with good quality content though!
If you create a daily alert for your blog/brand name you’ll be able to immediately contact anyone that mentions you which is great for building relationships with brands and other bloggers.
Finally alerts can really help with social media, giving you a constant feed of relevant information from your industry for you to relay out to your followers, who will be relying on you for this kind of instant knowledge.
3. Mailchimp – Audience building
Connecting with the audience you already have is a must, as is building on your contacts. Mailchimp is a great organisational tool which can help you do both, as well as showing you where your outreach efforts are working best. A great way to use it is to monitor your newsletters as you’ll be able to see where your most loyal followers are, as well as being able to tell what content gets the most traction.
When you send out a batch of emails or newsletters, mailchimp will be able to tell you how many people opened them and how long they spent looking at the newsletter. This can help you experiment with a few different formats to work out what catches people’s imaginations most. This can also be extremely useful if you’re conducting some PR for your blog.
4. WordPress / WordPress SEO (Yoast)- For Hosting and SEO
Why wouldn’t you use wordpress?! Great plug-in’s, and excellent creative ownership means we really can recommend it enough. For those of you reading who are already seasoned bloggers this advice may be a little late of the mark, but if you’re just starting out and are in the process of choosing a platform, I think it’s pretty clear where we stand!
Yoast is just one of the many reasons WordPress is such a handy platform to work from. Concepts like SEO can be difficult to deal with if you’re running your blog single handed. Yoast will give you clear and easily implicated options on how you can optimise your site and posts for search engines. We all know how important Google rankings are, so tools like this are an absolute godsend for bloggers trying to do it all.
http://wordpress.org/ / http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/
5. Google Analytics / Google Webmaster Tools – Data
Like many of the other tools on our list, this one is all about knowing your audience and meticulously monitoring your progress. Ask any successful blogger and they’ll tell you organisation is the most important skill you need if you intend to take your blog all the way.
Analytics is a great way to keep on top of how you’re doing, and understanding which posts are getting the most traction. There are of course other ways you can measure your post’s success for example monitoring likes and comments, but this will provide you with a whole new level of information.