As a blogger I have tried a load of different tools for my blog online. Some of them I have found useful but most of them are useless and do not provide and real benefit to me or my blog. However today I am going to be sharing with you five online tools that I could not live without and I recommend that you should check them out too if you want to create a successful blog. I personally use these tools on a day-to-day basis and they have helped me to create two successful blogs.
So what makes a free tool, something that I would recommend ? Well it needs to be of a lot of use to me when I am blogging, perhaps you could say that I could not live without it but what I do know that this would blog would not be as successful as it is, without the help of these free tools.
I have only been using Google Analytics for about six months now as i never realized how much of a use it would be to me. Google Analytics provides a reliable source of reader demographics to my blog. Using Google Analytics you can see your most popular posts, refers and information about your blog readers such as how long they spend on each page and what web browser they are using. Furthermore you can also get real-time statistics of how many people are on your blog at any one time.
The reason that I find this plugin so useful is because I can make a lot of decisions based on analyzing these statistics. For example when I first started using it I noticed that a lot of my readers were viewing my blog from mobile phones and tablets and therefore using a responsive WordPress theme was key for me. Analyzing readers and how they behave on your blog is important for every blogger. I like to see what posts are most popular on my blog and then I will write more posts that are similar to this post and cover similar topics.
Finding images for your blog posts can often be nightmare. All of the good images seem to be paid for and when you are publishing four posts a week, it is not affordable to keep buying pictures. Furthermore free images for your images are even harder to come across All the ones that I seem to find are either too low quality or do not look right for my posts. Having a picture that looks right on your blogs posts is as important as having a title that it going to want readers click onto your post. For me, posts with better pictures on them often get more clicks when they are on the homepage of my blog, compared to the same posts that do not have such a good picture on.
Stock.xching has a massive collection of images that are free to use on your blogs and this is where I get a lot of images from for my blog posts. There are millions of high quality images for you to use. I do find that when I search for pictures I do find a lot of pictures that are not relevant so it can take some time to find the right image for your blog posts.
This is one of them great things that you come across and think how did you ever live without it. I have been using Hoosuite for well over a year now to schedule tweets from my Twitter accounts to post at specific times. The fact that this tool is free makes it probably the most useful tool that any blogger will use.
As you probably already know, Twitter is essential to all bloggers as it is a key place to promote your blog, build a community around your blog and network with other bloggers. The problem that I faced was that I was in a different time zone to a lot of my readers so when I was tweeting I was not getting a lot of response because most of my readers were asleep. Scheduling my tweets allows me to target peak times when most of my readers are going to be online to get the most benefit from my Tweets.
Building a mailing list is an essential part of blogging and is an effective way to build a community around your blog. Although I do not use Feedburner anymore, I used it for nearly a year and it allows you to build a mailing list and keep your readers updated by sending them your latest blog post every time you publish one. Furthermore I found that there was a load of free WordPress plugins that I could use to add a subscription widget in the sidebar of my blog.
If you are wondering why i do not use Feedburner anymore then it is because i am using subscriptions function in the Jet Pack plugin for WordPress. I still included Feedburner in this post though because i think that it is a useful tool for all bloggers and i know a lot of bloggers do not use WordPress.
When blogging it is one think to think that your blog is great, but what do others think of it ? It is important to get some sort of feedback on your blog so that you know where to improve and where your strengths are. I personally use Marketing Grader once every few months to see how my blogs rank. Your website is scored out of 100 based on factors such as you social media presence, Search engine optimization,backlinks and your blogs mobile website. What I like about this is what I can easily identify where I need to improve my blog. For example I discovered that my blog posts were not being shared on Facebook that often so I added a Facebook share button to one of my blogs.
Although you do not have to pay a subscription fee to use PayPal you do pay a percentage of each payment you receive. However PayPal is the best way for bloggers to make and receive payments online. With PayPal, advertisers can send money over to me instantly and securely and is an essential blogging tool. Because PayPal is used by so many people it is the most easy way to send and receive payments as it is a payment gateway that everyone is happy to use.