When I started this blog, I had no idea about the many tools that I could use for free to enhance my (as well as my readers’) experience. As I continued with my journey, I came to know about more and more resources. Many of the blog tools that I use today were suggested by my blogger friends. Many others, I discovered and explored on my own. Today, I’m pretty excited to share some of the most useful tools that have helped me become a better blogger.
For your ease of use, I have divided these blogging resources into relevant categories. Please have a look. I really hope you too find these tools useful and share them with your friends and colleagues as well.
1. Free Blogging Platforms
There are multiple free blog hosting sites that bloggers use. If you want to have a taste of what blogging is like, you can start your personal blog on one of these platforms. Each of these blog sites will vary in terms of features and functionalities. Use one that best suits your individual requirements.
WordPress – preferred for its range of plugins and themes
Blogger – easier than WordPress, a Google product, fast and clean
Tumblr – the best option if you are just stepping into the world of blogging
LiveJournal – has a growing online community, helps you learn the basics
Weebly – features a cool drag-and-drop interface
Xanga – features a younger demographic
For details, please check out 10 Killer Blog Hosting Websites
2. Free Keyword Research Tools
SEO is an important part of the entire blogging process. If you really want to make some money through your blogging efforts, you should always learn the basics of search engine optimization. Google itself has a bunch of free keyword tools that you can use for your research.
Google Insights for Search – conduct research based on industry, geographical location and time range
Google Trends – helps you compare multiple search terms at a time
Google AdWords Keyword Tool – helps you find related keyword and phrases
Google Correlate – matches keywords based on their popularity
For more, you can read Free Google Keyword Tools
3. Free WordPress SEO Plugins
There are uncountable plugins that you can use to enhance your WP blog. You can search for required plugins in the WordPress Plugin Directory. Below, I’m listing some of the best plugins that you can download and install to boost the SEO of your blog.
All in One SEO Pack – generates Meta tags automatically, offers manual edit
SEO Ultimate – a cool plugin to optimize your blog for search engines
SEO Smart Links – helps you interlink posts, add affiliate links, use no-follow attributes
SEO Content Control – use this if your blog has a poor content structure
SEO Rank Reporter – tracks keyword performance
For further details, read 5 Top-notch SEO Plugins for WordPress Sites
4. Free WordPress Blog Themes
Don’t worry if you are not a web designer or developer yourself. There are various resources from where you can download free themes for your WP blog. Choose a theme which suits your blog’s specific requirements.
5. Free Content Protection Resources
Nothing does more harm to your site than copied content. While you use no copied content, you can also ensure nobody else uses yours. There are a couple of services that protect your content against copying.
CopyScape – an excellent plagiarism checker to find copied content on your site
Google Alerts – set alerts to catch stolen content from your blog
Creative Commons – no registration required, choose a license for protection
Google Webmaster Tools – features a useful alert system to inform you of duplicate content
Xenu Link Sleuth - download this software, simple report format and interface
6. Free Site Analytics Tools
No blogger can ever refine their approach without having a good measurement system in place. If you want to make the most of your blogging, you should never forget to use analytic tools.
Google Webmaster Tools – Google product, detailed page visibility reports
Google Analytics – Google product, provides detailed visitor statistics
CrazyEgg – offers HeatMaps through a powerful eye-tracking technology
StatCounter – blog and site analytics
BlogTracker – by Ice Rocket, measures blog visits and stats
GetClicky – provides site analytics as well as Feedburner statistics
Piwick – a good open-source alternative to Google Analytics
7. Free Social Media Monitoring Tools
If you want to measure your social media efforts, there are multiple useful resources that you can use. By using these tools, you can track whether you are hitting the nail on the head or you need to fine-tune your social marketing strategy.
Seesmic – provides realtime data on social media engagement
HootSuite – offers monitoring and posting to several popular social networks
PostRank – Covers monitoring of more than 20 popular social networks
SocialMention – Monitors over 100 social media websites
Addictomatic – Tracks latest blog posts, industry news, videos etc.
BlogPulse – An excellent system for discovering trends in blogosphere
Do you want to add some more to the list? What other blogging tools are you using? Please feel free to share them in the comment section below.