You’ve probably seen the big names like Linda Ikeji, Diary of a Naija Girl and even our very own HowToTechNaija.
Did you ever wonder how they started or stayed in the game when many blogs crumbled?
The right blogging tools help you stay organized and set you up for success. You can’t wing your blog or its content. Else, you won’t attract a targeted audience that converts.
If you’re starting, here are some of the best blogging tools to get started.
SEMrush – Keyword Research
Before you even write a line of text, you must define your target audience.
What are you passionate about? When you think of your ideal reader, who comes to mind? Do you want to create local content for a local audience? Is technology your passion?
Whatever you decide to blog about, keyword research is the first step. For instance, if you want to blog about home electronics and gadgets, your target audience would be homeowners, families, and people aged 30 and above (guesswork).
Keyword research from SEMrush shows you:
- Which keywords people use to find content in this niche
- Questions users are asking
- The type of content already ranking for these keywords
- Semantic phrases to infuse in your copy for better relevance
- Content ideas to optimize your blog post for SEO.
Great content is meaningless if one sees it. You have to create engaging content and optimise it for search engines.
WordPress is the friendliest Content Management System (CMS)for beginners. So, I’ll assume that’s the CMS you’re using for your blog.
Here are some of the WordPress Tools I recommend
UpdraftPlus – Backup Your Blog
Losing your blog posts or server files is one of the nightmares of a blogger. All the hard work you’ve put into your blog goes up in smokes after a security breach or server issue.
You need a robust backup solution that lets you store your files offline and on the cloud.
I love Updraftplus because it’s free. You can create and store your backup on Google Drive, email, and Dropbox.
Set up automatic schedules for updates, so you never have to worry about losing your files if anything happens to your blog.
WP Optimize – Reduce Image File Size Without Affecting Quality
Do you want to engage your readers? Become an authority in your field and rank on page 1 for your big keywords?
Images are everything:
- Encourage your readers to keep scrolling
- Break up the text for readability
- Explain points you’re trying to make
- Help you communicate better with your target audience
But you have to be careful with large size files or your blog loads slowly. Optimizing your images ensure you’re not sacrificing page speed for aesthetics.
WP-Optimize is a freemium tool that lets you optimize image sizes without affecting the quality of your pictures.
Apart from images, you can clean up your blog and make it more efficient with a range of optimization tasks.
Yoast SEO – Optimize your copy for search engines
Yoast is the best free SEO tool you’ll ever come across. Install the plugin and gain insights on how to write an SEO-optimized blog post.
There are two green buttons on the right side of each post. The first button turns green if your copy passes the readability score.
The readability score is determined by factors such as sentence length, Flesch reading ease, paragraph length, and use of active voice.
Many factors determine how Yoast scores SEO. Key factors include the use of keyword in the slug, meta description, alt image text, title and subheading.
Remember, Yoast SEO is not the determinant of content that ranks. Don’t obsess over getting both buttons to turn green. Instead, use Yoast as a guide for creating SEO-friendly blogs.
Copyscape – Plagiarism Checker
While there are tons of free plagiarism checkers, nothing beats Copyscape. You need Copyscape because Google hates plagiarized content. When Google discovers several websites or blogs publishing the same copy, your ranking falls.
If the original publisher has notifications set up, they could sue you for copyright infringement. N4,000 ($10) Copyscape credit could last four months, even when you’re publishing fresh content regularly.
CoSchedule – Write Better Headlines
It may seem weird, but there’s a science to writing award-winning blog titles that make people read your blog post. No, I’m not talking about clickbait. That’s annoying and you’ll lose your reputation in the long run.
Research shows that 5x more people read the headline than the rest of the content. CoSchedule scores your headline based on emotion, power, use of uncommon and common words. A score of 70 and above performs better for SEO and helps you drive traffic to your blog.
Buzzsumo – Find Blog Ideas Your Audience Already Loves
Looking for trending blog posts to write about? Buzzsumo is one of my favourite blogging tools. Enter a keyword, and they’ll generate the best topics and articles with the most shares and likes.
It’s a smart way to leverage your competitors to create content your audience love. The free version shows five results. Depending on where your audience hangs out, choose a topic that appeals to them. The premium version lets you filter results by language, date and country TLDs.
Canva – Create Stunning Visuals
Here’s a fun stat. Facebook posts with photos enjoy 37% more engagement. Another study by Buzzsumo found that blog posts with images enjoyed 2.3X more engagement than those without.
Canva is my favourite tool for creating stunning visuals that elevate my blog posts. There are tons of free images to choose from. Add text, videos and play around with graphics. The sky is the limit with Canva.
Grammarly – Avoid Grammar Errors
You’ll lose your readers faster than you can blink if your blog post is riddled with grammar mistakes. I’ve been using Grammarly for four years, and I love it!
Grammarly weeds out errors you’ve missed during editing. The Pro version checks sentence structure, style, punctuation, and vocabulary enhancement.
There’s a Chrome add-on that works for your browser as well as editing Google Docs and WordPress documents.
Google Analytics – Increase Conversion with Data
So, you have everything you need to write your first blog post. But how do you know if people are reading or engaging with your content?
Google Analytics provides insight into:
- Location of your visitors
- Traffic sources
- Type of devices visitors use to access your blog
- Pages they visit
- Demographic information such as gender and age
It’s a must-have tool that helps you gauge the success of your content and determine what works best.
- 5 Reasons to Start a Blog If You are Passionate about Writing
- 7 Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Blog Niche
These blogging tools I’ve mentioned will help you set up your blog and run a well-oiled machine. Remember, it all begins with keyword and audience research. Write for the reader and optimise for search engines. Have fun, and be unique. Visitors are always interested in a blogger with a fresh perspective. What’s your favourite blogging tool? Let me know in the comment section.