20 Tools that Will Take Your Blog to the Next Level

Author: Caron Beesley | July 13, 2015

Suffering from bloggers fatigue? Looking for ways to boost your blog readership? Or just want to spice it up a bit? Here are 20 free blogging tools that will help you be more productive, more creative, and bring in more readers.

Blog Topic/Idea Generators
One of the hardest parts of blogging is consistently coming up with engaging and relevant topics to write about. While planning ahead and creating a blog editorial calendar can help (HubSpot offers a free template here), there are also a number of free tools that can help get you over writer’s block.

One of my favorites is Inbound Now’s Blog Title Idea Generator which suggests SEO-friendly topics/titles with the click of a button, just fill in the blank with keywords and you’re off. Other tools include HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator (enter your nouns and it does the work for you) or for a more quirky approach, check out Portent’s Content Idea Generator.

Identify Keywords and Get More Traffic
If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your blog and website (who isn’t?), then you’ll need to write content that focuses on the keywords that matter to your target audience. If you have a Google Analytics account, you can quickly identify the keyword queries people use to find your site (this video from KISSmetrics explains how to run the report).

Another way to look optimize your content is to look at the keywords that are driving traffic to your competitor’s websites. SEMRush can help you identify the top 10 keywords that are sending them traffic.

Another tool that makes it easier than ever to understand what your audience is looking for is keywordtool.io. Based on Google Autocomplete it generates related terms to your keywords (aka long-tail keywords).

Get Free Photos
Spice up your blog with free images courtesy of Creative Commons (CC). PhotoPin also provides access to CC-licensed images across a number of sites including Flickr and Google Images. It also includes attribution codes, just copy and paste them into your blog, no need to add hyperlinks or worry about whether you’ve credited the image correctly.

If you are working in a WordPress theme or plugin, bear in mind that CC images can’t be distributed with GPL-licenses software (like WordPress). Instead you’ll need to find GLP-licensed works. This blog from WP Tavern includes a list of sources for GPL-licensed images.

Other sources of beautiful free stock photos are PEXELS and Unsplash.

Create your own Imagery
If you want to create your own imagery there are a number of tools that can help. Canva is a really simple way to create blog graphics. It’s free templates make it easy to get started. Other options include PicMonkey (free to use, upgrade for more features) or for the more sophisticated designers out there, there’s PIXLR.

Become an Infographic Wizard
Infographics are a great way to depict all kinds of data – from survey results to how your product works. Free tools include easel.ly, Infogr.am and Piktochart. For tips on creating these, check out this blog from Janice Wald: How to Create Infographics that Send Hoards of New Visitors to your Blog.

Check Your Grammar
Not sure if you’re getting too wordy? Want a quick grammar check? Grammarly and After the Deadline are free online tools that check grammar, spelling, style, and more.

Copyright Your Work
Protect your content with myfreecopyright. Create a free account and each time you create new work it’s securely uploaded to the site and a digital fingerprint of your original work is captured. The original work is protected and the software scans the web to see if your work is copied and notify you accordingly.

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