These are all tools I use when writing for RevLocal’s blog. They have helped me become more efficient and produce more content so that I can spend more time working on our goal to improve blog traffic month after month.
Let’s get started.
Tools to Help You Find Blog Ideas and Research
Feedly puts all your favorite blogs into a single feed. There are free and paid options, but the free version should be enough for your needs. (It works for me.) You can use Feedly to search for and follow industry-leading blogs or topics that interest you. When you’re feeling lost on what to write or you want to see what others are writing about, use Feedly to get some ideas and research topics.
Hubspot’s Topic Generator
If you have a general idea of what you want to write about, but you can’t settle on a specific topic or headline, Hubspot’s topic generator is a great place to start.
You can enter up to three nouns, and the topic generator will produce five headlines. You might have to edit the titles slightly for grammar or clarity, but this is a great place to start if you write about the same few topics for each blog post (or if you’re running out of ideas).
Impact’s Title Generator
You’ll have to work a little to use Impact’s blog title generator.
The headline generator first asks what you want to blog about (you can choose from pre-set options or type in your own topic) and then gives you headlines that you can fill in the blank for.
For example, here are some of the headlines it gave me:
- 7 ____ Fails That Will Make You ____
- What You Need to Know About ____
- How to ____ Even When _____
For our digital marketing blog, I could turn those titles into:
- 7 Digital Marketing Fails That Will Make You Revamp Your Strategy
- What You Need to Know About Review Marketing
- How to Get More Online Reviews Even When You’re Short on Time
Bonus: After you generate a topic, at the right of the page you’ll see a tab that says, “writer’s block?” If you click it, you’ll see a pop-up that allows you to doodle (to attempt to visualize what you want to write about).
Once you’ve settled on your title, use CoSchedule’s headline analyzer to grade your headline. Think of your headline as the hook that grabs your audience and pulls them in so they’ll read your blog post. I try to use headlines that have a score of 70 or higher to bring in a larger audience, but it’s also important to focus on keywords and being concise.
So, keep that in mind and try to avoid clickbait or spamming your readers.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is a necessary part of any good blog strategy.
It helps you figure out what people are actually searching for so that your blog ranks for the right searches, and when you target popular keywords (and rank for them) you’ll build more and more organic traffic to those blog posts over time.
There are lots of keyword tools out there, but here are a few to get you started researching keywords for your blog:
Tools to Help Write and Edit
The Hemingway editor is perfect for new writers or someone who isn’t confident in their writing skills. You can use Hemingway to make sure you don’t have too many long (or hard to read) sentences.
The editor will give you suggestions on how to make your writing easier to read. It will also give your blog post a readability score, showing you how easy it will be for your readers to understand what you’re trying to say.
Grammarly has a free chrome extension you can use to check your grammar before you publish. Grammarly will show you any critical errors and let you know if it thinks your sentences are too wordy. You can also purchase a Grammarly subscription, but the free version is great too!
P.S. Grammarly also has a free Microsoft Word Extension.
Other Tools to Improve Your Blog Strategy
Google Analytics for Monitoring and Improving Blog Traffic
If you’re hosting your blog, make sure to set up Google Analytics. You can use analytics to monitor your blog traffic and find out what types of posts perform best as well as what doesn’t work with your audience.
You can also see where the majority of your blog traffic comes from to determine which promotional avenues work best for your blog.
If you’re using WordPress or another blogging platform, you can use the platform’s built-in analytics to do the same type of analysis. See what types of posts and headlines (list, question, etc) do best and what types of posts don’t perform well.
You can use this information to publish more of what works well and improve older blog posts that aren’t doing as well.
Social Media for Free Promotion of Blog Posts
Don’t forget that blog promotion is one of the most important pieces of your strategy.
Social Media is free, so don’t forget to share your blog posts on your social pages. You should also consider using a plug-in like ShareThis or Sumo to make it easy for your readers to share your posts while they’re reading.
Final Blogging Tips
Another great way to streamline your writing process is to outline every post before you write it. If you have a detailed outline, you’ll write more quickly and stay on track rather than going off on a tangent or taking your blog post in a different direction than it started in.
And don’t forget that, whatever you do, make sure your blog posts provide value to your target audience by answering their questions and helping them solve problems. Now it’s your turn. Get out there and get blogging.