10 Tools to Improve Your Blogging Process

gsosk
Ginny Soskey Marketing Manager, Shareaholic

Posted on July 25th 2012

10 Tools to Improve Your Blogging Process

Sometimes a blog post flows out of you like you were born to write it. You’re typing at 100 words per minute, just trying to keep up with how fast the words are coming to you. You know that this will be the most glorious blog post ever written.

Other times, it's like pulling teeth. The blogging checklist is long: after you think of an original idea, you have to write, edit, add media, optimize for the web and try to promote it through your social network.

To help you better work through the blogging process, here are 10 of the most helpful tools: 

1. Gather ideas with Springpad

Similar to Pinterest, people create notebooks using images and text around topics and then share them with the Springpad community. Springpad makes it really easy to explore new content with large categories like Food and Drink, Design and Technology and specific tags like #beer, #Boston and #startups. Use this tool as a jumping-off point for your brainstorming—you can discover and save content in your own notebooks to help you write later.

 2. Save ideas with Evernote

When you’re brainstorming, you need to save your ideas in a central location. This app allows you to create and edit notes that are synced across all of your devices and currently it’s supported by almost every browser and mobile device. When you’re on a run and inspiration hits, you can put a note in Evernote and have it available on your computer later. Use this app to keep your blogging inspiration organized wherever you might be.

3. Vet your ideas with Quora

Quora is the perfect place to have feedback on your content before you write it. A much more sophisticated version of Yahoo! Answers with a tremendous user base, Quora allows you to have a Q&A with some of the smartest people in your industry. Use this resource to ask other people questions or have a critique of your content.

4. Manage your time with E.ggtimer

It’s easy to get too deep into your writing and neglect the other things on your to-do list. Use this online timer to block out an hour or two to write and then step away. This tool is perfect for helping organize your time, which is crucial when you are managing multiple projects at once. 

5. Get focused with Songza

Everyone has music that gets them focused to write. Unlike Pandora, Songza is a collection of playlists that people have put manually put together. If you aren’t sure what type of music you’re looking for, use the Music Concierge to help you decide based on your mood or current activity. Find music to get you fired up or keep you calm—whatever keeps you focused.

6. Start your post off right with Headline Split Tester

Having a catchy headline is crucial to the success of your post—you only have a few seconds to hook your readers. If you’re having trouble deciding on a good headline, use this WordPress plugin to help you decide. All you have to do is put in two different headlines, and it will test them for you. If one is getting more clicks than the other, the plugin will automatically display one on your blog. It’s definitely a smart way to help you find which headlines are effective.

7. Optimize your post with Google Keyword Tool


You have to make sure you blog can be found if you want a large reader base. Determining which keywords to use in your blog is just one aspect of optimizing your blog for search engines, but it is one of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. Use this tool to find the best keywords to attract users to your site.

8. Get visual with Flickr

We all know that humans are visual animals, so make sure to include photos and videos on your blog. To ensure you are finding images that you can rightfully use, use Flickr’s Creative Commons search and then add them to your blog. Don’t forget to properly attribute them to their author!

9. Check your work with After the Deadline

Use this WordPress plugin to make it editing your posts a breeze. After the Deadline checks spelling, grammar and semantic usage, making it almost as good as another person editing your work. While you still can’t skip editing your post by hand, this tool can hopefully take some of the load off your shoulders. 

10. Share your content with Shareaholic

Once you’ve brainstormed, written, edited and optimized your blog post, you have to share it to your social networks. Shareaholic offers quite a few options for you to share your content. Embed our social media sharing buttons on your blog to make it easy for your reader to share or just use our browser extension to share new content with your favorite social networks. I’m a little partial, but Shareaholic is definitely an easy way to share and discover content online.

Do you have some favorite tools to help you blog? Let me know in the comments!

 

gsosk

Ginny Soskey

Marketing Manager, Shareaholic

Ginny Soskey is a marketing manager at Shareaholic. Shareaholic creates social sharingrelated content and content analytics tools for more than 200,000 websites, reaching 300 million people each month. You can learn more about Shareaholic by keeping up with their blog

See Full Profile >

Comments

Jason A Howie
Posted on July 25th 2012 at 9:50PM

Good pointers, personally I prefer Microsoft OneNote over Evernote but to each their own. I might give afterthedeadline another whirl, I had problems with it in the past. Thanks for the pointers Ginny.

gsosk
Posted on July 25th 2012 at 9:57PM

Hey Jason, thanks for taking the time to comment! I haven't used OneNote before (probably because I'm an avid Mac user), but I definitley should check it out. Glad you enjoyed the post. :)

kimkabob
Posted on July 26th 2012 at 5:20PM

Thanks for the great article, Ginny! I also love Wordpress' Editorial Calendar plugin. Very helpful for keeping track of what posts I have in mind. (Maybe someday they'll make Evernote a plugin to coincide with Wordpress!)

gsosk
Posted on July 26th 2012 at 7:48PM

Thanks, Kim. :) So true- I should have included it in this list and made it #11. I've heard a ton about it and we used to use it at Sharehaolic too!

Amanda Socci
Posted on July 27th 2012 at 1:37PM

Hi Ginny:

 

Wow, what a fantastic blog post! I can't believe how many interesting and useful resources you've pointed us to. Thank you!  I am actually a very old-fashioned gal when it comes to creativity and keeping notes and tabs on my creative process.  For me, simplicity is key.  I use my trusty old-time Microsoft Word to create tables and charts to keep track of my thought processes, including releevant URLs.

 

If I'm not in the mood to use Microsoft Word, old fashioned paper and pen work wonders for me. I love taking notes on paper and printing out particularly useful front pages of URLs I like. I find that to be better than bookmarks, which change over time.

 

However, with that being said, I look forward to using some of these fascinating sources on an experimentalbasis to see if it works with my style.  Thanks again!

gsosk
Posted on July 27th 2012 at 3:51PM

Amanda, thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I also am old school sometimes--I carry around a paper notebook and pen usually to help brainstorm and work out ideas. You have great suggestions!

SalesAddiction
Posted on July 27th 2012 at 7:29PM

Ginny  - awesome list. I'm familiar with a lot of those, but the ones that are new to me sound great.

One more tool I use is  IFTTT - If This Then That.  It's an alert system.  It's lets you tell one program to do something when a particular trigger hits.  There are hundreds of way to use it - most of them not about blogging  - but here are two things I use it for which I think are very helpful.

I have set up a trigger (they call them recipes) so that when I'm reading articles in my Google Reader and I put a star on it, it will automatically create a note in my Evernote.  This way if I find something that sounds interesting that I might want to ad to my blogging arsenal, I can just send it. I get through the reader a lot faster and Evernote already has the articles there when I'm going to research something.

The second way I use it is that when I publish a post on Wordpress, it sets off a process that will take the content from the published post and put it in a file in a Dropbox folder.  This way I know I have the final versions all in one place. 

Again, thanks for the post, very helpful.

 

 

gsosk
Posted on July 27th 2012 at 7:32PM

Hey Rick, thanks for stopping by! I'm thrilled you enjoyed the post. IFTTT sounds awesome and a great suggestion to cut down on trying to sync everything. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

thestartupmeme
Posted on August 6th 2012 at 8:20AM

Thats an awesome and helpful list..Infact I was unfamiliar with few of them. This will help me to organize, track and improve my post.

gsosk
Posted on August 6th 2012 at 1:44PM

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy using some of these tools. :)

thestartupmeme
Posted on August 7th 2012 at 4:15AM

Point 6, 9 and 10 is something which is of great help to me. Esp point 6, since, I have been struggling on headlines part for my post.

gsosk
Posted on August 7th 2012 at 2:24PM

That's awesome - I'm glad to be of help. :) Let me know if you need anything!

thestartupmeme
Posted on August 7th 2012 at 4:17PM

Yeah sure..Thanks a lot gsosk..

Kurt Penberg
Posted on August 17th 2012 at 10:01AM

Really its a great blog...Recently i created many blogs but i dont have any idea about that...But i got clear idea..Thanks for this wonderful information...

Regards

Kurt Penberg