The blogging world is often noisy with over 2 million blog posts being published every day, it’s often hard to stand out from the crowd but as a multi-award-winning 6 figure blogger… (Check out my monthly income reports to get more insights).
I have a few tricks up my sleeve.
So I’ve compiled my personal list of essential blogging tools for you that will not only help you stand out from the competition, but also accelerate your blogging success.
These blogging tools will show you not only how to make a difference in your niche, but also how to capture and create an audience that makes you money.
All while boosting traffic effectively.
What Will I Learn?
WordPress is the gold standard in Blogging platforms.
While other platforms let you create a blog and share content with the world, WordPress focuses on letting you build a business (or an empire) from it.
WordPress.org gives you ownership of your blog, like other publications don’t.
But it also allows you to turn your blog into whatever you want. Whether that’s a sales tool for your affiliate products or as a fully fledged business on its own.
And, some of the world’s most reputable publications, like The New Yorker and Harvard Business Review, all host their content with a Wordpress installation.
Just follow my how to start a blog tutorial to get started with Wordpress.
Once you have WordPress it’s time to make it all singing all dancing with the Wordpress Theme Detector.
Instead of buying a theme blind – or from just looking at the previews – look for blogs you like and find what theme they’re using, and then steal it.
For example, my blog is running this theme.
Search your competitors URL and it’ll show you the theme they use and where to buy it:
And, the fun doesn’t stop there.
You can even find the top plugins that they’re using to run their site too.
That way you can even the playing field if they’re a competitor.
Not bad for looking around the internet and searching a domain right?
As a 6 figure blogger that has had more than his fair share of theme problems over the years, this is a mistake I also made myself which is why I use this custom theme.
There are lots of different Wordpress themes available for you to choose from, so just remember when looking for a theme you should make sure that it-
As long as the theme you choose ticks all of those boxes – you are good to go but be sure to read over my full checklist!
But why do you need email marketing software like Aweber?
Well – first of all it helps you stay in touch with all of your readers. Imagine being able to reach thousands of people at the click of a button.
That means that not only can you use it to drive huge repeating waves of traffic like this-
But it also helps you to automate relationship building, increase revenue & so much more.
Take a look at my detailed Aweber review to learn more about why I love it so much.
Sumo has become part of the backbone of my blogging life. It’s a suite of blogging tools that gives you the apps and data you need to maximise your blogging game.
Inside the tool you can:
For example, I’ve created some awesome Welcome Mat’s to capture email addresses-
And that’s before you even look at the A/B testing and Marketing Insights they offer you:
You can use the free version to get access to a lot of these tools or buy pro from $20 per month. Either way, I highly recommend using it.
Canva is a free design tool that helps you create beautiful visual content for your blog with even the most basic design skills.
All you have to do is sign up for the tool, log in and get to work on creating masterpieces.
There are templates and designs for any type of visual content you could possibly need. And, you can purchase premium stock images for just $1.
If you really don’t have any design skills at all – or if you’re in denial about your own, like me – check out their design school blog to get to grips with design concepts.
Staying on the visual theme, here’s one we can all understand, Meme’s.
Memes aren’t for every niche, but they are a good way to inject some personality into your blog posts. And, visual content can make those page scrollers stop in their tracks.
You can just screenshot them off the page and there is no fuss at all.
Note: You would be amazed how many complaints I get about the meme above, which is dripping in irony.
Click To Tweet’s are a neat little idea to get people to share more of your content.
Simply create a quote, or find a quotable phrase and add a click to tweet link around it so people can share directly from your content.
For example, some wonderful, incredibly attractive and well-mannered person has chosen to quote me in an article:
And if you click the [Click To Tweet] text at the bottom…
You can tweet the message to the entire world:
This drives traffic back to your site and also means you can contact influencers and mention them in your tweets.
Stuart Walker has been using these on Nichehacks for the last few years and they’ve formed a huge part of his editorial guidelines and his site’s success.
Social Locker allows you to swap valuable content for social interactions.
You can lock content like: PDF’s, images, steps of an article or bonus content behind their wall. Only to be unlocked when you receive a share or a like or a tweet in return.
The WordPress plugin integrates with your social accounts in one click and then you’re set and ready to use it.
I use this blogging tool to great effect in many of my posts. Take a look at one of my posts about The Ultimate Guide To Freelance Writing.
In it, I gave a copy and paste pitch template that anyone could use.
In order to access the content you have to share the content on: Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s a nice marketing tactic where you both win.
You get more traffic, they get extra content. No brainer.
Your blog is only useful when it is online and Uptime Robot is a great free blogging tool to monitor your blog.
You can monitor upto 50 websites every 5 minutes without spending a penny!
If your blog goes offline for any reason, an instant notification will arrive in your email inbox to let you know it’s down.
You can choose to get SMS alerts sent directly to your phone for as little as $0.20 each!
Although the free email alerts will be suitable for most people!
Bonus Tip: Set it up to send email alerts directly to your web host so they can get it fixed up asap!
The free CloudFlare CDN will not only improve the security of your blog, but it will also help to improve load time.
This is how it works-
If that doesn’t make any sense to you, then don’t worry.
Just sign up to the free plan & follow the simple instructions to get it up & running.
SEMRush is one of the most diverse tools on the planet for spying on other bloggers.
You can use it to find out exactly where your competitors traffic is coming from along with exactly which keywords they are targeting-
With that kind of information in hand you can fast track your blogging success by focusing your time & energy on content that you know will deliver results.
In fact it is so useful, my SEMRush review shows you 68 different ways you can use it to your advantage!
And don’t forget to take advantage of this exclusive 14 day 100% free trial worth $74.95!
It’s a drag & drop visual editor for Wordpress that makes designing awesome pages a breeze – in fact, I built the page you are reading now with it!
Not only is it super simple to use, but it also comes packed with content templates for you to use on your blog.
Thrive Leads will help you build your email list faster than ever before & it is my weapon of choice on this blog as well.
Any time you see an email subscription form on this blog for a lead magnet or content upgrade in the sidebar, at the end of posts, within posts or as a popup.
That is done with Thrive Leads.
It comes with a huge range of templates for every possible email opt-in form you can think of including popups, sticky ribbons, in line forms, 2 step forms, slide in forms, widgets, screen filler overlays, content lockers & more!
You can also split test your forms to make sure you are extracting as much value out of your traffic as possible-
Not only that but you can target specific posts, pages, tags or categories and select a range of triggers for your form to display like when people are about to leave your site, scroll down x% of your content or click on a link.
It is a super powerful tool that is quick to setup & is guaranteed to grow your email list faster than ever before!
One of my favourite blogging tools is the free Comment Redirect Plugin by Yoast.
It’s function is very simple – when someone comments on your blog for the first time, it redirects them to a page of your choice.
How do I take advantage of that?
Simple – by taking new commentors to a page that is designed to convert them into a new email subscriber-
It takes less than 10 minutes to setup, but it will pay huge dividends as you build out your email list on autopilot.
In fact – that is one of the highest converting pages on the entire blog!
HelloBar is still one of the best email capture tools you can use.
The bar sits at the top of your blog page, displays your message and tries to capture as many emails as possible. It’s inobtrusive, but highly effective.
Conversion rates are only reportedly low if you’re just asking for information and not offering anything in return.
So, if you’re going to use them, be sure to add an offer they can’t refuse:
Do you write and sell eBooks or other digital products?
Then boy do I have an awesome blogging tool for you.
Easy Digital Downloads gives you a platform where people can pay for your eBooks and download the file right from your site. Even if it’s a free download.
That means no more hosting to third-party sites.
No more spammy, ad-ridden links for someone to get hold of your eBook. Just a straight download with the profits in your pocket.
They provide you with tons of options for discount codes, shopping carts and anything else you can think of. You don’t even need to pay a penny (unless you want to).
SlideShare lets you turn your content into easy to digest, visual, slideshows.
Almost like a powerpoint presentation, you can get your point across by telling storied using short slides. Now, there are three ways I’m going to suggest using this tool.
The first way is to use it to create visual content based on blog posts that you have. Or, to tell a powerful story, like this slideshare:
However the second, and more accessible way to use the app, is to use it back up points you make in your content. Like in this post on Buffer:
Or if you are lazy, you can use a tool like this one to make PDF versions of your blog posts to upload to Slideshare directly.
That exact strategy has netted me a bunch of views-
Although you will get significantly better results if you make custom summary’s of your posts in a presentation format.
Either way, it’s a great resource for either making your blog posts more epic or driving more traffic back to them.
Adding them through the WordPress Dashboard itself can be tricky and doesn’t always work. FileZilla is a free alternative that never fails.
Using this tool can be a little tricky – don’t worry I’m rubbish at tech stuff and I’ve never blown anything up – but there’s a useful tutorial here to help you get started.
DripRevolution will spread your blog posts across social media by creating social signals.
Likes, tweets and shares are the social signals that will send traffic to your blog.
The best part about it is that there are no automated spammy accounts.
DripRevolution are a team of Social Signal Specialists who manually create social signals using genuine social media accounts. Talk about a personalized service!
You can try out the free 7-day trial, where you get 100 free social signals.
Contact DripRevolution support with my name, they will give you 50 social signals.
Let DripRevolution take care of the rest leaving you time to tick some other jobs of the list.
You can review the results in the dashboard and you also get the details of any activity emailed over to you on a daily basis.
Use DripRevolution to increase traffic to your blog and help you rank higher.
I can best describe Medium as a social media platform for blog posts.
You can create or republish content on the platform and drive a tonne of traffic to it through people finding it based on the topic you write about.
It’s been used by a lot of marketers, like James Clear, Ryan Holiday and Gary Vaynerchuck:
And, as a marketer, you can put your latest blog posts and articles on there without worrying about penalties for duplicate content, because it’s syndicated with your site.
SmartBlogger (formerly Boost Blog Traffic) recommend this as the platform to republish and repurpose your content.
You’ll not only gain loyal fans here, but you can drive more traffic without worrying about writing new content.
Bannersnack is a handy tool in which you can use your own images or those from their extensive library to create banners for your site.
Whether it be your blog, social media or ecommerce store there is a template to suit your needs and if not…. you can create a custom size banner.
You can create multiple banners in minutes with their easy to use interface and once in use, you can even track how effective it is with Bannersnack analytics.
They also have a ton of features available…
You can even try out your first 10 banners for free on Bannersnack.
Out of that list here are the very best blogging tools I’d recommend for creating a quality blog, with unlimited potential…
Let’s take a closer look at why these tools are the best.
Choice #1: WordPress
Even if you disregard all of the other apps on this list, the WordPress blogging platforms leaves you with the best chance of becoming a blogging success.
From the thousands of plugins through to the easily customisable designs of the sites. For now, WordPress puts you at the cutting edge of blogging technology.
Easy to use and a joy to start a blog with.
Choice #2: Aweber
The number 1 goal of any blogger should be to build their email list, but to do that – you need an email list!
I have used Aweber with great success for several years across all of my projects and if you only invest in one tool – it should be this one.
Once you have it setup, it will continue to deliver huge value to your blog in terms of traffic and money.
Choice #3: Sumo
The Sumo collection of essential blogging tools is so simple and easy, and they’ve proven time and time again that they can deliver results from their products.
The mix and match options for tools, or the free versions themselves, can propel your blog (and your blog’s income) forward like no other I can find.
Choice #4: SEMRush
SEMRush can be a bit pricey if you are just starting out, however it will save you lots of time & headache by showing you the quickest path to success by spying on your competitors.
Honestly, this blogging tool is so useful it is hard to summarise in this little block of text, but if you are serious about growing your blog – SEMRush is the missing steroid.
Choice #5: Comment Redirect Plugin
That ticks all of the right boxes for me personally and I love things that offer huge long term value for minimum investments in time & money.