When it comes to internet marketing, productivity is a topic, probably equally important as traffic generation and conversion optimization.
Yes, achieving the latter two is what drives a successful blog, website and pretty much any online business.
That is why I have talked about productivity and some of my rituals a few times in the past. However I never got into the probably more interesting detail and namely what are some of the tools that can help us bloggers make more use of our time.
And with today’s post I will try to fix that mistake.
In the below paragraphs I go through my top five free blogging tools and the keyword here is automation (not the evil type though) including:
- Making it easier to produce content ideas
- Making it easier to stay focused while writing
- Making it easier to edit your writing
Okay, let’s get started!
1. Blog Topic Generator
As we all know the real tricky part in blogging is coming up with the initial idea.
Once you have that in place, it’s all about writing it down (and writing it well, but that later on).
So, there’s the research part.
Staying informed and knowing what’s happening in the niche you cover is crucial. Things are hardly going to fall in place if you simply aren’t interested. All that information will keep you on top of things and allow you to write relevant and shareable content.
But sometimes you need a gentle push…
And when those times come you can use a really neat tool from the Hubspot team, called Blog Topic Generator.
What does it do?
Exactly what it claims! The tool lets you write (up to) three nouns that are relevant to your industry. Then you simply hit “Give Me Blog Topics!” and the result is five headlines and “a week of blog topics, just for you” as the moto goes.
Here is an example with the nouns “cooking” and “recipe”.
As you can see the ideas are not always gramatically correct and relevant. As I see it the use of this tool is more about giving you the spark rather than providing you with a ready idea.
Back to the research and staying informed part…
Some of your ways to find relevant content probably include social media channels. And yes, you will certainly find it there, but those can be a little distracting and you can easily start with looking for interesting content and end up watching funny comics.
So what you need is a way to filter out the noise and get to the actual point faster.
Feedly can help you with that task!
As per Wikipedia’s description Feedly “compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others”.
So first off you need an account. You click on the “login” button at the top right corner and you basically log-in with your Google account.
With that done you are ready to start adding blogs to your reading list!
As you can see there are different ways to find what you are looking for. If you have a specific blog in mind, simply type in the url. And if you want to research and find new blogs type a topic and start searching!
Here is an example of how this blog looks like on Feedly:
Notice the “subscribe” button. Clicking it will allow you to add the blog to your feed of articles and to specific folders for different topics (yes, those are quite convenient) if you like.
Then once you have subscribed to some blogs you can either start reading from the “Home” button, do a specific keyword search with the search box (on screenshot) or take advantage of the folders you’ve created.
You can combine Feedly and If This Then That to automatically send posts you saved for later (yep, you can do that) to Buffer with this recipe
3. Hemingway App
Okay now you are done with the research and with the specific blog post idea and you have finished the post.
Your next step is to optimize what you wrote!
That is where the Hemingway app comes into play.
Its purpose is simple - to help you make the post you are writing easier to read. After all the more understandable you make your content, the more people will find it helpful and as a result take further action.
You basically copy and paste your writing into Hemingway and you will see different problems highlighted in different colors as the example shows.
Then straight from the tool’s interface you can start editing until the errors are gone and the readability level has been reduced enough – lower than Grade 10 is what the authors suggest.
All in all the tool is great for bloggers, but please don’t paste any actual Hemingway’s work in it.
4. Focus Booster
Okay, so you got the idea, wrote the article and optimized it easily… but how long did it take you to actually write the piece?
Did you check some Facebook photos in the process, or maybe your Twitter feed? Or was it 9GAG?
Staying focused while you are writing is important if you want to finish in less than… say 10 hours.
Focus Booster is a really cool tool I came across a few weeks ago. Its goal is to draw a clear line between the writing time and the pause time.
What you get is basically a timer that once started and configured (you can select the time intervals for writing and for breaks) counts down your writing time. Once that has passed, it is time for the break (make sure to enable “autostart sessions” so that it all moves automatically) and the cycle repeats.
Here is a look at the interface:
It’s a simple app you might say and you’d be right. But then again simply seeing the time ticking away (and hearing the ticks) can keep you motivated to write. Plus you know that in the end you will be rewarded with a break. What better than that!
5. Bulk Buffer
Are you using Buffer to schedule content for your social networks?
Buffer is without doubt a great app but sometimes, probably due to server load, adding social media posts can take a little more time than you’d like.
Well the principle behind Bulk Buffer is simple. The tool lets you either upload a .txt or .csv file with posts, each on new line or you can paste them manually via the tool’s interface (which you can see below).
The difference with doing the same thing directly on Buffer is that you can’t add items simultaneously.
Bulk Buffer allows you to do just that.
So you basically add all the updates at ones, click the “Send to Buffer” button and you move on to your other tasks.
Those are my top five free blogging tools when it comes to creating and sharing content. I really hope you find them useful!
Now I’d like to hear your say!
Have you tried some of those? If yes, what are your thoughts? If no, what other tools can you add to the list?
I always appreciate your input so please take a minute to share what you think!