5 Free Tools to Help Your Blogging and Marketing Productivity

Free Blogging Tools for Better ProductivityWhen 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.

But then again what’s the point if you get so lost in the process that in the end you are left with no time for friends, family and hobbies?

Exactly.

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

And…

  • 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.

Blog Topic Generator

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.

2. Feedly


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!

Using Feedly

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: 

ReviewznTips 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.

Searching for Content on FeedlyThen 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


Hemingway Readability LevelOkay 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.

Using Hemingway to Improve Readability LevelIts 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. :D

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: 

Focus Booster 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).

Bulk Buffer Interface

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.

Final Words


Those are my top five free blogging tools when it comes to creating and sharing content. I really hope you find them useful!

Share Your ThoughtsNow 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! :)

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  1. The tips which you have shared in this post are just awesome. These tips are really helpful to me and I think it should must helpful to others. I really like the style of writing this article. Your articles are always helps me a lot. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us. :D

  2. Thanks Daniel. As an amateur blogger, I can really utilize these to boot my content.

  3. Thanks Daniel, some great tips. I like the Hemingway one, as not being a writer myself I’m always a bit worried how my blogs will come across. Surprisingly they came up well, but there’s a couple of improvements I could make. Good to know!

  4. Daniel, this is a nice list of accumulated tools. I’ve used Blog Topic Generator and it works really well. Just 2 days ago, I got to know about this tool and used it for generating some ideas. The ideas generated were pretty interesting. I think this tool will be a part of my blogging work now, and will be using it on weekly basis.

  5. Hi Daniel,

    Those are really great tools, most two that will be useful to me is the Hubspot idea generation tool and Hemingway, I think those will become an integral part of my future blogging day to day tasks.

    You know the saying “you should work smarter not harder” so we should be always in the look for tools that help us become smarter.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hey Daniel,

    I have used Focus Booster, Blog Topic generator and Feedly. I still use feedly..the others are kind of random. I like to switch around with apps/services I use, so the only thing I am sticking with, right now, is Feedly. Everything else is interchangeable :D

    Bulk buffer seems like a cool idea. I haven’t used it (didn’t know we could do that..so, thank you for the tip!).

    I am putting more effort into editing/proof reading, so hemingway would be a great help (do they have a WP plugin?).

    Anyways, thank you for the awesome share, Daniel :) Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

    Btw, I think I forgot to tell you thank you for writing about sticky notes. It’s simple and efficient! I am using it right now, thanks to you :D

  7. Hi Daniel,

    What a great post. I doubt there is anyone out there that can’t come away with at least one lesson from this post. As busy as I am with school and work, I am definitely going g to try and maximize these tools.

  8. Hi Daniel, I haven’t used any of these but the Buffer. I love the Buffer and was not aware of the CSV file option. Very neat! I’m interested to check out the topic generator. That would be something very handy for me. Thanks for sharing Daniel and I hope you are having a great weekend!

  9. Hi Daniel,

    It’s been a while hasn’t it? I hope all is well. Thanks for sharing these resources with us. I’m eager to check out the Blog Topic Generator. The Hemingway App is a new one for me too.

    Definitely passing this along. Hope you’re having a great day.

  10. Hey Daniel, thank you! I use a Flesch Kincaid readability software to check articles. Now I can’t wait to try the Hemingway app and one of the bulk uploader tools. Great tips.

  11. This is a wonderful list of tips. I really love the Hemingway app. Thank you for this wonderful information.

    -Renee’
    @iteachblogging

  12. Thanks for pointing out these tools Daniel. I have been using Feedly since Google announced is would be shutting down Reader, and I think Feedly is a great tool. I haven’t used the others on this list, so I will have to check them out. For the purpose of managing social media profiles I use Hootsuite, but the bulk upload feature for Buffer seems pretty interesting.

  13. Hi Daniel,
    I used to use the Blog Topic Generator and forgot all about it. So thanks for the reminder!
    Focus Booster looks fun/interesting. I’d certainly give that a try.
    Thanks again for a great post.
    Mike

  14. Blog Topic Generator. – Could be useful for newbies and professionals.

    Sometimes we run out of ideas caused by various reasons, some nervous tension or something like that. Using this will assist us. The time you’ll spend thinking about trendy topics will shrink. Nice tool, I will give it a shot too!

  15. Hi Daniel,
    Great post! I love the tip to use IFTTT–I don’t know where I’ve been, but I just discovered this amazing site not too long ago. It looks amazing and overwhelming all at once :-)

    Any thoughts on Buffer vs Hootsuite? I’m still trying to get in the groove of scheduling things, but I’m having a hard time planning ahead.

    Thanks again for the great info!

    • Hey Stephanie,

      Thank you!

      IFTTT is really an awesome way to connect different tools and automate various tasks. Definitely a must-try for marketers.

      I’m a fan of Buffer. Never really liked Hootsuite’s interface. Love the new daily suggestions feature that Buffer provides.

      Have a great day ahead!
      Daniel

  16. This is a great list of resources! I have been blogging for almost 6 months now and I haven’t heard of most of these. I am going to try the blog topic generator right away!

    Optimizing your article is just as important as writing it, because you can reduce your bounce rate and keep the reader’s attention. As we all know, attention spans are a main enemy of bloggers.

    Thanks for the article, Daniel!