Bloggers have more awesome free tools today than ever before. In this post we will share 12 free tools that every blogger should be using in three categories: Performance, Writing, and Design & Visual.
There are millions of blog posts published every single day, and your posts could be some of the best out there. But if you don’t tweak the performance of your blog, those posts will be lost in an endless sea of content. Here are performance tools you can use to make sure your blog is coming out on top.
Of all the tools that analyze the performance of your blog, Nibbler is one of the clearest and most effective. The tool gives you a score based on four areas: Accessibility, Experience, Marketing and Technology. These scores are based on a series of smaller tests, so you get a nice list of clear and actionable areas to improve.
#2 Google Analytics
Once your blog starts to gain traffic, you will need to get important insights into your audience, where they come from and how they behave on your website/blog. Google Analytics is the perfect tool for this and every good webmaster should already be using it. The great news is that it’s becoming more and more accessible – check out our recent post on Google Analytics and voice integration.
#3 Google’s PageSpeed Tool
Today there is more mobile traffic than desktop traffic. The rise of mobile that was discussed for years continues to charge forward and if your blog isn’t fast and optimized for mobile, you’re in trouble: traffic, time on site, bounce rates and ad revenues could all suffer. Google’s PageSpeed Tool gives you an easy way to check your mobile performance and offers you handy tips on how to make improvements.
#4 Marfeel Connect
Once your traffic grows, you will begin to think about monetization. This can become more complex as you continue to add more revenue streams. Marfeel Connect is a free tool used by publishers to see all their revenue streams in one place, helping them to standardize their data and see how they can boost their revenue.
Now that we have assessed the performance of your website, let’s look at tools that make sure your content is polished and accessible.
This popular WordPress plugin gives publishers tips on producing texts that are optimized for the web. The plugin shouldn’t dictate exactly how your posts are written, but it offers nudges in the right direction that writers often forget about.
Web copy should be easy to read and Hemingway helps you to write clear copy that is perfect for the web. The tool is very intuitive and uses five criteria to check how readable your copy is. Hemingway does this by helping you to cut down on adverbs and passive voice, and encourages you to use simple alternatives and make sure that your sentences are easy to read.
This is a very simple tool but it’s surprising how useful it actually is. This simple box allows you to copy text into it and then count the characters. That’s it. But this is great for quickly checking the length of different texts and those character limits are above the box, too.
FocusWriter is a simple piece of software that helps you to get in the zone. This desktop program gives you a simple, distraction-free environment so that you can focus on what matters: your content.
Design & Visual
Now that you have fantastic content that is going to reach your audience, let’s make sure it looks great and attracts your readers.
Video is huge. 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide say video has the best ROI of any form of content, and 43% of people want to see more video content from marketers. Integrating video should be on everyone’s radar and Lightworks is an incredible piece of free software. In fact, Hollywood films have been edited with the software. There is a steep learning curve depending on what you want to do with your video, but this is a piece of software you can’t miss.
Do you feel that you need to brush up on your graphic design skills? Canva places all the tools that you need to create stunning designs right at your fingertips. Using this tool you can create banners, graphics and other designs that will present your ideas clearly and entice readers.
#11 Adobe Spark
This free tool from Adobe allows you to create “graphics, web stories and animated videos” with ease. People manage to achieve spectacular results and this tool can really set your online graphics apart from the crowd. You can see the Adobe Spark inspiration gallery for great ideas.
#12 Free Images
The quality of images online has taken a huge leap in recent years thanks to the collaborative spirit of contributors to free image websites. This blog post from Snappa has a great comprehensive list of those websites. Combine these images with Adobe Spark and Canva to create some truly special visuals that will make your content pop.
If you’re looking to get creative and create your own stunning images, check out this post from App Institute that shares 8 Awesome Photography Apps.
We hope that these tools help you on your blogging journey. If you would like to discuss any of the tools or tell us about some of your favorites, feel free to contact us, or sign up to our newsletter using the form below for more tips.