10 Must Have Tools to Level Up Your Blog

by | Apr 24, 2016 | 0 comments

You have been blogging your little heart out and for some reason, things just are not progressing as you would like. There are some super helpful tools that will take your blog from blah to BAM! These cover everything from content creation to promoting your fresh blog posts. Because let’s face it, if you check your stats and see that no one is visiting your website that seems like a pretty good reason to throw in the towel.

So what are these not so magical tools that will help you grow your blog to the awesomeness that you know it is?

Content Creation

Let’s start at the very beginning with content. You know that this is the bread and butter of your site. If you have mediocre content, then you have a mediocre site. It will not matter how much you promote it, how gorgeous your graphics are or simply how amazing you are. If your content sucks, no one will come back. No one will run and tell their besties about. Moreover, you will float off into the dismal black hole of internet nothingness.

Every week you publish great posts, and you want a clean way to promote these posts, when they are relevant, within new posts. Because hey, it took you a long time to get that greatness published and it is still worth reading if you are reading something similar. For this, there is a simple to use the plugin, Content Views. Content Views will help you create simple grid layouts of specific posts. The best part, you do not need to know how to code anything!

If you are like many bloggers, you are probably flying solo and don’t have access to an editor. Luckily there is a great tool to help you take your writing game to the next level. This is something that is worth every penny I pay for it. It is my digital editor. Grammarly is by far one of the best investments you can make with your business. This not only works across many platforms, it as a plugin directly for Chrome and Microsoft Word. So it does not matter if you are working online or off you have access to this tool. It proofreads all of my blog posts, offers great suggestions. It is even great for social media and lets me double check before commenting on a post a Facebook group and looking like I am clueless.

Moreover, this brings us to organizing all this madness. There are tons of different tools you can use to keep up with an editorial calendar, to-do list and everything you need to do for you blog. However, I have a great system set up with Trello. I keep my idea bank, blog posts, and general maintenance all organized in one place and can quickly move cards, add checklists and feel as sense of accomplishment when I can finally move something across all of my workflow procedures and hit that archive button.

>> Want to know more about how I use Trello? Check it out here.

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10 Must Have Tools to Level Up Your Blog

Graphics Creation

You have invested time into to creating amazing content; it needs a little eye candy to compliment it. This is where gorgeous graphics come into play. While graphics will not necessarily make or break your site. They will defiantly make you more memorable. If your graphics relay the message, you about to delve deeply into then you have succeeded in capturing the attention of a reader. By the way, they could look at this graphic and just click away if it does not give a quick overview what they are getting themselves into. So use this space to grab their attention and keep it.

To begin with a gorgeous graphic you need to know where to find some amazing stock photos, fonts, or other elements you can use to enhance your graphics. For this, I have a go-to resource, Creative Market. This is by far where I spend way too much time on the internet. One of the best parts of this site, weekly freebies. Every single week they give away six things of pure digital goodness. I am a digital hoarder (all made possible because of this beauty) and will download these, even if I do not have an immediate plan for them. Moreover, then every month they offer bundles, $39 for hundreds of dollars’ worth of goodies that you can use on your website and social media posts.

However, now that you have all of these goodies you need to put them into a great looking format. If you a blogger on a budget, PicMonkey is one of the best tools for this. If you are a little more advanced, PhotoShop is for you. Both are great options. However, PicMonkey is an easy to use web-based program that you can simply upload your files to add your text and save without having to learn the ins and outs of a more extensive program like PhotoShop. When I first started, this was my tool. Moreover, even though my graphics skills have improved and I love Photoshop, when I am in a hurry and just need to add some text to a photo, I use PicMonkey. It is just that easy to use.

Both of these resources combined, Creative Market and PicMonkey, are sure to take your graphic creation game to the next level and help to create gorgeous graphics that make your brand stand out in the crowded digital world.

10 Must Have Tools to Level Up Your Blog

Email Marketing

You hear all the time about how the money is on the list. However, do you have a list? Is it a tiny list that only your mom has subscribed to because she supports you? It does not have to be; there are tools that you can use to help you grow your email list and show the internet that you are for real. Moreover, demand that they take you seriously.

There are countless ways to offer opt-ins on your website. Moreover, there is a single WordPress plugin that will offer you the option to set quickly up quite a few different ways. SumoMe this is one of the best plugins you have put on the blog. It has options for a smart bar, a welcome gate, a pop-up list builder box and even a scroll box that stays at the bottom of your page. All of these are great and can be used together or alone. Moreover, I recommend testing them out to see which converts best for your site.

One of my favorite premium tools is LeadPages.  This is super simple to use and lets me create gorgeous lead boxes that I can place in specific locations and not at all standard. So for every blog post that has an a different content upgrade, I can use a different lead box to get new subscribers on my email list. I am sure that there are ways you could do this differently and on a budget but the time is saving and easy to use templates that have been proven to convert well are worth the expense.

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Collecting emails mean that you need to put them somewhere. You need to send out emails to your audience and keep them engaged. This is how you will grow your business after all. I love MailChimp. There are some that go back and forth and on the company. However, I have a great way to integrate MailChimp and Leadpages that keeps all of my email subscribers on a single list. Even though I offer many different ways to get there. I love the easy to use templates for beautiful looking emails and with a smaller list, the price is perfect.

>> Want to know how to optimize MailChimp and LeadPages and have a single master list? I have put together an in-depth tutorial just for you.

10 Must Have Tools to Level Up Your Blog

Social Media Marketing

You knew this was coming, right? You simply cannot keep churning out content and cross your fingers that someone finds it. You need to put in a bit more work to get it in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Moreover, this is where social media comes into play. However, you do not have hours to spend on social media, so you need some handy tools to help you along the way. I have two that I rely on every single day to promote not only my content but the awesome content of others that I know my audience wants to see.

To begin, I use CoSchedule. This is a top plugin for WordPress. It is easy to use and lets you create your social media updates all from within a blog post. This is great because it means things like the link, graphics, and title are all right there in front of you. Moreover, you can create the best updates because the content is fresh on your mind. I plan out months of social media updates for each blog post and schedule them to be added to my Buffer feed over time.

This brings us to the tool that I use to publish content on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, Buffer. This is one of the greatest tools that I use. I do use the paid version as it allows Pinterest scheduling and that is worth it alone. I like being able to use the handy little Chrome extension to add content from other to my queue and send them to all of my platforms. This is a major time saver. Moreover, this makes it easy to keep giving my audience fresh content that is related to what I am helping them with and is a great way to network. I also have optimized schedules for each platform. This takes the guesswork out of when to schedule a post and just picks the best time for each platform. I have a set number of posts I share each day on each platform and keep a steady stream of content in my queue to keep from overwhelming any followers. This also means that I can spend a few hours a week finding new content and scheduling it at once and not stressing about it the rest of the week.

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As you can see, there is a lot of work that goes into building successful blogs, but you do not have to do it alone. There are loads of resources and tools that help you to streamline and get the most out of your time. Allowing you to focus on the things that matter.

What are your favorite tools to level up your blog?

10 Must Have Tools to Level Up Your Blog

Ready to take your blog to the next level? These 10 Must Have Tools will be sure to put you on the fast track to blogging success.
Sarah Crosley

Sarah Crosley

Founder of The Creative Boss

After years of trying to run an online business I have seen quite a few ups and a whole lot more downs. I spent hours every day researching how to make a go at some elusive, passive income. I felt like it was something that was just a myth, and then I figured out what the real meaning of passive income was: to work smarter, not harder. It’s not just sitting around watching the dollars pour into your bank account, but you can create products that will sell and still be sitting on the beach or at home in pajamas, and I want to share with you what worked for me. I don’t want you to spend years trying, failing, and throwing in the towel.

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Who is Sarah?

I am the founder and lead designer here at The Creative Boss. After years of running handmade shops on Etsy and scouring the interwebs for tips and advice on how to grow and succeed online, I knew that there needed to be a change!The Creative Boss was launched to offer a one stop shop for busy creatives who want to succeed online with ease.
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