Blogging, like any other task, is faster and easier with the right tools. But while there’s no shortage of online tools, plugins, and browser extensions available—for every purpose from generating post topic ideas to speeding up page load time—not all of them are worth spending much time investigating, let alone using on a regular basis.
What the best blogging tools based on your objectives and level of expertise? Which tools are the favorites of top blogging pros? What are the best tools for increasing your blogging productivity? Sharing your content socially? Building your opt-in email list?
Find these answers and more here in a handful of the best blogging tool reviews and roundups of the past year.
The Step by Step Guide to Generating Hundreds of Blog Post Ideas by Digital Rhinos
How can you come up with creative and effective new blog post ideas when “you’ve got timelines to adhere to, targets to hit and people within your company counting on you to keep pumping out high-quality content that appeals to your personas and gets noticed”? Adrian Cordiner demonstrates how to use 18 useful post topic / content asset idea-generating tools, such as BuzzSumo, which will “will spit out the most popularly shared articles (amongst other content types such as infographics) over any time in the last year.”
63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive by Boost Blog Traffic
Marsha Stopa understands you don’t “need another post on all the cool tools (you) don’t have time to use,” so she has very helpfully categorized the tools here as ideal for the minimalist blogger (“You’re willing to dip your toe in the water, [but]you don’t need the fancy tools…[for you] a blog is a side project that you can give no more than 10 hours per week, if that”), the serious and committed blogger, and the entrepreneur blogger. Just check out the tools most appropriate for your level.
26 Awesome Blogging Tools Used By The Pros by Twelveskip
Pauline Cabrera shares advice on the best tools from eight top blogging pros, including Ian Cleary (“I love Optinmonster. It’s a popup that is only displayed when a user is exiting the site. As soon as the user moves their mouse outside of the main window it’s likely they are planning to exit so this pops up”), Daniel Sharkov, Mike Allton, and Aaron Lee (one of his favorites is Flipboard: “What not many people know is you can actually load twitter lists into onto Flipboard to manage your twitter stream”).
52 Essential Tools And Resources For Bloggers by Blogging Wizard
***** 5 STARS
Adam Connell compiles “a detailed list of all of the resources and tools that (he relies) on day in, day out,” from planning and research (tools like SEMrush and UberSuggest) to various sources for WordPress themes through SEO tools, email list-building tools (e.g., GetResponse), productivity tools (like Dropbox) and various WordPress plugins.
You work hard to write compelling, original blog content. Then another site brazenly steals it, reposting your sparkling prose word for word. Worse, they outrank you. It’s infuriating. Pauline Cabrera (again) explains how to fight back using Google’s scraper report form: “Through this form, content creators who have any complaint against a scraper website that outranks you can now ask Google’s help to correct the situation.”
This was post #3 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.
You’ve put extensive effort into your business blog design, content strategy, research, and execution. Now—how you attract and retain a large audience?
The short answer is to write great content and then promote it effectively. Simple—but not easy.
The longer answer(s) are presented below. Why isn’t your blog attracting a higher level of traffic? How often should you post? How can you generate more organic search traffic? Email? Social media? Industry influencers?
Find guidance on those topics and more here in a baker’s dozen of the best guides to growing your blog audience from the past year or so.
Business Blogging: Five Reasons You Have No Readers by Spin Sucks
Got a well-written business blog, but a shortage of readers? Guest author Eleanor Pierce shares “a few ideas … some possibilities you may want to investigate” to address the issue, such as “You haven’t developed a point-of-view…it’s simple advice. As Oscar Wilde said, ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.’ But it also means you have to put some work into developing your own niche, your own point-of-view, and your own voice. Don’t think corporate blogs are immune from this advice. You still need to have a perspective.”
105 Tips To Make Your Blog Rock by jeffbullas.com
Jeff Bullas shows you how to find your audience, help your audience find you, craft enticing headlines, “secrets” on how to use social media to spread your content, how to become a thought leader in your field and more in these 100+ helpful tips and tactics. Among them: “In the meta tags for your photos, make sure the labels/words are what you want them to be – search engines can’t “read” photos, only the labels/meta tags.”
Survey of 1000+ Bloggers: How to Be in the Top 5% by Orbit Media Studios
Andy Crestodina reports on findings from the Department of Blogger Labor Survey, which asked 11 questions of more than 1,000 bloggers. Among the results: 37% of bloggers spend, on average, 1-2 hours writing each post. But nearly half—46%—spend on average 2 hours or more. 5% of bloggers spend more than 6 hours, on average, on each post they write. Half write during business hours. And while less than 5% publish daily or more than once per day, 28% publish multiple posts each week.
10 Tactics to Improve Blog Readership by Xpressly
Ruth Zive showcases an infographic with tips on how to “engage your audience, build your credibility, enhance your search ranking and drive meaningful business results” with a business blog, such as mentioning, quoting and referencing industry influencers, “but not the big ones; go after mid-level and niche influencers” as they are more likely to notice, appreciate, and amplify your efforts.
29 Free Ways to Promote Your Business Blog by Zude PR Blog
David Sawyer promises several takeaways from this post featuring more than two dozen helpful blog promotion tips, including “a step-by-step business blog amplification process,”all you need to know on the places you need to go—social media, communities, groups, blogging platforms, influencers—to boost your next article and get thousands of visits,” and “nine medium-to-long term tips on things you can do to get more people reading your content.” Among his insights, this regarding LinkedIn groups: “You don’t have to go overboard. But unless you’re sharing and commenting, few people are going to take time out to read your latest blog post.”
How to Get More Traffic and Traction by Promoting Your Content Like a Boss by Boost Blog Traffic
Andy Crestodina (again) observes that some bloggers “get way more shares than you. They get tons more email subscribers than you. They get much higher search rankings than you. And it sucks, right?” Unless you are getting Mashable-level traffic, you know the feeling. Fortunately, he then reveals “what promotion-smart know that most bloggers miss”—that search, social and email need to be integrated and coordinated (i.e., use the WPO framework); how to use your blog as the ultimate networking tool; and “always be collaborating” among other tips.
400 Blog Posts Later – What Works and What Doesn’t by Inspire to Thrive
Lisa Buben shares “16 things that have worked well and what hasn’t worked so well” across here first 400 blog posts, including her tips for Twitter (her #2 traffic source after Google search), Triberr (“a great way to reach other bloggers and share their stuff and for them to share yours too. If you haven’t signed up for this yet please do. You will notice a difference but not immediately. Give it time”) and Bing search (with a link to how Bing differs from Google’s webmaster tools).
Yes, the style (and even the blog title) scream “spam!” but once you get past the inevitable annoying pop-up ad, there is actually some very solid guidance in this detailed post. I won’t give away #32, but #12, for example, is: “Make your opt-in boxes stick out like a sore thumb…Making opt in boxes stand out by using different colours or shake can boost conversion rates—forget design it’s all about email sign ups.”
9 Potent Tactics to Promote Your Blog Posts [Infographic] by Social Media Writing
Mitt Ray showcases an infographic that summarizes blog promotion guidance from experts like Larry Kim (“Respond quickly to trends: it’s easier to get bloggers and journalists to write or share information conttaining an interesting new angle on something that was was already at the top of their mind [sic]”), Brian Dean, Rae Hoffman, Elisa Gabbert, Ian Cleary, Ann Smarty, Cendrine Marrouat, and Peg Fitzpatrick.
4 Key Steps the Pros Use to Get Traffic from Search Engines by jeffbullas.com
Guest author Jason Chesters details four key strategies for generating more search traffic to your blog, such as starting with keyword research after you write (“remember this rule: Great content first, keyword research second! Once you have completed your article, make a note of the subject and the main topic. Now this will immediately give you a basis for your keywords”) and the seven key attributes for on-page optimization of each post.
100+ Bite-Sized Tips To Get You More Social Shares (And Traffic) by Blogging Wizard
Noting that social shares not only increase direct traffic but also provide other benefits such as increased search visibility, Adam Connell passes along more than 100 useful tips to generate more engagement from Twitter (“@mention any individual or company that you have included in your content”), Google+ (“Add a share button to your blog rather than a +1 button”), Pinterest, Facebook, and other social networks.
7 simple ways to optimise a blog post for the search engines by Fairy Blog Mother
For those who’d like their blog content to rank better in search but can’t justify the expense of hiring professional SEO talent, the smart and delightful Alice Elliott outlines seven “simple procedures that can be put in place that will make a big difference” in search visibility, like optimizing images and meta tags (she explains how), as well as keeping text links limited and highly relevant.
9 Effective Ways To Revive A Struggling Blog by Blogging Wizard
If your blog growth has stagnated and you’re feeling frustrated, check out these nine tips for reviving a struggling blog from Marc Andre. Among his tactics: survey your current readers and subscribers “to make sure that you are covering topics that your readers care about,” analyze your results “to determine if there are types of posts that you should eliminate due to a lack of reader interest,” and adjust your posting frequency.
This was post #2 of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.
It’s blogging for business week on Webbiquity. Along the lines of the content marketing week series presented here previously, starting tomorrow and running through next Tuesday, a series of posts will cover business blogging strategies, tactics, tools and resources.
As reported here previously, content marketing is nearly ubiquitous, with 93% of b2b marketers using content while 88% of business buyers say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.
Blogging is often viewed as the core of content marketing strategy, and its use continues to expand due to its compelling benefits:
- • 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)
- • 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)
- • 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)
- • Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)
- • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)
Want to join in? Just write a post focused on some aspect of blogging for business, and tweet it out using the hashtag #b4bweek. That hashtag will be monitored, and the posts (subject to human limitations) shared. The best may even be bookmarked for inclusion in a future best-of post here.
Hope you enjoy (and share!) the posts here over the next week, which will feature valuable guidance from dozens of top experts.
As the search ranking algorithms used by Google and the other major search engines have become more sophisticated, the practice of SEO has gotten easier to explain (create great content, earn links) but much more challenging to execute.
The infographic below illustrates SEO best practices—the key “do’s” and “don’ts”–for 2015. Most of this advice will be familiar to anyone who spends much time doing or reading about SEO, but a few points are worth noting.
- • Do make your site accessible by including a site-search box and using breadcrumbs. Neither idea is new, yet many sites still don’t incorporate these two navigation-friendly elements.
- • Don’t overdo links on your home page. It’s tempting, as pages directly linked from the home page tend to rank better in search. But if overdone, this tactic wrecks the design, slows page load time, and consequently harms search rank more than helping.
- • Don’t duplicate content. “If your site differs across various geographic areas, create individualized content for those pages.”
- • Make sure the most important content on each page is near the top, “above the fold.”
- • Though social signals are important to SEO, “don’t spend money on bots that artificially share your content. These are detectable by search engines and can incur penalties thus negatively affecting your rankings.”
- • Don’t overload pages with information to try to game rankings–but do produce some pages with longer, more detailed content. As noted here, “The average content length for a web page that ranks in the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words.”
Without further ado, here is the SEO tactics checklist for 2015.
Marketing professionals, particularly those who work with technology companies, strive to stay ahead of the curve. What’s the next new tactic, channel or trend we need to have on our radar?
Social media and content marketing are now mainstream. Even mobile marketing is losing its shiny newness. Which technologies do we need to watch next, to understand their impact on marketing strategies and tactics—”big data” analytics? Wearables? The Internet of Things? Micropersonalization?
It’s not just a matter of being distracted by shiny new things. It really is important to watch trends and understand the business impact of new technologies (case in point: Blockbuster).
But lead generation remains the top priority for B2B marketers, and when it comes down to what pays the bills, it’s imperative not to lose sight of the basics, of what works. And even in a hyper-connected app-driven world, old-school techniques like live events, direct mail, and email still rule.
Consider recent research from Chief Marketer (see below). Other than social media and content marketing (no surprise), the top three sources for B2B lead generation are email (87%), trade shows & conferences (62%), and direct mail (49%).
The Chief Marketer report also notes that, other than referrals, the tactics that produce the largest number of qualified leads are face-to-face sales interaction (such as at trade shows and conferences), email, and direct marketing.
And among other recent research findings reported here, “Despite all the hype about online, 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy,” and “The vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81%) or phone (58%). Just 17% want to use live chat and 9% social media.”
Though best practices for using these channels continue to evolve, the tactics themselves are decidedly old-school. Industrial trade shows date to the late 18th century, and direct mail originated even earlier, with William Lucas’s seed catalogue in 1667.
Even email has reached middle age. As shown in the infographic below:
- • The first electronic message was sent 44 years ago, in 1971.
- • The term “email” was first used in 1982.
- • The word “spam” (pertaining to email) was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 1998.
- • And by 2012, 90 million Americans were accessing email on mobile devices—64% of them daily.
The challenge for B2B marketers is to continue to embrace and experiment with new technologies and tactics, while not neglecting proven techniques.