It’s well known that blogging is an incredible way to grow your business online, and for good reason — it helps to send large volumes of traffic back to your site, offers great exposure and positions you as an authority in your field, and helps you to showcase your brand with authentic, quality content. The best blogs provide phenomenal content that people can’t wait to click, comment and share, and thus provide an incredible boost to business.
However, no matter how worthwhile it is, blogging can be a very time-consuming process. Unfortunately, it’s not just a case of coming up with an idea for a post, writing a few hundred words then hoping for the best. Blogs need a great platform, creative and original content and professional copywriting, careful organization, and clever promotion through the right SEO strategy if you intend to make the most of the opportunities they provide.
Luckily, there are some great tools to help you get all these tasks done strategically and efficiently so that you can maximize productivity and results. Here are the absolute essentials for building, creating and marketing your blog:
There are several blog hosting alternatives (Weebly, Blogger amongst others), but really, the only serious option for anyone in the know is WordPress. It’s become the industry standard (it powers at least 74 million websites) because it’s so easy to use and integrate with other tools you may choose to use; it supports multiple users with different permission levels so it is great for any team, and it has a brilliant online support community to help you out when needed.
2. Google’s Keyword Planner
How do you turn your blog idea into something that people will actually seek out? You’ll need to implement keywords best practices, and this is where Google’s Keyword Planner is absolutely essential. For any search term, you can see the volume of searches and how competitive it is, and get suggestions for alternatives that might suit your post better.
Once you’ve got your keywords, BuzzSumo is the go-to place for blog research. It enables you to find the latest and most shared blogs for those keywords, helping you work out what works and what doesn’t, and how you can get even better content. Ignore this tool at your peril; it really does help you create the most valuable and popular content every time.
4. Yoast SEO Plugin
Optimizing your posts for search engines is vital, particularly if you don’t yet have an established audience. This neat little plugin from Yoast can help boost traffic to your posts by helping you improve the on-page elements that help search engines find your content, such as meta-titles and descriptions.
We may know our industry inside out and have some amazing ideas to offer our readers, but we’re not all wordsmiths of the highest order. Don’t undermine incredible content with sloppy grammar and spelling — it will only compromise your position as an expert and put readers off. Grammarly offers the chance to check spelling, punctuation and grammar, gives you a score, and advises you what to change — perfect if you are less than confident in your language skills.
Canva is the best tool for the all-important visual side of your content. It allows you to create custom graphics such as charts, infographics and many others so that you can avoid the cliche of a dull stock photo. It also uses specific social media templates so that your graphics look great when shared.
7. Sprout Social
For successful social media marketing, being organized and strategic is essential. Sprout Social is a fantastic social media management tool, enabling your content to be shared automatically at optimum times across your different accounts.
Another great way to ensure your new content gets read and shared is to send it out to all your loyal email subscribers. MailChimp is an automated service for doing this that is easy to set up with various options available to suit.
Filament offers a range of great features for bloggers, but among the most useful is its social sharing button plugin that makes it super easy for your readers to share your content on their social media accounts. Considering that the easier it is to share, the more likely someone’s going to do it, this is a must-have. One of the biggest social media marketing mistakes you can make is to not make your content easily shareable.
10. Google Analytics
Once you’ve put in all the hard work into your posts, you are going to be keen to see how they are doing. Google Analytics has a huge range of possibilities, but it can also very easily tell you not only how many people are coming to your blog but who they are, where they are finding you, and what they are doing while there. All this enables you to plan even more effective content for the future.
Hisham Wyne is an award-winning copywriter, brand consultant and content creator based in Dubai. He has over a decade’s experience in helping brands get their messages right. From crisp web copy and zippy brochures to in-depth company profiles and analytical annual reports, Hisham makes words work for you – so you can sell better, gain visibility, and give your brand a unique voice.
During his time in the Middle East, Hisham has collaborated extensively with blue-chip companies including Twitter, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Harley-Davidson and Aston Martin, and helped government concerns such as the Dubai Internet City, in5 and the Dubai Design District.