What’s better than free stuff? Free stuff that helps you make better blog posts. These tools do just that!
There are 1,000s of tools out there that claim to make bloggers lives better. Some of them aren’t that great and others cost a little bit too much. I’ve done the legwork and tried literally 100s of tools and these are 7 that I would 100% recommend using.
I’ve blogged about Canva before and that’s because 3 years after I discovered it, I am still as in love with it as I was back then. Canva is the free online designer that every blogger should be using. With loads of pre-built templates in for different social media posts, blog headers, infographics and more, it makes customising your designs so easy.
Canva is completely free to use and has an iPhone and iPad app, storing and syncing all of your designs in the cloud and across devices. There is an option to pay for Canva for Work, but this is only really useful for teams.
Once you’ve created an awesome image for your blog in Canva, the next thing that will attract people’s attention is the headline. Getting that title right can make all the difference when it comes to catching attention. Enter your headline into CoSchedule’s analyser and it will give it a score out of 100 and tell you how you can improve it.
Want to run polls or do quizzes? Make your blog a little bit more interactive using Playbuzz. Create your own quiz or embed one of the 1,000s of free quizzes into your blog post. Having your readers engage with your audience will have them coming back time and time again.
Playbuzz is free, with the option to pay more to remove branding and other premium features, but I’ve found the free version to be just fine.
Do not underestimate how important it is to get your audiences email addresses. Not matter how many followers you have on social media or how many people visit your blog on a daily basis, the fact of the matter is that you do not own any of that. Whilst unlikely, Facebook could turn around and delete your page or you could suddenly lose your domain name.
Use Mailchimp to store email addresses and send out regular emails to your audience. It’s free for up to 2,000 email addresses, making it great for someone just starting out. Once you’ve outgrown the free version, there are other options that offer better value that I’ll discuss in another blog post soon.
Buffer is my favourite tool for social media scheduling so far. I’ve used Hootsuite, PromoRepulic and each social networks own scheduling, but I’ve always been drawn back to Buffer. It’s friendly, simple user experience makes me happy and it just does the job.
It’s free option lets you add one social account for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+. The Instagram option, however, only sends you a reminder for you to post. There is a tool called Grum.co that does let you schedule from your computer.
Sumo has a whole range of tools for optimising websites and blogs. There are two that I use: image sharer and highlighter. I spoke about these in my post about optimising blogs for social media.
The image sharer puts social media share buttons over your images making them easy to share. Highlighter allows people to easily share any text from your post by simply highlighting it. Sumo Me is on this site, so you can highlight some text and see it in action.
I’ve only just been introduced to this tool, and technically it doesn’t make your blog better. But it does help to keep your social media active, even when you don’t have new posts to share.
Sniply allows you to put a banner over the top of *any website that links back to your site. For example, if I wanted to share another blogs top tools for blogging, I could put it into Sniply which would generate a snip.ly URL for me to post on my social media. If you clicked you would view the website as normal, but along the top or bottom would be a banner with a call to action and link back to my site.
Again, Sniply has a free account that limits you to 1,000 clicks a month. But that’s not too bad to get started. After that it goes up to about $29, but the free 1,000 clicks should be enough to decide whether it’s worth the cost.
*some sites block external pop-ups, but Sniply will warn you before making a link.