The Blogger’s Toolbox: 55+ Tools to Help Grow Your Blog
Tools for our blogs are important.
They're what get our content out there. They're what make our blogs look professional. They're how we get things done faster.
Tools are what help us become better at what we do...blog for our readers.
Now, there are a lot of them out there. Hundreds. Thousands. All in different categories, doing different things...helping you in different ways.
In this post, I will show you more than 50 tools in several categories that will help you become a better blogger.
Let's get started.
Quick Note: Skip to the tools I use.
Note: Some of these links are my affiliate links. Which means I'd get a commission if you click and buy.
Blog Tools and Resources to Make Your Blog Look Good
These are the 3 tools you need to have a good blog (CMS, hosting, and design).
WordPress is the top blogging platform out there. 100's of millions of blogs are built with WordPress. Including this one and all the others I own/built.
You should too.
I was first introduced to SiteGround Hosting in an email from Jon Morrow.
I've been using it ever since.
It's the best web host, in my honest opinion. It's been featured in many top web hosting roundups like this one at Bloggers Ideas.
Plans start at $6/7.
There are nearly 10 premium WordPress themes here. There are also a few plugins. Including a list building tool and a content builder. (Read our review here.)
You can purchase any of their items separately. But I'd highly recommend you go for the membership, so you'll have access to all themes, plugins, support, updates, and future products.
Another great place to find awesome WP themes is MyThemeShop.
Blog Tools for Creating Awesome Content
These are tools that will help you research topics, brainstorm new ideas, stay organized and productive, write, and promote your content.
The first bunch of for researching.
Buzzsumo's one of the best tools a blogger and content marketer could ever have in their toolbox.
It's especially great for finding new/proven content ideas and finding influencers.
Here's what it does:
You type in an idea or keyword into the search bar, and the tool will gather up a list of posts with the most social shares. There's also the option to see a post's backlinks, which would be great for link building.
You can also type in a competitor's domain name and check out what their most shared content is.
Pretty cool, huh?
This Q and A site is great for one reason...
To find out what your target audience is having trouble with.
Yes. Quora will hook you up with this information.
All you have to do is search for your blog's main topic(s), browse around the threads, and take note of the questions and ideas that would fit into your content strategy.
This handy tool is great for coming up with new ideas you can blog about.
To find fresh ideas using the Portent Title Maker, you'll have to type in a keyword that relates to your blog and let the tool do the rest.
Tip: Use this strictly for ideas only. If you use it to make your titles, they'll likely sound cheesy.
HubSpot's topic generator is very similar to Portent's tool.
The only difference, this one requires multiple ideas up front and it'll give you 5 [generic] headlines in return.
As you can see, the tool doesn't really pump out great headlines. So it's best to strictly use it for brainstorming blog post ideas.
Very handy when you run out of blog ideas.
This is a tool that analyzes web pages. It checks out a site's SEO, speed, and social numbers.
It's great for finding new content ideas, via the social tab (it shows a blog's top shared content.
These tools will help you stay organized and on track.
CoSchedule is an editorial calendar for bloggers. Definitely one of the best out there.
You can even set it up within your WordPress admin panel.
You can use it to schedule your blog posts, social media posts, or even both.
This tool will help you keep organized.
You can use it as a to do list, a special notes keeper, or really...almost anything you want.
Me, I use it to break important work into small bite-sized tasks. For instance, a blog post...
I'd have it set up like:
- Headline Creation Station
- The Outline
- The Intro
- The Conclusion
- The Body
- The Blog Images
- On Page SEO
- Hemingway and Grammarly - Proofread and Edit
- Social Sharing and Email Outreach
Something like that.
If you deal with a lot of files, like PDFs, images, word docs, etc, this is a great tool to have.
Dropbox is a cloud storage and file synchronization service. that you can use in your browser or their application.
Dropbox is especially good for hosting your downloadable list building freebies.
Example, an ebook. You can upload it to Dropbox, and send your email signups to the page where they can download the resource.
This tool is great for collecting info off the web.
Using Evernote, you can drop all kinds of content, snippets, webpages, images, etc, into your account. This is great for saving ideas for later.
These tools will help you write.
WordPress Distraction Free
I know a lot of bloggers using the WordPress platform don't know or use this.
Do you ever see that little square-ish thing-a-mi-jigger in the upper left corner of the WP blog post editor?
Yeah, that one.
That thing blocks out everything on your screen but the editor.
Here's a very cool tool that'll help you be more productive with your writing.
You can set it to 15+ minutes, write like crazy, take 5, and do it all over again until your first draft is done.
Pretty cool, eh?
Try it out. Time will fly.
This tool calculates the emotionality of your headline.
The better the score, the higher chance it has at getting clicks on social media or the SERPs.
This is probably the overall best headline tool there is.
CoSchedule's headline tool gives your headline a score out of 100 and grades it like you're in 5th grade (e.g, B+).
And the higher your scores and grades are, the better chance you have at capturing your reader's attention.
These are tools to help with proofreading and editing.
What is Hemingway? you ask...
To put it in simple terms, it's like the WordPress blog post editor you always use, but this one checks your spelling, grammar, and the flow of your blog post.
Yup. You probably guessed it...Grammarly is a tool that checks your spelling and grammar errors. According to their website, they can correct more than 250 grammatical mistakes. Impressive, huh?
They can also catch spelling errors and poor use of words.
It's a great tool to use if you're horrible at speaking/writing english.
As for english-speaking bloggers, Grammarly can also be very useful.
How so? you ask.
When writing up a blog post, you can whiz through the first draft without thinking about mistakes. And when it's proofread and editing time, you can copy and paste your draft into Grammarly and fix any mistakes or errors you might have.
To help you promote...
Content Marketer is great for outreach.
With this tool, you'll be able to find and contact influencers via email and Twitter.
You can use this tool to build new relationships and promote your epic blog posts.
Content Marketer will also help you find a person's email address for you. Cool, eh.
Blog Tools for Creating Images/Multimedia
The tools below are for creating sexy blog images.
Canva is the badass of creating and editing images.
They've literally turned thousands of non-designers and wannabes into graphic-making pros (well, sort of).
Their easy-to-use editor has the drag-and-drop feature, tons of icons, and backgrounds, unlimited colors, and much, much more.
You can use it to create in-content and featured images, sexy infographics, social media graphics, basically anything you can think of.
And you know what...
It's 100% free.
This is pretty much like Canva.
It basically has every feature Canva has....but it has more animated icons. Which is cool, but...
...you're only allowed 5 free downloads per month.
That's still not bad, though. 5 freebies are enough for a month's worth of featured images. Right?
This tool is like Photoshop without the ginormous price tag (and some of the cooler features.
Gimp has all of the major features so that you can create and edit cool graphics for your blog and social media posts.
And it's free,
Stencil (Formerly Share As Image)
This is one of the best tools on this list. Simply because you can grab any text from the web, paste it into the tool, and they'll hook you up with a badass photo you can share on social media.
Just like this one:
People love data. People love images. You put the 2 together, what do you get?
Yup. That's right...charts.
A great way to use charts is to show proof that something works. Or, show the results of an important study.
Like this one from serpIQ's average word count study:
This is a screen capture software created by the guys at Evernote.
It's one of the best.
It's super easy to use. And, it's 100% free.
This is a tool that creates animated GIFs, or moving pictures.
It's a neat little tool for creating super short mini-tutorials.
It's free and you can download to your computer. It works just like a screenshot tool.
A great alternative is Imgflip.com.
This is one of the best search engines for images.
If you don't have a favorite stock photo site, or if you're just plain lazy, let PhotoPin do the searching for you.
This tool will gather up all the images with a Creative Commons license and hand them to you on a silver platter.
All you have to do is type in a keyword, hit enter, and voila.
There are a lot of screen recorders out there, but Camtasia seems to be at the top of every video marketers' and bloggers' hitlist.
So if you're planning on creating some video tutorials, walkthroughs, or just anything with video, and aren't very camera-shy, then this is the tool for you.
If you're planning on becoming the next blogger with a badass podcast, then this tool is for you.
After reading a bunch of lists like this (tools for bloggers), this is the voice recorder that seems to put a smile on bloggers' faces.
Blog Tools to Build an Email List
The money is in the list. You ever hear that?
It's pretty true. And these tools will help you build the list of your dreams.
Mailchimp is one of many quality email marketing softwares.
An email marketing software is something you'll need to start building your list. It's where you're going to manage your list and send emails.
And Mailchimp is one of the best. It's the one that I use (currently). It's free for up to 2000 subscribers.
This list building tool is part of Thrive Themes' premium suite.
It's the only list building tool I use. Why? you ask. Because it has every type of
Thrive Leads also has advanced tracking and detailed reports.
The best! Trust me. You'll love it.
This list building tool features only one type of optin form, the featured box.
SumoMe is a WordPress with a ton of apps. They got some for analytics, list building, and social sharing.
But here, we're looking at their list building apps.
If you're looking for a free list building tool, then this is the one for you.
Blog Tools to Build Landing Pages Easy
To help you create beautiful content and landing pages...
This is a WordPress plugin from the Thrive Themes suite. And perhaps the best visual editor and builder.
The drag and drop feature makes it incredibly newbie-friendly.
It also comes with tons of landing page templates. Awesome!
You can also use the Thrive Content Builder to create attractive blog posts. Kind of like this one (yes, this blog post, and all the content I create, was built with the Thrive Content Builder).
Starts at $67.
LeadPages is one of the most popular list building and landing page tools. It's used by some of the biggest bloggers and marketers in our the industry, including Amy Porterfield and Brian Dean.
Blog Tools for SEO
Planning on getting some of that search traffic? These tools should help.
Long Tail Pro is one of the best keyword research tools around.
With it, you can find great keywords to target with low competition and get some of that free organic search traffic that everybody wants.
I highly recommend this.
If you're planning on using SEO as part of your overall blog/marketing strategy, you'll need keywords you could actually rank high for. And Long Tail Pro is the tool that'll help you find those.
This is one of the most popular and useful SEO tools you could ever have.
Seriously. A lot of bloggers and SEOs use this to spy and beat their competitors. Including Robbie Richards.
Google's own keyword tool is probably the most used out of all the keyword tools in the world.
So whenever you want to how many times a certain keyword gets every month, this is an amazing resource. And all you need is a Google account, which is free.
This is a pretty cool resource. It only allows 5 searches per 24 hours, but the data it gives you is pretty accurate.
This one's great for finding keyword ideas you wouldn't have thought of on your own.
It's free with paid options.
If you don't have a Google Analytics account, then I don't know what you're doing.
With GA, you can find out how many visitors you get, where they come from, what they do, and a lot more cool stuff.
And, it's 100% free.
Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console)
Again, if you're not using this, you're crazy.
The Search Console lets you know how Google sees your site, basically.
Moz.com's tool is a very popular one.
It basically does what it's called, explore websites openly (or whatever). It shows you the backlink profile of the domain you enter.
It'll also show you the Domain and Page Authority (DA, PA) of a domain. And if you haven't of the great DA and PA, they're calculated by the quantity and quality of a domain's link profile. The higher the authority, the better chance it has at ranking highly in Google.
This is a browser extension that shows you the DA and PA of any page you visit.
And it works, too, on Google. See?
This one's similar to Moz's OSE. It shows you the link profiles of any domain you want.
You can use Ahrefs to find link opportunities, find viral content ideas, track your search rankings, and more.
It may be the best tool in its area. A lot of the pros use it. Including Brian Dean and Robbie Richards.
It's expensive. But they offer a free trial, so you can at least check it out. I highly recommend it. It can help you grow your SEO traffic.
This is a pretty handy browser extension.
You can use this tool in 2 ways. 1) to find and fix all your broken links, and 2) to find link building opportunities (see this post).
This amazing tool helps you monitor your search rankings for any keyword.
It's pretty great. So if you're all about the search rankings and traffic,
They offer a 14-day free trial.
Buzzstream is a CRM that allows you to automate and scale your outreach efforts. You can use it build relations with influencers, promote your epic blog posts, build badass links, and for guest post campaigns.
So basically, if you want to really grow your blog, BuzzStream will help you do it.
They have a free trial going on right now, so I'd recommend you at least check it out.
Blog Tools for Social Media
These tools are for everything that you need for social media.
This is a tool you can use to manage your social media accounts, schedule social posts, and track.
It's especially great for sharing stuff on Twitter, for instance.
You can either download the browser extension and share content that way or, click on the little Buffer icon you see on some people's sites.
You can also login to your Buffer dashboard and type up what you want to share.
Either way, Buffer's a neat and handy tool to have.
This free tool is a great one from the Sumome suite.
There are dozens of different icons so you can choose whichever ones you want.
For example, say you're trying to get traffic from all the major social networks. You can add all of them into your sharing buttons.
Or maybe you want to try and get shares on Reddit or some other social site, Sumome Share has a ton of services.
Add amazing quotes boxes and get tweets at the same time with this free tool from the guys who made CoSchedule.
This is a great tool for engaging with people on social media. You can your content, and even building quality links (if you'd like).
Basically, Buzzbundle is a social management tool. It can monitors blogs, forums and social networks for search terms and allows you to engage with people directly.
Blog Tools for Affiliate Marketing
Planning on using affiliate marketing as an income stream?
Check these out...
This is a premium WordPress plugin from Jitendra Vaswani. Who is the guy behind top blog, BloggersIdeas.
This is a rich snippets / product review tool.
The rich snippets side of the plugin does this:
The product review side of the plugin does thing:
SchemaNinja also does some other cool stuff, but you'll have to check out AffiliMarketer's review to find that out.
This WP plugin has tons of shortcodes that can help you create better posts, visually.
But the reason I included it in this category is because of the button shortcode.
Yes, this tool will help you create good looking (like you) buttons with your affiliate link.
This is a tool that cloaks and manages your affiliate links.
You know how affiliate links are ugly, right?
With ThirstyAffiliates, you can turn that fugly link into something like this:
Pretty cool, huh?
You'll also be able to have all your links in separate categories and track how they're doing.
This is a pretty cool WordPress plugin that creates tables.
Why is this on the list? you ask.
You can use it to create a product comparison table.
Kind of like this one:
MyThemeShop's review plugin is pretty cool.
You'll be able to have a review box before or at the end of your post.
Google will also find your rating and put it on the SERPs.
There's also WP Product Review.
Blog Tools for your Blog's Performance
Nowadays, a fast-loading blog is a must. And these tools will help you speed up your site.
Site speed is extremely important these days. According to a post at KISSmetrics, 40% of internet users exit a web page if it doesn't load within 3 seconds.
And Pingdom has a tool that tests the speed of your blog and shows you a detailed report of how your site loads.
And checking your page loading time is the first step to improving it.
You could also check out PageSpeed Insights.
ZenCache WordPress Plugin
This free WP plugin does the caching stuff so that your site can load faster.
There are a bunch of other ones that do this, but I find ZenCache to be the easiest and I use it on all my sites.
Note: There are a few other caching plugins that get the job done. Like WP Fastest Cache.
Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions WordPress Plugin
ODaDR is a pretty neat and handy tool.
The first time I activated this on my WP blog, it shredded 2 seconds off of my 5.5+ second loading time. Literally.
And what this plugin does is it deletes all the garbage that's sitting in your WP database. Like post/page revisions, pingbacks, trackbacks, and everything that you've trashed.
A good alternative is WP-Optimize.
Lazy Load XT WordPress Plugin
This handy plugin lazy loads all your images. That means that your images don't load until the reader scrolls down to where the image is.
This will dramatically improve your site speed.
A great alternative is a3 Lazy Load.
TinyPNG is a web-based tool that compresses images. In simpler terms, it shrinks the size of an image's file.
On average, it shrinks about 70% of the file size. Which is amazing.
And, it works for JPEG/JGP files, too.
Both of these plugins are great for speeding up your WordPress website.
Which one's better? you ask.
I used to use Autoptimize. But I ran into an issue with the Thrive Content Builder. Because of Autoptimize doing its thing, the Content Builder's images feature wasn't working.
Now I use JCH Optimize. I don't see any major difference in the speed and loading times. And I haven't had any plugin compatibility issues.
Note: Autoptimize is much more popular than JCH Optimize. 100,000 to 3,000 active WP users.
The Blog Tools I Use
To wrap things up, I'm going to show you the list of my favorite tools. Check them out:
- SiteGround - for cheap, fast, reliable hosting for my blog.
- Thrive Themes - the Squared, Rise, and FocusBlog themes are my favs.
- Thrive Leads and Mailchimp - to build my email list (more tools here).
- Thrive Content Builder - to easily build attractive landing pages and blog posts (like the one you're on).
- ThirstyAffiliates - to cloak and manage my affiliate links.
- Buffer, SumoMe's Share, and BuzzBundle - for everything social media marketing.
- Buzzsumo and Quora - for finding new, proven content ideas.
- Trello, Hemingway, Grammarly, and the Headline Analyzer - for creating quality blog posts.
- Skitch, Canva, and Snappa - for creating all my blog images.
- Ninja Outreach for my blogger outreach campaigns.
- Everything in the SEO category + ContentMarketer.io - for my SEO.
Did you enjoy the list? Maybe your people will, too. So share! 🙂
If you have a favorite that isn't featured on here, I'd love to hear about and include it on the list.
Let me know in the comments below.