The profession of contemporary bloggers is challenging: it’s not anymore just about writing great content. It’s also about producing content at the right scale, promoting content, making it visually appealing and making sure you’re building and interacting with your readers’ community.
Therefore every blogger, amateur or a professional, needs his own personalized and powerful toolbox. A bunch of handy tools can save lots of time and make blogging not just a hobby or a routine job – but a structured, creative, innovative and scalable process.
There are multiple tools and software available on the market, both free and paid. In this article we will list down a bunch of best free and accessible ones among them together with some practical hands-on advice on how to best use them and why.
- Writing And Editing
Let’s start from the core blogging activity: writing and editing. Unsurprisingly there are many tools available on the market, the real science here how to use them together and structure your work process.
Grammarly is literally irreplaceable free and handy Chrome extension for anyone who writes a lot. It highlights and lets you correct in one click both typographical and grammatical mistakes. Sometimes it’s even too picky with punctuation – you know you don’t need it totally everywhere.
Grammarly integrates nicely with WordPress too and social media. So don’t worry – just install it on Chrome and it’s going to be your little helper all around the Internet. Grammarly has a couple of handy paid powerups, but can also be used totally fine for free.
That’s an awesome free app on the web which checks the complexity and structure of your sentences giving you some good constructive feedback on the whole body. Bloggers using Hemingway app can now easily spot and rewrite the sentences that are either too complex or confusing.
2. Graphic Design
Right after creating written content – comes the visual content. Visuals are often the key element making your articles stand out, gaining them attention and ultimately – backlinks and social shares. Make sure you use the right tools for different visual purposes however.
Vectr is a perfect free vector graphics software for creating scalable graphics: logotypes for your blog, social media banners, newsletter headers etc. It lets you import and export files in vector graphic format – meaning that no matter how use scale the images they’re going to remain clear and sharp.
Vectr is available both online and on the desktop, and if you have never worked with vector graphics before – Vectr has prepared a bunch of useful vector graphics design tutorials for you.
Pixlr on the other hand is an editor of raster graphics, which makes it fit for editing any kinds of photos and images for the blog. It has a handy selection of tools and filters, making it a very solid Photoshop replacement.
3. Content Calendar And Schedule
Managing the content calendar is extremely important for any blogger. WIthout it you’re just an amateur doing it for fun. If you manage to fill the celandar in with meaningful content many months ahead though – you’re more of a professional who’s able to strategize, prioritize and potentially effective monetize the content.
Trello has a bunch of brilliant implementations, and content calendar is surely one of the most powerful of them.
You can break down the lists into different stages like: brainstorming, writing, editing, published etc. Trello’s free calendar powerful lets you set due dates on the posts, which presents a visual way of managing the time of publications. Moreover, you can invite as many team members as you like to join – and then collaborate on the process together. Trello is nicely integrable with Google Docs, Slack and a dozen of other popular tools.
Google Spreadsheets could be used not just for calculations – but also for organizing content. It’s not as convenient as Trello and has few advantages over it – but it’s also free and probably would fit well for someone who wants to get something planned quickly and then share it with other people.
4. Social Media
Social media is a crucial content distribution channel for all the bloggers – especially because it directly relates to the community behind the content. The more successful a blogger is with social media – the more viral his / her content gets. Fortunately there are a bunch of free tools nicely fit for bloggers of any size.
Buffer is very simple and lightweight app for web and even mobile which allows you to manage your social medias. They have a free version, while just for $10 monthly you can power up your app to a pro mode.
Hootsuite has a similar range of functions as Buffer, just that the interface is different and the social media scheduling workflow is different. It’s really worth checking out both tools and deciding which one feels more convenient.
Also, if you plan on purchasing the paid version – that’s where the tools may differ more significantly. Hootsuite also lets you integrate ads in the top tier plans and has a different scope of analytical dashboards than Buffer.
As you see there are plenty of great tools available which would superpower you and your blog. It’s worth remembering still: it’s not about the tools only too, first of all it’ about the vision, passion for creating great content and the urge to improve.
About the author
Vlad is a growth marketer and community manager at Vectr – free and collaborative vector graphics software built with the mission of making graphic design accessible, worldwide. He also blogs on his personal blog.