6 Essential Free Tools to make you a more Efficient Blogger
If you are constantly blogging about one subject, keeping a steady flow of ideas for blog posts can be quite challenging. I like to keep notes with a big variety of ideas for individual posts, series of posts and URL and image references for when I work on those ideas. Over the years I have used various online tools to help with this process and thought I’d share them with you.
Evernote is a basically a cloud-based note keeping service, its also a lot more than that – you can keep notes, images, PDFs, clippings of websites and save and tag for use later. It has a brilliant iPhone application and Windows desktop software and its free to use! If you require more space, they have a premium option which allows you to upload 1GB per month.
This is my main blogging “hub” – I keep all my lists of post ideas here and can search through them when Im stuck for a subject to blog about. The iPhone app is brilliant, so when I get an idea when out and about, I can add it which then gets synched with the desktop app.
I have been using Netvibes as my main RSS Feed reader for many years now – you have the option to use it as a traditional feed reader or have different tabs with your various feeds in, which is how I use it. All the blogs that I follow, I have split up into various groups such as: Web Design, WordPress, Affiliate, Health & Fitness, Technology and so on. Keeping up with the blogs and latest news in your industry is essential for running your own blog because things move so quickly online these days.
Delicious is an online bookmarking tool which I have been using since 2004 – it’s simple and easy to use with the various browser plugins so you dont ever have to forget a website URL again. As you add a bookmark you have the option to tag it and write a description, I always try to add as many tags as possible so when Im trying to remember a website I can usually find it again by search through my tags.
Delicious comes into its own when writing roundup posts, I can go through the search engine results, bookmarking items as I go with a unique tag for that blog post, then pull them all up together when its time to write the post. It is also handy for finding good quality blog posts and sites as you can search through everyone’s elses bookmarks – the more people have bookmarked something the better quality its likely to be.
Visit Delicious »
Tweetdeck is a very polished Twitter client available in desktop, iPad, iPhone, android, web and chrome versions. The great thing about it is the ability to add columns to the screen which can contain a number of things – I have columns for @replies on my various Twitter accounts and searh results for terms and hash tags like “WordPress” so I can keep up with what people are talking about. This is another way to get post ideas and keep up with the latest developments in the niche you operate in.
Screengrab is a simple add-on for the Firefox browser, it adds a new menu on right click which allows you to save the entire browser window, the visible portion or a selection which you can create. There are more fancy screen capture apps out there, but for me this works nice and simply, exactly what I need.
I use this to grab website images as Im browsing and save to an images folder I keep locally, mainly for nice design I see and sometimes for future post images.
Visit Screengrab »
Google Adwords Keyword Tool
The Google Keyword tool is what you use when you are setting up Adwords campaigns – it lets you search for some terms and will then show you related keywords that people are actually searching for. It will also show you a rough count of how many searches are done per month for that keyword and what the competition is like for it.
This is another tool I use to get post ideas – I can put it some terms and then get related ideas, I can also gauge how popular a post is likely to be by seeing how many people are searching for it each month.
There you have it – the tools I use on a daily basis – I would love to hear what you use as well, let me know in the comments!