Free Blogging Tools

Finding free shit isn't easy, until now.


Blogging Tools


There's just so much crap involved in blogging, and it's like you CAN decide not to take it too far, but most of us take it too far. Most of us are always upping the game. In less time it takes your mom to break out a can of whoopass, you can easily go from "I'll blog when I feel like it," to "So I have to plan out my posts for January, three posts a week, with social media content, and I'll use 3 guest writers, I want to guest write somewhere else, I need to find more places to share my posts, you know what? I think I'll join some affiliate programs and write a novel." 

So there's a lot of shit that helps people do this. I promise you, any blogger who appears omnipresent is using a lot of these. 

♥ Hearts on my Favorites ♥

Get Organized


Airtable: Spreadsheet and database. They offer free and priced services

Diigo: Helps with research to collect, annotate, organize, and share information found on the web. They offer free and priced services.

Evernote: Track notes, clip from the web easily, and write your own notes

♥♥ Forest App: Stay Focused and Increase Productivity with this app. You plant a virtual forest, and by working, your trees grow. Plant real trees with virtual coins you earn. Fucking Awesome!

♥ Google Docs: They have documents and spreadsheets. You can create spreadsheet schedules fairly easily. You can also share and others can edit for teams.

How to Create a Blogging Schedule That Actually Works: Free PDF from Lyrical Host. A sample of free things they provide their clients on a regular basis. I'm an affiliate, and I try not to put ads on this joint except for things I signed up for through an affiliate program, so if you're interested in Lyrical Host as a hosting provider, here's a coupon code: BloggingLearnD.

Pomodoro Technique: This technique is a method many have found incredibly helpful for time management and getting shit done.

Rescue Time: Tracks how you spend time on your computer so you can see where you're spending it. Free and Paid plans.

Shift: Streamline your workflow. Free and paid plans available

Trello: Project Management: Plan, write to-do lists, collaborative tools for working with teams... 

I personally use Microsoft One Note for my notebook of ideas, but it was part of my Microsoft Office Cloud.

Design the Blog


General Blog Design


Gooyaabi: Free Blogger Templates (warning, some tweaks need to take place in html coding)

W3Schools Try It Editor: Type in HTML and see what it looks like

Colour Lovers: It's a social media for colors, but they offer some great palette ideas to help with branding and design. They also have a tool where you can upload any photo and find a good color scheme or palette from the photo. But my favorite thing about it is that people can like and favorite palettes, and that gives you an idea of what's popular instead of just thinking about what seems pretty to you. This blog's palette is from there.

Wordpress Themes


Just Free Themes: Free wordpress themes to peruse through.

Template Monster: Free and Paid themes, but a nice filter for customized search options

Theme Forest: They have many themes you can purchase, but their free themes seem pretty professional.

Vantage: This is one of my favorite free themes because it has a page builder with blogging capabilities. Modern sites are really taking advantage of a page builder look. My only problem with it is that when I used this with Go Daddy, I had no problems, but then I used the same theme with DreamHost, and they swore something was off with the theme's code making the site go down. I'm not sure I believe them.

MH Magazine Lite: The Lite version has basic functionality, but for $49, you can get the regular theme, and it's awesome. This is ideal for a blog e-zine that has a lot of articles.

If you google "Free Wordpress themes," a gazillion lists of options pop up and you can be searching for hours. But I personally like the lists people compile, and I look for themes that are recommended based on functionality, speed, and what I'm looking for in design.

Wordpress Plugins


I wrote a list of basic things to do when starting a new blog, mainly for myself, in The Bear Necessities of a Kick Ass Blog, which is basically a to-do list I use when I create a new blog. I can create one faster than I can keep one going at this point. In there is a list of plug-ins that are pretty much free, and you almost need to have them.

Just keep in mind I have learned with years of blogging that you don't want too many plug-ins. If there's a way to do it without a plug-in, the easy button is to do it that way. What ends up happening is plugins work against each other, and every time Wordpress updates, they almost have to update, and some Wordpress updates will knock out complete functionality of a plug in at any given moment, and if your plugin isn't active, like the guy who created it decided to give up his life of making free plugins to pursue a career as a beach bum, you're screwed. Every time I get a plug in to do something, I end up being forced by the Wordpress gods into doing it without the plug in.... except for the ones listed in the article linked above. Those work out well still.

Write Posts

Content Strategy: Keywords and Ideas Help


♥ Answer the Public: You type in a keyword, and this will bring up all kinds of ideas on questions to answer, and more specific topics to write about.

Content Strategy Discovery Tool: This is a google spreadsheet. You save a copy and replace some code, and it will pull up a shit ton of info on what's trending for a topic and in general.

Quora: You can get ideas on content based on what questions are trending. You can also do some free publicity by linking to your blog (or book) in your bio and answering questions already being read by your target market of interest.

BuzzSumo: Search a key term and see what kind of content is doing well. Get ideas to mimic those things, and/or share trending hot items on social media.

Uber Suggest: Get ideas for keywords. Type in one word, and get a bunch of ideas to use with that word.

♥ Google Trends: This is my favorite for finding keywords and checking out how well they are doing and comparing them. I use it for blog posts as well as main ideas like what products should I focus on next?

♥ Pinterest: Just search in Pinterest and check out the auto fills for ideas of words and phrases.


Headline Writing


Blog About: Enter a keyword, and it will generate some Headline Ideas where you fill in the blanks.

Portent: Enter a keyword, and it will generate Headline Ideas where you fill in the blanks.

Co-Schedule's Headline Analyzer: Checks word balance (common words, uncommon words, power words, and emotional words) and length of headline. Gives an overall sentiment of keywords. Then it gives you a bird eye of what your headline will look like in Google Search and Emails. This company thrives on research and keeping up to date on all internet trends and behavior.

Share Through Headline Analyzer: These people did some extensive research with EEG's that focus on words that people engage with and words that leave an impression. It also gives some suggestions to improve your headline.

Advanced Marketing Institute's Headline Analyzer: This helps you figure out which category of emotional appeal your headline appeals to: Intellectual, Empathetic, Spiritual.


General Writing

Grammarly: Free Grammar Checker

Rhyme Zone: This is the best thesaurus on the web. Not only will it help you find words that rhyme with any given word, but it has a synonym and "related words" look up. It just has better words show up than the average thesaurus that goes a little more out of the box. 

Get the Eye Balls 

Social Media Tools


♥ Tailwind: Top recommended for Pinterest and Instagram. Part paid, but free trial option.

Buffer: Easy social media scheduling. Offers free and paid plan. What I like is with the toolbar that almost every image on sites I see offers a Buffer icon like a Pinterest one, and I click that, and it will add the image with a link to Twitter, and add a new image (not a link) to Facebook (you'll want to enter the link if necessary), and schedule it in a queue for best timing. There are many options, but Buffer is one of the most affordable.

Hashtagify: Search the popularity of hashtags on Twitter

LightWidget: Create a Widget to show Instagram Images on your blog

Email Services


MailChimp: Free and Paid email marketing.

Vertical Response: Free and Paid email marketing. Create lists and send campaigns. I prefer this over mail chimp because mail chimp lost my entire email list and I didn't have a backup. But if you want to get serious about your email list, you'll probably need to go to a paid service like AWeber

Random 


DropBox: A place to store files, but it's a great place to store files to provide free downloads. You upload them, then share the link.

List.Ly: Create and find lists. Best used for lists of nouns as opposed to lists of verbs.

QR Code Generator: Self Explanatory

Tawkers: Phone App. Save chats and text conversations. Add a background. Post to social media.

Wayback Machine: Find archived clippings of old sites, even if they have been shut down. Great way to find old blog posts you lost, or to help restore an old site, or to see a site's history.

Presentations and Slide Shows


Prezi: Kind of like a slide show presentation, but much more interactive

Storify: Tell a story using photographs and social media posts

PowToons: Animated Video Presentations. Free and Paid plans. 

SlideShare: Create slide show presentations and view others.

Blogging Resources


♥ Beyond Your Blog: A great resource for submission opportunities to major websites and magazines.

W3Schools: Tutorials for HTML and CSS coding.


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