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    6 Free Tools For Efficient, Effective Blogging


      For solos, small firms and just about anyone with a digital presence, having a blog as home base is useful.

      As a marketing and communications platform, the benefits are well known, but blogging takes time and effort and consistency. Fortunately, an ever expanding supply of great tools help to make the process more streamlined and productive.

      1. WordPress

      You need a platform to publish your writing and WordPress is widely considered one of the best. It’s free and easy to use and thousands of plugins allow you to extend the functionality and tailor the application to your specific needs.

      2. RSS Feeds

      A great way to keep on top of what people in your industry are discussing is by subscribing to blog and news feeds. Manage your feeds with Google Reader. Scan the headlines daily for current topics to discuss on your blog.

      3. Evernote

      You need a place to store the blogging ideas. It really doesn’t get any better than Evernote. It’s my favorite app for storing and organizing my thoughts and ideas. You can also pull images into Evernote and even record voice memos. Great for those quick ideas when you’re on the go. The desktop app syncs with your mobile and web-based accounts so you’re never without access to your notes. Invaluable.

      4. Creative Commons

      Images resonate. They draw people in. They add to the aesthetic of your blog and posts. If you blog often, the price for stock images can add up quickly. Instead use free, available images. Creative Commons offers a search box that covers libraries of images from Flickr, Google Images, Wikimedia Commons and more. It lets you filter images for commercial purposes, or photos that can be modified.

      5. Google Analytics

      Not only will this great tool show you which posts are being read the most and who’s reading those posts, it will give you the keywords visitors are using to get to your site. Use those keywords as topics for future posts.

      6. Social Media

      You can get tons of blog post ideas from Twitter, Facebook, LInkedIn and Quora, but these platforms are also great for referring traffic back to your blog. Pinterest too. Twitter and Facebook are often the top referral sources for blogs so go ahead and let your followers and fans know about your latest blog posts.

      I write just about every day and these are a few of the tools that make the process much more efficient and productive. Any others?

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