Now that you’re more comfortable with your new blog and have hopefully written and published some posts, you might be wondering if there is anything left to learn. The short answer is yes. You never stop learning. The online world is forever evolving and it’s up to you to keep up or be left behind. The worst part of having a blog is not the writing itself, I assume an interest in doing that led you to owning a blog. The worst part is writing, but not having an audience to read your great stories. It does take time, just keep writing good stuff. Here are some highly effective and free tools for growing your audience.
7 Free insider and effective tools for bloggers:
This has got to be one of my favorite tools, and a powerful one at that. This is a free blog post headline analyzer. You can find it here. All you do is put in your working headline. The analyzer will rate it, and show you its strength and weaknesses. The ultimate goal is to design a headline that will get you more post shares which will hopefully translate to more traffic and increase your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) worth. It helps with everything, length, strength and the right mix of words. I only wish l had discovered it earlier.
Hootsuite Free Version:
The free version of Hootsuite is extremely good to automate your scheduling. I love it for Twitter. It also has the added benefit of letting you see any mentions of you in real time as well as reply right from the app. It gives you a basic analytics report. The only downside is that you are limited to 3 social profiles. We all know that isn’t enough. You can upgrade to the pro plan which will give you up to 50 profiles for $8 per month. I love using this and try and schedule a week ahead. I use the free plan. I have to admit that the dashboard is extremely confusing to me. It looks really, really busy.
What you need to do is download the extension for your browser. Go to this page and download Hootlet for your particular browser. This will put the owl icon on your page. Now whenever you see something you want to tweet or share on Facebook, the icon appears and you can just schedule right from there. It is so quick and really awesome. You can schedule up to 10 shares in your queue.
Buffer Free Version:
Buffer defines itself as a smarter way to share on social media. I wholeheartedly agree. It is by far the easiest one for me to use too. Like Hootsuite, there is a free version which lets you schedule to 5 social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and Google plus. For Pinterest, you would have to upgrade to the $10/month awesome plan. I find by using a combination of Buffer and Hootsuite, I feel pretty good as a makeshift starter package. Google Buffer for (your browser) and download it so that whenever you see something to share, you can do it right then and there too.
Pablo is a newer tool available on Buffer. It helps you create images and add text to it. It has a library of over 600,000 images, but you can always upload your own. You can add your words to the image, even your logo and share on social media. It’s pretty nifty for the times when you have a thin schedule of things to share.
Tailwind is great for scheduling to Pinterest. It is only Pinterest approved scheduler by the way. You can also download an extension for your browser. I currently use it to pin images to my travel “tribes”. I also find that this has a bit of a learning curve and a lot of clutter onscreen similar to Hootsuite which l find confusing. A lot of people use Boardbooster but l think l will stick with Tailwind. Tribes is currently free for me and everyone through Beta testing. There is a free regular trial that lets you schedule up to 100 pins before deciding whether you want to pony up the $10/month fee. It’s worth trying as you can schedule right from the image with the extension.
Klout score may or may not be important to according to expert bloggers. Some say it’s a useless measure of a blog’s importance, that most brands never ask for it anymore and so not to worry. I kind of like it. First, it rates your social influence. The average score is 40. My current score is not so bad.. 62 our of 100. I have it listed on my media kit, and true, l have only been asked for it twice, but l like to have it on there. Apparently, over 65 means you are rocking it. What l love is that l find it to be a great place to find topics relevant to my niche that l can share on social media. The “hot off the press” news is great for finding timely content to share.
You want to grow your mailing list. Everyone tells you to. Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that helps you manage your list. It allows you to split your list into segments for better targeting. It is great for people who sell, or plan to sell to their target audience. It is free if you have less than 2,000 people on your mailing list and send less than 12,000 emails. It’s great for checking your email open rate so you can tweak it. There are free templates to help you design a newsletter too.
Canva is an online graphic design and photo editing tool that is basically free. There are loads of templates that let you create amazing looking flyers and Pinterest images. If you don’t want to shell out the money for Photoshop, this is the way to go. It has a drag and drop feature which makes it really easy to use. Lots of images and fonts in its library to give your work a unique look and feel.
We have previously discussed some social media tools and of course the need for an editorial calendar so l won’t bother to go into them again. I hope this helps guide you as you wade through clutter in the online world. If you’ve found this post helpful, please share on social media. Comments are always welcome.
Have l left out any other free tools that you use and would love to share with us?