Blogging tools: 15 Tools to Become a more productive and effective blogger

blogging toolsAs a blogger would you like an extra hour a day or get a ton more value from the blogs posts you write?

At NMX conference in Las Vegas I did a presentation on 15 blogging tools to become a more productive and effective blogger.

So here goes…

Finding the best content to write

When you sit down to write your next blog post you have two choices. You can either write whatever you want to write about and hope that it hits the spot with your audience or you can write what you know is popular.

Understanding what content is popular is key to creating popular content!

1. Social Crawlytics

Social Crawlytics will crawl through a website and provide a report showing what content got shared the most on the various social media channels.  By running this on your own blog you will find out the type of posts that were most popular on social media.




You can also run this report on your competitors to see what was popular on their sites.  If certain content has proved popular then why not write something similar!

2. Topsy

Another way of writing content that will be popular is to find blog content that has the most links to it, write something better and then try to get links to it by targeting the sites that featured the original article !

Go to Topsy and select Links.

Enter in a search term, for example, ‘infographic tools’.



Select the links section and enter your search


Now select ‘All Time’ on the left.  By default the list will be sorted by relevance.


topsy results

View a list of the most popular content


What you’re looking for is posts that have a lot of links to them.  Check out the post to see why it’s so good that so many people actually linked to it.

Then write content that is much better than this and you will have a very good chance of getting links.  If you want to take it a step further find out who is linking to your competitors content and tell them about your new content.  Maybe they will link to you instead?

3. SEMRush

SEMRush is a great tool for analyzing a competitors website.  One particular area that is useful is finding out what organic keywords get traffic for your competitors.

Using the free version of SEMRush you can view the top 10 organic keywords that your competitor gets traffic for.  This is useful as it will give you ideas for content to write.  If your competitor gets traffic for these keywords you might be able to steal some of this traffic for yoursefl!


SEMRush Keywords

View the top 10 keywords getting traffic


These types of reports are never 100% accurate but quite often you can find keywords you never considered for blog posts and this can get you some of your competitors traffic!


Create Content

You need to create content that attracts attention and images make all the difference.

4. Canva

We need to create so many images but going back to a graphic designer all the time is expensive.  Canva is a graphic design tool for the novice and does not require any graphic design skills.  You select from a wide variety of professionally designed templates, drag and drop shapes or graphic elements on to the page, update text and colors and then publish in a suitable format.

It’s so easy to use that even though we only started using it a couple of months ago,  it’s a tool we now just couldn’t live without!


Canva Template

Select from a wide variety of templates and easily customize them

5. Piktochart

Infographics are great for getting links back to your site.  Build an infographic that is appealing to the types of websites that attract your target audience.  You then reach out to them to tell them about your infographic in the hope they’ll embed it.

But they can be quite expensive to create.  Recently, we did a review of the best infographic tools you can use to create your own infographics and Piktochart was one of the best.


Piktochart Styles

You can change the colors for the times in the image

You select from a wide variety of templates to start your infographic and then customize it to suit.


Automate and Monitor

When you create all this content you need to get it out there to your audience and automation has a key role to play.  You also need tools to monitor results!

6. is perfect for taking your blog content and automatically distributing it your various social media channels.  You set up a source (where the content comes from) and a destination (where you want it delivered to).

You specify the source where picks up the content and the destination where you can it to go

It also provides good analytics so you can track clicks you get on links that you share.

7. SocialOomph

Socialoomph is a social media management tool.  One particularly good feature is the queue reservoir where you can add old blog posts to a queue and get SocialOomph to send recurring social media updates based on these posts.

Evergreen content is content that is just as valid now as it was 6 months ago.  If you write great evergreen blog content it makes sense to re-send it on a regular basis.

When you are adding updates to the queue you can set it up so that you can have a few different variations of the same status updates to send out. For example instead of sending the same update each month you could set up 3 status updates for the same blog post so that your followers only see the same update every 4 months.


SocialOomph Queue Item

This is one of the items in the queue


8. Zapier

Zapier is another useful automation tool that monitors activities happening on one service and triggers a corresponding activity on another service.

For example, when a new video is added to YouTube send out a tweet!


Zapier Zap

When something happens (trigger) you then want an action


9. DoShare

Google+ currently doesn’t provide the option for tools such as Hootsuite to schedule updates to your Google+ personal profile. One way around this is using the Chrome DoShare plugin.

With this plugin you can schedule content but the Chrome browser needs to be open at the time the content is due to go out.    This is a very simple but useful plugin.

10.  Friends Plus Me

When you schedule content to go to Google+ you can use Friends Plus Me to take this content and automatically distribute it to your other social channels.

Friends Plus me supports Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr.

11.  Brand24

When this content is shared out it’s useful to check who is talking about this content and who is linking to this content.  Brand24 is really useful monitoring tool that will let you know of any mentions after an hour when it happens!

Get a free account for 40 days with this link.  Just enter the promotion code ‘Razor’.



View a graph of mentions and then filter based on channel.


Optimize Your content

It’s great producing all this content but if it’s not found by Google you are missing out on a lot of potential traffic.

12.  Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword planner helps you identify keywords you should be targeting that will drive traffic.   You search based on keywords and view different variations and Google provides an estimate of the average number of searches for these keywords.

13.  OpenSite Explorer

OpenSite explorer is a tool provided by Moz that gives you great information related to a website.  One of the key parts is the domain and page rank.  This is a proprietary algorithm that gives you a rating out of 100 for your website and every page on your website.  You want both numbers to be as high as possible.

You use this to help you figure out if you can rank on Google for particular keywords.  When you search for the keywords you can compare your domain rank with competitors in the search results.  If your domain rank is higher or similar and you optimize your content you have a good chance of appearing in the search results.

14. Moz Toolbar

If you want your search results on Google to automatically display the page and domain rank within the search results you can install the Moz Toolbar!


Domain and page authority displayed for every search result

15. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog does an analysis of your existing post to check page titles, page descriptions and other areas that are important to SEO.  It’s very useful to do a review to see if you can further optimize your existing posts!


Bonus Round!

Our session was on 15 tools but we added in 5 bonus tools that are also very useful.

1. Meshfire

Meshfire is a pretty cool social media management tool that is well worth checking out.  It has a really nice interface with lots of potential.


A nice user interface!

2. OptinMonster

If you want to convert your web visitors to email subscribers popups can be obtrusive but effective.  Optinmonster is a really nice tool for popups.  One really nice feature is that you can set it up to only appear if a user moves their mouse off the main screen (i.e. it looks as if they are about to exit).



Build up your email subscribers using Optinmonster


3.  Triberr

Triberr is a community of bloggers that help share each others content out.  If you want to build your reach in a short time Triberr is a great place to hang out.

4.  Taggled.TV

Taggled turns your video into an interactive video and is really suitable for eCommerce type activities.  For example, while watching a video of a fashion show you could click on an item of clothing in the video to see further details and pricing for the item, and then go ahead and buy the item.  Very cool!



As I mentioned in the session it’s important to get your strategy right first but with a good strategy in place the tools can make all the difference.

What tools will you use?  Would you recommend any others?




  • LoriRuff

    Great article Ian! I also LOVE @GaggleAmp to amplify my blog and other select messages.

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you Lori. Yes, Gaggleamp looks cool, I haven’t had time to spend on it but certainly will!

  • Mark Evans

    Nice resource. I’m keen to check out OptinMonster and Zapier.

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank Mark! Both great tools.

  • Vinay Johar

    Really Helpful tools. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ian Cleary

      You are welcome!

  • Justin McGill @ Workado

    Really great list. I had not heard of Meshfire, so I’ll be checking them out. How do you think it compares to HootSuite?

    • Ian Cleary

      Hi Justin, I’m going to do a full comparison with Hootsuite but haven’t done this yet! Ian

      • Justin McGill @ Workado

        Nice – I look forward to that one.

  • T.Raven Meyers

    Ian I saw you at the #NMX14 and your session blew my mind, I’m so grateful at your transparencies and guidance. As a geek and film/digital girl I know that I will implement these tools as soon as I get back, I’ve been sharing this post with others. With gratitude, T.Raven

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much for coming to my session and for your feedback, it is really appreciated!! Ian

  • Churchill Madyavanhu

    Awesome list Ian. I haven’t used Brand24, but I met the founder a few weeks ago at a meetup and really enjoyed his presentation of the tool. Has any of you guys given Brand24 a try?

    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Churchill, I use use brand24 every day, it’s a great product! Ian

  • Noelene Gration

    Lots of new goodies in this for me and I am looking forward to trying them. Thank you

    • Ian Cleary

      Thanks Noelene

  • Daniel Hebert

    Looking forward to trying out Canva for designing eBooks and white papers :) Thanks Ian!

    • Ian Cleary

      Hey Daniel, you’ll love it. Fantastic tool!

  • Randy Hilarski

    Canva sounded great, but it is in Beta. Thank you for the article.

    • Ian Cleary

      It’s in Beta but it works perfectly. I use it every day.

    • Randy Hilarski

      I was accepted quickly into the Beta, looking forward to using Canva!

      • Ian Cleary


  • Jeff Korhan

    Old blog posts? (under #7 Social Oopmh). Don’t you mean earlier, valuable, still relevant posts? :-)

    • Ian Cleary

      Absolutely, you’re right Jeff!

  • Angelique Duffield

    Great list of tools, many I’ve not heard of yet. Thanks for the tips.

    Re #10:
    Freinds+Me responded to Matt Cutt’s article in SearchEngineLand

    via Friends+Me on Google+: “It’s Official: Twitter and Facebook Do Nothing for Your Search Ranking.Really strong reason to publish on Google+ first and let +Friends+Me to broadcast your message to other social networks and blogs for you.
    Save your time for more important things.”

    • Ian Cleary

      Thank you so much Angelique. Yes, that’s how I operate now. Google+ first, other platforms after that!

  • jimmejardine

    Thanks for an awesome list. Don’t forget Google Analytics for their pretty unbelievable breakdown of your readership base (even in real-time) and for quickly and easily creating charts and infographics from your CSV or Excel data.

  • nifty options tips

    Very Good Site and awesome writing too , and great thanks to the writer