Here is a list of tools and plugins I use on all of my blogs to help make my blog better and make it easier for me to create great content and draw traffic and readers into my blogs.
Content Creation Research And Brainstorming
Quick Sprout – Quick Sprout is primarily an SEO analysis tool but it can also be used to spy on your competitors. Input the URL of a competing blog or website in your niche and click the Social Media Analysis tab. This will allow you to see what content of theirs has the most shares/likes giving you an idea of what readers in your niche like to share.
Portent Title Maker – I love this tool. It generates a very catchy and click-bait-ish blog post title using the subject you input.
Long Tail Pro – Long Tail Pro allows for you to do keyword research and see what keywords and phrases get a lot of searches on Google and how competitive those keywords are to rank for.
Blog Post Images
Unsplash – Great, artsy photos that you are allowed to use on your blog.
Freeimages – A free stock photo website with a large collection of photos to choose from.
Canva – A powerful image creator. Tons of templates to choose from to create some beautiful images.
Google Docs – Free and packed with features. Great for collaborating or simply as an alternative to Pages/Word.
Trello – I love Trello. No, I f@#$ing LOVE Trello. Trello allows you to organize your thoughts, ideas, goals, whatever into a very intuitive, beautiful and easy to read interface. The mobile app is great for on the go as well.
Dropbox – I shouldn’t have to explain this one. Free cloud space for storing files is a must for any entrepreneur.
Google Calendar – Creating a content calendar for your blog is an excellent way to stay on track and create content on a consistent basis without wasting time. You can do this using Google Calendar and even collaborate with people on it.
Grammarly – Grammarly is a powerful and extensive spelling and grammar checker but it’s much more than that really. It’s like having a talented editor go through your content before you publish it to ensure the writing is good. It’s not free, however.
Blog Networking And Promotion
Triberr – Triberr is still something I am experimenting with. Triberr is a website that allows you to join “Tribes” or networks with other bloggers in your niche and share one another’s content. In theory it sounds great but it hasn’t worked as well as I’d expect thus far.
Blogengage – This is a blog network where bloggers can submit their posts to a Reddit style vote system and get some exposure for your content.
Get Response – This is the autoresponder I use to build and manage my lists. They’ve been great thus far, their customer support is out of this world and it’s got all the features you would expect. You need to be building your list if you have a blog. You need a way to retain visitors who come to your site since most visitors never return after they visit once.
Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags – This plugin is not self-explanatory but it forces social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to use your featured image when someone shares your blog post. Sometimes, Facebook will pull the largest image in your blog post and use that with the shared link. Most of the time, this is not ideal, especially if it’s pulling the image of a banner or ad.
SumoMe – The Swiss army knife of list building and traffic growth. SumoMe comes with an array of cool little tools like a list builder popup, a sharing widget that sticks to your page, a heatmap to track clicks and a lot more. The best part is that it is free to use.
All In One SEO – WordPress is decent for on-site SEO out of the box but there’s room for improvement. All In One SEO allows a little more oomph and flexibility.
404 To Start – A 404 page is a dead page. A lot of people try to create gimmicky 404 pages but the truth is, most people who land on 404 pages will click it. This plugin allows you to redirect any broken link or missing page traffic to any page on your website like a squeeze page or your home page.
Contact Form 7 + Contact Form 7 Honeypot – A simple and easy to use contact form plugin that allows you to generate and place a contact form anywhere on your blog.
Eggplant 301 redirect – Don’t use bit.ly or tinyurl to cloak your affiliate links. Host your cloaked links yourself with this plugin. Sites like bit.ly could go away tomorrow or choose to delete your links and that can cost you a lot of money, especially if you have your cloaked links in an e-book that’s already been distributed to tons of people. Make your affiliate links look like this: mywebsite.com/affiliate-link not bit.ly/2d32r32r
Google Sitemap by BestWebSoft – This plugin allows you to generate a sitemap that you can submit to Google Webmaster Tools to have Google index your site a little faster and properly.
Disqus Comment System – Disqus overrides WordPress’ default comment system for the better. WordPress’ comment system attracts a lot of spam and since using Disqus, I’ve been receiving much better engagement and interaction from my readers.
Nofollow for external link – Turn all your external links on your blog into no-follow so Google doesn’t pass any precious pagerank down to websites you’re linking to. This is a great SEO practice to help with your own pagerank.
OptinSkin 3.5 – I love this plugin. I’ve been using it to add opt-in forms at the bottom of all my blog posts. I feel like this is a much more inviting way to ask your readers to give you their email after they’ve consumed your content.
SEO Friendly Images – This plugin turns all of your images into SEO friendly images by automatically adding alt and title tags to all of your images.