With the start of the new week, we thought it would be fun to make a guide for businesses looking to get started in the blogging game.
For any business, blogging can represent an invaluable marketing tool, driving sales and creating a sense of community among your customer base. The downside is that a blog can also represent a fairly large time-sink and be completely ineffective if not done incorrectly.
Luckily there are tools out there for every purpose from ease of content creation, to automation of repetitive tasks. that any business getting into the blogging game (or even any personal blogger looking to simplify their experience) should be looking into.
Let me know what your favorite blogging tools are in the comments below and if this article helped you out at all please share it on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.♥
♥ Emma Rae Thomas + The Poor Little Blogger Team
P.S. As a special treat to my Poor little Blogger and Pretty as Pie Readers if you want to reserve a free copy of my ebook (Get The Look: The Essential Guide to Making a Beautiful Blog with Badass Branding ) for yourself, make sure to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter on or before April 30th (look in the sidebar for the “Join the Party” box) to have it delivered to your email the moment it hits the proverbial shelves on May 1st… ♥
6 Essential Blogging Tools for Small Businesses
Content Mangement System – Your content management system (or CMS) is going to be the foundation on which your blog is built. There are many CMSs available, and the one you choose is going to depend largely on the functionality your site will require. For most blogs, the best choice in the current market is going to be WordPress, with its ease of use, availability of tutorials and resources, and high level of customizability. Most web hosts already have methods of installing WordPress automatically on your domains, making setup quick and simple, and there is an enormous library of free and low-cost plugins and themes to add any look or functionality you would like to your blog. As an added bonus, with a little technical expertise, WordPress is very easy to extend with custom functionality.
Graphic Design Tools – One of the things your new blog is going to need is images. While it is possible to hire a graphic designer to create and alter these to fit your new needs, doing so can be a big expense for a small business. Luckily, with a few tools and a little time spent Googling tutorials, you can learn the basics of Graphic Design well enough to at least get your blog up and off the ground. Photoshop is definitely one of the biggest tools in the Graphic Designer’s arsenal, but learning how to use it properly (not to mention fairly high licensing costs for the software) can discourage new bloggers from using it. For a low-cost simple alternative give Paint.Net a try. While it isn’t quite as full-featured as Photoshop is, Paint.Net is still surprisingly powerful for a free piece of software.
Grammar Tools – With your blog up and running, and your images created, your blog is missing its most important part: content. Writing a good blog post can be a challenge, especially for the spelling and grammar challenged. Having good spelling, grammar, and sentence structure are just important as the content in the post. Luckily for those of us who were not born with natural writing talents, there are several tools that can help ensure that our writing remains readable. The Hemmingway App is one of the more popular tools for this purpose, with a focus on avoiding errors like run-on sentences and unclear syntax, running your posts through this tool before publishing is never a bad choice. To help with spelling and grammar while writing the post itself, Grammarly is the recommended tool of choice. Between these two tools, you can keep your posts clear and concise, making them more likely to be read and shared by your target audience.
Social Management Tools – Now that you have your content in place, it’s time for marketing. Marketing a blog is a little different than marketing a business or a product. One of your primary marketing tools for a blog is going to be your social media presence. There are a wide variety of tools out there to help you maintain and automate your social media profiles. Tools like Tailwind and MassPlanner make automation for your social networks easy, with everything from posting to liking and commenting done through the tools.
SEO Tools – Aside from social media, the other major traffic driver you are going to have is going to be search engines. There are a number of different factors that affect your search engine ranking, and it is definitely worth spending some time reading up on the topic of SEO if you are new to blogging. If you are using WordPress, then you should definitely have the Yoast SEO plugin installed. This plugin will help you keep track of the status of your sites compliance with current standards, and gives the tools to ensure that your site’s meta details are complete. This will help you show up higher within the searches of the keywords for the searches that you want your site to show up under. If you aren’t certain which searches your intended audience is making, try tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to help you better understand what your readers are looking for. Be sure to tailor your SEO targeting to the searches your readers are performing to help others looking for the same information find you.
Engagement Tools – Once your blog has readers it’s important to keep them engaged and interested in what you are doing. Keeping a consistent stream of updates to the blog will help, but sometimes your readers will need a little reminder to come see the site. A monthly or weekly newsletter can really help remind your fans to come back and keep reading, but you will need a couple of tools to collect your audiences emails and send out your newsletter en-mass. Mailchimp is an amazing starting point for this. This mass mailer can send out a email to a large list of email addresses in a far shorter time period than a human can, saving you time and frustration during the sending process, and it has a number of easily modifiable templates to choose from for creating your email. For gathering email addresses, any number of tools will work, but our recommendation would be SumoMe, a free plugin to create a pop-over email collection box when new readers visit your site. This plugin is super easy to use, and even connects right to mail chimp so that you don’t have to worry about importing a user list before sending your newsletter.