Last week I was at a conference and met a tradie who had recently started his own blog. “Where do you get free images from?” he asked me, after I told him what I do for a living.
After rattling off a few suggestions, I started to list some other free blogging resources I use every time I post. As he took out his notepad and started jotting the tools down, I thought… maybe there is a blog post in this!
A while ago I shared some of my favourite social media analysis tools with you, but I thought there was also a need for a post on some of the best blogging tools and resources.
And so, I present to you, some of my best blogging resources that I use on a regular basis.
Please note: while all of the below blogging resources have free versions, with some of them you need to pay a subscription fee if you want to access extra features.
I only stumbled across this blogging resource recently, after scrolling through online marketing guru Neil Patel’s website.
These loads of free features on Ubersuggest, so I’d recommend spending a while getting acquainted with it as if you make the most of all its elements you can really improve your website’s SEO.
One of the features I love about Ubersuggest is that it not only gives you keyword ideas for specific blog posts, but it generates content ideas too.
For example, for this blog post I typed in the keywords ‘blogging resources’, and it generated seven other suggestions and 71 related keywords.
I then clicked on ‘content ideas’ and for the same keywords, it showed me related content on different websites and how well this content ranks. The Social Media Examiner gets a large number of visits each month on their website from their blogging resources post, and it has been shared nearly 1,500 times on Facebook.
What does this information show me? There’s a demand for this type of content.
I love how Ubersuggest shows you whether people would be interested in your content before you even write it. Amazing!
Lately I seem to be using Canva more and more for my photo and design needs, prompting me to question whether I need my Photoshop subscription after all. In fact, the pro version of Canva is significantly cheaper than Photoshop, which does have me wondering about whether I should be using Photoshop as a blogging resource at all.
If you do simple edits to your photos and don’t have a photography-based business, there really isn’t much of a need for a Photoshop subscription.
Not only is Canva significantly easier to use when designing promotional material, but it gives you a host of free un-copyrighted images to choose from.
Canva also has a branding document area, where you can upload all your branding colour schemes and other branding elements. I find myself constantly referring back to this when I’m designing elements in my newsletter send-outs and other promotional materials.
I’ll only touch on the importance of having a content calendar briefly, because last week I wrote a whole post on why you need one as a blogging resource for your business.
Our editorial calendar is my point of reference for all our business’ communications, because it features all our ideas and deadlines for our blogs, social media, newsletters and videos (mainly Facebook lives).
I really couldn’t live without it – it’s what keeps me organised and on top of our business’ message. It also helps to keep our branding consistent.
I’ve printed this 100+ page guide and keep it on my desk to refer to over and over. Even though I’ve been working on my SEO for years, this guide had new points of reference in it that I’d never previously known about.
Improving our site’s ranking is always important, as the more visible we are online, the more work we are likely to win clients. Why? Because most of our customers (aside from referrals and face-to-face networking) come from organic Google searches.
If you don’t have a massive budget to spend on online marketing, it’s vital you are across SEO because you will need to have a thorough understanding of how to make your site visible on Google without having to pay for this visibility.
I recommend you bookmark the MOZ guide and read it from beginning to end. It’ll improve your business practices, trust me!
Databases of copyright-free imagery
For our travel blog, we mostly use photos taken and edited by us because most of what we write about is related to our adventures and we happen to have taken photos as we went.
For this blog, I wish I could style each and every photo I use within our posts, but there’s just not enough hours in the week. (Although I must admit that I’d probably enjoy it!)
Instead, I refer to three main websites which have free images on them. These photographs are free to use commercially and you don’t have to attribute the photographer, which makes life even easier.
My favourite site is Pexels, followed by Pixabay and then Free Images. I like these websites because the photos are professional-looking and it normally takes less than a minute to source a high-res image that suits what I’m writing about.
This is a WordPress plug-in I use on the backend of our website to ensure I’ve optimised our content for Google.
I use the paid premium version, which has a few extra features, but if you’re just starting out I’d recommend using their free version.
The plugin presents itself on the bottom of your webpage every time you are creating a blog post. You simply add your keywords to the tool and it will tell you whether you have included it enough on the page. It’ll also tell you where to position the keywords and whether or not you have optimised your images.
It will also alert you if your post doesn’t have good readability. For example, if your sentences are too long or if you’ve used the passive voice too frequently.
If you don’t yet have an email subscriber list in place, I’d recommend you set up this free blogging resource ASAP!
One of the best ways to get the word out about your blog is via email. The statistics show that while there are roughly the same number of users on email and social media (3.8 billion vs. 3.4 billion), the conversion rate for email is 6.05% vs. 1.9% on social media.
So if you are simply promoting your blog posts and other communications on social media, you need to make sure you’re working your email list just as much – if not more!
Every time we write a blog post, we send out a short email to our subscribers, letting them know we have a new post up on the site. We find our engagement rate is much higher through these emails than it is via our social media channels.
And there you have it – seven of my favourite resources for blogging. I hope there’s a few that you weren’t aware about and that they’ll assist with your blogging.