What are the best WordPress blogging tools 2016? And why would you even need them? Good question.
Blogging seems so simple from the outside. Just sit down in front of your WordPress website, type in some words, publish them and that’s it, right? After that, all you need to do is wait until your content gets picked up by Google and traffic comes in, correct?
Unfortunately no. People are often surprised to learn that writing is actually just one part of blogging and that a lot more goes into running a successful blog. For that reason, full-time bloggers can use all the help they can get.
Since WordPress is one of the primary blogging platforms out there, we decided to compile a list of the best WordPress blogging tools 2016 had to offer to help bloggers make the most out of their websites.
Sounds good? Then let’s get started.
How to Set Up a Blog
First on our list of blogging tools is, of course, WordPress itself. The platform is free and offers all the necessary functionality and features to build high-quality and high-traffic blogs. It is reliable, scalable, safe, and SEO optimized out of the box, plus there are many more benefits of using WordPress.
In case you are completely new to the WordPress game, here are a few articles to help you get started:
Alright, once you have your blog in place, it’s time to fill it with articles. Let’s move on to blogging tools that can help with that.
Blogging Tools for Content Generation
The following tools will help you come up with topics, create high-quality blog posts, spruce them up with visuals and much more.
Coming up with topics to write about is often challenging. Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to make it easier.
- Buzzsumo — This tool is on everyone’s list for topic creation. Type in any keyword and Buzzsumo will show you content around that topic that’s already proven to be successful. From there, it’s easy to create something better or related. Plus, the service can be used for competitor analysis to see which posts work best for other people.
- Feedly — Feedly is a slick RSS reader. It enables you to subscribe to other websites, create collections by topic and stay up to date on what they publish. The service will even let you know about the relative popularity of articles so you know which ones are most successful. Great in combination with Buzzsumo.
- Pocket — An awesome tool to save articles for later. Install its browser extension and, if you find an article you like, just click the button and add it to your collection. If you run out of topic ideas, check your account for loads of inspiration.
- Quora — Quora is a gold mine for new topics. It’s a community of people who ask and answer questions like in Yahoo Answers but the answers are actually useful. Just search for your topic and you will find many inquiries about it asked by real people. Great to understand your audience and find stuff to write about.
- AnswerThePublic — Talking about questions: That’s exactly what this blogging tool specializes in. Type in a keyword and AnswerThePublic will create hundreds of questions people pose to Google on that very topic. It will also mine the Google autocomplete function for additional keywords. Also, has a hilarious animation on the homepage.
- Google Adwords Keyword Planner — The classic tool to find keywords and topics. The Keyword Planner helps you find new and related keywords for anything you type in. It’s very useful to generate additional ideas. Plus, it can give you an indication of how popular your existing keyword ideas are, though not as precisely as it used to be.
- Hubspot Blog Topic Generator — The concept of this tool is simple: type in three keywords and it will create five ready-to-use headlines for you. All you need to do is copy and paste. Alternatively, repeat the process until something worth writing about pops up.
- IMPACT Blog Title Generator — Writer’s block? If so, this is the right tool for you. It not only gives you random topics to blog about but also creates title templates. If you like one, just hit the heart button to save it to your notebook. There’s even a Writer’s block? button that takes you to a mindmapping/doodle screen.
- SEOPressor Blog Title Generator — Another topic generation tool with a twist. Input your topic, pick whether it’s a person/event/product or other and hit Generate Titles. You’ll get five titles you can use right away or reload as often as needed for more.
Once you are settled on a topic, it’s time to get to the writing part. Some helpful tools for that are:
- Distraction-free writing mode — The DFWM is a feature built right into WordPress. It eliminates all unnecessary things from the writing experience so you can completely concentrate on creating a great piece of content. For further customizations of the distraction-free writing mode, check Just Writing.
- Transcribe — Interviews are an important staple of the blogging world, however, getting them on paper can be a pain. Enter Transcribe, a (paid) tool to transcribe audio files. The program lets you slow down, rewind or pause audio files to help you type out what you hear. Alternatively, use their dictation software for a hands-free experience.
After you are done with the first draft, it’s time to improve it. Editing is actually the part where most of the work happens and that takes a piece from mediocre to great. Naturally, you shouldn’t skimp here and the tools below will help you make the most of it.
- CoSchedule Headline Analyzer — Besides their editorial calendar plugin, CoSchedule offers a free headline analyzer. Plug in your blog post title to receive an overall score, a breakdown of how well composed it is, tips for improvement, and even a preview of what it would look like in Google. Super useful.
- Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer — Another headline analysis tool. This one specifically checks for emotional marketing value, meaning how well your title will appeal to people’s feelings. Doing so is key for conversions and more.
- Title Experiments — Still not sure about which headline to go with? Luckily, you can find out the most effective with this handy plugin. It lets you put in several headlines for the same article that are then randomly shown to visitors. Find out which gets the most clicks before making a choice for the final version.
- Grammarly — Errors in your content make you look unprofessional. Grammarly is a free grammar checking tool that can be added to your browser and will check anything you write online. The tool can find over 250 types of errors including word choice, grammar mistakes, and typos. An alternative is the Hemingway App.
- Readability Score — Besides grammatical correctness, readability is another important quality factor for online content. Want to know how readable your latest post is? Paste it into this tool and get your score on several readability scales, tips to improve the text quality, keyword density, and more.
- Yoast SEO — No optimization list would be complete without this plugin. Yoast SEO will not only optimize your WordPress site for search engines in general, it also has a content analysis section that tells you exactly how to improve your content’s on-page SEO. In addition to that, they recently added a readability check to improve your SEO copywriting.
Visual content is much more appealing than pure text. However, not everyone has a graphic designer at hand to create awesome images. Thankfully, there are a lot of excellent blogging tools to help you out.
- Stencil — Stencil is an online image creation program. It offers thousands of backgrounds, icons, templates, logos and more to create stunning visuals and has image presets for all sorts of purposes and social networks. A free account lets you create 10 images per month.
- PicMonkey — Similar to Stencil, Picmonkey is an online tool for photo editing and touch up. It lets you make collages, offers templates and even a mobile app. A free 7-day trial is available.
- Evernote Web Clipper — People who write on technical topics (like yours truly) often need screenshots for their content. One of the best tools to create them is made by Evernote. Simply add it to your browser, click, add annotations and you are done. Another alternative is Awesome Screenshot.
- TinyPNG — Speed has become more and more important in web design over the years and visuals often make up the largest part of any web page. For that reason, it’s important that they are as small as possible. This tool allows you to do lossless compression for up to 20 images at once and there’s even a WordPress plugin that can perform the optimization automatically.
- Free stock photos — For those unwilling to pay for visuals, there are loads of options to find royalty-free photos with various licenses. Check out our article for more than 40 sources of free stock photos.
Blogging Tools for Marketing
Alright sparky, you now have everything start creating excellent content. After that, the next step is to get it in front of people. The following marketing tools will help you do so.
“The money is in the list” is what most successful online marketers will tell you. For that reason, don’t waste that hard-earned traffic and start building an email subscriber list from the beginning with these tools.
- MailChimp — Among all email marketing providers MailChimp is my personal favorite. Drag-and-drop template creation, their great branding voice and the fact that it’s free for the first 2000 subscribers are just a few of the reasons for that. If you sign up, don’t miss our guide on how to connect MailChimp to WordPress.
- SumoMe — SumoMe made quite an impression when it came out last year as a collection of apps for list building, image sharing, and much more. It’s highly recommended and you can read all about it in our in-depth article.
- OptinMonster — Similar to SumoMe, OptinMonster offers many different ways to collect email addresses. It comes with loads of form options, connects easily to all important email marketing providers, and is fully customizable. While it’s not free, it does have its own WordPress plugin to easily add forms to your website.
Analytics are standard for most websites in order to optimize the site and see whether or not your strategy is working.
- Google Analytics — When it comes to web analytics, Google’s free suite is a popular choice. The good news for WordPressers: there are several plugins that easily connect them with your WordPress site (such as this one). Plus, don’t miss out on our beginner tutorial to find your way around.
- Jetpack — Jetpack by Automattic also comes with visitors stats. While not as extensive as Google’s version, it’s a great tool to gather an overall understanding of how your site is faring.
Marketing is not just what happens offsite, but also on the site itself. Comments are a sign of social proof and user engagement, so don’t neglect them.
- Postmatic — Hands down one of my favorite WordPress plugins that enables users to comment on your site via email. It means whenever someone comments on one of your posts, you are notified via email and can answer in the same way! Revolutionized my life.
- Yuzo Related Posts — Showing related posts is a great way to keep visitors on your site longer, however, plugins of this kind are infamous for being resource-hungry and slowing down websites. For that reason, this plugin was specifically designed to address this shortcoming. An alternative might also be Contextual Related Posts.
While everyone is looking for love from Google, organic traffic is not everything. Millions of potential visitors can be found on social media networks and other alternative search engines. The tools below will help you make the most of them.
- Buffer — This service is like an online container full with social media updates that automatically get published according to your custom schedule and to channels of your choice. One of my favorite things in the world. We also have an in-depth guide.
- Hootsuite — Similar to Buffer, Hootsuite lets you publish content from a central dashboard. It also comes with analytics and more.
- NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster — What’s easier than adding your content to social media management tools? Having it automatically published to your social networks once it hits the blog, of course! This plugin does exactly that. An alternative is Jetpack Publicize.
- TweetDis — Twitter lives off of one-liners, quotes, and other short content. TweetDis makes it easy to mark key points of your content, letting visitors publish them to the micro-blogging platform. You may also want to check out Better Click to Tweet.
- Pablo — Another tool by the people behind Buffer that helps you create social media images in minutes. Thousands of royalty-free stock images, many editing options, preset sizes for different platforms — it’s all there.
Other Blogging Tools
Finally, we have a number of excellent blogging tools for miscellaneous purposes.
- Evernote — We already mentioned their web clipper earlier, yet Evernote’s core product is a software to store articles, ideas, notes, and any other information you don’t want to forget. It also syncs automatically across different devices for access from anywhere.
- Trello — Trello comes in handy in case you are working with other people. It’s a board-based organizational system that helps you keep track of projects and collaborate with others.
- Toggl — A cool online time-tracking software. Helps you know exactly how you are spending your time, what’s your hourly pay and more. An alternative that counts time backwards is Eggtimer.
- Coffitivity — For those who want the feeling of working from a coffee shop there is this little website. Plug in your headphones, choose the atmosphere you are going for and have coffee shop ambiance as white noise while you blog away.
What Are Your Best WordPress Blogging Tools 2016?
Blogging tools are very helpful for anyone serious about running a successful blog and the search for the best blogging tools 2016 wasn’t an easy one.
Professional bloggers will find familiar faces in the list above but also a lot of new additions. Whether you are just starting out, looking for help with content creation, marketing or just looking for some productivity tool to help move you forward, you can find it here.
However, tools are only good if they are actually used. A whole toolbox won’t help you if you don’t put in the work. So, go out there and create some awesome content.
What are your best blogging tools 2016? Anything to add to the list above? Please do so in the comment section below!