9 Essential Tools for Bloggers

ToolsHere is a small collection of the most important tools to maximize your productivity and effectiveness. Feel free to leave comments with your opinions and other recommendations.

1 – FeedBurner

FeedBurner is a free service that will publish the RSS feed from your blog and, most importantly, will provide you with subscriber counts and stats on your feed. Most bloggers already use FeedBurner, but many are not taking advantage of some of it features like email subscription options, customizable FeedFlare, and the FeedBurner ad network.

Other options: Feedblitz, Zookoda (email only)

2 – Google Analytics

Every serious blogger needs to be able to analyze the traffic that is coming to his or her blog. Google Analytics is the leading provider of free statistics to webmasters and bloggers. It will show you all of the standard stats like the number of visitors, pageviews, referral sources, plus it will also give you some stats you might not get from other programs, like your visitors’ geographic locations, screen resolutions, internet connection speed, browser, and more.

Other options: AWStats, Ice Rocket, StatCounter


3 – Del.icio.us

As a blogger, you’ll be reading a lot of other websites and blogs and you’ll need to be able to keep track of those pages that you want to visit again later. A bookmark manager, like del.icio.us is a great way to organize the resources that you come across. Effectively using bookmarks will help you to save time and to prevent you from scrambling to find that great resource that you came across a few days ago.

Ma.gnolia, Furl

4 – Bloglines RSS Reader

Reading other blogs and RSS feeds will allow you to be constantly learning and will help you to stay on top of your subject. Without an RSS reader you will be spending far more time visiting each blog rather than having all of the feeds in one convenient place.

Other options: Google Reader, FeedDemon

5 – Windows Live Writer

Blog editors, like Windows Live Writer, give you blog the power of a word processor without the coding problems. Writing your blog posts directly in WordPress, Movable Type, or Blogger is probably not very practical. Copying and pasting from Microsoft Word is not a good solution because of the unnecessary code that it adds. Blog editors give you the best of both worlds. In addition, you can write, edit and publish posts for multiple blogs from one spot and you can work offline.

Other options: Qumana BlogJet ScribeFire Firefox Add-on

6 – Google Webmaster Tools

With Google Webmaster Tools you can easily access a number of stats that help you understand how the Googlebot sees your website. You’ll see where it is having problems accessing your page, what incoming links it sees, find out how quickly it is crawling your site, what words and phrases your pages are ranking the highest for, and much more. Getting your XML sitemap crawled is also made easier with Google Webmaster Tools.

7 – Page Speed Checker from Self SEO

In order to make sure that your visitors are able to access your pages quickly, you will need to test their load time. Slow-loading pages will cause many readers to leave your site before ever seeing any of your great content. This is especially important for blogs since many of your visitors may be coming for sources like social media websites, where visitors already have a short attention span.

Other options: WebsiteOptimization.com, FreeSpeedTest.com

8 – Google Alerts

Copyright infringement is a major problem online. Your blog posts may be published be other bloggers without your consent, and without giving you credit. Additionally, this can even cause your blog to be penalized by search engines if they think you are using duplicate content. You can fight copyright violations by setting up Google Alerts to track possible violations. Unfortunately, it won’t prevent other bloggers from stealing your content, but it can help you to find the offenders and take action.

Other options: Copyscape, Angsuman’s Feed Copyrighter Plugin (for WordPress).

9 – Link Checker from Technorati

Incoming links are crucial to successful blogging. They will attract click-through visitors and increase your search engine rankings. Technorati tracks links from blogs. You can easily see how many links are pointing to your blog, as well as your Technorati Authority (the number of different blogs linking to you) and your Technorati Ranking (where you stand compared to other blogs). All you have to do is visit Technorati and enter the URL of your blog in the search form.

Other options: Webmaster Toolkit, Mike’s Marketing Tools

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40 Responses

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  • GnomeyNewt, August 31, 2007

    Good resources for bloggers. I heard of Google Alerts but never used it, it seems kinda neat. I’ve been using the new bloglines beta for 2 days and really like it. Its at http://beta.bloglines.com/ and you just use your current login to access the beta.

  • Tay - Make Money Blogging, August 31, 2007

    Fantastic post, Steven! Feedburner and Google Analytics definitely are musts – I use them both. However, instead of Bloglines, I use Google Reader. I like it a lot more.

    I also checked my page speed, and it loads at 1.07 seconds, according to the tool. Very helpful, thanks for bringing that one to my attention.

    Keep it up, and if you ever want to guest write over at my blog again, feel free to log in and write up another post. Your last one was a big hit. ;)

    Thanks,
    Tay

  • pelf, August 31, 2007

    Why did you say that “Writing your blog posts directly in WordPress, Movable Type, or Blogger is probably not very practical.”??

    I’ve never had any problems writing my posts in WordPress.. Perhaps it’s something about Windows Live Writer that I should know about?

  • jeni - savvy skin care, August 31, 2007

    Thanks for the info. I am always paranoid that my site is loading slowly, but it just appeared okay, when I compared it to other sites on the Page Speed Checker. And thanks for the info about Windows Live Writer. For some reason I have a problem with doing bulleted and numbered lists when I type everything right into WordPress – it indents the whole post, rather than just the part I want to bullet. Anyway, I will see if that software will be my solution. Thanks!

  • Sandra, August 31, 2007

    Great post! I’m gonna check out some of the tools right now as I’d never heard of some :)

  • John Kain, August 31, 2007

    Interesting suggestion on this post. Thanks for sharing I really need to try some of these, I have been oblivious to some of these tools.

  • Average Joe Blogger, August 31, 2007

    Good set of tools. I would add Pingdom Tools Full page Test to the page speed checker. I like it because it gives you a visual break down of every element that your page loads. Great for troubleshooting what is causing your page to load slowly.

    I talked a little about it in my post Find Your Websites Weak Link With Pingdom.

  • Vandelay Design, August 31, 2007

    GnomeyNewt,
    Thanks for the additional resource!

    Tay,
    Thanks for the comments, and I am planning on getting another guest post to you sometime soon.

    Pelf,
    If you don’t have problems typing your posts in WordPress than there may be no need to change. Personally, I like having a large part of the screen for typing (like in a word processor), plus I’m always paranoid that I’m going to accidentally hit the publish button before I’m done. I find it’s nice to work on articles somewhere outside of WP.

    Jeni,
    Hopefully it helps with your problem.

    Sandra and John,
    I’m glad you found something you can use.

  • Vandelay Design, August 31, 2007

    Average Joe,
    Thanks for the additional resource. Sorry I didn’t respond to you earlier, I didn’t see your comment was awaiting approval in Akismet.

  • Jeremy Hobbs, August 31, 2007

    I use statcounter versus Google; another thing I’d recommend is a pinging serving; like pingomatic, pingoat, or kping.

  • Vandelay Design, September 1, 2007

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for your thoughts. Good point about the pinging services – I’m not familiar with kping. Most blogging platforms and FeedBurner take care of this, but for some bloggers these services are very necessary.

  • sitefever, September 1, 2007

    A speed check it an absolute must-have. I’m actually in the middle of writing a post on checking your page load speed. Good resource list!

  • ses5909, September 1, 2007

    for me, #s 1, 2, 6, & 8 are the most important. I’ve tried live writer and just didn’t like it. I prefer Scribe fire to it although I typically just use the admin interface.

  • Vandelay Design, September 1, 2007

    sitefever,
    I agree with you. When your post is finished feel free to leave a comment here with a link.

    ses5909,
    I’ve used ScribeFire a little bit myself, and it is nice having it right there within Firefox. Thanks for the comments!

  • Felix Ker, September 1, 2007

    I believe bloggers should have programmes for offline blogging.

  • Louiss, September 2, 2007

    Technorati is a good site to allow bloggers to compare with other blogger sites.
    besides Del.icio.us,
    there are some similar social bookmarking such as Digg, Reddit and netscape too.

  • Matt Wolfe, September 2, 2007

    These are all some great tools. I agree with, and use, pretty much every tool on the list. Great Work!

  • Vandelay Design, September 2, 2007

    Felix, Louiss, and Matt,
    Thanks for reading and for taking time to leave your feedback.

  • Alfa King, September 3, 2007

    Thanks for the tips. Now I can figure out the importance of the tools you’ve mentioned and some of which I’ve been using myself.

    I agree: “Writing your blog posts directly in WordPress, Movable Type, or Blogger is probably not very practical.” I’ve had the experience with wordpress.

  • Michael, September 3, 2007

    I use Google Alerts a lot, and just tried Windows live writer after reading about it here.

    But when I published the post it was in my WordPress list as published but not showing on the blog. Removed it rather than fiddle with it right now, I may check it again when I have finished tweaking other stuff under the hood.

  • Vandelay Design, September 4, 2007

    Michael,
    Thanks for your feedback. That’s weird about live writer. I used Qumana twice and it put my posts into the “uncategorized” category even though I had selected a category. I haven’t tried it since.

  • Michael, September 4, 2007

    I liked the look of it and may retry it, maybe I need to tweak some settings or something.

  • Vandelay Design, September 4, 2007

    That’s how I felt about Qumana. Most importantly I learned to try editors on a test blog first.

  • Jenny, September 12, 2007

    Cool list, i knew a lot of them but not all

  • youlki22, October 11, 2007

    I am blogging from many days and read a lot of blogs, but the tools you mentioned here are very useful. I would be pointing to your post at my blog. I found a lot of good stuff at your blog.
    Keep it up!

  • Vandelay Design, October 11, 2007

    voulki22,
    Thank you very much. I’m glad you found something here that you can use.

  • Arjen, July 18, 2008

    Thanks, the tools you’ve mentioned are very useful. I’m already using some of them, and I will try those which I’m not using yet.

  • Danh ba web 2.0, October 2, 2008

    i often use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools for my job.
    Anyway, thanks for share. Great list for me

  • 4design, May 26, 2009

    The key, I did believe items 1,2 and 6. Especially FeedBurner, which should form the basis for any blogger.

  • Write Articles Make Money, August 12, 2009

    I also like SeoDux

  • James, November 24, 2009

    Hey friends. Very useful tools….
    You have posted such an wonderful information thats why I wanna say thnx to you. This is a useful information. Many thanks!

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