Here 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 – Vecteezy
Vecteezy is a community of designers who share their vector artwork with each other. It’s great for bloggers because it provides us with a huge database of free illustrations to use in our posts. Many of them require attribution, but there is also plenty that do not. I often like using illustrations instead of photos becuase it adds more character to the post in my option. There are several other free vector art websites out there, but Vecteezy is the the best in my opinion.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.