Starting a Business Blog: Ten Must-Have Tools
Did you know that there are over 31 million small businesses in the United States? While all this competition can make it tough to get noticed, starting a business blog is a great way to draw attention to your services and connect with your target audience. But creating an impactful blog requires more than just a laptop and a great idea.
If you want to make the most of the opportunities this platform can offer your business and build a blog that truly represents your brand, you must begin with the proper tools. Here are ten that every blog owner should have at their disposal.
Not everyone can be an award-winning web designer, and many business owners can’t afford to hire one, either. The good news is that there are a number of tools designed to help you build and maintain a website and blog.
WordPress is one of the most accessible, and thanks to an accommodating open-source community, it comes with seemingly endless tools, templates, plug-ins, and themes to help you create a one-of-a-kind, sophisticated business blog. It also happens to be free!
While WordPress makes the process easy even for the technologically uninitiated, you will have to do some digging to find the most suitable options. If you’re looking for an alternative, Squarespace offers similar fare for a fee.
You won’t get the same number of community-sourced extras, but the templates and tools created by Squarespace designers are guaranteed to meet certain standards for quality.
2. Adobe Photoshop
The internet is a visual medium, so your blog must have an eye-catching layout and design. Whether you’re adding your own photos or designing a logo, Adobe Photoshop is the ultimate tool for all of your graphic needs. It comes with a steep learning curve if you’ve never used this type of software before, but there are tutorials to help you out.
The only real drawback is the price, which some business owners may not have the budget for. In this case, you might want to try a freebie like GIMP or Paint.net that can offer you similar photo editing tools without the premium price tag.
3. Plagiarism Checker
Whether you’re interested in quoting other writers in your posts or taking submissions from guest posters, you want to make sure that you’re operating within ethical (and legal) parameters every time you post a new blog.
To this end, there are several tools you might use. Some are free, others offer free trials, and others are paid services. Most offer essentially the same fare, with programs like Article Checker, Search Engine Reports, and Plagium receiving good reviews from the blogging community.
It’s easy to try a few and see which ones work best for you — and when in doubt, always remember to cite your sources.
4. Open Live Writer
Publishing blog posts can be stressful, especially if you’re new to blogging. Open Live Writer is a desktop publishing tool designed to offer you confidence and ease when it comes to hitting the submit button.
Starting a business blog is effortless with Open Live Writer. It allows you to do nearly everything from your desktop, including adding tags, editing images, formatting, checking spelling, and optimizing your content.
With Open Live Writer, you can even add videos or photos to your blog. The software supports many popular blogging platforms, including WordPress.
5. RSS Feed Reader/Aggregator
It’s naïve to think that you can operate independently of your competitors. In order to be your best, you need to set yourself apart, but that means knowing what your competitors are up to online. You need to follow competing blogs, and the easiest way is to subscribe to their RSS feeds.
With an appropriate feed reader/aggregator, you can easily compile a feed with posts from blogs you want to follow as they’re posted. Most offer both free and paid versions, and some are geared toward both web and mobile usage. Feedly, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler, and Inoreader are just a few you might want to check out.
Following trending keywords helps you publish timely and relevant content that readers are searching for. However, you need to make sure that the keywords you’re using are relevant to your content — and to your audience.
With Ubersuggest, you can type in keywords that pertain to your subject matter and see similar terms that are trending, helping you tailor your content for your audience and other search engine users. You can even choose to narrow your search to images or shopping, or search the whole web.
7. Google Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can be a relatively affordable way to drive traffic to your site, direct new readers to your blog posts, and make more conversions. Google Ads (formerly called Google AdWords) is a good place to start if you’re not sure how PPC works or what it can do for you.
With Google Ads, you can easily create and manage new PPC campaigns, gain feedback about the efficacy of each ad, and make the most of your marketing dollars. While PPC marketing is distinct from blogs for businesses, it is a great tool for driving web traffic while you work on mastering the art of writing captivating content.
Smart bloggers will encourage visitors to sign up for membership in order to build up a mailing list. Once you have a list, though, you’ll have to compose purposeful emails designed to help you reach your marketing goals.
Mailchimp is a free tool that helps you to do exactly that. It won’t fill in the content for you, but it will help you craft email campaigns that are attractive and professional.
9. Google Analytics
There are so many tools that enable you to track and analyze metrics that it can be difficult to find the ones that are right for you. Starting with the basics can get you up to speed and provide you with the knowledge needed to select the perfect tracking tools. Google Analytics is an excellent springboard for this purpose.
If you want to understand visitor patterns, you need to start by figuring out how readers are finding you, what they’re looking for, and how they’re using your website and blog.
The data you collect via Google Analytics helps you build strategies that bring in readers, ensure repeat visits, and create loyal followers and patrons.
10. Social Mention Tools
It’s important to monitor your online reputation, which means tracking what people are saying about your website, your blog, and your business. Social mention tools are designed for this purpose.
All you have to do is create suitable search parameters to start finding out what people are saying online, whether they tag you or not. You can use these tools to follow your own mentions, but they can also help you keep tabs on discussions about your industry or particular field.
Starting a Business Blog with Write Collective
These ten tools can help you channel your inner wordsmith so you can launch your business blog. But don’t you already have enough on your plate?
Fortunately, you don’t have to devote hours to content creation and blogging. Instead, connect with Write Collective and let our expert team of in-house B2B copywriting pros generate winning blogs for your business.
To learn more about our B2B content writing service, check out our content marketing packages and kick-start your success.