12 Tenacious Tools & Plugins Proven to Grow Your Blog

Grow your blog with these 12 tenacious tools and plug-ins

As bloggers, we thrive on the tools we have available to us. An idea and a domain can only carry us so far. Sooner or later we're going to need tools and plugins to empower us, and grant us the ability to spread our content higher and farther than ever before.

When it comes to the tools and plugins you'll need, there are three categories that we'll cover today:

  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Blog Promotion and Social Media
  • Design and Conversion

So, without further ado, let's jump into the best list of tools and plugins this side of On Blast Blog.

The Best SEO Plugins and Tools

Search engine optimization is an ever-changing world where the rules are never set in stone. Where once keywords were the holy grail of blogging, now things are moving towards high-value content that incorporates all kinds of topics (entities) and answers the reader's questions in the best way possible.

In your quest to find this perfect balance of long-tail keywords and incorporation of entities, consider these four tools:

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

yoast-team

There are countless plugins among the 30,000+ options in the WordPress catalog that tell you they are the best for optimizing your content. They've all got bits and pieces of what you need, but WordPress SEO by Yoast has it all.

When we're talking about SEO, there's enough terms and tactics to make your head spin. Many of these things come naturally, but some are very specific. When using this plugin, you'll have a box at the bottom of your page that allows you to input the title tag, meta description, and main keyword for your post.

With this information placed into the plugin, you'll see an exact count of how many times your main keyword is used throughout the content. Beyond this, you will also be able to take advantage of several other features including the ability to generate XML sitemaps (a very useful tool for when your site is indexed by search engines) and configure robots.txt files.

Here's why you need this plugin:

  • This plugin allows you to get a quick page analysis and see how your content stacks up.
  • SEO goes beyond the page, with this tool you can also configure the behind-the-scenes aspects of your content
  • It's all-in-one meaning you don't need to drag down your blog's code with multiple SEO plugins.

2. Keyword Tool

Google's method of searching websites involves “crawling” the pages and indexing them based on the content and many other factors. Keywords play a major role in this, not only as topics, but as jumping boards to push further into entities.

This free online tool allows you to input a subject and in turn provides you with 750+ keywords related to your topic. Other tools like Google Adwords won't show you everything you need, while a tool like this will look into Google's auto-complete suggestions and provide them to you in an easy to read format.

Why should you use this tool?

  • Did I mention it's free?
  • Provides keywords based on what your audience is searching for
  • Empowers you to created content curated to your audience (big SEO points)

3. Hemingway

I look back on the days when I used to think that spell check was all I needed. Ignorance may be bliss, but that little tool doesn't cut it when it comes to proofreading and evaluating your content. Nothing beats a good pair of eyes, but in terms of simplifying and streamlining your content, Hemingway is the answer.

Contrary to popular belief, writing like a Shakespearean poet doesn't mean your content is high-quality. Writing like that with strings of eloquent diction and heartwarming vernacular just alienates readers who didn't get the best possible score on the SAT exam.

Hemingway allows you to paste your content into the online tool and see a breakdown of things like complex sentences, passive voice, adverbs, and problem words. It shows you what minimal grade education is required to understand your content

How can this benefit you?

  • A free tool for keeping your inner poet in check
  • A great virtual editor to help you catch errors
  • Ultimately a way to make sure your content is easy to read

4. WP Rocket

You may not know this, but the speed of your website's loading actually affects your search rankings. This is all part of Google's attempts to maximize the user experience, so if you have a slow site, you're going to lose points.

With a host of features centered around page caching, image optimization, and a simple integration with your platform of choice, this tool will make sure that everything is organized in a way that helps your site load faster and improves the user experience overall.

Here's why you need this:

  • Page loading speed affects your search ranking and your traffic
  • A fast website = a better user experience
  • Easy to use and more powerful than anything else out there

Social Media and Blog Promotion

Our next segment dives into tools and plugins that will help you spread the word of your content and maximize your outreach to new potential readers:

6. Buffer

When considering a social media campaign, you'll need to factor in all the various platforms you want to reach. Between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others, you've got your hands full. That's where the BufferApp comes in for WordPress.

This tool integrates with all of your social media platforms and provides you a space where you can craft, schedule, and post all of your announcements without worrying about keeping up. Once you've scheduled the post, Buffer takes care of the rest. It also shows you how well those posts are performing.

You need this today:

  • Social media is a key tool in promoting your content
  • Handling it all yourself is time-consuming
  • Let Buffer post your announcements where and when you want them posted

6. Share by SumoMe

SumoMe offers a number of great plugins from their marketplace, but for social media, you'll want their Share plugin. People could post links to your content on their own social media, but odds are they won't unless you make it easy.

With this plugin, you can provide a snazzy looking bar that floats along the side of your page of anywhere else you'd like it. When users finish reading, they can click on any of the social media icons on the bar to quickly share the post with their own connections.

Why is this important?

  • Social media is how your content spreads
  • An easy method of sharing encourages your readers to spread the word
  • Shares lead to additional traffic for your site

7. Tweroid

Twitter is an absolute minefield of content. You can spend five minutes on your feed and probably see a 100 new tweets or more from those you follow. Needless to say, timing your tweets is massively important. Enter Tweroid.

This amazing tool analyzes both your tweets and your followers to find out when people are reading your posts. You can sign-up and receive a free monthly report so you can know when to post your tweets.

Why would you want this?

  • Tweets come a mile-a-minute so timing is everything
  • This free monthly report will show you when your followers are reading
  • You can pay for multiple reports per month

8. Pinterest Automatic Pin

Sharing images is also important when it comes to social media, and this low cost tool will allow you to automatically post images from your blog onto your Pinterest account, saving you time and energy.

The low cost for this plugin can give you a huge boost in traffic as Pinterest continues to gain popularity among all manner of niches.

  • Sharing images is as important as video and text content
  • This plugin does it automatically for you
  • Automatically posts and links images back to your blog

Design and Conversion

Our final stretch here is filled with tool to help you improve the layout and the conversion rates of your blog:

9. Canva

We're not all graphic designers, and that's okay. Still, unique images and infographics are very important when catching your reader's eye. Canva is a phenomenal and easy to use tool that allows you to create all manner of images and infographics for little to no cost out of your pocket.

So why would you need a tool like this?

  • Unique images are great for optimization
  • Readers will stay longer if the page is visually interesting
  • Graphics designers are expensive

10. Visme

This is another great tool for making everything from banner ads, to infographics, and more. There are 40+ templates to choose from, or you can just start from the drawing board. You choose what kind of visual piece you're looking to make and you bring it to life.

There's even a button to animate objects. When you're downloading it, you can also choose from a variety of formats.

This is for you:

  • Graphs and charts add credibility to your content
  • People love visually engaging content
  • The first three projects are free, after that it's $4.50 per month

11. Crazy Egg

Testing your design isn't difficult with a tool like Crazy Egg. With this tool, you can see where people are clicking and navigating on your website. This will allow you to understand which design elements are working, and which ones are not.

By testing and evaluating with this tool, you can better understand how your website's design can improve and better serve your readers.

Sound good?

  • A simple and easy to use program for testing designs
  • The first 30 days are free
  • A massive savings over other methods of testing design

12. The Hello Bar

This plugin, designed by Neil Patel is a great way to catch your reader's attention from the moment they land on your website. It appears at the top of your blog and follows the page as readers scroll down.

It can be used in a number of ways: as an email capture system, a sign-up sheet, or a simple welcome message for your readers. In addition to these uses, it also keeps track of how many clicks and sign ups you receive.

This sounds good doesn't it?

  • A quick sign-up and suddenly you've got this great tool
  • Make people feel welcome when they arrive on your site
  • Generate leads which raises your conversion rates

Before You go…

I want to thank everyone for reading this post by providing you with a final tip for rewarding your readers as well. It's a tool called Lead Pages, and it allows you create a landing page without unneeded complications.

If someone provides an email or other information, you can direct them to a page where they can download a free guide, e-book, or anything else you want to give them. Landing pages have a lot of options, but mostly they are there to thank you readers for engaging with you and your content.

Final Thoughts

It's always a pleasure to discuss blogging with other people in the field. Remember to use the tools at your disposal to maximize all the aspects of your content. Thanks for joining me today and don't forget to chime in with your own tools and experiences in the comments below!

Matt Banner is the founder and sole writer over at On Blast Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @BlastYourBlog and by signing up for his free blogging newsletter.

Comments

  1. says

    Cool List out there !

    Here is what I Use :
    Contact Form
    Genesis Framework
    GoCodes(For Affiliate Links)
    W3 Super Cache
    WP SEO
    Async JS and CSS (For Speed Loading)
    PiktoChart(For Graphics)
    kaushik recently posted…9 CSS Tips to Spice up your Blog’s DesignMy Profile

    • says

      I also use Genesis Framework and recommend it, Kaushik. The other tools and plug-ins you use are great.

      Thanks for telling me your list!
      Sue

  2. Zarayna says

    Hello Matt,

    Just a very quick thank you for this comprehensive and useful post.

    As Sue will confirm, I am not in your field – merely standing on the other side of the fence overwhelmed with wonder at what I can see. Nevertheless, I shall mark this and keep it for future reference and hopefully, one day you’ll both be proud of me.

    Thank you again and thank you Sue for hosting.

    Kindest regards, Zara.

    • says

      Hi, Zara,

      You’ll be there sooner than you think! You can always get in contact with me if you have questions.

      I appreciate your comment,
      Sue

  3. says

    Hey Sue,
    Thanks for this wonderful list of tools. There are a few on the list that I use.

    However, keywordtool.io and tweriod.com are two others I think I’ll add to my list. From your description of these 2, I’m instantly interested.

    It’s 08:37 am here in Cameroon as I write this comment so you see I’m starting my day on a good footing, thanks to your wonderful list – sort of web breakfast 😉

    Allez! Do have a wonderful day ahead my dear friend
    Entine Muki recently posted…How to increase income with no increase in traffic!My Profile

    • says

      Hi, Enstine,

      They were new to me also! I was on tweriod yesterday and they ran this free report about when my Twitter followers were on-line. Fascinating results – mostly evenings up to 11 p.m. I always thought Twitter was a day time thing! I recommend you run your own free report.

      Glad you enjoyed your calorie-free web breakfast!
      Sue

  4. says

    Thanks, I am going to give Hemingway a try.

    I’ll also probably try out WP Rocket. Speed is an issue with using lots of plugins. WordPress is great in many ways but being fast is often an issue. Supercache is useful for sites that get lots of traffic.

    • says

      WP Rocket was new to me also, John. I’m going to check it out. I like Hemingway – that’s a great one to use.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Sue

  5. says

    Hi Sue and Matt,

    I am lover of a list of new things to help make my blog and blogging experience better so thank you for introducing me to these.

    I am already using WordPress SEO after it was recommended to me. Personally, I am finding it really easy to use.

    I need to check out the others on the list though to see if they will be of any benefit to me.

    Have a great weekend

    Jo
    Jo Cross recently posted…Why Do I Blog?My Profile

    • says

      Hi, Jo,

      Two of these were new to me also. That’s why I love having bloggers like Matt guest post – I always learn something new.

      Thanks so much for commenting,
      Sue

  6. says

    Hey Matt,

    Great post here on Sue’s site.

    I use Yoast and it’s one of the best. In the early stages, I went back and forward between them and a few others, but Yoast ultimately came back as the best.

    Hemingway is an awesome tool as well … unfortunately I don’t use it all the time (which I need to change.) It’s especially good for finding errors and if my writing is too difficult to read .. those are what I love about it the most.

    I started recently using the Share by SumoMe plugin, and it’s awesome. The whole thing is awesome actually and I started experimenting with some other things they have there.

    Awesome list overall.

    – Andrew
    Andrew M. Warner recently posted…24 Bloggers Reveal Their Secret, Can’t-Fail Strategies To Effectively Generate Blog TopicsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Andrew,

      I agree with all your points. I’m very impressed with how SumoMe gives so many free tools to bloggers.

      Thanks for the comment!
      Sue

      • says

        I missed their $25 Scrivener giveaway. That’s how I came to know they give so many tools for so less, every now and then.

  7. says

    Hi Matt,

    Is Hemingway a free tool? I didn’t think so. Just checked, and I’m going to use whenever I need an editor. Thanks 🙂

    +1 for WP Rocket. It ROCKS. All other caching plugins don’t come anywhere near this piece of greased lightening!

    There are the minimal things you can do to speed up your website’s loading: 1. Use a CDN 2. Use a caching plugin 3. Decrease the size of images. 4. Remove unwanted plugins and keep plugins to a minimum.

    It’s been only a few months I started using the bufferapp, but I love it. Sharing content is so easy now.

    I’ve tried SumoMe on a test site, but then removed it. Need to test it later.

    Already have an account with Tweroid, but I thought they showed you what time most of your followers are online. Need to check it again.

    Will also check out Visme. Never heard about it before.

    I use a hello-bar from ManyContacts. They have much more features in the free version. I even offered an instant download of my e-Book once someone typed in their e-mail address. The only drawback is, you have very limited colors to choose from, in the free version.

    I recently saw Tim Paige’s webinar … twice. It was full of fantastic info. I implemented all of what I heard, on my e-Book’s page, and even changed my blog’s home page. No longer do you see a blog on my home page, now. No menu on the top, either. Oh, and I used LeadPages’ free themes and edited the HTML. Though I can’t spend now, I’d love to get LeadPages, someday. 🙂

    Interesting post, Matt. Very useful tools in this post. Thanks for writing.

    • says

      Hi, Raspal,

      You are right – Hemingway is charging $7 for their desktop version or app version. It was free at one time.

      I also use a CDN – MaxCDN. I love it. Adam from Blogging Wizard recommended it to me.

      I love LeadPages – they just went down to $25/month for their basic package.

      Thanks for your great comment!
      Sue

      • says

        It would’ve been nice if I ran my above comment through the Hemingway app.

        Some typos and errors still crept in. 🙂

        I saw, they have a free online version. They also have a new, beta version, with a rich text editor. Nice!

          • says

            While on the topic of writing apps, it’d be nice to ask — which writing program do you use and like?

          • says

            I just use Word and paste it into my WordPress site. I don’t use Scrivener or anything else, but have heard good things about Scrivener.

            Sue

    • says

      I just ran a free report on Tweriod and loved it! Never thought my readers are night owls 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, Brent,
      Sue

  8. says

    Hi Sue and Matt,

    I just want to thank you both for this great tips which will help make my blog and blogging experience better. I`ll inform you of the results when I tried some of this tips on my blog. Also, I want to say that I really appreciate all the bloggers for being so unselfish and share all they know about blogging.
    Have a great weekend and happy blogging!
    Hugs,
    Vesna

  9. Marie Z Johnston says

    This is a terrific, jam packed article. Thanks so much! I am absolutely implementing some of these today and learning the rest tomorrow!

  10. says

    Hi Matt (and Sue).

    Thanks for a great list of tools.

    I’ve enjoyed using SumoMe and Keywordtool for some time. They are very effective, as is WordPress SEO by Yoast.

    These small pieces of software can do so much to enhance our efforts, so thanks for sharing these tips.

    Nathan.
    Nathan Ambrose recently posted…Does My Blog Look Big in This?My Profile

  11. says

    [ Smiles ] Any tool that allows a blogger to make an infographic is a plus.

    Now, why are all the cool plugins only available for WordPress? I wished that there was one that I could use with my blog on Blogger.

    Splendid post, by the way!
    Renard Moreau recently posted…Do You Know When To Slow Down?My Profile

      • says

        [ Laughs ] I also have a WordPress blog.

        I have been experimenting with Blogger; I have love in my heart for the underdog.

        And, it is always a pleasure to read your posts and to comment on them.

        Do enjoy the rest of your day!

  12. says

    Hi Sue and Matt
    I would use WP Front Notification bar instead of Hellobar, as it is completely free and works the same. Also I think AIOSEO is easier for new users although Yoast’s plugin is a tad better. Apart from these two, I completely agree with the list.

    BTW, what do you use for Google analytics? The Yoast plugin seems to be broken for me (automatic authentication is not possible). Any suggesstions?

    Neil
    Neil recently posted…7 solid reasons to stop using FeedburnerMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Neil,

      I also use All-In-One SEO instead of Yoast. They are both great.

      I don’t use a Google Analytics plug-in, I had my web guy code it right into the child theme.

      Thanks for commenting,
      Sue

  13. says

    Thank you for this list – it’s a great starting point for technophobes like me who want to improve their blogs but don’t know where to start with (or have time to analyse) the plugins!

    I’ve just had Kraken.io recommended to compress photos – haven’t yet tried it, but intend to in the very near future.

    Look forward to working my way through the list!
    Red Nomad OZ recently posted…The Secret Language of TreesMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Red,

      I have also heard Kraken is good but more difficult to set up then WP SmushIt. I use WP SmuchIt and it works great right out of the gate.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Sue

  14. says

    Hi Matt,

    I love HelloBar. Awesome tool for snatching emails quickly, so you can build those critical bonds which make your blog POP. I used it for months but last week my developer scrapped it; too much load/weight on my site. But I’d stick with it if it’s paying dividends and if your site is doing OK performance wise.

    He installed an identical bar, but not HelloBar. Benefit of having a web designer as a good buddy 😉

    All the tools rock. I’d add Hootsuite Pro. Yep I’m an affiliate but I believe in it, and wouldn’t you know I cut my workload down by hours, cutting out that copy and pasting crap and focusing instead of building bonds and growing my blog through automating and personalizing.

    Thanks Matt and Sue!!

    Ryan
    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…How Jackie the Balinese Wonder Puppy Teaches You to Retire to a Life of Island HoppingMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Ryan,

      I agree with Hootsuite Pro being very good but I have switched to Tweetdeck and enjoy it more. It works more like the best parts of Twitter and Hootsuite.

      And you are so right, relationships are the key to social media.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Sue

      • says

        I love TweetDeck. Had stopped using it for a while after I switched to another computer. When I went to their site to install it, I saw they had a web version and loved it.

        Never got the hang of HootSuite yet.

        TweetDeck + Buffer = Awesome apps, for me.

        • says

          I’m a Tweetdeck + Buffer person also. I’m checking out a new one, Edgar, that let’s you keep your “library” of FB posts and tweets, but it’s $50/month. So I have to decide after my 30 day trial.

          Thanks, Raspal!
          Sue

  15. says

    Its awesome info for my blog which are now helping for grow my blog
    Thanks Sue

  16. says

    Useful list! I didn’t know about 3, 7, 8 9 & 10, I’ll check them out. My all time favorite is Yoast and just started using share by SumoMe and it’s awesome.

  17. says

    SEO plugins can do wonder if used properly. Yoast is very effective plugin for WordPress. There are so man tools to promote posts on social media and gain followers. I believe that a Blogger should be ready to utilize every possible opportunity.

    Blogging tools are really helpful and they make life of a blogger easy in various ways like designing infographics, video editing tools, social media tools, SEO tools, Websites analyzers etc.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Gaurav Kumar recently posted…Content Strategies To Improve SEOMy Profile

    • says

      Hi, Gaurav,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful opinion. I appreciate your comment.
      Sue

    • says

      I’m not using it right now but let’s ask Matt.

      Thanks for the question.
      Sue

  18. says

    Hello Sue Anne,

    Thank you so much for all the great information you provide on this blog and for being so engaged with your audience by replying to comments and getting to know us, which I’m sure it will help you provide more quality content… I love this website and will keep on visiting it 🙂

    • says

      Hi, John,

      Thanks for your nice comment – you made my day!

      I enjoy talking to my Successful Blogging Team members both through blog comments and their emails.
      Sue

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