Over the years of being a writer, I’ve come across a myriad of blogging tools. Some were really cool, until the developer stopped supporting them. However, I have come across a lot of awesome free tools that have proven longevity.
And I use many of them to write content for clients whether they’re from content mills or direct private orders. That’s because I have several things set up in WordPress that helps me create some amazing pieces.
Today, I’ll share my top choices for certain tools, what they do, and why I use them every day.
Why Blogging Tools Matter
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with opening up a LibreOffice Writer document and start hammering out a blog post. After trying to write content for clients a couple of times in word document editors, I found them lacking, though.
And with the competition online today for blogging, you need things that will give you an edge. Otherwise, you’ll be buried to the depths of Google with very little chance of people seeing your awesome content.
From search engine optimization to how your sentences are structured, it all plays a part in how people consume your material. It takes more than stringing words together to make a sentence to appease search engines and people alike.
Anything to streamline the process to make you more effective and productive is beneficial. Which is why I use specific tools every day when writing for blogs, both mine and the client’s.
My Top 11 Free Blogging Tools
Keep in mind that everyone has an opinion of what the best tools are for blogging. In reality, it all comes down to what you find the most effective for your purposes.
Every blog and creator is different. What matters most to me may not be something that interests you. And that’s OK. We’re all unique, especially when it comes to writing content.
OK, so what are some of my favorite free blogging tools anyone can use?
1. WordPress, Hand Down
I’m not talking about the free platform at WordPress.com. I’m talking about self-hosting WordPress to create your own slice of the Internet.
If your blog is a house, the web host server is the real estate you build it on. Which means you want it to be sturdy, stable, and secure. Personally, I trust GreenGeeks web hosting for this purpose.
Yes, I get a commission if the link above is used.
And not just because I work closely with the company. After moving my sites from Hostgator to GreenGeeks, I saw a vast improvement in site speed and stability.
Anyway, installing WordPress is quick and easy, and you can be blogging within the hour…literally. It’s probably one of the easiest systems to start blogging with on the Internet.
With access to thousands of themes, plugins, and features, you can create and customize to your heart’s content.
There is a reason why WordPress powers more than one-third of the entire Internet.
But wait, self web hosting isn’t free. That’s true. It’s not.
But, the WordPress system itself is. In fact, you can download WordPress from its website right now and install it on your home network.
With any stable and sturdy home, you need a good foundation. And I prefer to pay for my own virtual real estate so I can build whatever I want. For me, self-hosting is the only way to go.
2. Yoast SEO
Because I use WordPress, I have access to a slew of plugins and blogging tools. Yoast SEO is among my most favorite things to use. In fact, I’ve been using Yoast for free since it first came out.
However, I did wind up buying the premium versions for WriterSanctuary and Crossing Colorado. And I do plan on buying the premium version for ColoradoPlays in the near future.
The premium tools are pretty cool if you can afford the cost. Since the blogs bring in enough to pay for Yoast, I figured I might as well upgrade to improve the content.
But as a free tool, it works exceptionally well. It scans through content, making sure it’s optimized for both search engines and readers.
3. Wordfence Security
I’ve been a fan of the Wordfence Security plugin for a very long time. I was able to meet up with them at WordCamp Kansas City in 2019, and they were a fun and professional bunch.
Wordfence helps keep WordPress safe while offering things like brute force protection and file monitoring. Plus, it’ll email me immediately any time someone logs in with admin credentials.
There’s a lot of great features in the free tool, and I’ve found it to be an awesome addition to keeping the site safe and secure.
4. OneSignal Web Push Notifications
The biggest reason for creating a blog in the first place is to engage an audience. You want people to come and read your posts, otherwise the site just becomes a digital journal.
One of the ways to keep people coming back to your site is with push notifications. In fact, YouTube is a shining example when you subscribe and click the notification bell of a creator’s channel.
Using OneSignal Push Notifications does this for free. You can use their secured servers or your own if you don’t have an SSL attached to your site.
And you can always subscribe to this blog by clicking the bell icon down in the bottom corner…if anything to see how it works.
5. Copyscape Compare Tool
Whether I’m analyzing my team’s work or planning out skyscraping content, the Copyscape Compare tool is a great addition. It will check the original work against mine and report any similarities.
This is great when writing your own WordPress tutorial that someone else has already covered. You don’t want to appear like your plagiarizing, even if you’re writing it from scratch.
You can either paste the text into the fields or compare two URLs from the Internet.
As a blogger, you’ll undoubtedly have days when your ideas come up dry. Getting some inspiration from what people are asking about your industry, topic, niche, or keyphrase is always helpful.
For this, I often turn to AnswerThePublic.com. It’s among my most used blogging tools for myself as well as my clients. In fact, it helped me come up with this particular topic today.
The free version allows for three searches per day, which is plenty if you have a great imagination. But if you upgrade, you get access to images, downloadable reports, unlimited team members, and more.
I just don’t make enough from my personal blogs to justify the expense at the moment. The $99 per month subscription is currently just a bit out of my price range.
7. Social Media as Blogging Tools
Out of the many methods you can use to promote your content, few are as cost-effective as being active on social media. I can attest to how being “social” on sites like Twitter has made a huge impact on me personally as well as the blogs.
Though, I think I just like being part of a community. I’m not as active on Twitter as some others, but that’s because I am usually quite busy during the day. But, I’ll still find time to get on, chat, and respond to others.
Engagement is the key reality of social media. You just can’t post links to your videos or blog posts if you want to build a fan base or a highly engaged audience.
Take Facebook, for example. I have a page for all of my brands that are separate from my personal feed. This way, I can keep the professional side of me apart from personal opinions or comments.
Besides, no one who follows WriterSanctuary or ColoradoPlays cares if it’s Mom’s birthday or what my cat did this morning. Well, some might. But it’s not really highly professional.
Eh, I’ll still post what my cat did, though.
8. Buffer’s Social Sharing Blogging Tools
The social sharing platform, Buffer, is another among my favorite blogging tools that I’ve been using for several years. It helps me share messages with my top social profiles so I don’t have to log in to each one individually.
It’s really a hard decision to say which is my favorite as I also love using Hootsuite. But if I had to choose just one today, it would probably be Buffer.
I can schedule posts throughout the week so I can give the sense that I’m active on social media. This is great because sometimes I’ll completely forget and don’t want to seem like I’m missing in action.
9. Grammarly Chrome Extension
One of the biggest reasons why I love the Grammarly Chrome extension is because it works so well with WordPress. In fact, almost any text field I am writing in is scannable from Grammarly.
Unfortunately, trying to edit comments in YouTube is a bit of a hassle. However, it works perfectly everywhere else on the Internet that I use for blogging or when writing for clients.
Now, it’s not a perfect system. No grammar checker is flawless. But, it is probably one of the better systems I’ve used since I began professional writing in 2012.
Having a good schedule of what you’re doing and setting up ideas is important for a successful blog. And I love using the free version of Asana as part of my blogging tools.
I can add up to 15 team members, assign tasks, track writing projects, and really monitor the development of the blog. Mostly, this is because I have an issue with remembering that I want to create certain content.
You can pay for the premium services. However, the free account is more than enough for a small blogger such as myself.
11. Google’s Search Console
Among Google’s free tools, Search Console is probably one of the best things you can use. You can find all kinds of information regarding your site at a glance.
How people are finding your content, what pages are appearing most often in search results, what kind of click rate you have, and more is available in a variety of reports.
I then use the available data to plan out new articles, rewrite existing pieces, work on titles, and fine-tune meta descriptions.
Do You Need these Blogging Tools to Succeed?
Am I saying that you can’t be a successful blogger without any of the above tools? Absolutely not. I know several who use nothing more than a Word document on free blogging systems who can drive a lot of traffic.
However, the above free blogging tools are available to streamline the process. Why not give yourself every advantage you can, especially when most won’t cost you a single dime to use.
In reality, I pay probably around $150 per year to maintain seven websites. And the money they bring in more than pays for the web hosting, so I feel it’s worth the trouble. Especially as many of them have great potential for making even more money.
I just need to really put in the effort to develop them into something grand.
The bottom line is that success really depends on your level of commitment and what methods you use to keep yourself writing good content. Finding the best tools that work for you specifically will make a difference.
Why I Don’t Use Free Blogging Sites
So, why don’t I use free blogging sites like Blogger, WordPress.com, or Tumblr? What about Medium, Vocal.media, or Hubpages?
Well, those sites do well for people who just want to blog and not worry about the backend. And for many, it’s a good way to market themselves as a professional.
I just can’t really get into them for several reasons.
I Like to Have Full Control
First off, I love the idea of having absolute control over my website. My domains are mine, and I don’t have to share them as a subdomain as you do on other platforms.
There is only one WriterSanctuary.com.
I also like how I have root access to the site, can make coding changes, add any monetization method I want, and modify virtually anything from my hosting account. You can’t do that with Blogger.
The trade-off is that it takes a lot more work to maintain your own, self-hosted website. Backups, security, updates, and other things are my responsibility that I wouldn’t have on free blogging sites.
My Content Works for Me, Not Them
When I write a piece of content for WriterSanctuary.com or perhaps this blog, it works to benefit me without having a third party. For one thing, the money isn’t split the same and I wind up making more for the same content.
Secondly, I find that actual optimized blogs perform better when targeting keyphrases and words as opposed to free systems.
Plus, I like the idea of having my own mail servers. Emails from me come from my respective websites, not Gmail. When I receive guest blog requests, I don’t really take Gmail inquiries all that seriously, especially if the person represents a business.
Sharing the Space
Remember when I commented on how self-hosting is like buying digital real estate? Free blogging platforms are like overly populated apartment buildings. You’re sharing everything with your neighbors, more so than with a shared hosting server.
A lot of people are calling those free platforms “home,” which is why so many sections and categories exist for those niche bloggers. Not to mention the address for the main server is similar to everyone else.
I, personally, prefer having a house over an apartment in the digital landscape.
What are Your Favorite Blogging Tools?
Everyone has their cup of tea. As I said, success relies on the blogging tools you find to work perfectly for your needs. What works for me might not be ideal for you. But hopefully, this list can give you a few ideas about where to start.
If you have something you like to use that isn’t on this list, let me know in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.