I have a confession to make.
For most of my nine year career as a full-time blogger, I’ve been… well… kind of cheap. I didn’t want to invest more than the $15/year on a custom domain.
Spending eight hours a day growing my blog the old way: by commenting and engaging with as many bloggers as possible.
The negative side-effect of that?
Burnout. Depression. A bit of anxiety for good measure.
The truth is, and I’ve learned this the hard way, if you’re not willing to invest in the right blogging tools, especially nowadays, when most niches are overcrowded and ultra-competitive, you are headed for the inglorious bottom of the food chain.
It is what it is.
But, at the same time, the right tools can literally save you hundreds of hours every month, while allowing you to focus on what truly matters: the words you share with your audience.
That’s not all. The following tools not only help you save time and energy, but also enable you to do things that, quite frankly, are not possible otherwise.
First up, we’re exploring the most effective email marketing tools available today, so you can start growing that email list the right way.
And, yeah, email is still the way to go if you want to grow a blog and reach out to your readers.
MailerLite is one of the fastest growing email service providers out there, and for good reason.
They offer all the features and integrations you need for a fraction of the cost of other platforms.
They also offer a solid free plan, for up to 1,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
GetResponse is a more complete platform, offering the chance to host and sell webinars, create custom landing pages for your Shopify products, and a bit more integrations.
It’s also more expensive than other email service providers.
If you plan to offer webinars as part of your blog’s service offering (or as a way to engage your audience), then GetResponse might be the best platform out there.
Trusted by over 175,000 users, Sendinblue is a complete platform, offering email marketing, SMS, chat, automations, transactional emails, landing pages, and more.
It does offer an interesting free plan, which you can use if you’re just starting out until you grow your list.
While not as feature rich as the other platforms so far, Constant Contact does offer all the necessary basics of setting up a proper newsletter for your blog.
To name just a few: list segmentation, landing pages, signup forms, and automation workflows.
Another interesting email service provider, especially if you also run a Shopify store for your blog, Drip offers a plethora of integrations, while being priced competitively among other similar tools.
Suggested reading: The 5 Best MailChimp Alternatives
Social Media Marketing
Another great way to grow your blog is by taking advantage of the multitude of opportunities being offered by all the social media platforms out there.
We’re going to explore tools that either get you more shares, make sharing your content a more enjoyable experience for readers, or simply add more social functionality to your blog.
6. Quuu Promote
Quuu Promote is the best way to get up to 1,000 social media shares for your article within the first couple of months of your article going live.
This tool is great if you’re serious about growing your blog and driving traffic to your articles.
Another interesting platform is Missinglettr and its paid add-on, Curate.
You can create drip social media campaigns for your articles that last up to an entire year, while sharing quotes, images, and other media from your articles on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
It’s a clever tool as well, as it uses AI and machine learning to pull relevant information (and media) from your articles, suggests hashtags, and more.
Click here to get 50% off Missinglettr (and Curate) for the first 3 months.
Social Snap is a WordPress plugin that enables you to add social share buttons on your blog, offering you more customization than the standard WordPress buttons.
You can also add click-to-tweet, floating share buttons, and add a bit of social proof by showing the total number of shares alongside your share buttons.
Beyond the floating share buttons, their plugin offers a plethora of other tools, such as pop-ups, donation buttons, and more.
Another free plugin, Click to Tweet by CoSchedule allows you to create tweetable quotes you want to encourage readers to share.
SocialBee is a social media management tool, allowing you to schedule and publish content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
If you’re using Instagram to promote your blog and grow your audience you’re probably just as frustrated by me with the fact that you can’t add links to your image descriptions.
Oh, and you can only add that ONE link in your Instagram bio.
Well, Shorby helps you make that one link truly count, and gives you the chance to add all the social links you could want, your blog feed, and a plethora of other dynamic content (including your Shopify products)
Research and Analytics
How can you grow your blog if you do not know what your competition is doing? Or if you do not know what topics are trending within your niche? Or… even worse… you do not have a clear view of your statistics?
The following tools can help you a lot when it comes to researching new topics or getting a better understanding of what is going on with your blog.
Ahrefs is one of the best blogging tools when it comes to keyword research.
A word of warning though: it’s not cheap, and it’s not the most beginner-friendly platform out there, but it offers one of the most powerful feature-set out there.
With Buzzsumo you can generate a list of popular blog posts within your niche, monitor your blog’s mentions across the web, and even search for questions your readers may be searching for on search engines.
15. Google Analytics
Can’t beat a classic. Especially when it’s free.
Google Analytics offers some of the most complex traffic insights, which you can then use to figure out trends, notice what types of content hold your readers attention, or how much time they spend reading your content.
It’s a must-have for any serious blogger.
Ultimately, yes, you should try to invest as little as possible in your blog ( a minimum viable product, if you may), but at the same time, some tools are well worth the investment, especially since they save you a lot of time or offer you the kind of functionality you can’t go without, as is the case with Quu Promote.
For instance, investing a few dollar every month in a tool such as MailerLite in order to have an e-mail newsletter is a necessity, because otherwise you will have trouble reaching your to your readers, or, even hold on to them if you choose to switch platforms or change your blog’s domain name.
All in all, it’s up to you to decide which tools are worth it, which you can do without, and what is the amount of money you’re willing to invest in order to grow your blog.
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