High quality content is the Holy Grail for every serious blogger and it gets harder as the stakes are raised by equally high quality bloggers.
If you are finding bit tough, or if you are looking for slicker ways to go abut your blogging, here are 15 most useful tools/resources to try. They are all great tools, so give them a go and watch those visitors arrive!
1. Take back your time
This has to be the first port of call. If like me you often find yourself checking Twitter when you should be working this is a Chrome add-on that should prove its weight worth in gold. It’s called StayFocusd and allows you to block time-consuming sites so you can concentrate on the job at hand. To prevent yourself from being blocked altogether you can set a maximum number of minutes a day that you will be allowed to browse those sites. Simply click on the toolbar button to block or allow specific pages or sites.
2. Improve your content accuracy
There is a Chrome add-on which will help you define any word. This is the official Google Dictionary extension. Simply double-click the word to view a definition in a pop-up bubble or click the toolbar button and, enter your word and press Define. The latest version of the extension also lets you click a speaker icon to hear the correct pronunciation.
3 Snag the parts of the web you want without any fuss
This is a WordPress feature I am ashamed to say I have only recently taken advantage of. Within minutes of using it for a post I was retweeted. Press this will speed up your blogging, make you even more productive and give your visitors a wider range of content to read and enjoy.
How does it work? Well, while you are surfing the web you will invariably come across content that you feel your readers would be interested in. With Press This, all you have to do is go to the Bookmarks menu of your browser, select the Press This option and a box opens up with all the required information already within it. To get started, use your mouse to drag the Press This link to your bookmarks. It will then appear in your bookmarks menu as just another option. Then, begin your browsing. When you find some content that you have to share, whether it is a post from another blog or even a YouTube video, simply go to your Bookmarks, select the Press This icon and simply watch as a box appears all filled in.
You can then write your post, or if you wish, (as I did) send it straight to your blog by selecting Publish, changing the categories if you want. Your content will now be available for people to read on your blog.
Where to find it: Writing Settings of your WordPress Dashboard
4. Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in
This plug-in is well known and very popular as a means of reducing the bounce rate on a blog as the idea is to keep your visitors with you for as long as possible. The good news is that it is regularly updated to improve it and to keep in touch with the current version of WordPress. The YARPP admin interface gives the user the opportunity to customize the plug-in to suit the user’s requirements. By default posts and pages are al in ‘The Pool’. But users can disallow categories or tags with a single click of the appropriate checkbox. Further filtering gives you the option of days, weeks or months relevancy.
Related posts are rated by ‘relatedness’ and are given a score according to this. It is the match threshold that determines or restricts the related posts that appear. All a user needs to then do is adjust this to get more relevant posts. Display options determine how related posts are displayed.
Requires WordPress 2.8 or higher, Location is Dashboard>Settings
5. Add a poll
Adding polls to a site can initiate interest and give you valuable feedback which you can then use to inform your content writing or your product line.
Use the free option in Survey Monkey to create your own online survey- go to www.surverymonkey.com.
Set up a minimal website, preferably on your own domain name. Then populate with some relevant, again preferably free articles from somewhere like ezienarticles.com. Once you have done that, create a Google Ad that will appear against your main keywords. Invite people to complete the survey and make sure you include an inducement in your ad; for example if you are selling a physical product you could give a way a free sample or a decent discount. End the survey when you have collected a minimum number of responses, eg 100.
Include open-ended questions, eg What, Why, How to get good quality answers; eg what is the appeal of vintage jewelry?
6. View complementary web content as you type
This Chrome extension tool Google Similar Pages beta by Google will help you to speed up your web searches by finding appropriate links, photos, news stories, videos and other web content relevant to the page you are viewing.
7. Block inappropriate sites from appearing in your search results
Google introduced their Personal Blocklist for Chrome earlier this year which prevents ‘content farms’ from appearing in search results. The extension has now been updated to make it even better at blocking these low quality content sites. You can import lists of ‘patterns’ that will immediately filter results similar to sites you have chosen to block, and block the host as well as the domain of the currently active tab.
9 Improve the look of your posts with free creative commons images from Flickr
These images are free to use with specific stipulations which you can read about on the site. We all learn in different ways, so cater to your more visual readers with some interesting images.
10. Speed up your blog – W3 Total Cache by Frederick Townes
A useful WordPress plug-in which should make you more productive is the W3 Total Cache plugin. It is an easy to use and configurable plug in. Not only does it include the basic page and database caching options, it also combines Minify settings for your CSS and JS files and support for Content Delivery Networks. The end result should be a faster blog that puts less stress on your web servers.
This is another Chrome extension, a nifty app that enables you to have the key social media networks integrated. So, you can post your content to Facebook and Twitter, see your feeds inside Google + and more besides.
What tools have helped your blogging? Email us using our contact form!
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