15 Essential Free Tools for Beginner Bloggers

Being a new blogger can be overwhelming – there’s just so much to learn and get your head around. That’s why I’ve put together this list of tools for beginner bloggers based on what I’ve found incredibly useful in my first couple of months blogging.

15 Essential Free Tools for Beginner Bloggers.

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Post Writing

First off is my go-to list of tools to help me create the best content as efficiently as possible.

Headline Analysers

Headline Analysers are great for, you guessed it, coming up with a great click-worthy headline. Why is this important? Well, if nobody clicks through to your post, then nobody reads it – simple. In fact, according to Copyblogger 8 out of 10 people only see your headline, with 2 reading the rest, so it needs to be good.

I currently use CoSchedule and Sharethough Headline Analysers. Both are slightly different.

CoSchedule scores your headline based on Word balance, Length Analysis, Keywords and Emotional Sentiment. You then get a score out 100 so you can tweak it until you’re happy.

Sharethrough Headline Analyser gives you an overall headline quality score out of 100. It also shows you the strengths of your headline and suggestions for improvements. The score also tells you whether your headline is above average, average or below average.

Both tools are free to use so are definitely worth checking out if you want to improve your headlines. In fact, Copyblogger recommends that you start with your headline first when creating any new blog post. This keeps you focussed on your promise while you create your content. If you’re looking for more tips on creating great headlines, then check out this amazing post from Neil Patel.

Grammarly

Grammarly is a must for bloggers or anyone who writes on a regular basis. The app is free to install and highlights grammatical errors as you go. It’s compatible with Word, but also works in WordPress too. So, it can flag up any errors you’ve missed once you’ve dropped your text in WordPress.

Microsoft Word Readability Score

I only discovered this function of Microsoft Word recently. One of the most important things for your content is to make sure it’s easy to read. Luckily there are tools for scoring this to help you refine your copy to make it more reader friendly. It’s called readability scoring. If you’ve used an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO you’re probably already familiar with this. But, did you know you can test it in Word first before you import your content into WordPress?

Here’s how you do it.

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  2. Click Proofing.
  3. Under When correcting spelling and grammar in Word, make sure the Check grammar with spelling check box is selected.
  4. Select Show readability statistics.

Then once you’ve finished writing your post – you carry out your usual spelling and grammar check. Once this is all done, Word will give you your Flesch Readability score.  I like to try and aim for at least 70 but this will depend on how technical your post is.

Hemingway Editor App

Another great tool to make sure your posts are a breeze to read is the Hemingway Editor App. The Hemingway App analyses your text and highlights area for improvement such as lengthy and complex sentences. It also highlights sentences that are so dense and complicated that you’re likely to lose your reader. You’ll definitely want to shorten and simplify these! It the gives you an overall readability score based on a US high school grade along with a simple “Good” or “OK”. On this scoring system the lower the grade the better.

Once you’ve edited in Hemingway you can drop the text back into word and test your Flesch Readability again.

This post had a Flesch Readability Score of 68.6 before I ran it through Hemmingway. Afterwards it was 71.7.

Images

So, you’ve finished writing your post, now you need your images. But you can’t just grab any image off the internet if you don’t want to risk copywrite infringement. Luckily, there are several great sites where you can download stock images free of charge.  You can then use them for your blog post without any issues. The three I use are:

If you’re looking for more sites for free images though take a look at this list.

Graphic Design

Once you’ve got your image, you’ll want to create your bespoke feature image and social media images. Luckily you don’t need a mac and graphic design software to do this nowadays. My go-to tool is Canva, and I’d literally be lost without it! Canva is an online tool that’s free to use and designed for use for non-graphic designers. Perfect for bloggers!

There’s a whole host of templates for every type of social media post and its ridiculously simple to use. With Canva you can create a feature image for your blog or a Pin image for Pinterest in less than 5 minutes. Canva also features some free stock images within it too that you can use.

Image Optimisation

Now if you’re not familiar with image optimisation, don’t worry as it’s not hard to do. First off though, what is it and why is it important? Ok, as I’m sure you know website load speed is critical for your readers’ experience, but it’s also a major Google ranking factor (you knew, that right?). One of the biggest drains on your sites load time is your images. Most slow websites have huge images that just aren’t needed for the web. This creates a really sluggish site. My go to tools to solve this are:

ResizeImage.net

This site useful if you have a huge image that you need to scale right down. You simply select the percentage of the original size you want the new file to be. Then you can select to optimize it by compressing the file even more (reducing the file size).

tinypng

Next up is tinypng. This is a pure image optimisation site. You simply drop your file into the box on the webpage and watch as tinypng does its stuff. Tinypng compresses the image down to a more manageable size so it won’t slow your site down too much.

Smush

Smush is an Image Compression and Optimisation WordPress plugin I use . This takes every image you upload and compresses the file size to make sure it’s as small as possible while preserving image quality. When yu first install it, it smushes all your existing images. Then whenever you upload a new image it compresses it automatically – SWEET…

Take a look at the video below to see how it works.

WordPress Plugins

SEO Plugins

SEO Plugins analyse your content to see how search engine friendly it is. Yoast SEO is probably the most well-known and widely used – it’s a great plugin that I’ve used for a while. More recently though I’ve been using Rank Math SEO, which has a few extra features such as a more detailed SEO score.

Cache Enabler

Cache Enabler is a caching plugin. What’s a caching plugin I hear you ask? Don’t worry I didn’t have a clue either when I first hear the phrase. Basically, it improves your sites load speed. There are loads of free Cache plugins available for WordPress, but I had issues installing some of the others. Cache Enabler worked straight away though and took less than a minute to install and set up.

Signing Off

So, there you have it. My list of essential tools for new bloggers. A list like this could go on forever and become overwhelming so I’ve just focused on the tools I’ve found myself using all the time.

I hope you found this useful. If you have any comments or other great tools you can’t live without please let me know in the comments below.  

9 Comments

  1. Jane Gichingiri January 9, 2019
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