How do I maintain three blogs and still have time to write books?
I blog a lot and I write a lot.
But without my toolbox of pro tools for writing and blogging, I would be struggling to keep up.
There are so many vital elements to consider when you are writing online and it is often difficult to keep them all in mind.
Of course, writing accuracy is the number one priority because any errors or typos will distract from your message and lose your readers very quickly.
Then there is the consideration of how your writing is going to be found on the Internet, so SEO becomes another priority.
While writing is one thing, presentation and appeal are what attracts readers.
Whether it is a blog post image, a book cover for an ebook or even graphics I include in much of my teaching material, designing eye-catching graphics and images are always extremely important.
Then comes the hard work of promoting your writing. Blogs, books and ebooks all need systematic promotion to help you gain traction in what is a very competitive market.
So much to do and so little time.
However, there are literally thousands of online tools that can help in all these aspects of blogging, writing and promotion. Yes, some are great, some are okay, while others are not worth the bother.
I have tried many of them over the years, but there are a handful of online tools I use now that have become absolutely indispensable to me.
They help me save time, and most importantly, they help me make money from blogging.
My essential writing and blogging tools
Grammarly works, everywhere. (Free and Paid)
Number one without a doubt for me is Grammarly.
I use it every hour of every day. What makes Grammarly so effective is that it not only integrates with the WordPress Editor and Microsoft Word but also with most browsers and iOS.
I use it a lot with Chrome, Safari and Firefox, so it is helping me write more accurately wherever and whenever I am writing online.
It works on any web page text field such as when I write Twitter and Facebook posts, or when I comment on blogs or newspaper articles.
This one feature alone has saved me from making embarrassing typos online so many times.
While no online grammar or spell checker is perfect, Grammarly helps me quickly eliminate close to 95% of my writing errors or typos, which then makes proofreading of long texts much easier.
When it comes to writing content for my blogs, Grammarly is always on, working with me and saving valuable time.
Semrush SEO (Paid)
Writing a great blog post is one thing, however, writing around strong keywords and finding the right 60 character title that will have a good chance of ranking highly on Google Search is what will bring traffic, readers and income to your blog.
Great online blog content writing always needs even better SEO.
There are so many SEO tools and keyword finders available, and believe me, I think I have tried them all over the years.
Like all new bloggers, I took advantage of free online SEO tools for many years. While it helped, I knew I would have to take the jump into a professional suite of SEO tools at some stage.
It took me months of research into which suited me best, but in the end, I bit the bullet and I chose Semrush.
There are so many valuable tools available for keyword and competitor research, site health, keyword and page ranking as well as backlink checking and traffic analysis, just to name a few of the ways it helps me improve my SEO.
It’s a fact that none of the well-known professional SEO suites are cheap. So is Semrush worth the money for me?
When I started using Semrush, my traffic has more than doubled in the first two months and is still increasing every month. My blogging income has increased even more, which is even more important.
So, yes is the very short answer.
Create eye-catching images for your blog posts with Canva (Free and Paid)
Well designed images that attract the attention of readers, especially on social media, are becoming increasingly essential for bloggers. Canva is a free app that is easy to learn how to use to create your own images for your blog.
Copyright is always an issue to consider, so forget about stealing and copying images from Google Image Search and start creating your own images that will attract more readers.
Since I started using Canva, my blog traffic has increased noticeably, so taking the extra few minutes to design unique images for my blog posts has been well worth the extra effort. I use the free version and find it does everything I need.
Sharing buttons are essential blog tools (Free and Paid)
Social sharing buttons are necessary on many blogs, as your reach can be extended by encouraging readers to share your posts on social media.
Many free social share plugins slow down your site speed by adding unwanted tracking code, spam, malware links and ad links.
I have tried so many of them over the years and was almost always disappointed or even upset at the site damage some free share buttons can do.
However, I stumbled on Social Warfare a couple of years ago, and at last, I found a social sharing plugin that not only works but is super fast and clean.
I run the free version on some of my sites and the paid version on others. Apart from the share buttons, Social Warfare has a lot of extra functions such as ‘Tweet This’ and image formatting for social media.
It is also the only social sharing tool that counts Twitter shares.
Spread your blog further and more effectively (Free and Paid)
Without a doubt, Revive Old Post is the most effective tool for increasing blog traffic. I have been using it for years now.
Initially the free version, but as the paid version has so many additional features, I have the paid version on all of my sites now.
With Revive Old Post, you can share all of your existing posts and pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Tumblr using automated schedules.
For re-posting promotional pages and blog posts, it is by far the best tool available. Image sharing and Google Analytics integration is also included in the paid version.
If I had to choose the single best tool for my blog and book promotion, Revive Old Post would be my number one choice by a very long way.
How safe is your blog? Do you have a backup? (Free and Paid)
Your WordPress blog and all your writing and hard work over the years are extremely valuable.
But do you have a complete backup of your WordPress site and its database? And if you do, are you 100% sure you can do a restore if the need arises?
Many free backup plugins do not offer a full restore function, so they are useless. Don’t necessarily trust your hosting service either, as most only offer short-term backups of usually only 7 days.
UpdraftPlus has the huge benefit of being able to save backup files automatically to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Amazon S3, email, plus more remote locations. Off-site backups are the most secure means of protecting your site.
Updraft is a free and paid backup plugin that works without a hitch. I have been using the pro version for a long time now, and it has saved me on many occasions, particularly when a plugin update goes horribly wrong.
GTmetrix for Site Speed (Free)
A slow site loses money, so having a super fast site for both desktop and mobile is essential if you want to maintain high traffic levels and earn income from advertising, affiliate marketing or selling your products or services.
What I like about GTmetix is that it gives an in-depth waterfall report so you can find every js or CSS file both internal and external that are causing loading issues.
This makes it easy to trace elements that are slowing down your site speed on desktop and mobile and take remedial action.
While Google PageSpeed Insights may be better known, it doesn’t give anywhere as much detail to work with.
The other aspect I like with GTmetrix is that it sends me a report once a week with my site speed results for my three sites.
Your blog and writing ability are your primary assets for making an income, but you only have so much time available in a day.
Saving time on checking and proofreading gives you more time to write, as does a little automation in getting your blog posts shared on social media.
But most importantly, you need to get streams of regular traffic to your blog if you want to make reasonable money from blogging. The only way to do this is to have a fast site and leverage organic traffic from Google and Bing with powerful SEO.
I use all of the tools I have mentioned above every day. Some are paid and some are free, but each in its own way saves me hours of work and they let me get on with what I do best.