As digital communications become more complex, it’s important to use the right resources to get the job done. Below is a list of tools and services I use to not only create content online but to understand how much of an impact it has.
If you want to grow your online profile and influence, it requires an investment of both time and technology. The former I can’t help you with but on the latter, there are my recommendations below. Some of which include affiliate links in them.
Building A Robust Blog
I’ve used around eight different hosts over the years. The best one I’ve used so far and continue to use to this day is SiteGround.
SiteGround is a complete WordPress hosting service which offers a premium service at an excellent cost. I’ve found the service second to none and on the ‘GoGeek’ package you can get through to a customer help rep within minutes (seconds even). I need this for peace of mind.
If you use SiteGround you will get a free Cloudflare subscription with your package. Cloudflare makes your website both faster and safer.
ThemeForest is the only premium WordPress theme marketplace you need to go to. It has thousands of WordPress themes around any subject or industry you can imagine.
This blog uses the Bimber viral theme which I bought from ThemeForest and haven’t been happier.
Yoast SEO is the best SEO plugin for WordPress around. What’s more, it’s free. It analyses each article you write and helps you optimise them for search engines. Using Yoast SEO is non-negotiable and should be one of the first plugins you download for your WordPress site.
ThirstyAffiliates is a free and premium WordPress plugin that allows you to manage your affiliate links. As well as allow you to create and organise all your affiliate links in an easy format, you can also track how many times visitors have clicked on them.
The Easy Social Share plugin is the most complete social sharing plugin available. It integrates with every social network imaginable and has a ton of functions allowing you to fully optimize your content to be shared across the web.
The Pixel Caffeine plugin by AdEspresso is a great tool that allows you to set up the Facebook Pixel on your website and create custom audiences from any parameter you set. Want to create a custom audience based on visitors to a specific category? No problem. You can even create them based on a specific tag too.
Protecting your site should be a priority and while my host SiteGround has excellent security settings for peace of mind I like to use an additional layer. To do this I use the MalCare security plugin which performs daily malware scans, includes a one-click ‘clean up’ option and firewall. It also runs on its own server so doesn’t hog yours, unlike other security plugins.
Creating Killer Content
Keyword Finder is a great tool to identify specific keywords and their ranking difficulty. It’s simple to use and comes at an affordable price. It’s perfect for people who perhaps need to do keyword research for their own articles but don’t want to shell out for a more complex service. If you sign up you also get five free searches per day.
If you want your articles to be shared in social media a good place to start is BuzzSumo. It will tell you how other similar were shared and on what platforms. As well as this, BuzzSumo will show you which influencers engaged in those articles so you too can contact them to promote your content too.
When you’re creating content you’re going to need imagery. Canva is the best service out there that helps you create stunning images and social media content. You can integrate your brand with it too including colors and logo. Canva is a freemium type service and one I use each time I create articles and blog content.
Finding good images for blog posts used to be difficult provided you didn’t want to steal other people’s. Now sites like Unsplash help you find not only excellent imagery and photography but they do it for free too. Many images I’ve used on this site previously come from Unsplash and I recommend it to anyone looking to make their blog posts more reader-friendly.
Using imagery in a blog post can cause the page size to increase a lot which can slow down your website speed and thus dampen the user experience and get penalized by Google. TinyPNG is a free service that allows you to compress your images (PNG and JPG) to make them smaller in size without losing any quality. Each time I create a post which includes images I upload them to TinyPNG first.
Content Management & Distribution
SocialBee allows you to schedule content across all your social media platforms at the days and times you allocate to it. You can also recycle evergreen content to continue posting at different times. SocialBee also allows you to add RSS feeds so you can have incoming content you can share with your online communities. You can also plugin your Bitly API to have custom short URLs too.
If Pinterest is a key social platform for you then Tailwind is a must. It allows you to schedule your own pins and other people’s pins to automate the process and save you time. Not only that but you can join Tailwind Tribes to amplify your content further. Tailwind is guaranteed to save you a ton of time and improve your credibility in the Pinterest algorithm too.
PixelMe is a short URL provider with a massive twist. It allows you to add retargeting pixels to every URL you share across social media. Even if the content of the links you’re sharing does not belong to you, you can still benefit from them by creating a custom audience from the people who click on them.
OneSignal is a push notification service for your blog or website. Visitors to the site can allow your site to send them notifications whenever new content is published. OneSignal has a WordPress plugin making it easy to set up and start sending notifications straight away.
Google Analytics is still one of the best ways to track your website visitors. It includes every kind of web traffic data you’ll ever need. Even more, it’s free to use.
Google Search Console is a required tool if you’re running a website. Not only does it provide you with the keywords people have been using to land on your site but it also provides additional data and insights into the health of your site too.
With so many website tags and pixels these days they can often slow your site down. Google Tag Manager allows you to add all of these like Google Analytics pixel, Facebook pixel, LinkedIn pixel and other remarketing tags to your Tag Manager account to speed up your website. For more experienced people, Google Tag Manager allows you to set up complex tags and functions to track users.
Like Google Analytics, Facebook Website Analytics provides you with unique traffic and visitor data to your website based on Facebook’s 2 billion+ users. It allows you to get a deeper understanding of your website’s audience and measure their behavior so you can create content relevant to them.
If you work in the B2B space then LinkedIn Website Demographics can provide you with rich information in terms of the type of people that visit your site. Using its data, LinkedIn can tell you the geography of the person, the company they work, company size, job function, seniority and much more.
This is a new tool I’ve started using as I got a deal on it on AppSumo. Leadworx is an analytics platform that allows you to see which companies have visited your site and the pages they visited. It’s more of a B2B sales tool allowing you to track warm leads but the deal was a good one and I’m always happy to have more data.
Social Metrics By ESSB
The Easy Social Share WordPress plugin (mentioned above) includes a social analytics feature which allows you to understand where each post has been shared across social. If you’re using the plugin for social sharing, it comes with social metrics included so you can understand which of your content is being shared on each platform.
This handy Chrome extension allows you to see where a URL has been shared across social media. It provides social sharing data not just on your own content but everyone else’s. It uses social sharing data from the APIs of all the popular social networks.
Twitter comes with rich analytics which a lot of users don’t know about. Here it provides you with data on tweet engagement, follower growth, audience demographics and much more. Using this data can help you tailor your tweets to suit your audience based on their preferences.
If you have a Facebook page (and you should) then the page insights provide you with all kinds of data relating to your fans. From demographics to preferences to everything in between the Facebook Page Insights can provide you with a lot of information on how to tailor your content to suit your followers.
Facebook Audience Insights is a powerful tool that provides you with a vast amount of demographic and behavioural data. Built specifically for advertisers in mind, Audience Insights allow non-advertisers to find rich data based on a custom audience or demographic.
Blubrry is a podcast host site which provides hosting, statistics, WordPress features and plugins and the largest podcast directory in the world. Its pricing feature is ideal individuals and small businesses alike and its WordPress plugin, PowerPress, is best in class.
The Yeti Microphone is a quality microphone at an affordable price. It allows you to record podcasts on your own or you can change the settings to record audio from multiple people. The Yeti is sturdy and built to last. It’s a must-have for anyone starting out in podcasting. Great for Skype calls too.
Audacity is a free and opensource podcasting editing suite which is used by some of the best podcasters around. It’s regularly updated to include new features and is all you need to record and edit podcasts.