November 9, 2017

30 very useful blogging apps, tools and websites: updated list for 2017

We bring you the updated list of 30 very useful websites, apps and tools for bloggers. Each of these have been used by us and our blogger friends and we have found them stable, safe and really useful. Some of these have already been reviewed in detail by us, and we have linked them to the review pages. There are some freemium or paid tools that open a free account but after giving very limited results, ask you to go for paid version; we have rejected such tools outright. The tools that do not install well or are reported to install junk on your computer have also been rejected.

And all these great tools/ sites are FREE!

Writing

  • CoSchedule Headline analyzer 
Helps you create and test headlines that attract attention.
A magnificent spelling and grammar checker for English, which checks passages online, integrates with MS Word and has browser extensions too.  (Premium, paid, version has many more features.)
A fantastic free online grammar and readability checker, Hemingway app tells you how good or bad your writing it, suggesting ways to improve it. (It also has a paid desktop version.)
These alternatives to MS Office and other office suites are a workhorse. These have been included in this list because of their versatility for web use. You can make available on your website a document or spreadsheet or a presentation prepared with Google Docs, through a link. There are many more ways you can share your skills through this set of tools besides doing the job that paid office suites do. 
A very comprehensive dictionary cum thesaurus that is available offline and also online. Offline app integrates well with all Windows programs. It is free if you declare that you are not rich enough to buy it!
If your blog needs typing in languages other than English, this tool (has web and app versions) is a must for you. With intuitive word formation, it can type in 121 languages instantly as you type in English. 
Has online 'plagiarism checker' tool and a tool for comparing two articles.

Graphics and videos

The great free alternative to Photoshop. It has almost all that Photoshop has, maybe something more. And this helps to make all types of graphics for blogs and websites. But the learning curve is steep.

A dependable storehouse of mostly license-free images. 
Earlier called Picasaweb, this Google entity is free storage space for images. You can decide to share images stored on it through link on any webpage as each image has a unique web address. If you are on Blogger blogging platform, all your images are saved here automatically.
A great software for editing almost all types (some with the help of plugins) of audio files. Great if you are a podcaster or have a music blog. You can also use it for preparing audio lectures to go with screen captured video (e.g. for tutorials).
Needs no introduction. For blogs with videos or vblogs, it can be used as free storage space which not only allows linking but also embedding the video on the website. You can visit this article on why YouTube is so great as a secondary web host for videos.
Free, simple, online tool from Buffer with numerous free templates for making quick graphics for social media, especially with embedded text.
Another website that allows creation of beautiful graphics in a jiffy, using available free (and paid) photos and design elements, for all types of web media and other formats.
A marvelous infographic generator, it has free version that is good enough for most bloggers. 
A feature-rich screen-capture software that can easily make videos for tutorials.

Social networking

  • Facebook groups 

Some of these groups can be great for promoting your blog. However, if you discover that members are interested in promoting their content only, without much interaction or discussion, don't go for such groups.
  • Google Plus communities
Bloggers discard G+ in favor of Facebook, Instagram  and Twitter. However, we have found that Google Plus communities are more focused, encourage good participation and are liked by Google search engine.
Twitter's own scheduling and management tool. Has multi-column layout that makes it easier to deal with tweets.
A good scheduler for Tweets (and other social content). Unlike other paid schedulers, it has a good free version if you want to use it for only one service and limited number of social accounts.

SEO and search

Previously called Webmaster Tools, this gives you deep knowledge about search on your website, including what might be wrong and how to fix that.
Gives great insight into traffic on your website. A must for serious blogging.  The daddy of keyword research, this is part of tools available under Google AdWords - the advertising platform of the search giant.
Another useful free tool for keyword research.
Reported to be the most popular SEO plugin for Wordpress, with a useful set of features in its free version too.

Productivity, misc 

An offline and online blogging software that can be great for formatting and other frills (e.g. tables) not available on editors of Wordpress, Blogger and other blogging platforms. OpenLiveWriter integrates well with blogging on various platforms. 
A great website that teaches you bits of HTML in very simple ways and explains why a code on your website/ blog is working the way it is. You can test sample code then and there.
Bloggers need to look for updates in their area of specialization, and nothing beats Google Alerts in giving alerts on any number of topics.
Not to forget this most popular cost per click (CPC) program from Google, which allows bloggers to make money by placing AdSense advertisements on their blogs/ websites.
A fine automatic email sender and opt-in form generator, with enough resources in free account.

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