I've learned a lot over the years, and one of the things that I stand by today is the fact that you can never have too many resources. There are so many useful websites, widgets, and tools that you can apply to help improve success and make your blogging experience more enjoyable.
Today, I am going to share with you 16 useful resources for your blog. Enjoy!
1. Free Images
We're visual creatures, and high-quality, captivating images are one of the most precious resources out there. If your photography skills are lacking, or if you simply cannot find a photo relevant to your content, you'll benefit from the Free Images database.
2. Even More Free Images
Along with believing that you can never have too many resources, I also believe that you can never have too many free image sources. I used to use Flickr for images---simply run a Creative Commons search and bam. Done. Today, there is an easier tool. Enter Photo Pin. Photo Pin searches Flickr FOR YOU, and the results are much better than if you were to search Flickr yourself.
Writers block sucks, and visiting a blog without updated content due to writer's block sucks even worse. Don't fail your readers simply because your brain cannot come up with a relevant topic to write about. Explore all of the options available with The Imagination Prompt Generator.
4. Google Drive
Oh, how I wish I had known about Google Drive sooner. This nifty tool allows you to create contact forms, upload documents, make calendars, and so much more. I actually use Google Docs via Google Drive for my media kit and my printable recipes on Mommy's Castle. Very, very handy!
You have to create a Google AdWords account for this one (and if you don't have a Google AdWords account yet, you don't know what you're missing--it's an excellent advertising tool). This nifty little planner helps you decide which keywords are best for your website or blog, and what type of competition you're up against in terms of keyword usage.
Below my posts, you'll see four different blog posts under a "You may also like..." heading. That is the LinkWithin widget. It allows readers to easily see other posts on your blog that they may be interested in. It's useful for your readers, and it's excellent for your stats.
Search engine optimization is perhaps the most important part of your blog's ranking, so you're going to want to know all that you can on the subject. This is where Moz's "The Beginner's Guide to SEO" comes in. It is a complete comprehensive guide to SEO. You need this in your life.
If you want your content shared by influencers, then this is the place. Meet new people, see your traffic increase by 200%---I mean, the benefits are endless. Promote your articles on major social media websites including Facebook and Twitter. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.
One thing I used to hate doing was sharing my blog posts over and over again on different social media sites. It gets repetitive, especially with all of the new social media websites popping up. With Dlvr.It, you can share your blog posts with ease, all with the click of a mouse.
10. This Comprehensive Blogging Guide
I honestly don't think I've ever come across a "How to Start a Blog" guide that is as comprehensive as this one. This guide is neatly illustrated and incredibly in-depth, covering the basics, content, monetizing, and so much more. Download the .pdf and get to reading!
I wish that I had known that Pinterest was going to be as big as it is today. When I first started blogging, I hadn't even heard of Pinterest--and even when it finally started coming up in conversations and on social networking sites, I never bothered to really get into it. Big mistake. I never thought it was relevant to my blog, but what I didn't realize is that with beautiful vertical images (even with just text--see the image at the top of this blog post), you could easily increase your following and receive page views. Check out the Blog Maven's Pinterest tips for bloggers and 5 Ways to Create Highly Shareable Pinterest Pictures for Your Business.
If you don't have an image-editing program like Photoshop or Gimp, you should try your hand at Pixlr. Those images aren't going to beautify themselves. Pixlr is a pretty comprehensive tool, so you'll get the hang of it in no time. In fact, many people prefer it over Photoshop and Gimp if they're looking for a quick pick-me-up on a rather bland image.
Sadly, I've only recently begun using Klout (I am so far behind, aren't I?). Klout is a platform that allows you to keep track of your social media influence, and also helps you get an idea of what type of following you're creating. It's a great tool for keeping stats, and you can also use your "Klout Score" as a way to lure in companies looking to work with you.
This is pretty self-explanatory. You don't want grammatical and/or spelling errors all over your blog.
I'm a sucker for wordplay. If you ever think to write, "for lack of a better word" on your blog, you better head on over to the virtual thesaurus and find a better word. Seriously.
16. Blog Hops
This is probably the best kept secret in the blogosphere. Actually, it was never really a secret at all, I've just been rather slow at finding all of the awesome resources out here in the blogosphere. Blog hops are exactly what they sound like. It's a full list of blogs where you can post your link as well. You check out all of the blogs, leave a little message telling them you stopped by, and in turn, they visit your blog. It's great for traffic. It's great for exposure. And it's actually fun. Check out this blog hop directory.
Let's talk! What are your must-have resources, widgets, and/or tools for your blog?