As a blogger I simply cannot live without certain applications, tools, and plug-ins that not only help me blog better but also streamline many of the tasks I perform routinely. So I’ve decided to make a top ten list of my favorite blogging tools and share it with you.
I’m going to leave out some free tools like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which quite probably are used more or less by every blogger out there.
Also note that I’m not sorting the tools in the order of their importance, as that would be impossible – they are all vital for me.
I’m going to start with what I think is the best browser out there. I make this claim based on Firefox’s speed, accessibility, and most importantly, on its thousands of free extensions, which no other browser can rival with. I use a lot of blogging add-ons with Firefox, such as the SeoBook toolbar to check and analyze other blogs, Firebug to improve my site’s speed, Today’s Reminders to make sure I do the important things, Google Toolbar and so many more.
I don’t know how many of you have heard of this great tool for editing a blog theme or viewing the source code of a certain Web page, but I recommend it to all bloggers who are not HTML or CSS experts. It helps me find what I’m looking for and it’s easy to use. I find the offerings of the free version more than enough for my needs.
This little Firefox tool gets its own entry here because it’s simply great. As a blogging add-on, it allows me to write for my blog directly from the browser. Because it made posting a lot easier for me, I warmly recommend it to any blogger who uses Firefox.
I don’t think many will disagree if I say that Google Analytics is the best free analytics tool you can get at the moment. I find it accessible and comprehensive and I cannot imagine how I could keep my diet blog without it. I think this is one of Google’s top achievements when it comes to free tools. It allows me to see how many visitors landed on i.e my Medifast coupon or Nutrisystem discount pages on a certain day, what keywords my site is ranking for, and an incredible amount of other important information for which other analytics companies charge an arm and a leg.
Bloggers paying attention to free poll tools have a couple of websites they can pick from. During the last couple of years I’ve checked multiple, but I found none that was as accessible as PollDaddy. With it you can find exactly what you are looking for in just a couple minutes and also easily discover interesting new things to include in your future posts.
While I haven’t been a fan of Skype when it first came out, I’ve changed my opinion since then. Sure, it’s still far from being perfect, but it’s a lot better than many of the alternatives available out there. I use it often to chat with other bloggers and to carry phone conversations. I also find it great for interviews.
I’ve been trying out various RSS tools in the last few months but I could never really settle for one in particular. Even though some were great, there was always something missing. I loved Google Reader from the first moment I’ve tried it and since then I’m more aware of what’s happening in the blogosphere. I know some people who can’t stand it but I really can’t understand why.
I use a lot of photos for my blogs, which I often get from websites that offer free stock photos. This gives me the assurance that I don’t violate any copyrights. Of all these sites I use Stock.xchng the most because it features a diverse selection of quality photos, for free!
Far from being perfect, Google Alerts is a tool that allows me to view alerts in my email inbox. Even though I’m still looking for a better alternative I’ve decided to include it in this list because it has helped me on many occasions to find useful posts I would have otherwise missed.
I wavered whether to list my favorite blogging platform or not but in the end I decided to do it because I’m not sure I would be an enthusiast blogger without it. It’s so flexible and it has such a terrific development community that I find it the ideal blogging platform. I especially consider it great because it’s gorgeous and it works perfectly for a personal blog. I also like the many plug-ins available and the integrated comments tools.
These are my ten favorite blogging tools -I would have a hard time running a blog without them. What about you? What are some of your favorite tools?