Blogging toolkitIn the realm of content marketing, we all know the value of running a company blog. Whether you are a large enterprise or an SME, a blog provides a simple, direct platform for connecting with consumers and sharing your dazzling pearls of wisdom. It can help pull your website up those all-important search engine ranks with a bit of SEO-related magic, promote brand awareness and is one of the most cost-effective marketing investments you are likely to make.

The bottom line is: you want your blog to be the best it can be. Obviously, top-notch content is a non-negotiable; however, it certainly isn’t the only element to consider when ensuring your blog remains at the top of its game. Keeping those readers engaged is a never-ending challenge; after all, there’s no worse feeling than having poured your heart and soul into a fantastic blog post, only to see it dissipate into the online ether without so much as a comment, share or increase in traffic.

A brief online search will reveal that there are a vast number of useful tools available to add to your blogging box of tricks – tools to help better your blogging, boost traffic to your site and bring you one step closer to content marketing success. Unfortunately, many of these tools require you to part with your cold, hard cash to order to reap the benefits. Not a big deal if you are a large organisation, but for the SME who may not have extra budget to blow on their blog, somewhat annoying.

Some might say there’s no such thing as a free lunch… we say they’re wrong! Here are some nifty tools we’ve discovered that might aid your blogging efforts. And they won’t cost you a penny.

1. WooRank

Not quite sure where to start? WooRank provides the key to analysing elements of your website, including the design, SEO and marketing potential before pinpointing precisely where you ought to focus your improvement efforts. The tool assigns a score to your blog with plenty of advice on how best to boost this.

2. Quicksprout

One of the top rated content analysis tools, Quicksprout aims to keep you a step ahead of the competition – an imperative consideration when it comes to SMEs. All you need do is enter your URL or that of one of your competitors and you will receive a detailed report which reveals the social shares each page has garnered. Not only can you assess what sort of content is getting the thumbs up from your readers, you can gain inspiration taken straight from the success of your competitors.

3. Buffer

Time is money, so cut your costs with Buffer and allow this tool to take on the time-consuming job of updating your social media channels. You can plan ahead and schedule up to ten updates for one social account. Choose from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn –whichever works best for your business.

4. Buzzsumo

Staying creative and keeping those blog topic ideas coming is a constant challenge in the blogosphere, right? Not so with Buzzsumo. Supply this tool with an industry keyword and it will reveal the top performing, related blog posts, allowing you to gain inspiration from content that has proven its worth.

5. Yoast SEO

WordPress is a popular platform choice for blogging SMEs as it is simple to use, customisable and flexible. It also allows access to Yoast SEO, a nifty plug-in which helps you optimise your blog posts for the search engines. A simple traffic light system will demonstrate just how well optimised your posts are plus it enables you to adjust your meta descriptions, create an XML sitemap and indulge in a host of other optimisation gems that should help increase traffic to your site.

6. Analytics

Last but most certainly not least, an analytics tool is worth its weight in gold to your blog. Whether you choose the mighty Google Analytics or another tool that provides insights, this sort of tool allows you to understand where your traffic is coming from; which posts performing the best; and what visitors that arrive at your site actually do once they get there.

We have but scratched the surface of the useful tools which can help hone your blog to perfection. Which are the favourites you would add to this list?