Make Your Blog Go Viral With These Top 12 Blogging Tools
By Anna Palmer
I have never had a post go viral. So the first thing you can do as a lazy blogger is stop reading right now. Still, I have been blogging seriously for a year and have tripled my readership. I have regular gigs writing outside of my blog and make enough cash to offset all of the services that you see below. Particularly the free services.
1. Co Schedule Headline Analyzer. I love puns. I love obscure shadowy references. But I also love traffic and shares. The tool I use to make sure my posts (for the most part) are optimized for clicks is Co-Schedule Headline analyzer. I enter my rough headline and scroll down for analysis. In a glance I know the type of headline I have chosen, the mix of words- power/emotion/ etc. It takes trial and error to improve my grade but in three or four minutes (faster than a Yugo) I can go from the red to the green. I have never scored 100. A girl can dream. Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer
2. Unsplash. I share this with a heavy heart. It is sort of like when you have an incredible baby sitter that makes your kids as happy as you about date night and you give his name to a friend. It is hard to share. I use Unsplash to illustrate almost every post I write. I’m sure they say it more poetically but I’ll sum it up as a simple site full of free high def images. You can use them anywhere for any reason without attribution. A few weeks ago I was generous enough to share this site with a small group of writers and one of those
bitches talented ladies used some of my favorite images. I’m sure I will be just as understanding with all of you. Unsplash
3. Buffer. I broke up with Hootsuite about a year ago. My relationship with Buffer has much less angst. It allows me to post to one or all of my profiles. It has an advance scheduler that I can view by the day or week or month. If I want to change the time it is drag and drop (so good, so easy.) Or I can allow Buffer to send out those things when they can get the most love. I can analyze the stats of my posts and simply click “re-buffer” to send things out again. If I want I can a/b test by changing up the call to action in the headline. It is a breeze. The only downside is that I have to have twitter going to read incoming tweets (unlike Hootsuite which has incoming streams as well as outgoing). I can’t imagine participating in social media without it. Wasn’t there some sort of headache remedy called “bufferine”? That can’t be a coincidence. Buffer
4. Blogging Facebook Groups. There are 100s of groups. Maybe even thousands. At their worst they are time sucks. Frankly even at their best they take time. Some allow you to pimp your channels without real engagement, some have strict guidelines, some have bloggers with such specific niches it feels like an onion article, and some are a series of sales pitches. Yet there are a few special group that boost your traffic and build your relationships. My top three blogging facebook groups are. Blog Share Learn– BSL is robust and interactive with daily threads to share your own posts and additional opportunities to support your social media following. Bloppy Bloggers– BB is slightly quirky and always interactive with a small but super engaged group (and often humorous) writers. Blogging Anarchy– the name says it all. Do whatever you want. Post, don’t post. Share, don’t share. Comment, don’t comment. Despite (because of?) this attitude I have made some friends and followers from this new group of writers.
5. Pinterest Pin service. I found Katie in two (maybe even three?) of the above FB groups. She always had the best looking pins for pinterest and the traffic to match. Luckily for me (and you) she realized the rest of us needed her. For a super low price she will make you pins. I have opted for even more of her help and she re-organized my boards and even does some of my pinning for me using analytics to post to great group boards. My inbound clicks from Pinterest have gone from 2 a day to 65 a day. The best part is these readers have a 20% bounce rate. That is incredibly low. The pins have enough content to have interested them…so when they click to read more they actually want to read more. Additionally Pinterest, unlike other social media platforms is not time sensitive. Pins pay off long after they have been posted. Check out her services here
6. Beyond Your Blog. This is the website that inspired me get my writing published outside of my blog. BYB has podcasts with editors from pretty much every publication you can think of explaining what they are looking for in a submission. BYB posts links to paid and free opportunities and has huge free lists of sites that accept syndicated content. All of these are arranged by topic area. Add to this anthologies and regular success stories and you have a place of inspiration and information. I can’t think of another site that combines all of the tools to make your words leap from your blog to the world wide web. Start Here
7. Adblock. This chrome extension doesn’t actually help me get clicks on my blog. But it does keep me from throwing my laptop across the room from dealing with incessant pop ups so that allows me to continue writing. Which then allows me to continue posting. Which drives traffic to my site. Look at the 9,000+ clicks I didn’t have to make in the 3 weeks I have had Adblock installed. That probably equates to 100 eye rolls, 90 deep sighs, 10 screams of outrage, and at least 20 minutes of my life that I didn’t waste. Adblock
8. Click to Tweet. Honestly this has probably brought me 28 clicks in the three months I have been using it. However it is a way to break of a block of text (which is always a good thing with you lazy readers) that might serve a function. Click to tweet
9. Askimet. There was a time when I didn’t reply to comments on my blog. I know. I know. Blogging etiquette 101. The reason? The viagra ads. Its not that I don’t espouse a healthy sex life because I DO. It’s just that the comments got lost in a sea of little blue pills. Or some less appropriate analogy. Askiment is a Word Press Plug in that seems to love viagra. It gobbles up all of those spam comments itself. Askimet
10. Sumome. Even though it looks like Sue me, Sumome is a free and super simple email subscriber plug in. You can customize the pop up to be more pretty and less annoying than most. I don’t sell anything so my subscriber list is worth $0 and 0 cents. Those of you who do though are supposed to value each email address at $1. I think I read once. Just ignore that last bit. Even though giving me your email doesn’t give me any actual cash it does send my posts to your inbox. Almost all of my subscribers read my posts. If I ever did sell anything stats say about 1% of them would buy it. So lets build our lists. Sumome
11. Mail Chimp. Sumome needs a friend. Its best friend happens to be a chimp. A mail chimp. This email tool is free (for most of us) and super easy to use. Plus you can look at a cute chimp logo. Mail Chimp. He is so little but so happy and see his hat? He will deliver your electronic letters for you.
12. Trello. Trello is a super flexible easy to use system for lists, assignments and more. I found Trello back when I was developing apps with a team (a cheap team) and we could watch each other accomplish what we needed to move a project forward. We could also watch each other forget steps and ignore the worst bits of the project. Used alone it is a way to track post ideas, add details and access all of the above from anywhere. Trello
To reward those of you who made it all the way down here I will share my happy ending.
I now have a post that has gone viral. And no, it is not this one…yet. This pin has sent meover 250,000 readers in a month. In fact I am such a basic user that I was never able to track down who to thank for all of that traffic. Scroll back on up to #5 above and for $5 you can be a lazy pinner with pins poised to go viral.
The headline analyzer told me it was a good headline. And I listened. I would not say that it is the best image I have on my author board. That thing is filled with bras and kittens. Yet somehow this is the one that took off. Those are the sort of results that this lazy blogger loves.
Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO. She writes about sex, parenting, cat pee, bi-polar disorder and the NFL; all things inextricably intertwined with her mental health. In her free time she teaches her boys creative swear words, seeks the last missing puzzle piece and thinks deeply about how she is not exercising. Her writing can be found on Babble, Parent.co, Great Moments in Parenting, Ravishly, Good Men Project, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Playpen, Crazy Good Parent, and YourTango. She also does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com. Find Anna on Twitter: @annawritesstuff.