You’ve probably heard of other bloggers using tools to help grow their blog. They can be tools to automate social media sharing, tools to organize mailing list, or tools analyze blog traffic. There are hundreds of free tools on the internet but they are limited and if you want to upgrade, you’re going to have to buy a license or pay a monthly fee.
I’m not against using these tools in fact I’m for them and I wouldn’t mind investing in a tool that will show results for better blog growth. Lately I’ve invested in a tool, called Buffer, that helps to automate my social media shares since I can’t be online most of the time. Prior that, I’ve actually considered hiring a virtual assistant to handle my social media platforms because I currently have about 10 and that’s including social media platforms that I’ve opened but not really keeping active, not to mention that I also have other social media platforms for my other business and blog. For Kintsugi of Life, I have about five social media platforms that are active and four of those are kept active by Buffer. I only have to check up on them once a day or a couple of times a week.
While Buffer is growing my social media followers, I’m able to save time to spend on something else and be more productive. The strategy works like a charm. But before I upgraded my Buffer account, I did a few things to make sure it’s all really worth it. And I’ll be sharing those with you in this post. Here are five things that you need to do before investing in a tool to make sure that it will be able to help you grow your blog.
Every blogger’s needs are different depending on what type of blog you have and what your blog schedule is. If you are a full time blogger and can spend your whole day chatting up your fans on twitter then you don’t really need to automate your social media like I did. The very first thing you need to know is what sort of tool do you need to help you grow your blog at a much faster rate.
To break that down in more detail you need to ask these:
What tools are popularly used by bloggers?
You may still don’t know what you need right now, so you need to know what your options are. You can do that by looking at what other bloggers are using to grow their blogs. You might already be following bloggers who made reviews about tools that really works for them or maybe they’ve created a list of top 10 tools that will give you what you need. You can also try searching on Google, ‘Top tools for bloggers’.
What areas on my blog is slowing me down?
After you’ve created a list of blogging tools, you can set that aside for now and go over your blog. In order for it to grow, you need to know what items are slowing you down or the things that are tedious or hard for you to do. If you don’t have anything on your blogger workload that’s slowing you down, then you can look for what you can improve, like looking at what you keep doing over and over again (assuming that it is productive) and perhaps you can automate that. Once you know what you need to improve, you can now match that with the specific tool that can answer your growth problem.
There are probably a couple of tools that can be the solution to faster blog growth, so you’re going to need to do more than just match your problem with the tools on your list. With these options, how will you know which one is that best one for you and your blog and is actually worth investing in?
So, once you have an idea of what kind of tools you need, you can read reviews about them to get an idea of which specific tool you need. Some tools can have the same functions but features will also vary. For example, two of the best sharing tools I prefer out there is Sumome and Addthis. These tools are both used for social media sharing on your site. But they do have other features that makes them unique from each other. For example, Sumome also includes a landing page builder, while Addthis includes a feature where you can embed recommended articles for your readers.
These other features may have different effects on different bloggers. They can be beneficial, they can have negative effects on blogs, or they can just be tool feature that are a waste of time.
Here’s a personal example. Sumome has more free features than Addthis, but you will notice here on Kintsugi of Life that I’m using Addthis. Why? Well, first and foremost, I only need share buttons that scrolls with the page and the rest of the other features are of no use to me. Secondly, the free share buttons of Addthis has more social media platform options. I can select as many social media platforms as I like as long as, of course, it’s available on Addthis. But on Sumome, I’ll have to upgrade just so I can add another button. If I don’t upgrade, I’ll only be able to use what’s on default. Thirdly, Sumome takes up more of my blog loading speed compared to Addthis, plus Sumome has this unremovable tag on the side of the blog, though it is hidden, it’s still noticeable.
So at this point, should I invest in Sumome? Or should I just use Addthis, which is a much better fit for me and my needs. Hey, that’s why I’m using Addthis. Duh, right?
Research who’s using them
Though you may already have the most popular tools for whatever you need to use it for, knowing who uses it too is a great way to get some other idea if the tool is really reliable or not. So when you choose a tool to use, make sure to check a credible reviewer or, even better, make sure to check if a popular blogger or a great blogger is using the tool on his or her blog. If you’re looking for social media tools, you can check out this post by Neil Patel.
Research how you can optimize your use of them
When you upgrade your account and start investing on it, there might be other features that you don’t know about because you didn’t upgrade for that reason. Nonetheless, it’s worth it to discover how else you can use the tool and optimize it to grow your blog even faster than you were expecting. You’re paying for it, so why not use it to its maximum capability.
Similar to when I upgraded my Buffer account, I only wanted to be able to schedule more than 10 posts a day and to be able to automate my Pinterest, too. But I never realized I can also bookmark websites where Buffer can feed straight from them to be able to schedule a link for posting. That way, it’ll be easier for me to grab those great posts from my favorite bloggers and share them with my followers.
Try them out for free
Last but not the least, the best way for you to tell if a tool really works for you or not is to try them out for free. Most tools out there usually provides a sign up for a free account where you can use all the features, but are limited, and a good example of that is Sumome. There are also tools that will let you try them out for free but only on the first month. A month’s trial may not be enough but you’ll be able to gage if there is a change in your blog’s growth in the last 30 days. If there’s a tool that you want to try out for your blog but don’t offer any free trials, you can buy them for the first month. Make sure to choose the option that let’s you pay monthly not yearly and will allow you to cancel your account anytime just in case it doesn’t work out after all.
When you’re trying to turn your blog into a business or a passive income stream, you should be willing to invest a little amount of money in it. Tools are one of those that are great to invest in.
PS. You’re also going to want to check out Tools That Will Help You Get Started On Your Online Business Without A Cost. I’m pretty sure these are going to help you with your online business and your blog growth.