The Website Marketing Group Blog

About The Website Marketing Group Blog

Michael Doyle - Managing Director of The Website Marketing Group

After 14 years of working in this industry, every day is a new learning curve which is why I love the job.

Here are some of our findings on the “best of the web” to keep you up to date with the latest news in the Internet business strategies.

From small businesses to Australia’s leading brands across multiple sectors and disciplines, this means we know what works and what doesn’t, allowing us to deliver tangible results that benefit your business where it really matters.

Whether it is a new brand identity-logo design, a social media marketing,  a complex website, an email marketing campaign or all of the above and more, our team can deliver the solution for your business.
Contact us today on 1300 911 772.

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Congratulations to the TWMG Team ! The Website Marketing Group has been successful in making the Smart50 for the SmartCompany Smart50 Awards 2011.

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9 Email Subject Tips To Boost Your Open Rates

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How many unread emails do you have in your inbox?

Most people get a lot of emails everyday and  most of them are left unopened. The chances of your email being ignored are pretty high, unless you have a trustworthy and appealing subject line.

Your subject line is the first (and the last) impression on users. In many cases, your email subject line is more important than the body. After all, a great newsletter is worthless if it never sees the light of day.

There are a few different views when it comes to creating terrific subject lines. Here are nine different types of effective email subject lines that you can adapt to your next campaign:

1. Simple Subject Lines

There’s a lot to be said for minimalism, as users need you to be clear and concise in your subject lines. Time is always a good asset.

Recently, MailChimp conducted an email subject line study and found that short, descriptive subject lines fare better than cheesy ones. Some might argue that humor and creativity should be avoided when creating good subject lines for emails, especially since many marketing experts say otherwise. The succinct, to-the-point approach is most applicable with notification emails, in which a user already has a connection with the content you’re delivering.

Most of these subject line examples involve updates or notifications connected with a user’s social media activity, order status, etc. These emails have a specific purpose, and so the subject lines should be specific as well.

2. Funny Subject Lines

A humorous subject line can really stick out among the dry, dull emails surrounding it. On the other hand, humor is a touchy thing. It thrives on exclusivity, which isn’t always great if you’re trying to appeal to the masses. Still, if you know your audience inside out and your emails are well-targeted, an appropriate joke can get your email opened and earn major reputation points with audiences on your wavelength.

Some funny email subject line examples:

  • Please Touch Me! Enterprise Delight via Multitouch
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: ESAPI
  • Do Gamers Dream of HTML5 Sheep?
  • LEAN STARTUP: Baby Got (Feed)Back – Putting the Lean in Learn

Bear in mind that the cleverness of the other funny email subject lines might be lost on some users who didn’t attend Hogwarts or haven’t read Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?”. Always find your niche and make the recipients laugh, not scratch their head.

3. Controversial/Shocking Email Subject Lines

Sometimes controversy sells, and it most certainly grabs attention. Using shock, controversy, or insult in your subject lines requires you to tread really carefully. You may get opens, but at the cost of customers. This strategy requires you to be confident in your understanding of your audience’s tastes and perceptions. It’s a gambling move, but the pay-off can be pretty great. Here are some examples:

  • Everyone Is Gay: Social Media As Social Action
  • Why Your 5-Year-Old Is More Digital Than Most CMOs
  • Your Marketing Sucks: Why You Need to Think Local

4. Single-Word Subject Lines

One effective email subject line strategy involves going ultra-minimalist with one-word subject lines.

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From a simple design perspective, you can see why the Amazon Local subject line catches the eye – its length and shape stand out from the other largely similar-looking structures. Here is a good example:

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Another great email subject line example comes from Mequoda with the simple subject line of:

  • Panic

It’s just a single word, but it’s an emotionally huge one. What should I be panicking about? Am I in danger? What’s going on? Am I having an existential crisis? Emotionally-walloping words make a big impression.

5. Email Subject Lines with Numbers & Lists

Many of the factors that make up a good blog post title also make a good email subject line. Incorporating numbers into your subject line attracts attention, as our brains are naturally drawn to digits. This tends to be why top 10 lists are so successful – lists are easier for our brains to process and they create curiosity, in addition to providing the promise of a quick and easy read.

  • SocialBro – 7 most annoying Twitter moments of the #Oscars2014
  • YouTube – 10 jaw-dropping drift videos on YouTube
  • Pinterest Partner Team – 3 ways to improve your Pins

Numbers and list email subject lines stand out for the same reasons that one-word subject lines or unusual punctuation do – they are visually jarring.

6. Personalised Subject Lines

Incorporating personalisation techniques into email subject lines is another way to increase open rates. However, incorporating a user’s name into the subject line becomes trivial these days, as this has become the common practice that many users consider these emails as spam. Instead, try location-specific offers and language, or interest targeting. LivingSocial and Groupon are old pros at this, sending emails with subject lines promoting deals in your area.

  • LivingSocial Deals – Best of Boston: Avanti Salon & More
  • LivingSocial Deals – Don’t miss out – Two-Hour Private Glassblowing Class for Two People

The subject line above combines personalisation (via remarketing) with scarcity to create an effective email subject line. In a broader sense, it’s good practice to understand your audience well enough to know what language, style, and offers will be attractive to them.

7. Questions & Other Punctuation in Email Subject Lines

Question marks and unusual punctuation offer another method for standing out from the email masses. Exclamation marks can be useful, but are so over-used in subject lines that they don’t tend to be very powerful. Instead, experiment with some fun symbols or loud punctuation to attract their eyeballs.

  • Coldwater Creek – Going…going…70% off Ultimate Sale is almost gone!
  • VUDU-Movies & TV – *RENT “Frozen” . Watch it today in 2D or 3D. *
  • HAILO Boston – We ? You

Asking your readers a question, as opposed to a standard statement, immediately engages them. Questions enter an instant dialogue with users, making them more likely to be opened.

  • Sephora Beauty Insider – Rough day?
  • Banana Republic – Final hours! Will you save 50%?

Above, Banana Republic combines a question with scarcity tactics. Sephora asks an emotionally-engaging question (really? you care?) with just two words, creating a truly great subject line.

8. “Missing Out” & Other Scarcity Tactics in Subject Lines

People have a deep, inherent terror of being left behind, of missing out. This flock mentality was a survival instinct once, but now it’s just another subject line strategy to goad us into a purchase. Email subject lines threatening scarcity (limited time offer!) tend to perform well, and this language is also common practice with squeeze pages. People will commit some pretty cold actions to avoid “missing out.” Yup, we’ve all got a serious case of the fear of missing outs. Throw in some scarcity words and you may be surprised how your click rates will change.

  • Bundle Stars – Pay $1.99 for a new bundle of 6 STEAM games (48 HOURS ONLY!)
  • Coldwater Creek – Ends Today! 36 Hour Outlet Sale. Hurry, this is your last chance…
  • Coldwater Creek – 5 HOURS ONLY! 50% off ALL Jeans in Stores. GO!

Examples above incorporate numbers, scarcity, punctuation, and partial capitalisation (emphasis on the partial) for some serious subject line success.

9. Mysterious Email Subject Lines

People dig a little mystery in their lives. Giving readers a little taste of something intriguing might cause them to bite…

  • ePrize – It’s all over December 25…

Email Subject Line Best Practices

Here are some tips for creating good email subject line for you to keep in mind:

  • Write multiple subject lines. You should write 10 subject lines for every email, just as you should write 10 titles for every blog post. Then choose the best one.
  • Keep it under 50 characters. It’s general best practice to keeps subject lines to fewer than 50 characters. Subject lines with less than 50 characters have higher open rates and click-through-rates than those with 50+. Go over 50 characters and you risk being cut o-.
  • Alliteration. An ample amount of alliteration attracts! Give it a try for some catchy email subject lines.
  • More caps is not equal to more opens. Covering your subject line in caps WILL NOT HELP YOU. Caps are powerful, but not to be trifled with. Use them sparingly and responsibly, like grenades.
  • Knowing your audience. Your best bet for creating good email subject lines will be understanding your audience intimately and catering to them. This is a major rule for pretty much all aspects of online marketing, and while it can be a bit tougher in a limited character field like a subject line, matching your audience’s interests and mannerisms is essential if you really want solid open rates.
  • Knowing your tone. Most good email subject lines rely on a conversationalist tone to attract readers. Sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, known for their super-successful clickbait headlines, take advantage of a casual, conversational tone.
  • Call to action. It’s never a bad idea to try a call to action in your email subject line. While many opt-out due to limited character space, call to actions may improve open rates. Even a simple “Go!” can serve as a motivating call to action. If you’re not sure what makes a great call to action, check out this post on call to action examples by Dan for some help.
  • Using You/Your. While name-calling is on the out, it’s still considered a best practice to use “you” and “your” wording to speak directly and comfortably with readers.
  • Put Yourself in the “From” field. Keep your “from” section professional and consistent for business subject lines. This isn’t this place to be a goof ball – with so much spam floods, users want to see that you are a legitimate and trusted source. Most business emails put their brand name in the “from” field, or go with something along the lines of “John Smith from InvitaCorp”.
  • Always A/B test subject lines. You should A/B test everything you can get your fingers on, email subject lines included.
  • Pay attention to the preview. The email preview that follows the subject line is a valuable piece of property, and yet so many businesses ignore it or let it get filled with garbage text.
  • See something you like? Steal it! All the world’s greatest artists are thieves – they “borrow” from others, building on existing works to create their own. Don’t be afraid to break bad. If you see great subject lines that you think will work for your business, nab them! Tweak them a bit and try them on for size. Remember, imitation is flattery, so flatter the hell out of the best email subject lines.

Low Open Rates?

Having trouble with your email open rates? Working on your subject lines will help, but there may be other factors at play, such as:

  • Is the email viewable? If your email doesn’t read well on a user’s device, they won’t bother trying to decipher it.
  • Are you being a pest? If you’ve been emailing folks every day, they may be fed up with you and won’t be as likely to open your emails if you’ve been making yourself an annoyance.
  • When did you send it? Many people don’t check their emails as often on the weekend.
  • Quality of your email list. Is this a solid, targeted email list? If your list isn’t high-quality, it may reflect in your open rates.

4 Good Examples Of Click-Worthy Native Advertising Model

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Native ads have been a hot topic over the last couple of years among marketers for good reason.

Native advertising model aims to connect the gap between content marketing and traditional advertising, because advertisers use content they created, design it and promote it in a way that resembles the platform on which the content appears, providing a seamless transition between editorial and advertisement. This can also be cause for concern as the lines between editorial and advertising blur.

Basically, there are six native advertising units. These units include in-feed and paid search units, recommendation widgets, promoted listings, IAB standard ads with “native” elements and custom units. They are easily found throughout the Web, if users know what to look for. However, not all of these ads are click-worthy. Find out what makes a good native ad compelling and worth of a click by checking out four examples of these units below:

1. LovableDoggie

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Native Ad Unit: Promoted Listing
Brand: LovableDoggie
Why it’s Click-Worthy: When searching for “dog shampoo” on Etsy, the e-commerce site turns up more than 600 results. The top three results, however, are all native advertisements. Each one of these ads (including the one from LovableDoggie) are click-worthy not only because they are displayed for a targeted and relevant search, but also because they are the top search results served, which typically results in more clicks for advertisers.

2. JustFab

2-justfab

Native Ad Unit: Paid Search
Brand: JustFab
Why it’s Click-Worthy: Unlike Zappos and ShoeDazzle, JustFab’s paid search advertisement features a star rating. Ratings are typically seen as a trust symbol by consumers and could be the difference maker when consumers are choosing a search result to click.

3. White Castle

3-white-castle

Native Ad Unit: Custom
Brand: White Castle
Why it’s Click-Worthy: White Castle’s ad is click-worthy because it is featured within a Pandora user’s rotating music carousel. By being neatly positioned next to the song that is currently playing the user experience isn’t interrupted, yet users still have the ability to click on the ad to learn more. Moreover, the ad makes its presence known to users who have Pandora playing in the background because it is accompanied by a brief audio advertisement between songs.

4. GrubHub

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Native Ad Unit: In-Feed
Brand: GrubHub
Why it’s Click-Worthy: GrubHub’s ad is click-worthy because it actually doesn’t look like an ad at all. The ad is essentially content being promoted by GrubHub that is positioned within Buzzfeed’s main content stream on the publisher’s website. Even with the “promoted by” label, users are more compelled to click on this content because it resembles the other content, in both the look (thumbnail image, text size, etc.) and feel (using an editorial-like title) of the other Buzzfeed articles.

15 Most Inspiring Quotes From Steve Jobs

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February 24th would have been Steve Jobs’ 60th birthday. To commemorate, here are 15 most thought-provoking and inspiring quotes from Steve Jobs:

1. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

2. “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

3. “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”

4. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

5. “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

6. “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.”

7. “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”

8. “Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”

9. “Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

10. “When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

11. “I want to put a ding in the universe.”

12. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

13. “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: Great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”

14. “It’s better to be a pirate than join the Navy.”

15. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

The Periodic Table Of Content Marketing (Infographic)

Want to create a new content marketing campaign? Then this periodic table might be useful for you.

There are eight important areas that you need to pay attention:

1. Strategy

The right strategy is the fundamental key to success. Careful planning and focus is essential. You need a clear strategy, mapped to your long-term business goals. If you don’t have one and need some outside guidance, hurry up and find one that suits you and your business.

2. Format

Content comes in many different shapes and sizes. Note that you can use multiple formats for a single piece of content. Do an experiment. Write a blog post to support a visualisation or produce a video and slideshow.

3. Content Type

These are based on the common types of content that work well for our business. Many of them will work well for your brand too. Sometimes you’ll use multiple content types for a single piece of content. You could categorise this periodic table under a few different types.

4. Platform

These are content distribution platforms. You might own some of these (e.g. #59, your website). Others are social networking sites (your own, your network or third parties). All of these help spread the word about your content.

5. Metrics

These help you to measure the performance of your content. For the purposes of brevity, we have largely grouped these metrics together.

6. Goals

All content should support your primary business goals, whether that’s to generate lots of traffic, or to sell more, or to increase brand awareness. Focused content will tick a few of these boxes.

7. Sharing Triggers

This area contains various items that trigger people for sharing content. Think about the emotional drivers behind sharing, and make sure the content you create makes people feel something.

8. Checklist

You might want to review this part periodically. Errors need to be fixed, and all content should be properly optimised (for search, for social, and to support your business goals). Be diligent and you’ll get the best content strategy ever.

the-periodic-table-of-content-marketing

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Click here to download the Periodic Table.

Eight Useful Tips To Protect Yourself When Using Social Media (Infographic)

Social media is just like a double-edged blade. It can become a great tool for you and your business, yet it can backfire if misused.

Social media is very useful in today’s world. It makes people stay connected with the world. In fact, platforms likes Twitter and Facebook are the base of many relationships for many folks out there. However, the vast use of social networking sites has also created a whole new set of security problems: data-hacking, identity theft, online scams, to name a few. Therefore, protecting yourself when using social media is very important.

The following infographic proposes eight important tips to stay safe on using social media. Take a note and be safe all the time.

how-to-use-social-media-safely-infographic

 

The State Of Digital Marketing In 2015 (Infographic)

What is the best practice in the world of digital marketing today?

The following infographic shows you the importance of digital marketing to businesses today. It also encloses  some of the most practical digital marketing techniques that every marketers find useful.

The infographic is blended the latest research from the best sources for digital marketing consumer adoption stats with the results from our latest Managing Digital Marketing 2015 report. It’s structured in three parts: The Global Picture of consumer use; a review of benchmarks across the RACE customer lifecycle followed by research on the most effective techniques for managing Digital Marketing.

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The Most Preferred Content Form For B2B Companies

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Nowadays, most B2B buyers are craving on visual content. They are accessing content much more frequently from smartphones and tablets, that’s why fast-striking content wins over informative-detailed ones. These trends have led to an even higher buyer reliance on content to assist in research and purchasing decisions.

Recent study which polled more than 100 B2B buyers about their use of content in making purchasing decisions revealed that B2B marketers have responded to these consumer demands by providing content through an even wider variety of access points. As an example of the range covered, there are now seven content types that are used by a majority of buyers: white papers, E-books, webinars, infographics, case studies, videos and blog posts.

The Necessity To Be Visual

The 2014 survey revealed that a higher percentage of respondents are using visual content such as videos, infographics and interactive presentations. This year, use of video content increased by 8% to 58%, while infographic usage increased by 9% to 52%. Interactive formats such as Brainshark and SlideShare increased in popularity as well, up from roughly 21% in 2013 to 28% in 2014.

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Unlike last year, when most common content formats gained in popularity, the top two content types of 2013 (white papers and webinars) decreased in usage. Case studies (73%) overtook webinars (67%) as the second most popular form of content in 2014.

The desire for this type of content is certainly a trend marketers must take note of during the ideation stage. A substantial number of buyers this year (86%) expressed some level of desire to access interactive and visual content on demand, and the amount of buyers who strongly agreed with these sentiments increased from 34% in last year’s survey to 46% in 2014.

The shift in content sharing is an even greater example of the buyer’s preference for clean content that is quick and easy to digest.Of the 11 content types listed in the survey, B2B buyers are most likely to share blog posts, with 40% identifying that they share them frequently. Coming right behind blog posts are infographics (39%) and videos (37%), with all three top content formats vaulting ahead of last year’s fan favorite, white papers.

While white papers generally provide the most detailed information of any content type available, they involve a much greater investment of time than most videos, and certainly all infographics. Today’s buyer wants to consume as much information about a product or service as they can in as little amount of time as possible.The survey noted that 95% of B2B buyers agreed that they preferred shorter content formats.

Mobile Content Takes The Biggest Portion

With the advancement of the tablet and the proliferation of smartphone technology, B2B content now can be viewed at any time and place. Buyers are not only interested in viewing content through mobile channels; they are requiring it. Slightly more than 85% of them state that they strongly or somewhat agree that they require content optimized for a mobile device, compared to almost 69% in last year’s survey.

Desktop and laptop PCs certainly still gather the most traffic from buyers, as 95.2% of respondents said they frequently access business-related content on those devices.However, mobile phones and tablets are catching up with their more established counterparts. Respondents who frequently use mobile phones to access content increased from 42.9% in 2013 to 55.8% in 2014, while frequent tablet users jumped from 31% to 42% during the same time period.

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The survey revealed that almost 90% of buyers believed that content needs to be more mobile friendly. This data indicates that marketers need to continue improving on the newer design practices that have been implemented to help get mobile content off the ground in the first place.

The growth of mobile content consumption over the past year combined with the sophistication of mobile technology has created an expectation that buyers will continue to consume B2B content at a more frequent rate in 2015.

Peers Are Still The Highest Point Of Trust

Buyers still look first to their peers when seeking an opinion regarding the B2B purchasing decision. Respondents who were asked to rate specific channels in finding relevant content on a scale of 1-to-5 (1 being most valuable) gave “peer referrals” an average rate of 2.27, the highest rate among all channels. Almost all respondents (97%) give more credence to content that includes peer reviews and user-generated content.

Social media’s role in the buying process is still relatively weak, particularly in influencing potential buyers to either access or share content. Although LinkedIn and Twitter have been valuable to buyers, the four least valuable channels according to the survey were all social networks (Google+, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest).

Conclusion

It appears vendors are understanding the natural direction that buyers are leaning towards when they look to access content. The higher frequency by which buyers look to access content via a mobile device or tap into visual content such as videos and infographics has given marketers a better grasp to be more creative and proactive in building content. However, with so many access points and increasing consumer demands, it is clearly up to marketers to ensure that the B2B buyer continues to be satisfied with their content options.

Facebook Ads Just Got Even Smarter

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It looks like Facebook has just updated its ad program’s AI.

Recently, the biggest social media has announced Product Ads, a set of tools that lets businesses more effectively target its 1.4 billion or so users with a new, automated process.

With Product Ads, brands who upload their product catalogs to Facebook can create ad campaigns manually. The other, more compelling option include letting Facebook do the hard work, automatically creating campaigns and targeting various kinds of users with ads it thinks will perform well, based on things like a user’s interests, general location and whether they’ve already been to the advertiser’s app or website.

Now, businesses can also create ads that promote several products at once. Ads that used to be static now act as digital carousels of content, with up to five product images rotating through, as shown in the image below:

smarter-fb-ads

Product Ads lets businesses create ads plugging several of their products at the same time. It could prove useful to businesses with deep inventories of attractive products: furniture chains, clothing franchises and so on. (For one, those multi-product ads increase the odds of users finding items to buy.) It’s also a potential win for Facebook, which gets the majority of its growing revenues via advertising on desktop and mobile.

Social Media Survey 2015 (Infographic)

Latest survey of Aussie’s marketing professionals revealed their behaviors and attitudes towards social media marketing at general, presented in the following infographic.

While 91% of those surveyed believed that social media was important to their business, the survey highlighted a lack of adequate measurement and strategic planning with 55% admitting they haven’t set Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for social media and 51% are unable to measure the ROI (Return on Investment) of social media. Here are some key points:

  • Majority of Irish marketers can’t measure return on investment of Social Media
  • Twitter viewed as most effective Social Media marketing platform
  • 75 percent of Irish marketing professionals plan to increase Social Media spend in 2015

Click here to download the infographic.

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17 Blogging Tools To Ease Your Marketing Effort

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Blogging activities have developed a bad stigma for many businesses. That’s totally understandable, since with all the myriad of tasks involved, it does take a toll on you.

For each post that you’ll ever write, you come up with some research and ensure it’s worth your while; then you compose your thoughts and finally write that 1,000+ words article.

However, it doesn’t end there. You have work out your SEO, source images and schedule social shares. You do everything in your power to spread the word and hopefully, make your post viral. Quite a process, right?

How many bloggers make a living from their blog?

Bloggers can earn a decent living from their blog and it can be from multiple streams. What are the different business models for bloggers? Here is a simple infographic:

blogger-earnings

With the blogging tools available it does not have to be that hard anymore to earn a living from blogging. Let’s take a look at some that are above the mark and can do wonders for your blog.

So here are the top blogging tools that are broken up into these seven categories:

  1. Research
  2. Blog management
  3. Social media
  4. Graphic design
  5. Content
  6. Traffic and marketing
  7. Landing pages and pre-launch tools.

A. Research

1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is my go-to search engine for content research. Just put your keywords or the URL that you want analyzed and it will give you insights into the most popular content and the influencers who sharing it. Let’s say you want to know more about what’s trending for “make money blogging” subject. Let’s say you’ve got an idea for a post and want to make sure it’s killer. How do you do that? Add the keyword in BuzzSumo and see if it has any potential social-share wise.

2. Topsy

Ever wanted to make sense of the bazillion tweets on Twitter since 2006? Now you can with Topsy. Simply put, Topsy is a search engine for Twitter. You can use its search operators to search all content on a specific topic by a particular influencer, find influencers on new topics, and do a detailed social analytics for three keywords and compare them.

3. Feedly

Feedly is a daily dose of reading materials – be it a magazine, a blog or a newspaper. It’s great for content research and to keep up with what your favorite bloggers talk about. If influencers pay attention to something in your niche, you should too. Feedly saves you time from hopping from one blog to another, and gives me my content straight all in one place. You can also categorize publications based on their niche.

4. Quora

Quora is the best Q&A site online. Forget Yahoo! Answers and the like as most content posted there isn’t usable for any serious research. Basically, it’s an ever-growing user-generated database of questions and answers that can be edited by Reviewers. Questions are community-owned and can be edited by anyone.

Simply go on Quora and look for questions posted on topics in your niche. Make a list of these to convert into fresh blog posts. Since you’re writing posts based on demand, you’ll see a likely increase in your incoming traffic. And not just posts – you can create videos, newsletters, podcasts from these questions.

B. Blog Management

5. Wrike

If you run a multi-author blog and maintaining excel spreadsheets of Google docs is getting on your nerves, you’ll love Wrike. If you have a small team that writes for your company’s internal (or external) blog, Wrike facilitates direct communication between various contributors involved and saves you hours. It’s easy to use, fast and reasonably priced free for basic account or less than $10/mo/user for a five person Professional account).

You can assign tasks, add new contributors and create folders for your upcoming blog posts – everything you want in a good project management app. In addition, team members can simultaneously edit a task and @mention others to collaborate without having to leave the tool.

C. Social Media

6. Rignite

If you want to turn social activity into something more meaningful and measurable for your blog, try Rignite. You can monitor keyword search streams and schedule new social media posts from a single dashboard. However, what sets Rignite apart is the Campaigns feature. Campaigns are a guided social media strategy where you can create a series of posts across multiple platforms on social media. For example, you can create a campaign to share a blog post three times per week for 6 months.

Research says that re-sharing old posts can work magic for your blog in terms of traffic. Each post in the campaign can be slightly tweaked so as not to annoy your followers.Campaigns can be targeted to schedule a series of posts, grow your list, host contests for your fans, or promote a discount.

With their campaign-level analytics, you’ll know what’s working and what’s not.

7. Rival IQ

In today’s super-competitive online world, the gap between being a blogger and a marketer is non-existent. If you’re a blogger, you want to know how to market well. You want to be constantly analyzing what’s hot, paying attention to SEO and “spying” on your competitor’s successful digital activities. If this sounds like too much work, there’s good news.

Rival IQ is one of the most robust competitor analysis and marketing intelligence tools there is. Simply set up your “Landscape” with your blog/website being the focus “company”. You can add as many competitors as you like.

In short, in a few seconds of signing up, you get:

  • How your competitor blogs are leveraging social media
  • How well you rank in comparison to them
  • What content was posted
  • What’s working for you SEO-wise, and what’s not
  • Detailed and summary reports

Under each detailed report, you get a ton of metrics to compare (social audience, engagement, applause etc). If you’re after a deeper analysis, give Rival IQ a try (they have a 30-day free trial).

8. Triberr

Tribber is a community of bloggers and influencers who come together to share each other’s content. Think of it as a very responsive, supportive bunch of bloggers in your niche who are happy to send more traffic your way. It’s a social network for bloggers that sends over 2 million new visitors to member blogs. Just like any other social network on the web, the principle is to be nice and give before asking. However, there’s more to it – you can start your own Tribe as an expert on a certain topic. It’s natural that this will tie in tightly with your blog.

D. Graphic Design

9. Death to the Stock Photo

Did you know that the human mind craves visuals? A vast majority of us are visual learners (65%). Photos and visuals are stimulating and engaging, thus making your pages “sticky” and keeping readers hooked. But the problem is cost.

Here comes Death to the Stock Photo. It’s a free photo database that delivers a fresh hi-res pack right in your inbox each month. There’s one for every ocassion!

10. Awesome Screenshot

Awesome Screenshot is a neat little annotation tool for screenshot and picture that sits as your browser plugin. You can capture full page or the visible part, delay capture for drop-downs and menus, and capture a selected area. This tool is super-handy when you want to explain a point using a screenshot.

E. Landing Pages & Pre-Launches

11. LeadPages

LeadPages offers slick ways to create a mobile-responsive squeeze page, launch page, event registration or sales page easily and quickly. It has an intuitive user-interface that can get your new page ready in less than 10 minutes. They have some nice free templates too.

12. LaunchEffect

LaunchEffect is a free, responsive, one-page theme that you can use as a placeholder before your new shiny blog is launched and collect subscriber emails. It’s a smart way to get your blog to work even before it’s launched. Upon signing up, a visitor is redirected to a special URL that they can use to share with their friends, which you can then use to track referrers and reward them once your blog is launched. Pretty neat.

F. Content

12. Headlines

This is a cool plugin by KingSumo, Headlines lets you run A/B tests inside WordPress. It costs $99 for a lifetime and works in three steps:

  • You come up with as many relevant titles for your post
  • Readers are shown different titles as they share your posts
  • The best-performing title wins overtime.

You also get detailed, inline reports about headline performance.

13. Hemingway

Got grammar gremlins? Worry no more. Hemmingway comes to your rescue. Quite simply, the app makes your writing bold and clear. Just add your content in the text box and click Edit. It tells you whether your sentence is hard to read, very hard to read, and if you could do with simpler phrases. It also marks any adverbs and usage of passive voice. Based on this, you get a Grade out of 10.

G. Traffic & Marketing

14. WordPress SEO by Yoast

If you’re serious about blogging, sooner or later you’ll pay attention to Search Engine Optimization or SEO. If your content is optimized, search engines like Google and Bing will send you more visitors by putting your posts in the search engine rankings, thereby increasing your conversions. SEO by Yoast makes optimization easy and you can do a ton with it. Just set the parameters once and it’s taken care of forever. You have other alternatives in the marketplace too, such as the All in One SEO plugin.

15. MailChimp

MailChimp is a popular email marketing service that knows how to combine usefulness with humor. Secondly, they have a great customer support system in place which never ceases to impress me. It’s used by more than 7 million people. One of the reasons is the low cost to entry barrier with their Entrepreneur plan – send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free (forever). As your list grows, you start upgrading to paid accounts.

H. Other Essentials

16. Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a secure backup and archiving service for anywhere on the web. You can offload all your critical content into the cloud and pay only for storage you use. There is no minimum set up fees involved. If you have a huge blog, Amazon S3 can help you scale it without putting too much load on the servers or eating up bandwidth. No more running out of bandwidth in shared hosting accounts and no more paying extra in lump sum (as in the case of VPS or dedicated server). Pretty cool!

17. LastPass

Losing passwords is such a pain. LastPass remembers all your passwords in a simple and sophisticated manner. Just save your website’s username and password in LastPass and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting them, ever. All your accounts and passwords get stored centrally in your “vault”. When you first install the app, it shows you a list of all passwords stored insecurely on your computer that need to be imported to the vault. You’re saved form the hassle of remembering all passwords – all you need is a Master password. They also have an independent app, so you can always be carefree on the go.