It’s a daily grind getting people to come to your blog.
You’re hustling on social media. You’re guest posting on blogs in your niche. You’re contributing to all relevant online communities.
But what happens when someone actually gets to your blog?
Do they read your content and bounce? Or do they visit a couple posts, follow you on Twitter and subscribe to your newsletter?
Your ability to convert your unique visitors into returning visitors is one of the most important aspects of your blog. Otherwise your promotional efforts will be wasted on a blog that’s leaking traffic through the cracks.
But luckily for you, there’s tools designed to help you do just that. One of the best things about running a blog is the incredible breadth of software you have at your disposal.
With the right tools, you can turn your blog into an efficient funnel that turns random visitors into subscribers, followers and friends.
That way, every visitor you send to your blog is an investment in your future.
With this post, I’ll run through all the tools you need to know to make your blog the frictionless funnel you’ve always dreamed of.
Analytics: Get More Insights
Before you can start to optimize your blog, you have to understand it first.
The tools below will help you gather insights from your audience’s behavior on your site. Taking the time to understand your blog and its visitors is an essential part of your content strategy.
Without these tools you’re essentially driving blind.
1. Google Analytics: Free
Google Analytics is the most popular analytics tool on the planet.
It lets you track pretty much everything you need to know about your site. It’s simple to use and easy set up. And since it’s free, you have no excuse not to use it.
There’s also a ton of ways to integrate it into other tools you might be using. It’s an incredible value for a free tool.
2. Optimizely: $17-359/month (30 Day Free-Trial)
Optimizely lets you rotate different segments of content on your site to see which placements lead to the most clicks. It’s simple to use but is very powerful.
Through a beautiful visual interface you can start A/B testing pretty much anything you want on your site. Best of all, you don’t need any knowledge of code to leverage results through Optimizely.
3. ClickTale: Free-scales based on usage (Forever free plan)
Clicktale lets you analyze your visitors behavior in-depth.
It records every action they have, from their first click to their last. It tells you where visitors are paying attention on a page and where they are getting stuck.
It basically gives you a video recording of your visitors as they experience your site. And they even have a forever free plan that gives you 5,000 recorded page views a month.
4. Kissmetrics: $150-500/month (14-Day Free Trial)
Think of Kissmetrics as the premium version of Google analytics.
It’s a great option for the people who are looking for a little more control over their data. Kissmetrics ties every last piece of data to real people. This makes segmenting your audience into cohorts as easy as pie.
As Kissmetrics likes to say, “Google Analytics can tell you what’s happening, KISSmetrics tells you who’s doing it.”
5. Crazy Egg: $9-99/month (90-Day Free Trial)
Crazy Egg is an advanced heat map tool that lets you visualize your audience’s behavior on your site. You can see exactly where people are clicking and how far down people are scrolling.
With a ton of filtering options, this tool is full of actionable information. You’re almost guaranteed to glean some insights using it. And with a 90-day free trial you have no reason not to try it.
6. Qualaroo: $63-199/month (14-Day Free Trial)
Qualaroo is a tool that helps you gather insights and get feedback from your audience. It lets you put survey boxes that pop up from the bottom-right or bottom-left on your site.
It’s packed with all kinds of features and unique functionality. If the above tools tell you what’s happening and who’s doing it, Qualaroo tells you why they’re doing it. All in all, it’s one of the best ways to get to know your website and audience as a whole.
7. Moz Pro: Free-$90/month (30-Day Free Trial)
These tools are very powerful and have easy to use visual interfaces. With Moz Pro, you get one package that can help you understand almost everything about your online efforts.
Plus, some of these tools such as Followerwonk and the Open Site Explorer come with freemium options.
8. Predictive Edge: 49-499/month (14-Day Free Trial)
Predictive Edge is a powerful tool that lets you segment your visitors and show them personalized content based on their location, behavior, income, past interactions and more.
For anyone who has a diverse audience, which is basically everyone on the Internet, this tool is a dream come true. By targeting your visitors and segmenting your content, you can increase your conversion rate immensely; no matter what you’re trying to do.
Lead Generation: Get More Leads
These tools are made for one thing: turning your hard earned traffic into leads. Don’t hope someone comes back to your blog, make sure they do by snagging their email before they leave.
It’s easy to get lost in all the content produced on the Internet. So if you let your audience leave without connecting with them, you may never see them again.
9. Hybrid Connect: $47-67 (No free trial)
Hybrid Connect is a powerful plugin that lets you put pop ups, email forms, squeeze pages and more on your site. It’s one option that helps you cover all your bases as far as email collecting goes.
It even has some pretty cool functionality that lets you collect emails through Facebook opt-in. It’s not flashiest tool on this list, but if you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one tool to collect emails, Hybrid Connect may be the way to go.
10. Optinskin: $67-97 (No free trial)
Optinskin is probably the most powerful email form tool out there. It gives you a ton of different design options for your forms and even gives you the option to fade them in as the user scrolls down.
You can display them above posts, below posts, below the first paragraph, to the side of your posts and more. If you just want to collect emails through forms, Optinskin is probably your best bet.
11. Hellobar: Free
Hellobar is a simple notification bar that hangs out at the top of your site indefinitely with a call-to-action. It’s a simple and easy way to get your audience’s attention and can be pretty effective.
You can use Hellobar to collect emails or send people to a link. It’s free to use and takes seconds to implement. This tool is best for those looking for a free option that can give them a little more control of their site.
12. Popup Domination: $47-97 (No Free Trial)
PopupDomination is exactly what the name implies. This tool lets you design pop ups to collect emails that display on page load or when someone’s mouse leaves the browser.
If you don’t mind serving your audience full-screen pop ups, Popup Domination is one of the most effective ways to build an email list.
13. List Builder: Free
If these email tools are too rich for your blood, but you still want to collect emails through a pop up, App Sumo’s list builder might be the best way to go.
It has a very limited feature-set, but it’s free. And the emails it collects are just as valuable as any of the above tools. It also takes less than 2 minutes to install and get up and running.
14. Drip: 49-149/month (3-Week Free Trial)
Drip is a new tool focused on converting your website’s visitors into email subscribers, then engaging those leads with an auto-responder series.
While you can send your leads to an outside email client, Drip is meant to be an all-in-one email service. It tracks a ton of actionable metrics and lets you perform complicated A/B tests with your emails.
Drip is perfect for those looking for one tool that can help you collect and vet all your leads.
15. Unpop: $47/one-time (30-Day Free Trial)
Unpop is a plugin by Jon Morrow that’s for people who want to collect emails, but don’t want to annoy their audience to get them.
It lets you put a pop up that appears in the bottom-right of your site. It’s easy to use and set up, but you’ll have to have a WordPress site to use it.
Content Promotion: Get More Shares
16. Clicktotweet: Free
This tool makes sharing your content on Twitter as easy as it gets by letting you pre-make tweets for your audience to share.
You just go to their site, insert the tweet you want people to share and they give you a link. When someone clicks on the link it brings them to a page with your tweet locked, loaded and ready to send.
With Clicktotweet your visitors are just two-clicks away from sharing. Because it’s so frictionless, it’s one of the best ways to get people to share.
17. Markerly: Free
Markerly has a nifty plugin that makes sharing a seamless experience.
It lets your visitors share images and quotes just by selecting them with their mouse. It’s one of the best ways to make sharing all of your content much easier.
This plugin is simple, free and easy to install.
18. Twilighter: Free
Another product from Noah Kagan and the AppSumo people, Twilighter is a lot like Makerly; but without the images. It lets people share things on social media just by highlighting the text and clicking share.
A cool feature about Twilighter is that after someone tweets a quote, it highlights the text so the that the following people who read can tweet the same quote just by clicking. This ingrained social proof makes Twilighter a very valuable weapon.
19. Digg Digg: Free
Digg Digg is a sharing widget kept up by the awesome folks at Buffer. Nothing too special about it, but you can display all major sharing options with a couple of different ways to customize them.
You can have it displayed hovering in your sidebar or at the top or bottom of your post. There’s options for all major social networks and of course Buffer.
20. AddThis: Free-$12/month
Addthis is a widget network that gives you a ton of different ways to optimize your blog. Specifically, you can add sharing bars, recommended posts and social media symbols.
There’s a ton of different ways to customize these options, so you’ll have to check it out on your own if you’re interested. But for an example, look to your left to see AddThis installed on this blog.
Your traffic is a precious resource.
In the ultra-competitive atmosphere the Internet has created, it’s hard to stand out. So when you get people to come to your blog, you need to capitalize on them.
You can’t hope they’ll come back. You can’t hope they’ll share your posts. You can’t hope they’ll follow you on Twitter.
You have to make sure putting the systems in place that make it easy for your audience to do all of the above. With the tools in this list, you can do exactly that.
If you found this post helpful, do me a favor by sharing it.