12 Free Blogging Tools No Blogger Should Live Without

With so many blogging tools available, it's hard to know which ones to try. Some blogging tools are free, others come with price tags, and still others offer free trial periods or limited functionality for free in what's referred to as a "freemium" model. That means to keep using the tool after the trial period or to get access to all of the tool's features, you have to pay for it.

Most bloggers make very little money or no money at all from their blogging efforts, so it's important to find useful free blogging tools that make bloggers' lives easier and their blogs better. The following alphabetical list features a dozen free blogging tools no blogger should live without (at least, these are the tools we'd rather not live without).

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Bloggers can use Flickr to upload, access, and share their own images online as well as to find images with Creative Commons licenses that they can use on their own blogs. It's an active community with great features and mobile apps, too. Follow the link to learn how to find free images on Flickr that you can use on your blog.

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Gmail is the best free online email tool. You can use it to access not just email in your Gmail account but also email from all of your other accounts. Since it's online, you can access your email from any computer or mobile device, so it's always easy to communicate or blog via email. It's also a perfect place to receive Google Alerts (see #4 below for more about Google Alerts).

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Google AdWords Keyword Tool

If you need to research keywords to better optimize your blog posts for search traffic, then you'll love the free Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Type in a keyword or keyword phrase that you want to write about or that your audience is likely to be interested in, and you'll get a list of similar keywords and keyword phrases along with monthly global and local search volumes. It's a great way to get keyword ideas and to choose the best keywords for blog post search engine optimization purposes.

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Google Alerts

Use Google Alerts to set up email alerts whenever Google finds new content using the keyword phrases you input. You can set up Google Alerts to arrive in your inbox at the frequency of your choice and you can turn them on or off at any time. It's a great way to keep up with news in your blog's niche and to find blog post ideas. If you set up an alert for your own name, or your blog's, it's also a great way to find out when people are talking about you.

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Google Analytics

Google Analytics is by far the best free web analytics tool to track your blog's performance on an ongoing basis. Check out our Google Analytics review for all the details.

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Google Bookmarks

You can use Google Bookmarks to privately bookmark web pages for later viewing. It's a great way to collect links to content you want to write about on your blog. When you bookmark web pages using Google Bookmarks, you can add keyword tags to make it easy to find those pages later from any computer or mobile device.

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HootSuite is one of the best free social media management tools. You can use it to share links to your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook, Intsagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, and you can build a following and relationships with people that can lead to more exposure for your blog and audience growth.

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Keeping track of all your usernames and passwords is challenging. Most bloggers log into a variety of online accounts every day. LastPass lets you securely save all of those usernames and passwords online, so you can access them at any time. Using the LastPass tool, you can log into your LastPass account, and when you visit sites that you've entered into your account, you can automatically log into them without having to re-enter your usernames and passwords each time. It's quick and easy!

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If you use a Windows-based PC, then Paint.net is a great image editing tool that's free to download and use. It's not as complicated as some other image editing tools but more robust than some free online options.

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If you accept and publish guest posts on your blog, then it's important to be certain those posts are original and have not already been published online. Publishing duplicate content can damage your search traffic if Google catches you. Using the free Plagium tool, you can determine whether text has already been published online before you publish it on your blog.

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Publishing polls on your blog is a great way to boost interactivity, gather information, or just have fun. Polldaddy is one of the best free options available.

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If you like to conduct interviews and publish them on your blog, Skype is a great way to do it for free. You can conduct free text chat, audio, or video interviews with Skype rather than using email or telephone.