Best Free Blogging Resources for Winning Content
Writing blogs is part of our everyday tasks as internet marketers. Many of us are on a budget and the first thing we look for are the freebies. Here are some of the best free blogging resources that you can use to produce informative articles that not only rank well with search engines but won’t hit your pocketbook.
In this article I share some of the resources I have used to collect data for my blogs and as a student: Web browsers, data collection tools, scholarly databases, and images.
Research starts with a good web browser. Some of the most popular browsers include all of the following and can be downloaded and installed for free.
Data Collection Tools
With scores of online and offline resources, you’re likely to run into a valuable piece of information anywhere and at any time. Below are applications that allow you to capture that rare article or hard-to-find image and share them with team members. Information can be accessed from all of your devices which makes it easy to gather information on your Smartphone and access it later on your laptop. All of the apps below are free and offer plenty of single-user functions. Upgrades are optional.
Airstory is a web-based tool for capturing documents, graphics, web pages, emails and just about anything your come across in your research efforts. Collaborate with an unlimited number of team members as you share your information. Includes Chrome extension for grabbing data from websites. Airstory has everything a single user needs to capture and share information.
Evernote is a cloud-based software service designed for creating, organizing, and storing research materials. Create as many notebooks as you need to store text documents, photos, videos, audio files emails, or complete web pages. Integrates with your browser, Microsoft Outlook, Google Drive, Slack, Salesforce, and Microsoft Teams.
Google Keep is a note-taking service developed by Google. Launched on March 20, 2013, Google Keep is available on the web, and has mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. All it requires is a Google account. The amount of storage space you get in Keep is dependent on your Google Drive storage, which is 15GB by default.
Microsoft OneNote is an application that allows you to gather information in several formats: paper notes, text, web pages, images, and audio. Research materials can be shared with other OneNote users over the Internet or a local area network. OneNote is available as a part of Microsoft Office and Windows 10.
Pocket is a popular storage tool for articles, videos, and web pages and has over 30 million registered users. Integrates with over 1500 apps like Flipboard, Twitter, and Zite. available for major devices and platforms including iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, Kindle Fire, Kobo, Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera and Windows. Premium upgrade is optional.
Zotero is the only software that automatically senses research on the web. Need an article from JSTOR or a preprint from arXiv.org? A news story from the New York Times or a book from a library? Zotero has you covered, everywhere. Flexible options allow you to download this software for Mac, Windows and Linux, or as a browser extension (Firefox) or plug in (Chrome, Safari).
Windows Notepad deserves an honorable mention as an out-of-the-box Windows applet since its first version in early 1980’s. It can still be used to quickly jot notes on your Windows laptop when the need arises. The applet is a simple ASCII text editor only and does not handle graphics, audio, or automatic device synchronization.
Online Information Sources
The first thing I look for when writing an attractive blog post is good information sources. There are many free online and offline resources that can provide information on any subject. Here are some of the many that I’ve actually used listed in alphabetical order:
Amazon is a good source to gather information from user product reviews. The good and bad comments from confirmed buyer reviews can be a useful insight for your product reviews.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) originated at Lund University in Sweden and has over 12,000 scholarly journal articles on science, technology, medicine, humanities, and social sciences. The articles can be downloaded free of charge.
Futurity publishes articles on health, environmental, and cultural issues. Articles on global warming and the latest information on covid-19.
Google Alerts will send articles in your niche right to your inbox. Simply type in a query of any topic of interest you. If there are articles available, they will email inks to articles that match your query at the frequency that you choose: daily, weekly, or as soon as they are available.
Google Scholar provides access to several databases with nearly 400 million peer-reviewed academic journals, books, and patents. Subjects span healthcare and medicine; gender and diversity, innovation, science, careers, and thoughtful insights.
JSTOR is a large database with thousands of articles on subjects that range from science, technology, and cooking.
Library of Congress is the largest library in the world and headquarters for the US Copywrite Office. This mega library has books, periodicals, newspapers, images, audio recordings, and much more.
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) free online access to books and documents in life science and healthcare.
Pew Research Center is headquartered in Washington D.C. and provides a gold mine of facts about social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends worldwide. A lot of their information comes from public opinion polling and is a good source of consumer trends.
Podcasts are a great way to gather information while you’re doing something at home or on the go.
PubMed has medical journals that cover topics in medicine. NCBI’s Literature resources include the world’s largest repository of medical and scientific abstracts, full-text articles, books and reports, as well as supporting resources for cataloging and indexing the materials.
Reference.com is easy to use and allows you to browse by category or search by keywords to research everything from food and health to history, beauty, education, technology, vehicles, art, and more.
SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources is a good resource for getting economic statistics and demographic information to fine-tune your specific micro-niche. The SBA has a selection of tools, tables, and other resources for market research.
ScienceDirect.com has peer-review articles that span topics from technology, medicine, and science. A great source for environmental research.
Scribendi is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, and has provided document writing and editing services for over 20 years. They also have an online list of 101 information resources that cover just about any subject.
US Census Bureau is a great resource for gathering demographics to determine market size. The site has more than a dozen online market research tools and free industry research reports that help you gain insight into demographics and geographic locations of populations who might be interested in your offerings.
Wikipedia is good for general niche info (e.g. activity trackers). Citation links at the bottom of the article can lead to further information about the topic you are researching.
Vendor’s websites are a good resource for product specs, user manuals, accessories, and new or updated products
Other Articles in your niche provide valuable insights as to how to shape your blog.
Offline Information Sources
Your public library is a great source of information and is often ignored because of all of the online resources that are available.
Modern libraries are digitized with card catalogs in a database where you can find books, articles, magazines, newspapers, and editorials.
Books, magazines, and newspapers are great sources of information on past and current events. Consider browsing through the New York Times, Time Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal.
WorldCat has a website where you can quickly find your nearest library. Lookup by library name or your zip code. A visit to your local library is always worth your time and a great source of research material.
Note: Images that are free for commercial and non-commercial use fall under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensing category. I checked the licensing for all of the photo sites below and they are all licensed for free use. Citing the source is appreciated but not required.
Burst is a free stock photo exchange where you can upload your own photos or download one from their library. The site features a wide variety of high & low res images of world travel, food, technology, beautiful landscapes, and many more. All for free.
Canva offers a huge library of images with the ability to create your own images that can be used anywhere. Create your own custom logos that best represent your brand.
Flickr has over 10 billion images free for download. You can also upload your own photos and share them with others. Search for any photo theme and you’re most likely to find a great selection.
Gratisography provides free images that catch the eye and stimulate the imagination. Image categories include animals, business, food, nature, objects, and more. All with an unique and bizarre twist.
Pexels offers a huge library of images and videos that range from contemporary to gothic. Note that sponsored images are not free and require a paying subscription. Images and videos can be modified and used on your blog.
Pixabay you can find free stock images for your blog and website. All the images are royalty free. You are free to use images the way you like. Their collection includes Photos, Vector graphics, Illustrations and Videos.
Unsplash offers collections of high definition (HD) images. They have categorized their photos under different collections. Submit your own photos.
Citing Reference Materials
Citing your references properly is all about giving credit where credit is due. It adds to your credibility as a blogger and gives your site visitors greater value by providing them with extended resources. It also provides the source with an external link to their site which is good for their SEO metrics.
The US Copyright Office states that Fair Use Laws apply to all materials that you take from another source. This includes material from work with intent to use for “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.” The use of other works considers the following four factors:
- Purpose behind the use of the material.
- Nature of the copyrighted work.
- Amount of material taken based on the entire work.
- Effect on the value of the work from its intended use..
Wikipeadia suggests that all creative works are covered by the Berne Convention which protects copyright protection for all creative materials. This protection continues for at least 50 years after the author’s death. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that all content on the internet is automatically covered by copyright law and should be cited.
Thank you for browsing my website. I will be adding more resources as I discover them. Feel free to share your own resources or questions about the best free blogging resources below and I will respond to all of them.