Lee Odden

MacGyver Guide To Blogging – 13 Free Tools

Lee Odden     Blogging Strategy


If MacGyver has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need big expensive tools to get the job done. The same goes for blogging.

There are plenty of free blogging tools and resources to do everything from creating SEO friendly sites to keyword research and analytics. Why spend the money on a tool when you could use that money on internet marketing services or to grow your company?

Here are 13 free blogging tools and resources that MacGyver would be proud of.

WordPress Logo


MacGyver would surly use the most popular, customizable, powerful, and completely free, blogging software on the internet. WordPress offers a large number of feature and hundreds of plugins that will make any blog successful. From newbies to web design professionals, WordPress is a great choice for ease of use, search engine optimization and price.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

MacGyver’s got to keep tabs on his site and know where his traffic is coming from.  For this, Google Analytics is a no brainer. No need to spend hundreds on an analytics package, Google Analytics as all the features you need at a price that can’t be beat.

Firefox Logo


Security issues? Not on MacGyver time. He needs a web browser that is not only safe, but also a web browser that turns into a blogging & SEO machine. Especially with extensions such as:

  • SeoQuake – Keep tabs on page rank, inbound links, number of indexed pages and more.
  • ScribeFire – A blogging client that allows you to write posts without leaving the page you are browsing.
  • Pinger – Because a broken link is embarrassing, this tool checks to ensure all the links on a page are valid.
  • yExplore – Quick access to many other SEO tools and page information.
  • SEO for Firefox – Another SEO tool to get all sorts of ranking and linking information.

Adobe Browser Lab

Adobe Browser Lab

Even though MacGyver doesn’t like IE6, he still has to make sure his site looks good in all browsers. Adobe Browserlab is a free tool for checking designs across multiple browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Mac, Windows) to ensure it looks awesome and is usable.

Feed Readers

Feed Reader such as Google Reader or Bloglines

For spying on the competition there is no easier tool that a feed reader. You’ll want to subscribe to your competitions blog to ensure that you know what they are up to. It’s also good on keeping up with industry news. You never know when Duct Tape might come out with new features.

Google Adwords

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

For investigating new and interesting keywords that MacGyver should be optimizing his blog for, Google AdWords Keywords Tool is a good place to start. No expensive monthly subscription here, all you need is a Google Account. Looking for other keyword research tools?

Social Networks

Social Networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Who wouldn’t want to be friends with MacGyver? Social networks helps him connect with his allies and build a following who will help him promote his posts or who might come to his aid when he needs some assistance. It takes time to build them out, but building good connections will pay off in the long run.

Social News & Bookmarking

Social News & Bookmarking such as Digg, Delicious & StumbleUpon.

Yet another avenue to promote good content and attract more visitors. It’s not always easy to become popular on social news sites, but with interesting content and patients, they could become one of the largest traffic drivers.

Blog Directories

Blog Directories

You never know who might be using blog directories these days. Getting a free listing is one more area to gain awareness and expand the reach of a blog. Sure, search engines are all the rage, but an additional free link in a decent directory is beneficial.

Photo Sharing

Image Sharing such as Flickr and PhotoBucket

I’m sure MacGyver would have some great photos so photo sharing sites like Flickr would be a good spot to put them and reap the benefits of their built in community. Thousands of people do photo searches ever day and showing up in those results may be another way to drive people back to your blog.



Tracking visitors in analytics is one thing, but not everyone visits the site; some only read the feed. That’s why we’d need to use FeedBurner to track those that subscribe to the blog’s feed. FeedBurner also has the ability to setup feed to email subscriptions as well for those that haven’t grasped feeds yet.

Google Webmaster Central

Google Webmaster Central

To ensure that no hackers put spyware on MacGyver’s site, and to ensure that it’s being properly crawled by the Google, Google Webmaster tools is a great resource. The amount of information that Google gives back can be used to improve the site for users and search engines. Yahoo and Bing also have webmaster tools, however they don’t give as much information at this time.

Creative Commons Search

Creative Commons Search

Sometimes blog posts just need an image to polish them up.  Creative Commons Search is great for finding images and content that a blogger may want to utilize to make their posts more appealing. Creative commons search has websites, images, audio, and video that can be re-purposed for free.

So you see, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on tools and resources to make your blog successful. Yes, you’ll have to learn the tools and take the time to analyze the information, but there are a number of free tools out there that can get the job done.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. This deserves a tweet just for the name!
    Very good post; nice and concise toolbox for the new/intermediate. 🙂

  2. Here’s another one:


    This enables bloggers to see what others are saying on similar topics. Eg, food bloggers can go to http://food.alltop.com/.

    And there are blogging tips here:


    Disclosure: I am the co-founder of the site.

  3. Thank you for sharing your Macgyver Tool Box for Blogging! 😀

    I also use Zemanta to help me take my blog posts to the next level. Zemanta works as a Firefox or IE extension. The user interface is integrated in your browser so you can write your blog post and interact with Zemanta!

    Zemanta suggests you the best pictures, tags and links based on your blog post text! I’ve been using it for quite some time and it’s really great!

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,
    Bruno Coelho

    Disclosure: I’m not affiliated with Zemanta 😉

  4. Nice post and I particularly liked the MacGyver theme. Now if he had just acquired 1,000,000 followers by using a soda can pulltop, a magnet and some string, then I’d be really impressed.

  5. What about MacGruber from SNL? I’d love to see his blogging tips. I suspect they’d be rather explosive. Good post – the. Cc sharing is a great tip in particular!

    • Avatar Thomas McMahon says

      @John Nemo – I was wondering how to tie in MacGruber but didn’t find a good spot. 😉

  6. Avatar Cole Ruddick says

    Excellent article – and a great list of free tools that everyone blogging should have at their disposal. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Great list. Here’s another one that just came out that may be helpful:

    I hope people stick to advice like this so they can focus on the content rather than picking poor platforms.

  8. Wow, what a great list of tools you have here! This is going to come in really handy for me as I make my way into the search marketing local arena and need to use these tools to be successful with my SEO for it. Thanks!