Whether you’re a new blogger or a seasoned vet, you can always use more blogging resources. That’s why Christine (of The So-Called Homemaker fame) and I have teamed up to bring you this list of our very favorite blogging resources. You’ll definitely want to check these out – they’re invaluable!
I know a lot of people really love Hootsuite, but to be honest with you, I find Tweetdeck much easier to use and more effective for what I like to do. It is basically Hootsuite for Twitter alone, but since I no longer use Facebook for my blog, that is perfectly fine with me. With Tweetdeck, you can manage multiple Twitter accounts, as well as see notifications, feed, and scheduled tweets all on one screen…no tabs necessary! And the best part? It’s free!
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer
I’ve mentioned this handy tool in a post not long ago, but it was worth mentioning again. The headline analyzer from CoSchedule is amazing. You type in your title idea and it scores it based on title length, use of certain kinds of words, etc. The site even saves the different titles and scores as you try different ones so you can mix and match until you find the most effective title. Using this tool has increased my page views without any further effort on my part!
Want to make your photos professional quality without paying the professional price for Photoshop? Enter PicMonkey. Even if you use the free version, PicMonkey will help you make your photos better effortlessly. Just a couple quick clicks and your photos go from blah to BAM. They have a huge array of fonts to choose from for title images, too. And if you choose to pay for Royale (only about $30 a year), you get even more editing and font options.
Every now and then, ever blogger needs a good stock photo. But who wants to pay for stock photos, or even worse, who wants those logos in your photos? Unsplash is a great resource for absolutely stunning stock photos for all occasions, and it is updated constantly. All of their photos are free to edit and use with no attribution necessary. Bonus tip: use pictures from further away in the archives so that they are more unique and not being used by everybody!
This is a resource you should be using for your regular life, not just blogging. Google Calendar is the best way to keep track of your schedule, but it is especially useful for blogging. I have different color “events” for different aspects of my blog: planned posts, scheduled posts, ads, etc. I love that Google Calendar syncs easily with my iPhone, too, so I can add and change things on the go. PS: Did you see my post where I mentioned using Google Calendar to keep track of your sponsors?
Blogging, for me, is not just writing a post. There are so many different facets of blogging. From creating blog graphics to using social media, from connecting with your readers to working with sponsors….there is so much that goes into hitting publish on each and every post. So what makes this process easier for me?
Co-Schedule I did a whole post on this not too long ago. I still think this plug in is amazing. Nothing beats the ease of being able to schedule your posts on social media as you are writing and editing your posts. You can try this out for a trial period (which can be extended) before buying the app. Here’s a tip for you as well….write a blog post about Co-Schedule, notify them and you may just get a discount on purchasing the plug in. What would have cost me $100/yr only cost me $50. That is money well spent in my opinion!
Hootsuite is a great option for scheduling social media posts. I use this mainly for promoting my sponsors’ posts as it can be linked to several social media sites. When using Hootsuite you can also see what comes across your various social media sites as well. I have also used Buffer in the past. I have one complaint about them and this may seem small but keep in mind, that I like to make my life easier when and where I can. When using Hootsuite, if I enter someone’s Twitter handle it remembers it. I found that Buffer would have this feature turned off more often than not. Perhaps this has been fixed now. To me this is a huge timesaver.
Another lifesaver that I posted about. I can not say enough about this resource. If you offer sponsorships on your blog, using Google Drive will keep you organized. All of your information is in one location. Don’t offer sponsorships? You can still use Google Drive in several different ways. You can create surveys, sign ups for giveaways, and swaps.
If you are at all considering starting a newsletter for your blog or would like to have your readers get your posts delivered to their inboxes, MailChimp is the way to go. Their service is free up to a certain number of subscribers. They have great tutorials to set up a newsletter or RSS feed. Creating templates is simple; a matter of dragging and dropping what you would like to have displayed. Want more information or some great resources? Check out my Pinterest Board.
Follow Anne DuRoss’s board Mail Chimp / Newsletter Tips on Pinterest.
A key part of blogging is merely being present on social media and that presence can really help in building relationships and community. For me, working four 10 hour days can make that presence a bit difficult. Latergramme has helped me tremendously with staying active on Instagram. I simply add a photo to my queue, caption it, schedule it, and I will get an alert to send it to Instagram at that time. With the swipe of my finger, the photo is posted. One of my pet peeves with Instagram are those people that upload photo after photo after photo. This app would come in handy for the photo dumpers out there (your followers will thank you). This app definitely helps me out during the work week; it is not the only way I post on Instagram though. Some things are best captured and shared in the moment. Canva
It seems that many blogging tutorials will mention using Pinterest-worthy photos. These photos are supposed to be a certain dimension with vertical photos being more effective. How can one achieve this? Easily, if you use Canva. Canva has templates for just about anything…Facebook and Twitter covers, blog graphics, business cards. They have templates you can choose from, many are free or you can choose from one of their paid templates as well. You can upload your own photos, or use their stock photos (again, some free, some paid). You can add text (changing the color, font, and size if you so desire) and backgrounds. Canva makes creating graphics a breeze. Once your graphic is created, simply save it and download it and add it to your blog post. I used Canva to create the graphic below.
So those are a few of our favorite tried and true resources. What are your favorite blogging resources?