Maintaining a successful blog is not easy. Many underestimate the amount of work that really goes on behind the scenes. I started blogging 8 years ago and in the early days, blogging wasn’t as competitive as it is today. Technology and methods have evolved over time and you have to consider a lot of technicalities in order to be seen and be heard in today’s competitive blogosphere.
Moving with the times is important and using the correct blogging tools for research, organisation and productivity is necessary if you want to create fresh and appealing content that will engage your readers.
I have come across many blogging tools over the years. By trial and error, I have discovered great mediums that are suitable for my needs and I would love to share with you just some of my favourites! A list of everything you need to know to get started on the path of blogging know how.
Keeping up to date
Newsflow is a fast, fluent and highly customisable news reader for your desktop. I have been using this for a few months and so far I LOVE IT! You can also place RSS feedsFolders, subscription management, so it’s easy to keep an eye on what’s going on. It also detects a website’s RSS feed by just entering the web address. You can also save to Buffer, Evernote, Pocket, Readability and Instapaper. Not only that they offer lovely themes (including night mode) and you can customise the news reader appearance if you so wish!
Flipboard is a pretty but functional app. By selecting the categories that appeal you, the app will automatically find top articles for and present them beautifully depending on your taste. The easy to use navigation lets you jump from one category to another and it looks awesome on handheld devices.
Content Creation & Organisation
Trello is a collaboration tool that can be used on a variety of projects. A Trello account will consist of boards and each board are “projects”. You can customise your projects by adding titles, descriptions, formatting, and comments. If you operate a small team or collaborating with other writers Trello enables you to set up several boards under the same topic or organisation so that your team can access add comments or edit. Trello is very easy to use and it also seamlessly syncs through your email, smartphone or on the web-app.
Keeping track of my content is important as it enables me to plan my posts efficiently. WordPress Editorial Calendar is one blogging tool that I really can’t do without! It allows me to view all of my posts at a glance and in order whether it’s draft, pending, scheduled or published. I can also easily move posts around with its drag and drop feature. An efficient and tool to schedule my posts in a very effective way.
Saving Great Ideas
I have tried several content saving apps and Pocket is so far one of my favourites. Formerly known as Read It Later, it has totally reinvented itself by having a sleek and easy to use interface with larger fonts, thumbnails and a nice grid layout that makes it look awesome in any device. I find this particularly useful when I want to save something from my phone. I just have to copy the link and then open Pocket, the app automatically know that I have copied a link and it asks me if I want to save it. No pop ups just click add link, and it’s voila! It’s done!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing it the old fashioned way too. Even though I love all these new apps that make organising my life easier, writing ideas down on paper is still recommended. I suggest splurging out a little on a diary or planner to jot down and schedule your blog posts. I bought mine from Mr.Wonderful, a stationary shop based in Spain and they sell numerous cool and useful things from planners, agendas, to mugs and candles!
Image Editing Tools
Visuals are almost as important as your blog content. Not many of us have the skills of a graphic designer so Canva is a great tool if you want to create appealing featured images to go with your articles. Canva is quick and easy to use whether you want to start from scratch or use the templates available. There are layout and background options so you have a rough idea what you want your design to look like. The intuitive drag and drop controls to edit the elements makes it very easy even for a newbie to follow.
Pixlr is a fast web-based image editor, very similar to the Photoshop. If you have used PS before you will find the layout and menu options very familiar. Tools such as blur, dodge, magic wand, etc are also included. It also allows you to create/open new images, crop, use layers, add filters and special effects just like Photoshop without having to install anything on your computer. I find Pixlr very convenient to use if I want to edit and resize my blog images in a hurry.
I have been using Grammarly (FREE version) for a few years now and I find it reliable and easy to use. The Chrome browser extension is essential when I’m writing my blog posts through my WordPress dashboard as it alerts me if I have some issues, therefore enabling me to just click and open to see corrections and alternatives without having to leave the page.
Before hitting the publish button it’s advisable to make sure that your written content is original. It’s also a great way to check whether anyone else is duplicating your content. I use Plagtracker to verify that my blog posts are unique and this protects my site from Google penalties which may lead to losing my rankings. Plagtracker is so far one of my favourite plagiarism checking service, its quick, simple and offers unlimited searches.
Mad Mimi is a cute and simple way of sending newsletters and RSS to email campaigns. Very straightforward to use with a fun interface to play with. The FREE account lets you send emails to 2500 contacts adequate if you’re just starting out. There are also a lot of add-ons such as multi-users, drip campaigns, promotions, affiliate schemes and much more!
Finally, an app I cannot do without! I have also tried them all Hootsuite, Sprout, Tweetdeck just to name a few. Buffer really works for me! I manage 6 social media accounts and I find this very reliable and simple to use. With its clean and clutter free interface and apps, scheduling my posts have never been so easy. I particularly love the timezone and timing optimising feature because I manage several social media accounts in Spain, UK and US this enables me to see what is the best time to post therefore amplifying my social media presence with minimal effort!
Can you recommend any other blogging tools that I have not mentioned on my list? What works for you? Let me know on the comments below! :D