Contrary to popular belief, blogging ain’t easy. There’s a lot that needs to happen in order to (coherently) get an idea out of your head, typed up, and sent out into the world.
If you have a blog yourself, you’ve probably spent countless hours, days, and maybe even weeks on a single blog post. And the longer a post takes, the more things seem to get disorganized, am I right?But guess what? Blogging doesn’t have to be overly complicated or disorganized! There are some amazing free tools out there that can make everything a little quicker, easier, and less stressful for your already too-busy self. Here are my favorite tools and how you can use them:
Canva: For Creating Image Templates
You start off by choosing your template size, whether it be for a blog graphic, Twitter header, Instagram post, etc. I have a single template set up for my blog graphics, so all I have to do is hit the ‘copy’ button, change the image, and edit the text. Having templates for your blog graphics makes life SO much easier and will save you an enormous amount of time.
Asana: For Creating a System
Creating a system or ‘hub’ for everything that goes into running your blog means you’ll always know what needs to get done first if you’re feeling overwhelmed. By keeping track of tasks that make up your blogging process and adding them to a tool like Asana, you can make sure you never miss an important step.
Example: For each blog post, you might need to do the following things before you hit publish:
- Find or take a photo
- Come up with headline ideas
- Create an outline
- Draft the post
- Add SEO
- Edit your post
- Schedule to share post on social media
As you do each task, you can check it off and not worry about forgetting anything. I also use Asana for planning out larger projects, and it’s a great tool if you collaborate on projects with others because you can delegate tasks and leave comments on tasks if you have questions.
Asana can be a little overwhelming at first because there’s so much you can do with it, but this video gives a great walk-through.
Pixlr: For Editing Images
As someone who works on my blog whenever I get a free moment, I don’t always have access to Photoshop on the computer I’m using. Pixlr is a free, online photo editor that has many of the same functions as Photoshop, and it’s just been a lifesaver for me. I mainly use it for resizing my blog images or creating text graphics because Pixlr lets you use any font that’s already installed on your computer, rather than only giving you, like, 5 font options. I used Pixlr to resize the screen shot of Pixlr above – inception!
Excel Worksheet: For Tracking Analytics
If you’re pretty clueless when it comes to your blog analytics like I was, this is going to save your life. The ladies at the BBar blog put together a super helpful excel spreadsheet to track your analytics each month and see what’s going on with your audience. They even include instructions for setting up Google Analytics on your blog to make it that much easier.
At the end of every month, I pull up the spreadsheet and just plug in the info I get from Google Analytics, and it automatically calculates my growth from the previous month. It’s also really useful for tracking your social media followers and referral information. I’d recommend adding a column for tracking your ranking on Alexa.com – you just search for your blog and see what it ranks globally and within your country.
Buffer, Tailwind, Etc.: For Scheduling Social Media
I think social media is a huge part of being a blogger these days as you can easily engage with people and drive them to your site. Social media can be a bit of a guessing game when it comes to knowing when and what to post, but there are some great tools that make it simpler for you.
Buffer – An amazing tool for scheduling tweets ahead of time and seeing how engaging your tweets really are.
CoSchedule – This is one of my favorite tools for planning out blog posts and easily scheduling social media posts to go along with them.
Followerwonk – Find out when your twitter followers are most active instead of guessing. Go to Analyze > Type in your twitter handle > Select Analyze Their Followers. You can also link this up to Buffer so you can schedule your tweets at optimum times.
Tweetily – A WordPress plugin that automatically tweets out links to your older blog posts so you can constantly drive traffic to your site.
Tailwind – Tailwind tracks when your Pinterest users are most active and allows you to schedule pins according to those times.
BoardBooster – BoardBooster takes old pins from your Pinterest boards and re-pins them so your feed is constantly updating without you needing to do anything. This one is a game changer if you’re trying to drive traffic to your blog using Pinterest.
+ Bloglovin’: For Finding Out What Your Audience Likes
As a bonus tool, I thought I’d include Bloglovin’ because it’s definitely my favorite way to follow blogs. It’s also incredibly useful for saving other blog posts you like, seeing how many people follow you, but most importantly – seeing what your followers like.
Unlike other blog-following platforms, you can see who has followed you, which means you can check out their profile and see which types of posts they’ve saved to their favorites. That way you get a better idea of the kind of posts your audience like.
What’s your favorite blogging tool?
Photo: Ashley Ella Designs