Let's be real here for a second: in the time since I started blogging many years ago, I've had several blog identity crises (as my roommate calls it). I've changed blog names, made new ones, changed my layout three times in one week... You get the idea. But one of the great things that has come out of all that change? I've found a ton of really great resources for blogging! So as I was reading this post from Rachel, I realized how great an idea it would be to share some of those tools with you guys.
Photo via Unsplash
Twitter and Facebook: Okay, I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but I'm saying it anyway because I needed to hear it a million times before I actually listened: you need to use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. They are probably the two most important tools bloggers have at their disposal to help grow their audience, meet new bloggers, and potentially make money off of their space on the Internet. I don't think it's possible to overstate how important these tools are, so go start your accounts and promote your posts.
Pinterest: Okay, so this is important for the same reasons as Twitter and Facebook, but it's also a gold mine for ideas! I'm sure everyone already knows that Pinterest is the place to go for DIY, beauty tips, and recipes, but what about blog post ideas, blogging tips and tricks, book suggestions, and a million other things? Yup, that's all there, too! It's so easy to just go to Pinterest and type in what you're looking for -- whether it's "blog suggestions," or "writing prompts" -- and you'll get a million posts within seconds. It's like Google for bloggers, and it's totally indispensable.
Bloglovin': Okay, I swear this is the last one for social media, but I don't think I could write this post without including Bloglovin'. Not only is it great for connecting your blog to readers and for keeping track of your favorite blogs, but it's also an amazing place to find new blogs and connect with other bloggers (okay, that sentence might hold the record for most instances of the word "blog")!
When you follow someone new, Bloglovin' instantly makes suggestions for two or three other bloggers it thinks you will like, which means suggestions are tailored perfectly to your interests! It also generates lists of top bloggers in the community, which is another great way to find amazing women and men you might not have already seen.
Plus, it's the simplest way to get your post out there once you hit publish. If you have a Bloglovin' account, you don't even have to do anything! Bloglovin' will automatically publish your latest post for all your followers to find.
Evernote: This is a relatively new find for me, but I'm not sure how I was functioning without it. Evernote is a website, but you can also download it to your computer, smart phone, and iPad so that you can take it everywhere! You can build notebooks (such as Blog, Home Stuff, School, Freelance, and on and on goes the list) and within those notebooks, notes (such as Sponsors, Post Ideas, Shopping List, Homework...). It is such an amazing organizational tool, and the best part? It syncs up. So if you have it on four different devices, they'll all say the same things!
PicMonkey: Okay, a lot of us don't have Photoshop or can't afford it, myself included. But photos are one of the most important things in a blog post (second only to the writing itself), and PicMonkey is a really easy, free way to edit those photos! You can add text, change colors, edit orientation, or resize. Most of the things you can do in Photoshop are available on some level at this website! I edit every photo I use on this website using PicMonkey.
Unsplash: This is another one I found relatively recently. I mentioned above that photos are super important to your posts, but not all of us are photographers. I love taking my camera out and getting some beautiful photos, but I don't always have the time (or the energy). A lot of times, this means that we'll Google for pictures and use one that we find. But the problem is, even if you're linking back to a source, it's still copyright infringement unless you own the rights to the image or it is being offered under a creative commons license.
Unsplash is a website that updates with 10 new photos every 10 days, and they're all free to use and edit as you please! For example, the first photo in this post is from Unsplash. Of course, I still always link back to the website, but getting photos from there means you can do whatever you want to them and the photos are all gorgeous!
Passionfruit: I'm sure you've all heard of this site by now. Passionfruit does all the work of sponsorships for you: organizes them, puts them on a time schedule, posts them to your blog... And for a pretty low price. I use the website for my sponsors and blog swaps, as well as to find new blogs to sponsor through their Marketplace!
Google Analytics: If you want to grow and potentially make money from your blog, this tool is a must! It's crazy simple to use, and it tracks your page views in all sorts of ways such as by time, location, referral.
My Free Copyright: I've been using this one for years to make sure my work stays mine. It's super easy to sign up for, and once you have, the website sends you an e-mail with a copyright every time you post. It also keeps them all organized in your account to help prevent your work from being stolen.
Polishmywriting.com: Last but not least, this simple tool goes through your post to check for any spelling or grammatical errors. We all make them, and it can be hard to find them in your own writing, but it's important to make sure your posts are as polished as possible so people don't get annoyed or think you don't care about the quality of what you're publishing.
You simply copy and paste your writing into the box, and the website picks out any errors for you. Simple and, best of all, free.
So what am I missing? What blogging tools do you think are completely indispensable?
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