8 apps and websites for when you're finally ready to start blogging
Once you decide to join the big bad world of blogging, you will probably experience a whirlwind of emotions: part fear, part excitement, with a hint of terror and just a pinch of egomania. Whether you are in it for the fame, the fortune or the followers, if you have ever hit the "publish" button, you are already familiar with that sinking feeling deep in your gut. Will anyone read it? Will anyone like it?
In order to make yourself heard far and wide, make sure to tap into the deep pool of resources that bloggers around the globe utilize to amplify their own voice. I turn to this short list of tools before, during and after the hard part — the writing — is done.
The work of a writer is never truly done, is it? Whether you write professionally or to satisfy your own soul, you often have to deal with schedules, deadlines and word counts. In order to stay on top of all your writing obligations, try using a planner like Todoist. The new design makes it much more appealing to the eye, and all of its trusted features are still there: You can sync your tasks across all platforms and never fail to complete one. You can remind yourself about anything you want and keep all your balls in the air.
If you are in the mood for chasing likes, you can try and write something shareable and tweetable, and in order to know what that is, you'll need the help of an app like BuzzSumo. Even the free version will allow you to explore the most shared and read topics across the entire web. Inspiration will often strike as you see just want the trending topics are, and you might be well on your way to creating the next viral sensation.
You have written your latest piece — now what? Before you send it out into the blogosphere, run it through the Hemingway app. It will help you get through to your readers more clearly. Hemingway will analyze your sentences and tell you where you have strolled a bit into unreadability. Don't be surprised if you often don't agree with its suggestions, and take them more as ideas than criticisms.
4. Death to the Stock Photo
Now that you have something to publish, you'll need an image to go with it. Online readers tend to be drawn more to images than to words, so an appropriate featured image has become a necessity. Instead of sticking to stock photos, sign up for the Death to the Stock Photo mailing list, and you'll receive a selection of images right to your mailbox, making it much easier to stand out in the crowd.
Having the right image might not be enough — you'll need to tailor it a bit to your site and style. Canva is the app to help you do that. With its user-friendliness and accessibility, you will soon be turning out captivating eye candy. Pro tip: Try using Canva to make an infographic. They are still all the rage and some of the most shared content on the web, and not tapping into this potential would be a waste.
Once your content is out there, you'll need to start showcasing it to the right audience. I've recently come across an app that is not necessarily made for bloggers, but which can provide a helping hand. Dibz.me, a prospecting tool made, in fact, by an SEO company, Four Dots, crawls the Internet and finds the sites you are looking for instead of you. For example, if you want to connect with fellow bloggers, it will find them and even provide a contact, taking networking to the next level.
Social media is the natural outlet for your writing. Make the most of it by using a scheduling app like Buffer. It will calculate the best times to tweet and share and will do it for you, if you schedule your posts in advance. We all know how fickle followers are and how important it is to stay active, and Buffer can save you a lot of time. Just assemble your tweets for the coming week or so, and watch as your base slowly multiplies.
8. Google Analytics
Finally — the place where it all begins and ends — Google's own analytics. In order to know what kind of dent you have made in the blogosphere, never forget to monitor the data on your site's Analytics account. That way you'll always know where your visitors are coming from and what they are reading. Use that data to your advantage, and create your next post accordingly.