Just started blogging? Need tools? I gotchu.
This is a list of all of the tools I’ve utilized thus far in my blogging experience. They’re all available for free and user-friendly.
I don’t know about you but most of my great ideas are generated in the shower. (Find out why, here.) Just last week, I came up with three brilliant topics for future posts… the only problem was that by the time I stepped out of the shower, I could only think of one. Luckily, I had called Michael in to the bathroom and asked him to some quick notes for me so I wouldn’t forget but not everyone is lucky enough to have a Michael. Even I don’t have a humble servant all the time (just kidding, honey!) and so far the best solution I’ve come up with is Siri. I’m new to the iPhone. I only got my first one a few weeks ago. I’m already team iPhone all the way. One of my favorite features is my free personal assistant. Whoops. I mean, Siri. All I have to do is say, “Hey Siri…” and *presto* instant answers, notes taken, and messages sent. Next time I’m in the shower and I have a great idea, I’ll just ask Siri to take a note for me.
The Headline Analyzer & Headline Articles by CoSchedule
The free blog post headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.
This is a great tool backed by science. You type in your headline idea and press the “analyze now” button. Super simple. It gives you all kinds of information: how emotionally appealing your headline is, if it’s too short or too long, keywords, etc. Once you’ve entered one headline, you can enter more and it will keep a running history on the page with the accompanying scores so that you can compare different headlines for the same post. Some great accompanying articles by CoSchedule, listed here: How To Write Headlines That Drive Traffic, Shares, and Search Results, 33 Easy Ways To Write A Headline That Will Make You Successful, and 25 Scientifically Proven Ways To Write Better Headlines For Your Blog. I recommend reading all of them.
I stumbled upon this blog post while looking up something completely different. I honestly can’t remember how I got to it but this opened up a whole new world for me. I realized that everyone else on the internet isn’t a fantastic photographer and most people use stock images, free or purchased. We’ve already been over this but I’m still a poor college student so finding free, professional quality images is like waking up on Christmas morning. I’m still new to the rules of stock images and I don’t know if any of these have regulations but absolutely still worth using.
CANVA! I just found this tool from a post by my favorite blogger, Melyssa Griffin. (I heavily recommend her site to all bloggers. She has such great advice.) Anywho, Canva is a graphic design tool. It’s exceedingly easy to use. For the most part, it’s drag and drop. It has pre-made templates or you can start from scratch. You can even upload your own photos. Perfect for logos, banners, featured images, and more.
Blog + Biz BFFs – Facebook group
This is a closed support group for bloggers – but don’t let that intimidate you! Simply request to join. It was created by Melyssa Griffin from The Nectar Collective. I’ve only been in the group for a few days and I’ve already done some networking, posted and gotten advice back, and helped someone else out. It’s a very supportive community geared towards anyone and everyone who runs a blog.
I’ll admit that I chose this multi-sharing platform over the myriad of others because I’m getting my certification in Hootsuite for free in my Social Media Marketing class at Radford. I currently have access to the pro version (although this only runs for 90 days and then I’m back to the free version.) Even with the free plan, this is a great tool. I’ve been using the auto-schedule function for almost everything I’ve been posting on social media and so far it’s working out great. I don’t actually start the certification course until tomorrow so I only know what I figured out from poking around in the free version on my own. I’d advise you do the same. I’ll keep ya updated if I learn any neat tips or tricks.
A Way to Plan and Organize
And finally, the most important tool you can use, your brain. Actually, I recommend a binder, loose-leaf paper, a few writing implements, and maybe a calendar (I haven’t decided how important the calendar part is yet.) If you’re serious about blogging, small business, or marketing, keeping track of your goals, actions, and progress is a big deal.
- I use a one-inch binder, filled with college-ruled loose-leaf, and my plethora of pens and pencils. Every day I take a piece of paper around with me (I keep it in my Life Planner because that thing is pretty much glued to my hand) which has the date at the top, a to-do list, and space for any thoughts I have during the day. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of each day that piece of paper is a mess. It is not pretty but it’s the best way for me to remember everything. The next day I just stick it in the binder and get a new one out.
- I also keep a piece of paper with me that has a running list of post topics and a short description of the idea. This way I can add detail as I come across it (which makes the writing part a lot easier) and I can put down any new ideas I have, all in one place.
- I’ve created a very basic excel document that I can use to track the weekly progress of my blog and social media marketing attempts. I know that most of the sites keep track of statistics and analytics for you but I want to have it all in one place. I created a different page in the excel document for each site, with the columns labelled: date, followers, likes, engagements, etc. and the rows labelled with the different weeks. I’d like to make (or find) something more in-depth, user-friendly, and attractive but for now this works.
Want to keep up with the tools I’m currently using, have used, or recommend? Follow the Blogging and Social Media Tools Pinterest board! I’ll be updating it regularly. Or you can keep checking back for more posts in this series.
Do you have any awesome blogging or social media tools to recommend to a beginner? Let us know!