Since I’ve been at this blogging thing for a while (4 years here, 10 years total), I guess I’ve become something of a blogging veteran. While I don’t claim to have all the answers, or even really be where I’d like to be in terms of followers and exposure, I have managed to learn a thing or two about making some of the work around blogging a little bit easier on myself.
So, like every good maven should, I decided to take a minute to share some of my favourite blogging tools. Most of them are free (or at least have free options), but the rest of them are definitely worth the investment, if you have the budget for them.
You don’t need to use any of these tools to be a successful blogger, but I find that they do make my life a lot easier and they are all very easy to use and look at.
I’ve been using this one for ages and ages to schedule my social media posts and shorten links. You can post to multiple social media channels at once, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ Pages and it lets you schedule when these posts will go out, either sticking to a daily time table or choosing a time on the fly.
There are also browser extensions that will let you add links to your Buffer without leaving the page. As well, the recent addition of analytics means that you can get a really clear idea of what types of content you share gets noticed by your followers.
Buffer is free to use, but there are paid upgrades that will let you add multiple accounts for the same platforms, buffer up to 200 posts at a time and even share the account between multiple users.
A lot of you probably already know about this one, but just in case you don’t, I figure I’d give a shout-out to probably the BEST online photo editing program there is. Seriously, there is very little this wundersite can’t do. While certainly nowhere near as robust as Photoshop, PicMonkey is the perfect blogger replacement for Photoshop because it is a) FREE, b) very easy to use, and c) doesn’t require downloading or installing any bulky software.
Pretty much anything you’d need to use Photoshop for as a blogger you can do with PicMonkey. Resizing images? Check. Adding textures and overlays? Check. Even cosmetic fixes like teeth whitening can be handled by this puppy. They also just added a feature for using your own fonts, in addition to using your own overlays (shapes). You can also use their Design feature to create banners or buttons for your blog or social media.
PicMonkey is 100% free to use, but there is an optional $4.99 monthly membership (or $33 for the whole year) you can purchase that gives you access to additional fonts and gets rid of those distracting ads. Considering how robust it is, it almost seems like a crime not to throw the devs a little change.
This one is brand new and still in Beta, but I have been having an absolute ball using it to create incredibly professional looking blog images and social media banners. It’s browser based like PicMonkey, but comes pre-loaded with tons of great templates for all of the major things independent business owners and bloggers need to worry about. The other thing that I really love is that in addition to using your own assets, you can choose from their library of stock photos and textures, all available for a mere $1 a piece.
Since Canva is still in Beta, there could be a bit of a waiting list to try it out. Luckily, I have 5 instant access invites to distribute to friends and colleagues. Email me if you’d like one.
I’ve written about this one before, but I cannot stress enough how much it has changed by blogging life. CoSchedule is an editorial calendar and social media sharing tool all mixed into one. It even supports multiple authors with features for making editorial comments and assigning articles. They recently updated it so that you can post to multiple social media channels at once, or create separate posts and messages for each account you have linked.
CoSchedule is a paid app, but it’s still a steal at $10 a month. They also have an affiliates program for bloggers who try it out and write about their experience.
If you run ads or button swaps on your site, then you’re probably already familiar with Passionfruit, but just in case you’re not I figured I’d throw in my two cents. While it is a paid service, the rate is pretty affordable (especially if you choose the annual subscription) and the time and energy it saves me really is worth it. They also added a discounted subscription option if you mostly want to use it for adswaps.
Basically Passionfruit, is a streamlined and attractive way to buy, sell and host ads on your website. You set your own rates and requirements, then just cut and paste a bit of code to add the ad store or the ads themselves to your site. Their marketplace is also super handy for finding blogs in your niche to advertise on.
Passionfruit Ads charges $9 for ad sellers or $3 for ad swappers and they don’t even take a commission!