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Blogging is bae. Don’t tell my boyfriend. Or Rocko.
You know I had a conversation once with a friend about why I love blogging and why she loved blogging — we both felt that it was an outlet where we could just talk about whatever and someone out there could relate.
Is that how you feel about blogging? Do you feel like it’s your own world that you can share and relate to others?
We all have our own thoughts and ideas about blogging from the different niches to different targets. There are so many ideas that surround blogging. There are days when I find myself aimlessly clicking through different blogs and admiring the topics and designs. So much preparation goes into a blog — strategy, content planning, graphic design, etc. Blogs give you a skill set and many of those skills can prepare you for some rad jobs.
How do we blog? How do we put together this content and strategy? There’s so much work behind the scenes. We learn a lot from so many other bloggers and we can learn so much more from those bloggers. But, not only do we learn from other bloggers, we learn from ourselves. You put so much work into your blog, just like I did. There are some amazing tools out there that are pretty nifty.
How does www.hello-brittnee.com come to life? Today, I’m going to give you 7 essentials tools that I use for my blog.
Come on, this is a given. If you want to legitimately own your website, get yourself a self-hosted WordPress.org blog. It seems like a lot of work and there is literally so much behind the scenes from plug-ins to the coding but once you get it, you are set. WordPress is such a luxurious tool. When you come from Blogger/BlogSpot with the idea that it’s going to be the hardest thing ever to learn, it really dampens the mood. But, WordPress lives up to the hype. Not only does it live up to the hype but I own all the content that I created sans some of the stock photography. If you want to get started with WordPress, I suggest Siteground as the hosting service — customer service is legit. I had so many questions before I had even signed up and they were on it. If you want good customer service and a good price, I suggest Siteground and Pipdig. If you still have questions, feel free to hit me up.
Light Room and A Color Story
Technically, there are seven essential tools but I felt like grouping my photo editing tools into one group. I’m lucky enough to have Adobe Creative Cloud — $10 a month is not bad and worth the investment. Trust and believe, you can google all that you need to know to learn this system. It might seem hard at first but I’ve been down with Photoshop since I was fifteen so I’m pretty good at the photo editing… graphic design, not so much. On the other hand, I have A Color Story which is an app that I am obsessed with. It’s pretty legit. The filters can help all those that are invested in an Instagram theme. And it’s free! Certain filters are extra but if want to stick with what comes with the app, do it.
Grammarly is a LIFE SAVER. I kid you not, this add-on helps me with everything. It checks everything that Microsoft Word does not. It does all the work that I don’t do by adding in commas and suggesting better words that make my sentences flow better. Yes, you can be good at grammar and still need this baby. I will not lie and say I’m using it just because I can get a click or two — yeah, no. I really swear by Grammarly. It is handy and as soon as you copy + paste your blog post from Word, it’ll edit the rights and wrongs. I just downloaded the Grammarly app and I’m a fiend for having a lot of space on my computer and phone so you know it’s really something if you let it take up some place. What does Grammarly do? The free version, you’re getting your basic right and wrong words, punctuation placement — this is what I use. You can go the distance and get the Grammarly plan which got more into the depth of analyzing what is right and wrong — if you don’t have someone proofing and reading your posts over five times, I suggest this route. If you have Grammarly, high five!
Social Media tools are a blessing especially when you work throughout the day and don’t have the time to promote your posts. There are many tools out there and I have used a few other ones — I have used Sprinklr, Spredfast, and Hootsuite — all have their own benefits, I just enjoy Buffer. The thing about Buffer is that it’s not complicated to use and my posts always go through. I’ve never had to worry about anything because I trust this social tool. I’m sure when I go the paid route, there will be more benefits. If you’re trying to find a tool that’ll save you time or even just help you schedule things so you stay on top of it, try Buffer. If you’re using another tool, stick with what you know. A scheduling tool is a great need though especially for those with another job or responsibilities.
Boardbooster is something that I am relatively new too – I have heard tons about it but I’m a newbie. I will say that it has saved me a lot of time by posting my pins for me. So much time and it’s on time intervals! You want this, trust me. It’s basically scheduling your social media but this works with Pinterest’s API, unlike other social tools. I enjoy it. I think it’s worth it, I’m working on my free trial and for $5 a month? That is not a big dent in my wallet and it definitely seems worth it. I’ll definitely give an update when I can analyze the results. The plus side of it, you receive emails on how many times and which pins were pinned to each board. Very helpful when you’re in tons of Blogging Group boards and want to get your pin out there but you don’t want to constantly re-pin it to different groups. This saves time and annoyance — I do get annoyed when the pop-up Pinterest window takes forever. I’m impatient and this takes a lot off of my load.
Data is your friend. The analytics are your friend and they will tell you what works and what doesn’t work. I enjoy Google Analytics – it gives me my top posts so I can go back and edit those old posts to make sure they’re relevant. Once you start to understand GA, you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot. Working in social media, I do a lot of data analysis and I will say that skill has carried over to my blog and helped me understand if a blog needed new copy or a different headline or image. Obviously, GA doesn’t go into depth like that but you test and learn and study that data. This is a needed tool, get it. You want to know what is working and you want to know what is not working. You can fix what isn’t working and model your strategy off of what works. Not only is it telling you what is working but you know where people are coming from whether it’s email, social media, or clicking on your link — you are going to know where your traffic is coming from and where you get most of your traffic. Google Analytics is going to be your best friend.
These are just the essentials of the tools I use – the obvious that are left out are my Macbook Pro, iPhone 7 and notebooks. Those are the everyday needs, for sure. You can blog if you want to, don’t ever think any idea that comes to you might be silly or unrelatable because there is someone out there that might need your words. If you are already blogging, you’re important. I blogged for years before really getting into it the last year. It’s worth it to see some of the comments I get and the connection I make. Blog and blog some more. Share your links and connect with me.
Do you want to blog now?
Well, if you don’t blog already – do you want to blog now?
If you do blog, what are some tools that you find necessary? And what are ways you are improving with your blog?