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Blogging is like baking: There are certain things every baker has in common (an oven, something to mix with, something to measure with) but at the same time no two bakers are exactly alike. Each has their favorite tools of the trade, unique ways of getting the same job done. Blogging is no different! We’re all the same, and we’re all so different. Here’s my unique list of favorite blogging tools.
Self-hosted WordPress with Siteground
Self-hosted is the way to go if you want to make money blogging. And as hosts go I did my research and switched to Siteground this past January and have been very happy. $65ish/yr for hosting and a domain
I’m an Elegant Themes girl through and through. I use them for my theme (Divi), social media plugin (Monarch), and email subscription service plugin (Bloom). All are premium products with all but endless functions and customization options, and they’re all regularly featured at or near the top of “Top 10” lists in their respective categories. I originally bought in for the Divi theme way back, mainly because I was never satisfied with the features of any other theme and was always switching around and trying to find one that had everything I wanted. Divi, however, is designed to be the only theme you’ll ever need — as you want to change and update you just move modules around, add a slider, take something out, you name it. And on top of all the awesome functionality because they’re all from the same developer I have none of the usual worries about plugins causing conflicts with my theme, or any of them not keeping up with new WordPress updates or security releases, and their customer service and support is top notch. I highly suggest signing up for an annual subscription to start, which gets you access to EVERYTHING they offer (all plugins and themes, 80+ in all) and then if you like it upgrading to a Lifetime during their annual Black Friday sale (they’ll give you credit for whatever portion of your year is unused when you upgrade). When you consider a single theme can easily cost $50, it’s really a great deal. $89/yr, $249 lifetime
This is a fun one, from syncing Instagram to Pinterest to tracking your work hours in a Google calendar to getting a notification every time the International Space Station passes over your house (hey, it doesn’t ALL have to be about blogging!) you can do almost anything with IFTTT’s amazing assortment of little programs they call “Applets.” I currently use IFTTT to it tweet my Instagrams as native photos on Twitter but need to dive in further and see what else I can find. FREE
Nothing kills a good read faster than bad grammar — it’s not only distracting but it degrades your authority and makes you appear unprofessional and/or uneducated. No wants that! Grammarly is an amazing tool that not only helps make sure your sentence structure is sound (it checks for articles and modifiers, etc) but also checks for appropriate punctuation and spelling. And that’s just the free version! A serious must-have. FREE (Paid version also available)
Canva is a graphic and photo editing app and I use this every darn day to make social media and blog post graphics, Pinterest pins, headers for Facebook and Twitter, and more. What makes it really handy is it has templates for everything, either prefilled with images and text or just blank but in the ideal size for whatever it is you want to do (Instagram, etc). Also there are templates for media kits and brochures, resumes, you name it! It has a full web version and a mobile phone app. FREE (paid version also available)
This is a plugin for SEO (search engine optimization). Aside from the expected keywords and metatags help on posts and pages, I love this one over other popular SEO plugins because it does so much in one package. Besides the usual keywords, metatags, etc., it also allows me to choose what image I want to show on Facebook shares (vs Facebook grabbing its own random image) and has a checkbox to easily create no-follow links when needed. Free version/Pro version
If you haven’t heard about Tailwind yet, you soon will. It’s a scheduling app for Pinterest and Instagram and seriously saves So. Much. Time. It not only lets you schedule pins and Instagrams but analyzes your feeds for the best times to post for highest engagement, as well as provides other valuable analytics and insights. Plus Tailwind Tribes are a real game changer for increasing your reach on Pinterest. Once your blog is up and running this one is a must-have to automate these two social media platforms and free up your valuable time for other tasks. Get a free month to start (no credit card required): $15/mo or $120/yr (per account)
There are so many planners out there, but Erin Condren’s cheerful designs, inspiring quotes, and upbeat colors and patterns hit my happy place. That’s actually my top criteria for a business planner: it has to make me happy to look at it and open it. Erin Condren planners have big roomy calendar pages with designated spaces to write on the bottom and margins, daily and weekly planning pages, and even room for a little bullet journaling every month. Plus there are so many fun sticker options, and you can get the cover personalized. Cost varies based on options
Snapseed is a photo editing app for mobile and it tops many “Best of” lists for good reason. It has filters as well as every high end editing function you could wish for. I use this for all my Instagram posts (it also remembers the edits you made last, so it’s easy to get a cohesive theme going) as well as for all my blog photography (in combination with my trusty iPhone 6). FREE
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What are your favorite tools of the trade? Share in the comments!