Updated May 11, 2016
If you’re a blogger, you know how overwhelming it can be to manage everything. We’re constantly photographing, editing, writing, filming, and posting. But on top of that we manage social media, affiliate links, emails, collaborations, sponsors and deadlines. We plan and attend events. We network and build relationships. It’s a gig that requires heart and elbow grease.
Because I am making an income off my blog, I view it as a small business. Therefore, I have to run it as such. I invest back into my blog so I can make more, whether it’s tools, education, or marketing.
One thing that bloggers don’t tell you is that it’s a lot of work to do it all by yourself. I have spent well over 50 hours a week working on things that are blog related, and the work never ends. There’s always something else to do. I don’t have a virtual assistant, or any kind of helper that I’ve hired (even though some days I wish I had one!). I do it all myself.
Since I am a one woman show, I rely on tools to help productivity. Luckily, there are some tools that make blogging easier for me. Some tools I pay for, and some are free.
So, these are the blog tools I can’t live without. I mean, I guess I can technically live, but it sure would make blogging a heck of a lot harder.
[bctt tweet=”Wow! Great list of blog tools from @mo_meg!” via=”no”]
WordPress Editorial Calendar // This is probably my most favorite WordPress plugin. It was getting overwhelming to try and keep a calendar for blog posts, whether it was on paper or on Google. I don’t even bother with looking at my posts in a list anymore – I go straight to the calendar to see what I have lined up. I will also put in deadlines, outline any ideas, and start drafts. It’s such a time saver and keeps me sane. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had to look at a reverse chronological list of posts.
Photoshop // Hands down, the best photo editing software. I edit all of my blog photos and graphics in Photoshop. I use an older version than the latest, and it’s what I know and love. There’s a pretty big learning curve with it, but once you’ve got a feel for it, you really won’t go back to anything else. I don’t have it, but others swear by the $10/month plan that lets you use the Adobe suite.
PicMonkey // One thing that is not exactly user friendly in Photoshop is collages. In Picmonkey, it’s as simple as drag, drop, and resize. I use this feature for all of the collages you see on my blog. If I’m making a long collage for Pinterest, I’ll then pull it in to Photoshop to add the text. I don’t have a Royale account, but many love it and don’t use Photoshop. Others love Canva, although I do not use it.
Google Drive // My absolute favorite tool for storing any blog related files. I keep my income and stats spreadsheet in Google Drive, along with any images of receipts for taxes. I keep my media kit here so I can have access to it at all times. I have a spreadsheet of PR and brand contacts in Google Drive as well. I even have a IFTTT recipe set up to store all of my Instagram photos to Google Drive! It’s just a blogging necessity for me!
Board Booster // I love this Pinterest scheduler! It’s a very “set it and forget it” kind of tool. I try to go in multiple times per week and take a look at what it’s doing. If you follow my link, you get a month free trial to try it out for yourself!
Tailwind // I mention this Pinterest scheduler because I go back and forth with it. I had it for a while, then I got rid of it. Channing and Michelle (my other Pinterest halves) and I just recently started using it again and are trying some other strategies. I do like the simplicity of Tailwind and I think it’s a great scheduler if you’re just starting out on Pinterest! Just like the Board Booster link, if you follow my link you can get a month free to try it out.
(Side note: If you’re coming to the Perform on Pinterest Workshop, we will be going over the differences in schedulers and how to set it up! A girl’s gotta have her secrets on how she utilizes her schedulers, but don’t worry, we will be spilling all at the workshop!)
Post Planner // This is a new tool for me that I have been absolutely loving. One thing that I have struggled with recently is scheduling posts to my Facebook fan page and Twitter. I want to make sure I’m sharing relevant content and archived posts. I love Post Planner because it helps you find engaging content! It’s all right there for you when you go to schedule, so no having to save links. I also hate the scheduler in Facebook itself, because it’s hard to see (to me) what you have planned out. You can also schedule posts in Facebook groups, as well, which makes it super easy for me while managing Houston Blogger Collective. You may have heard that using Facebook itself to schedule posts is better and ups your reach, but honestly that is all speculation. In fact, this article debunks that very myth. 3rd party schedulers are not penalized, and I have not noticed any decline in reach since using Post Planner. It’s my new obsession, and I found a coupon code to only make it $5 a month (just google it and you should be able to find one)! I paid $60 for the year and it was totally worth every penny.
Buffer // I love using Buffer strictly to schedule out tweets. It’s really easy to use, has a simple layout, and does what I need it to do. I use it differently than Post Planner – I use it to schedule my own content (i.e. when a new post is published), sponsored content, or anything else I need to go out on a certain day. I do not use the Facebook or Pinterest features.
I could probably keep going, but those are my absolute favorites! What are your favorite blog tools?