Anyone who has been blogging for a while knows that it’s not as simple as sitting down and hammering out a post in 30 minutes. Maintaining a blog takes a lot of time and dedication, a lot of which is behind the scenes and goes unnoticed by those who have never tried their hand at it. There are photos to be taken, edited, renamed with search engine friendly titles, keyword research, outlining, and actually sitting down to write the darn thing. That’s all before it’s published, then there’s social media platforms and promotion. While I no means a blogging expert, I thought I’d share some of the tools that help me stay on top of all the various to-dos of blogging.
While I think one of the best decisions I could have made for my blog, was transitioning to a self-hosted wordpress site. The amount of control it provides you for not only the look and feel for you blog is great for taking your blogging to the next level, but the abilities it provides for in the backend are just as helpful. While it’s not a tool per se, it did frame my selection and use of the following.
One of the things that has helped me the most, is installing a drag and drop calendar plugin. I really like this one for wordpress. It makes scheduling out posts, and moving them about if need be, super easy. It’s the only reason that I was able to have content published while I was in Africa.
Instagram Desktop Client
If you are on your computer all day like I am, and want to help boost your instagram a bit more, finding an Instagram Desktop Client can be helpful. If you’re a Mac user and don’t mind shelling out $5, I really really like Photodesk. Of course you won’t be able to post from it, but it allows you to like 100 photos per hour, save certain tags (ex. #bbloggers, #fbloggers, #makeupaddict, etc…), see related tags, favorite particular users, enable push notifications, and some analytics (though the Iconosquare webapp has much better analytics for free that are additionally helpful). There are also plenty of chrome extensions that at least allow you to go through your feed and like photos.
I have recently discovered Twitter Chats, and while the native twitter website is nice for viewing your timeline of people you’re subscribed to, it’s not the greatest to use while participating in chats. Enter a decent twitter client. There are bunches of them like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, Buffer, or Tweetbot that let you view multiple lists/views etc. I personally prefer the user interface, push notifications, and syncing of Tweetbot. To me, it just looks a little more clean on both the desktop version and the mobile app.
Something To Schedule Tweets
The one thing I don’t like about Tweetbot compared to the others is that I haven’t been able to find a way to schedule tweets. While I do have a get-around, I often use it for other things and am horribly bad at scheduling tweets anyway. However, I really like the app Everypost. It’s a great way to post to multiple social platforms at once + gives you the ability to tailor each post to that platforms message style. So you can use certain hashtags on twitter, or facebook (pages are supported), as well as more or less characters.
A Good Old-Fashioned Notebook
I kid you not, I carry my moleskin notebook around with me everywhere. I really like being able to write down any ideas I have for future post, any interesting metrics that I see on GA or Twitter analytics, key points from other articles/blogger’s posts, etc. The one I have now is actually the EverNote version of Moleskine and I love that I have the ability to upload pictures of each page of the notebook so that I have a backup of my notes.
A Good To-Do Manager
Speaking of a good digital to-do manager, I really like Wunderlist. It gives you the ability prioritize what needs to be done, add sub tasks to each task, and send push notifications and due dates. Also has a desktop client & mobile app. I actually have one list specifically set up for Twitter Chat times with notifications so that I don’t forget when they happen.
Being able to not only see where your audience is coming from, but what your most viewed content is extremely helpful. It gives you so much insight into how people navigate to your site, and their path on your site once they arrive. From using UTM codes when you finally start advertising on other sites, to being able to give reliable statistics if you want to start having ad spaces on your blog… It’s pretty invaluable. If you don’t know where to start, there are a multitude of tutorials on youtube for anything you’d like to know about.
Disqus Comment System
Since I switched my comment system from the default wordpress commenting system to Disqus, the amount of comments that I’ve received per post have really increased. Not to mention that I love the way it notifies you to responses to comments on other blogs. It really has a way of reducing the feeling of fragmentation, which promotes engagement. You want to make it as easy as you can for your readers to engage or share your content. To find out more about installing Disqus click here.
Pinterest Pin It Plugin
After looking at my referral sources on Google Analytics, I discovered that I good portion of traffic comes from Pinterest. In addition to designing a Pinterest friendly photo for each of your posts, it also helps to make it easy to pin the photos embedded in your post. For wordpress, I really like this Pinterest Pin It Button For Images plugin by Canha which overlays a pin-it button whenever a reader hovers over a photo. I particularly like this one, because out of all of the pinterest plug-ins I tried, this one has the easiest css code to edit to make it more personalized (if that’s something you’re comfortable doing). I recently just added uploaded my own image to use as the layover, it was a pretty quick upgrade that made the site look just a little more put together.
A Related Posts Plugin
I really like this (WP) Yet Another Related Posts Plugin because it’s a great way to recommend & link more of your posts for readers to further look at without you having to do anything. It analyzes the title and keywords of your new post to recommend ones with similar content at the end of each post. Unfortunately since this is the first in my “For Bloggers” series, there won’t be any relevant posts, but if you look at any of my “Favorites” posts they will probably be better examples of how this plugin works.
What are your favorite tools that have helped you manage keeping up with your blog?