Just like a carpenter can’t get by without their toolbox and a painter can’t paint without their brushes, I can’t run my blog or social media without certain tools. They make things easier to manage and they save me so much time.
But how do you find the best tools for your blog?
There are hundreds - heck, there must be thousands - of social media and blogging tools out there. The choices are overwhelming. Today, I’m going to break it down for you and tell you about the 10 tools I use to streamline my blog and social channels. Let’s be productive, peeps! ✊
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
I only recently got on board with Buffer and it’s been like a social awakening. Scheduling social media is so important as a blogger and I always forget to do it. Buffer makes it super super easy to set up a schedule of when I want tweets and Facebook posts to go out - then I just need to slot them in. No more typing in specific times in Tweetdeck or using Facebook’s own scheduling system. 🎉
As over half of my social media posts are sharing other blogger’s posts, one of my favourite parts of Buffer is the built-in browser extension that allows me to share web pages really easily. It also picks up images so it makes the posts looks really nice too. Now when I find a blog post I want to share to my audience, it’s incredibly easy for me to do so! This means I’m sharing more valuable content for my followers more regularly.
I usually have a morning dedicated to topping up my Buffer (hello Tuesdays!) but sometimes it does slip through the cracks. When it is all plotted in, it’s such a nice feeling to sit back and watch the posts go out throughout the week.
The Investment: I’m on Buffer’s ‘Awesome Plan’ which costs $10 a month, which is totally worth it.
Now, be honest, have you ever uploaded a photo to your feed, seen what it’s looked like next to the rest of your photos and then quickly deleted the new pic in horror? I know, me too. This is where Planoly comes in. I got this app back in February and haven’t looked back. Once I found my Instagram theme, Planoly really helped me stick to it! Here’s a sneak peek of my account >
It’s not all feeds + themes though! With Planoly, you can also monitor your comments and track your analytics. The comment feature is actually super useful for me - sometimes I miss the comment notifications amongst the ‘likes’ I get on Instagram so I end up replying really late (or not at all). With Planoly, you can see your unread comments for your past five photos.
The Investment: It’s quite pricey at $72 a year but it’s super worth it. PLUS, I’ve got an exclusive discount code for new members! If you use the code ‘zoelinda’ you’ll get money off monthly and annual payment plans.
Welcome to a little Pinterest secret I learnt about through Melyssa Griffin’s e-course ‘Pinfinite Growth’*. Boardbooster is THE Pinterest scheduling tool right now. It’s amazing for scheduling and looping pins.
“Looping? Say whaaa?”
Boardbooster basically ‘loops’ pins posted on your boards so you are constantly pinning content without even being on Pinterest. It’s AMAZING. There’s so much more I could get into here and there are a bunch of other features but I’ll keep it short and sweet. Here is what I use Boardbooster for:
- Looping up to 94 total pins per day on 14 boards
- Scheduling 25 pins per day across 5 group boards
- Reporting on pins with broken/suspicious links, duplicate pins or pins that have other problems
The Investment: I pay $30 a month to for 10,000 pins a month on Boardbooster. It might seem pricey but I have grown my Pinterest account from 100 to nearly 700 followers in the few months that I have used it. My blog traffic has increased and my repins have gone crazy. I’ve got a whole post in the works about how much my ‘Pinfinite Growth’ and Boardbooster have helped my blog so keep an eye out for that one friends!
This is the hub of all my blog post planning. From ideas to writing new blog posts to planning my free email course, it all happens on Google Docs.
I love typing up blog posts in a doc before formatting and publishing it to my website. It’s such a clean space to work in and I always feel quite focused when I’m writing on Google Docs. I’ve got a whole folder full of blog posts; some finished, some half-written, some just empty except for the blog post title. When I’m in the writing mood, I just pop open this folder and pick a post to work on.
As well as docs, I can also create spreadsheets, presentations and surveys! I’ve created a few surveys on this platform and it’s so easy to click onto the results as they’re stored with all my other blogging *stuff*! I love SurveyMonkey but gahd this is so much more convenient.
The Investment: It’s free, yo!
Ever since I’d started designing and blogging, I’d been using Adobe Photoshop to create graphics and icons even though I had Illustrator the entire time. Oh, how silly I was. Once I’d learnt that Illustrator is so much better for creating graphics, my mind was blown and I haven’t looked back.
I have a template set up in Illustrator that I use to create my blog post graphics. It has my layout, fonts, backgrounds and colours saved so I can whip up a new blog graphic in no time! Everything is crisper and clearer on my site since I started using Illustrator - it basically looks much more professional.
The Investment: As you know, Adobe products are pricey and Illustrator is in the region of around £205 a year. Alternatively, you can sign up to Adobe’s Creative Cloud which is about £45 a month. Creative Cloud is GREAT - you get all of Adobe’s creative apps (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and more) with free updates. It’s something my blog + biz really can’t live without.
The Free Option: Canva - I personally haven’t used Canva for my blog but I know it’s a great free alternative if you don’t have Illustrator or Photoshop to create your own graphics.
Growing a mailing list is super important for your blog. Social media is great to build up and is imperative for building your blog but social media comes and goes - emails are here to stay. And a great email service provider worth investing in is ConvertKit.
I used to be with MailChimp, which is a great alternative if you want to start small - but since moving over to ConvertKit I’ve grown my subscriber list over 1,200%. I know, right? Crazy numbers! I made the move because I wanted to start sending freebies to new subscribers and I found it was hard to manage in MailChimp.
With ConvertKit, it’s super easy to dish out opt-in freebies. Better yet, you can tag an email address based on what links they have clicked on or what freebies they have downloaded. No wading through lists to find out who owns what, you can easily organise your subscribers based on their interests and needs.
For example, if I send out an email with a link to my services page, I can add a tag to whoever clicks on that link. This way, I know who is at least interested in looking at my services and send them another email down the line. Or, if I write a post about Instagram and someone clicks on the link, I can add the tag ‘Interested in Instagram’. Next time I write an email with Instagram tips and tricks, I’ll know who to target first.
Since switching to ConvertKit, I’ve actually been much more motivated to write emails to send to my subscribers. I used to send emails maybe one a month to my list and they were… kinda meh - very “me me me” and not at all helpful or resourceful for my subscribers. Now, my tribe are “treated” to blogging tips and social media tricks popping up in their inbox a couple of times a week. They’re probably sick of me!
The Investment: ConvertKit is charged by the number of subscribers you have. The lowest price is $29 a month for under 1,000 subscribers, then it goes up to $49 for up to 3,000 subscribers, $79 for 5,000, etc. You can see the full payment options here.
This is pretty much a must-have for any Squarespace bloggers that use ConvertKit. Unfortunately, SS and CK don’t integrate very well so I need to create forms that send info to Google Docs.
“How do I get that info from Google Docs into ConvertKit without a long manual copy and paste job?”
Zapier is the answer, my friend. You can set up ‘zaps’ to automate tasks for you. So I can send a new subscriber’s info from Squarespace to ConvertKit in seconds without having to do anything!
You can use Zapier with a bunch of other tools too - Instagram, Twitter, MailChimp, Gmail - there are tons of options!
The Investment: I use the basic plan, which is up to 1,000 zaps per month, for $20 a month but you can start with a free version! You can see all the payment options here.
If your blog is a main source of income, or if you also have a side-hustle, I strongly suggest using an accountancy tool to keep track of all your income/expenditure. I did a bit of shopping around here and had a good look at a number of tools but Wave was a no-brainer.
The biggest selling point is that it’s completely free! Woohooo! It’s also got some extremely handy features that I’m going to rave about right now. With Wave you can:
- Create separate personal and business accounts so you don’t get your finances muddled
- Connect your bank account(s) to Wave and it imports all your transactions for you to categorise so you can account for your biz and personal spendings
- Send invoices to clients/customers with a built-in payment option so they can pay you right there and then. No more super late payments!
- Use their app to take snaps of receipts and add them to your account. No more paper clutter everywhere!
- See an overview of your profit + loss as well as in-depth reports on your cash flow/balance sheet!
There’s tons of other features but these are my personal favourites. If you’ve got money coming in from your blog (even if it’s just a little), I’d definitely recommend giving Wave a go.
The Investment: 100% FREE! No frills, no fuss - when they say free, they mean free!
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