It wasn’t until I was helping my boyfriend, Matt with all his social media promotion for his new Youtube channel that I realised how many tools I actually use to run my blog. There are so many useful tools and resources out there that are really beneficial for us bloggers. Whether you need help improving your content, changing up your design or need to be more efficient with your social media activity, there’s a tool out there to help. Today I’ve got 6 of my most used blogging tools and resources that are completely free for bloggers to share with you:
1. Word counter – I use the platform blogger to host my blog and nowhere on there is a tool to check my word count for each blog post I create. This can sometimes be a problem for me as I have the tendency to waffle on and always want to know how many words I’m writing for SEO purposes. I read an article once (I can’t remember where!) that said you should be aiming to write between 1,000-1,500 for your posts to boost you higher in Google rankings. So the tool I use to help with this is on the site Word Counter. This useful tool works by you copying and pasting in your post, which it will then show you how many words and characters you have used within your post. It’s really quick and easy to use and gives me a good guide as to where I am at if a post is half done, or I think I’ve finished but feel like I may need to add more if things look sparse.
2. Headline Analyser – This next one I use again for SEO purposes and also to improve the quality of my post titles. Aside from the introduction, the titles of my posts are something I also struggle with from time to time. Some titles just stick with me and work, others it can take a while for me to come up with them. A headline analyser like this one from Coschedule is perfect at showing me which one will work best. You just type in your ideas one by one into the analyser and then it shows you the results of the headline. It gives you a brief guide into your overall score out of 100 and the categories your score is made up of known as common, uncommon, emotional and power. In these categories it shows you what scores you should be aiming for and what each one means. It’s super useful and also enables me to be more creative with my headlines because it lights a spark of inspiration!
3. Canva – After PicMonkey stopped offering its services for free, I switched over to Canva to help me with all the design elements of blogging. There are so many useful templates to use to help you create the designs you need. There’s ones for your social media and blog headers, your icons and logos or any graphics you want for Pinterest. You can also create your own media kits, Instagram and Twitter posts, thumbnails for Youtube and so much more. There’s everything you can think of on there. It’s also really easy to use. You can really experiment with your designs and fall in love with the whole creating site of blogging that you might have found challenging before. It’s definitely a must to check out!
4. Shopstyle collective – If you’ve ever seen bloggers using the hashtag #AF or mentioned the words ‘affiliate’ you might have been wondering what the hell it means or even how you even manage to share these type of links. Well there are certain affiliate programmes (a specific URL that contains an ID or username. Affiliate programmes use affiliate links to record the traffic that is sent to the advertisers webstite) setup for bloggers and influencers to share affiliate links on behalf of brands. For example, if you see your favourite blogger share a link to the dress she just bought from ASOS and she’s used #AF you know she’s using an affiliate link through a programme. Shopstyle is one of these programmes that you can sign up to as a blogger and share links to items you love or are wishing for on behalf of brands. You can also earn a small commission of money from doing this. It’s really easy to use and also keeps everything on your site looking super professional if you decide to use a widget in your post like below.
5. Lightroom (app) – Towards the end of 2017, I was feeling a little fed up and down about Instagram and my photos. I knew I needed to change something up to get myself back into a good place. I’d seen a couple of bloggers mention lightroom before, but I’ve never had the funds to be able to afford the programme on my computer. When I saw that they do a FREE mobile app, I quickly downloaded it and I haven’t looked back since. It’s an amazing tool for editing photos and getting them exactly the way you want them to look. If you’ve been struggling with your shooting this winter, lightroom will make any dark and gloomy looking photo like a bright airy one. At first I thought it would be hard to edit with, but it’s really quick and easy to learn. Now I use it all the time!
6. UNUM – On the same sort of topic of Instagram and photos, last year I also discovered the UNUM app which has been the biggest help for me as a perfectionist. This app really helps you to order and arrange your photos before you put them live on your Instagram feed. You can see what photos work best together and what photos will fit in where on your current grid. This is a great tool if you want to be more organised and trial any new themes or a new editing style. This has been such a big help and actually a time saver. It avoids you having to delete your photos as soon as you upload if they don’t look right hoping no one has seen. Instead you can do it without anyone seeing before you go to upload it over on Instagram.
What’s your favourite blogging tool?