5 Blog Tools That Make Blogging Easier

With the exception of my six-month hiatus, I’ve been blogging for over four years, and I’ll be the first to tell you, it ain’t easy.  Over the years, I’ve learned how to utilize various tools and resources to make blogging easier and more efficient.  Today, I want to share five of my favorite blog tools with you, in no particular order.

blog easier
Before I share information about each of these blog tools, let me just say that there are literally thousands of tools that any blogger can use to help them be better bloggers.  Obviously I can’t go over every single tool I use, but these are my most-frequented sites.

#1 MailChimp

mailchimp1MailChimp is my tried-and-true newsletter service, and I {heart} them very much.  I’ve been using the free version of MailChimp since 2011, and I’ve never had a single issue.  I’m able to create professional newsletters using their drag-and-drop editing, with no software to download.  I can easily change the layout or create my own newsletter templates to use again and again.

mailchimp2Upon logging into MailChimp, you are taken to your dashboard, where you can gauge the activity on your recent campaigns, as well as get a look at your top 5 best performing campaigns.  MailChimp tells you how many opens and clicks you get from each campaign, and also how you compare to the industry average.

On the left sidebar, you have a menu from which you can view your list of campaigns, templates available, your mailing list, etc.

mailchimp3When creating a newsletter, you have options on the right that allow you to drag and drop sections into your newsletter, then edit to your liking.  On the left, you see a live view of your actual newsletter.  You can edit colors, fonts, upload images, add social media icons, share buttons, and tons more.

The customization options are endless, and it’s even better that it’s completely free up to 2000 subscribers.  Check out MailChimp HERE and subscribe to my own newsletter HERE.

#2 PicMonkey

Picmonkey1I can’t sing the praises of PicMonkey enough.  It’s seriously that awesome.  And with the new option to use any font in the universe, it just became awesome-er.  PicMonkey allows you to edit photos, sure, but it’s so much more than that.  For bloggers, PicMonkey allows you to create logos, printables, collages, and any image you might need for a blog post, series, or sidebar image.

picmonkey2
Every graphic you see, from my header to my watermark, was created with PicMonkey.  The tools provided allow you to create PNG or JPG files, edit colors, exposure, resize your image, sharpen it, and on and on.  The editing possibilities are endless.  There is a free version, but I’ve been using the Royale version for about two years or more and I’ll never go back.  For only $33 per year, Royale gives you every option available, and it’s totally worth it in my opinion.

Sign up for Picmonkey HERE.

#3  Workflowy

workflowy1Remember back in school when you learned how to make outlines in order to write a paper?  That’s essentially what Workflowy is – a giant, endless, outline of everything in your brain.  I love Workflowy for the simple fact that I can open up my account and just start typing.  Whatever is in my head, wherever my train of thought takes me, I can put it in there and organize it later.

workflowy2I use Workflowy to keep track of my ideas for any home decorating or remodeling, an outline of blog series I might do later, or anything else that pops into my head.  Each dot is one item and they can be dragged and dropped wherever you want to move them.  Once an item has been completed, simply hover over the dot and click “Completed” and Workflowy moves it off of your active list and into your completed list, which stays hidden unless you want to see it.

It’s simple, it’s effective, it’s clean and clutter-free.  It’s exactly what my brain needs when I have ideas pouring and just need to get them onto virtual paper.  Get Workflowy HERE.

When I need a little more than what Workflowy can provide, that’s where my next tool comes into play.

#4  Evernote

evernoteThe little elephant in their logo is the perfect symbol for Evernote – you’ll never forget anything if you put it in here.  It’s very quickly becoming my go-to tool, and is a tab that I keep open all day on my computer.

evernote3Evernote allows you to create endless notebooks and stacks.  Think of it in non-digital format.  Let’s say you designate one notebook for every topic you need – one for blog post ideas, another for blog resources or tutorials, and another for newsletter ideas.  If you put them all into one stack, you might call that stack “Blog Stuff”, and it contains all three of those notebooks.

Evernote does that in digital format.  Create stacks for each main topic, then a notebook for subtopics.  Organize it in whatever way works for you.  Keep notes, links to websites, images, screenshots, etc. all in one place for easy reference later.  You can even set reminders and Evernote will notify you of your entry.

evernote2Probably the coolest feature of Evernote is the bookmark tool.  Any time you are perusing the internet and you come across something you want to refer back to later, click on your little elephant in the corner of your toolbar and a column opens up with several options.

From this menu, you are able to tell Evernote exactly what to keep from this website – the entire article, a simplified version of the article, the full page, a bookmark, or a screenshot.  Then, you select the notebook you want it to go to, and any tags and comments you need to add, then save.

I currently use the free version and get 60MB of storage each month.  The premium version is $45 per year, or $5 per month, and allows for more storage space, plus other options like offline tools and collaboration tools for team projects.  Get Evernote HERE.

#5  Buffer App

buffer1
Buffer makes social sharing so easy it’s stupid.  I discovered Buffer about a year ago when my HootSuite account got hacked and I closed it.  In retrospect I’m glad it happened because I’ve come to rely on Buffer’s sharing capabilities.  Connect your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, App.net, and Google Plus accounts, then set schedules for sharing to each one.

buffer4Buffer provides suggested schedules for each account, but you have the ability to create your own schedule based on your readership.  The free account allows you to create one schedule that stays the same each day.  If you upgrade, you can change the schedule daily.  Personally, I don’t need all that jazz.  The free version has worked just fine for me so far.

buffer2After setting your schedule, you just start adding posts to each account.  They go in your queue and will be sent out in order.  You can drag your queued posts to rearrange their posting times, too.

buffer3Buffer also gives you stats on your posts, telling you how much your post was shared and the reach of each post.  These numbers can help you create a more effective posting schedule on each social media platform.

Now if they’ll just add Pinterest and Instagram, it would be heaven!  Check out Buffer HERE.

Hopefully some of these tools will help make blogging easier for you.  If you’d like a more in-depth tutorial on any of these, let me know and I’ll be happy to whip something up for you.

Any other tools that are your favorites for blogging?  Share in the comments below.

16 Responses

  1. I love all of your suggestions! I’ve used and loved Buffer but was told that I had sent my 200 posts and couldn’t do any more for free. Are you using the free or pay version? I would think you’ve done more than 200 posts but I’m just checking.
    Carrie
    carrie@neatsmart.com

  2. Hey Carrie! I do have the free account with Buffer. I can only schedule up to 10 posts at a time with the free account, but that works for me right now. If I upgrade to the Awesome Plan, that one allows you to schedule up to 100 posts at a time. I haven’t heard of a 200 post limit. You may want to contact them if you’ve had issues in the past. Thanks!

  3. You’re very welcome Jennifer! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

  4. Wow, thank you so much for sharing! Workflowy is exactly the kind of thing I’ve been looking for for organization purposes!

  5. I appreciate the details and dream of the day there will be a one stop posting source for ALL our social media including IG and Pinterest! I know, I am probably in Lala land☺️ Have you found anything new that you can’t live without since this post?

    Thank you so much!

  6. Hey Diane! So sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you! Actually, I’m glad you asked that – I think I need to plan a follow-up to this post with my new additions. I absolutely depend on Google Drive for storage of ebooks I download, images and forms, and my editorial calendar. And my newest favorite thing is my Mastermind group – it’s me and 4 other women who are all in the online business spectrum but not necessarily DIY bloggers, but we all set monthly goals and hold one another accountable, and help each other acheive our goals and promote our businesses. It’s amazing! Hope that helps!

Comments are closed.

MEET KIRSTEN

I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!

CATEGORIES

FEATURED VIDEO

Darling Theme

Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite