Top 5 Blogging Essentials
If you're new to blogging, or have been thinking about getting into blogging there are a few things you need to know: Blogging is something you dedicate your time to, and so it must be something you actually enjoy doing. Everyone gets into that creative slump once in a while where they lose inspiration on what to write about, that's okay you'll get back on your feet. And lastly (well there's a lot more but for the focus on this post these are the top 3), you're going to need apps/resources to make blogging a whole lot easier.
In my 4 years as a professional blogger, and now as a full-fledged full time blogger, I've come to realize that I've relied on apps and resources to help me progress and get some work done on my blog. I honestly could not live without these guys, and I think my 5 blogging essentials will help you too!
I wrote about CoSchedule a few days ago, it's basically a WordPress plugin/web app that you can use as a blog editorial calendar and social meda scheduler for all your blog posts. I love this because it keeps my entire blog and social media postings organized, and it's hella convenient. So, if you see social media posts on my blog entries, you can be sure it was posted through CoSchedule. So I can be away for the weekend, but the updates can still be posted without me having to touch a computer. You can try it for free for 14 days, and after that you can decide if you want to subscribe to the service or not. On the second day of my trial, I knew that it was love. I'm subscribed to it for one year.
Every blogger knows to check their site stats for traffic and the behavior of said traffic. I use both Jetpack (for WordPress) and Google Analytics to keep track of how many unique views I get per day/week/month and it's usually because I like to compete with myself and I feel a little accomplished if I managed to beat my stats from the day/week/month before. Keeping track of your site stats can help a lot with growing your blog because you get a look into what works and doesn't work for your blog, which posts engage more readers, and it can even tell you which days are best to upload entries based on the average traffic each day gets. For example, my best days to post blog entries for my demographic would be on weekdays, and hardly ever on Saturdays. I think this is because Saturday is when most people choose to go out and hangout with friends and do whatever, instead of staying home to browse the internet (except for me, because I never really go out haha)
I like to use both Jetpack and Google Analytics and have both plugins on my WordPress dashboard. It's very important to note that you should always take your site stats with a grain of salt! Never take it too seriously and don't let it affect the way you blog. Treat it as a guide, but don't ever let it rule your blogging.
This photo editing tool for iOS/Android is my favorite. I never ever ever upload any photo on my blog without editing first and foremost with VSCOcam. I think well edited and themed (meaning the edit style) photos on your blog help in creating more quality content. Edited photos just look 100x better. There's no doubt it.
And if you're wondering what my favorite preset is? A6. Even better? It's free! Yay! I don't use A6 for all my photos though, I always experiment with different ones to see what kind of mood I want for the photo, so I would encourage you to experiment and find what kind of style you feel you like best -- afterall, your blog is supposed to be a reflection of you! So if you like that fade effect, go for it!
4. Unsplash (Free Stock Images)
Sometimes we just don't have the right photos to use on our blog posts. Take the photo I used for this blog entry for example. Unsplash is a free stock image resource site that is beautifully curated, and the photos are contributions from different photographers from around the world. You're free to use these images, to alter, edit and do whatever you please with them. Just double check if the photographer requests you to credit them back (most of them don't, as far as I've noticed). When you can't or don't have your own photos, don't hesitate to use the beautiful images on Unsplash. They're there exactly for you.
I hardly pin anything, let alone create boards, but Pinterest is a great resource for blogging tips, tutorials, design resources, fonts, etc. Majority of people I know use it for their fashion/beauty/DIY inspirations but me? I rely on it to stay updated with resources for my blog. To get you started, go to Pinterest and start searching terms like: "Blogging tips" and "fonts typography" enjoy and pin away!
I love Pocket because it's convenient all-around for saving articles I want to read later. So if I come across an article that inspires me, a recipe that I might want to try later on, or an article I don't have time to read at that very moment, I simply save it on Pocket and access it later on. I use the app both on my desktop browser and on my phone. They both sync across both devices, so you can read your saved articles on the go. The best part? You can read the articles while you're offline!
I only started to appreciate Bloglovin when I downloaded the app on iOS. Currently, it's the best app for me to stay updated with some of my favorite blogs, as well as stay updated with current trends in the fashion/beauty/lifestyle/travel blog niche. My favorite thing on Bloglovin is discovering other great blog posts to read in their Featured section.
An Ideas notebook/app
Sometimes your inspiration just strikes out of no where. WRITE. IT. DOWN. I've made the mistake on too many times of thinking, "Oh that's a great idea. I'll remember that for later." No. You'll never remember. Your train of thought for this particular blog post idea will never be the exact same as the very moment you have it. Write it down so you won't forget and be detailed about it. Carry around a small notebook or use your notes app on your phone. Just jot it down. You'll thank yourself for it later!
I wanted to make sure that Pinterest and Bloglovin made it to this list, because theyre really my number 1 sources for inspiration! As a lifestyle blogger, believe it or not, the writing slump gets to me. I have all these ideas floating around in my head but sometimes the rest of it just doesn't flow or work. I turn to Pinterest or Bloglovin for some creative inspiration for upcoming posts, and they really do help! The more you expose yourself to other blogs, the more you allow your brain to brew ideas.
Have you got a blogging essential that isn't on my list? Let me know, I'm always looking to expand my apps and resources, and other readers might make use of it too! :)