What tools do you need to grow your blog? What should you prioritise when you’re just getting started? Here are the best tools to get you going!
Last week we covered niches, and whether to niche or not. I explained about the benefits of having one, but also the benefits of not niching it up.
Today though, I’d like to show you the best blogging tools to get you going. It’s completely your choice whether you decide to take me up on these, but this is just what has worked for me.
So, in no particular order, here are the best tools I’ve come across in my 1.5 years of blogging:
**FYI, this post contains affiliate links which means I ma receive a commission if you sign up using one of them. This is at no extra cost to yourself, and I only share links which I know you will like**
Growing your email list
Having an email list early on is something that you’ll read on most of the big blogging sites. As a newbie, I couldn’t understand why this was so important.
But I knew that eventually I would want to take this little blog further and create an income with it. They explained that your email list would be what you need to do this.
After doing a tonne of research, I found the general consensus was that a list of email subscribers = potential customers who are interested in what you have to offer.
Not only this it gives your readers another way to connect with you. If you wanted to you could email them asking for feedback to improve your blog, provide them with sneak peeks adding more value to them, and more. The possibilities to your mailing list is endless.
The only con about all of this is that you have to put in the effort to email them occasionally. In all honestly though, I love this part of blogging! You get to develop a real connection with your readers and it feels much more personal.
The possibilities to your mailing list is endless.
So, some people call a mailing list a gold mine purely because of the potential you have. As a person who browses blogs on the regular, I sign up to other people’s newsletters if it is something that interests me. Your readers may also want to do the same thing (but you might not have one yet).
This is why I’d recommend starting early if you can. There’s lots to choose from when it comes to picking your email marketing service, all with their pros and cons. The service I use, however, is Mailerlite. I’ve had direct experience with Mailchimp and switched shortly after to Mailerlite for a number of reasons. But let’s stick to the positive stuff!
So if you know a little bit about email marketing then you may have heard about Mailerlite. I use this throughout this blog (including the free eCourse I offer) as you can send out automatic emails to your subscribers whenever they join one of your lists.
You just need to create an opt-in box and Mailerlite does the rest for you (once you’ve chosen the frequency of emails, etc.).
I don’t want to go into too much detail on this (as this post would end up being thousands of words long!), but Mailerlite offers you 1000 free unique subscribers before you start paying for the service.
This gives you a chance to test out their features, and pay nothing unless you hit the 1k subscriber mark.
Interested? Click here to sign up now.
For those who like to be productive and on point, the next few sites are for you. Being organised as a blogger can either be a blessing or a curse. For those that beat themselves up about the little things, these two tools will help you out.
P.s. Please don’t beat yourself up over your blog. Remember that if you’ve already started your blog, you’re ahead of someone people right now! Oh, and nothing will ever be perfect. Don’t fear failure either, OK?!
Keeping notes via Evernote
For those that find their best ideas crop up at the most inconvenient time, Evernote is for you. I have their app on my phone, which automatically syncs up with the web version. This means I can always refer back to anything I’ve written on the app, at all times.
Please don’t beat yourself up over your blog. Remember that if you’ve already started your blog, you’re ahead of someone people right now!
Do you know what, too? Maybe you fancy writing a whole blog post on your lunch (or at least start one anyway), or maybe you’re just sat watching TV and an idea crops up? This is why Evernote is perfect. Just pick it up, type away and know it’s saved ready for you for the next time you need it.
If you’re a blogger now, you’ll probably be aware of your grammar, punctuation and spelling. No-one is perfect (even me, hahah) so sometimes we need a little helping hand with certain tasks. Enter, Grammarly.
This tool can be installed into your browser, as an extension, and has premium features if you’re interested in that. Personally, I use this almost everyday. I use it for blog posts mainly, but you can just copy test into their website to check for errors.
Although for the most part a blog is to do with your writing, images and creating your own graphics play a role in your blog, too.
When it finds issues with your text, it highlights the word/punctuation and tells you what you should change it to. Most of the time it’s pretty accurate (even more so than Microsoft’s Word program, too), but you can choose not to go with their suggestion.
It’s definitely worth giving this company a go if you want to brush up on your language. Honestly, it got to a point where I actually learned grammar skills following using Grammarly. I got fed up of seeing red lines everywhere that I learned the use of commas. Great stuff!
Although for the most part a blog is to do with your writing, images and creating your own graphics play a role in your blog, too. After all, human beings process images at a much faster rate than we do text. Ever heard of the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? That’s because we process visuals much quicker than words.
Take this useful graphic I found on Business 2 Community:
As you can imagine, it’s good to get into creating your own graphics for your blog. I’m going to explain how below!
The first step is to finding some quality stock photos that have a free licence to modify. The best one I’ve found so far is VisualHunt.com. I’ve tried out quite a few and this one trumps IMO.
I’ve found some really great quality images that don’t need attribution (some do though, but they help you with this if that is the case), and all of my blog images use royalty free images from VisualHunt.
Once you’ve found one that you like, go ahead and download it so you can use it as part of your blog posts.
Now that you’ve got the perfect image for your post, you can start using it in Canva. Don’t know what Canva is? Well, it’s probably one of the best free image editing websites out there right now. You can choose to purchase their own images for a $, or just stick with the free stuff if you’re just getting started.
You might not be happy with your first attempts at creating your images. I’ve only just figured out my image style now… 18 months after starting.
If you aren’t sure what size image to go for your main blog image, stick with 800px by 1200px. Pinterest likes this size image (more on that next week), and generally look better when bigger.
You might not be happy with your first attempts at creating your images. I’ve only just figured out my image style now… 18 months after starting. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not completely happy with the first attempts. If it helps, check out Pinterest for some inspiration.
Please don’t copy other people’s ideas though, we all know that’s not fair!
As you can imagine, I’ve only just scratched the surface when it comes to blogging tools and resources. But these are the websites/apps that I use myself on a regular basis. Give them a go and see how you feel. If they don’t work for you, that’s okay too.
Hopefully this has been useful for you! Let me know what you think in the comments below. See you next week!
Jess x x