Those of you that were loyal fans of my monthly blogging income reports, may have noticed that there hasn’t been an update to them in a few months. Why? Well, some of my agreements with sponsors and ad networks prevent me from being able to fully disclose the amount of money I make. I’ve been trying to figure out how to share the blogger-to-blogger type of information that was in those posts, without sharing my numbers, and I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called Blogging About Blogging. Every now and again, I’ll post about some bloggy topic that is on my mind, in hopes that it can help other bloggers (and other bloggers can help me, too). Feel free to chime in the comments with suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover. This time around, let’s talk tools of the trade.
I started blogging five years ago with a point and shoot camera and a dream. Honestly, you don’t need much more than that to start a blog (learn how here), but if you want to get really serious about it, you might want to drop some cash on a few other resources. I use a ton of different tools to make this blog function (here is a whole list), but here are the top five that I absolutely could not live without.
If you’re anything like me and have a million blog ideas swirling around in your noggin, CoSchedule is your friend. Not only can you schedule your blog posts in an easy drag-and-drop calendar (which means you can see at a glance when you have posts planned), but it also is a social media scheduler. You can schedule your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ updates straight from CoSchedule.
If you work on multiple blogs, or on a team, CoSchedule is an excellent fit for your blog. You can assign tasks, create deadlines, and set up workflows so your blog work goes off without a hitch. And if you work on multiple blogs, you can see them all in your one CoSchedule account. I write for the Anytime Fitness blog, and I can see all my work for them right in the same CoSchedule account that I use for Wholefully. Easy!
I was blogging back when Pinterest didn’t exist, but I don’t remember what life was like back then. Pinterest is everything now! Pinterest accounts for about 50% of all my blog traffic. Hundreds of thousands of people show up here every month thanks to a little thumbnail they saw on Pinterest. So to say I take Pinterest seriously is an understatement. Pinterest is my bread and butter!
There are a few different services out there that help you schedule pins, but I’m partial to ViralTag. It’s not cheap (clocking in at $29 per month), but considering the amount of traffic I get from Pinterest, I think it’s a worthy investment. In fact, in the last 30 days, traffic from Pinterest has earned me $1174. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay $29 to get nearly $1200 anyday! And if you use this link, you get $15 off your first month.
ViralTag is way too powerful for me to cover in this post, but I use it mostly for scheduling pins to group boards, and for sharing my friends’ and fellow bloggers’ content. It helps me make sure my content is getting to a large group of people, even if I’m not sitting at a desk.
My entire life is on Dropbox. I don’t save anything to my computer anymore—it’s all on the cloud! I love Dropbox because there are no special steps to get things uploaded and backed up. All I do is save it to a folder on my computer, and then the Dropbox app automagically uploads everything to my Dropbox account—then I can access those files anywhere, anytime from any device. Dropbox also has automated backups and restores, which has saved my bacon more than once!
I pay for an upgraded account because I store so much on Dropbox, but you can start off with a free account, and get a good chunk of space to test it out. I store all my personal and business related files there.
If I store my whole life in Dropbox, then I organize my whole life using Google Drive. Specifically, using spreadsheets in Google Drive. I use them for everything from social media schedules to project budgets to tracking the viral nature of a post.
I love how easy Google Drive makes it to share documents and collaborate on them with multiple people. I also love that it is free, super easy to use, and connected to my Google account.
There are a lot of powerful tools on this list, but nothing quite compares to the power of the Adobe Creative Cloud. For $9.99 per month, you can have access to both Lightroom and Photoshop (the only tools I use to edit my photos and create graphics for my blog). If you step it up to $49.99 per month, you can get the entire Creative Suite—which gives you both InDesign (which is great for creating printables and designing eBooks) and Dreamweaver (which is a great tool if you are working on the CSS or HTML of your blog).
I’ve used the Adobe Creative Suite since it first came out, and I’ve used Photoshop since the 90s. It’s the only way to go for photo editing and graphics creation. I couldn’t live without CS! In my humble opinion as a graphic designer, photographer, and blogger, the Adobe Creative Suite is the only way to go for graphics software. Don’t even look anywhere else.
Like I said, those are just a few of my must haves, but the full list of resources I use for blogging is much longer. There are so many tools I love, so cutting it down to five was rough!