12 Free Apps You Need To Make Your Blogging Life Easier
Now I thought this was a give in but I have spoken to some bloggers recently that don't actually use Twitter to promote their blog so I thought I would. I would say 60-70% of my views on any day come from Twitter, so if you are not using it you could be missing out on some hefty traffic.
For me, Twitter works best when I schedule (see buffer below...) around 6 blog promotion tweets a day. This might seem like a lot but remember that Twitter is chronological (probably until Facebook buy it and ruin everything *cough* Instagram) so you need to be pushing out to your followers regularly to make sure you are reaching as many of them as possible. Tagging retweet accounts like 'Blogging Gals' or 'The Bloggers Hub' is also a great way to reach new audiences.
I think Instagram is amazing for portraying the brand you want your blog to have. It does take a lot of work, effort and consistency to start to really see results from Instagram but it is possible even though we are all very disillusioned by it right now.
Last month (April 2017) I posted on Instagram every day for roughly 2 weeks and my following grew by about 200. You can post a couple of images from a single blog post over a couple of days giving you a few opportunities to remind people to check it out.
I feel like people either totally get Pinterest and thrive on it, or you don't understand it at all and just re-pin some pretty living rooms every now and again. I am definitely in the latter category, but I have been trying to make an effort to repin at least a couple of things a day just to stay active. My favourite board to pin to is my 'Blogging Tips' board so whilst I don't rely on this for getting traffic, I do rely on it a lot for learning about blogging, SEO and social media.
Think of this as your blogger search engine.
I use this as a Twitter follower tracker. Some people hate these and some people have no problem with them so if you hate them, look away now.
This app is very different from using 'bots' and doesn't automate activity. It shows accounts that have followed you so you can follow back if you want, it shows you unfollowers and it also shows you accounts that you are following that have been inactive for over a month. I go through this maybe once or twice a month and just tidy things up. I know and you know that blogging is not and should not be a numbers game but if you're like me and do enjoy watching your accounts grow then this will definitely help you.
Hootsuite is an app as well as a desktop site that you can use to schedule up to 30 tweets at a time for your social media accounts. You can use it to schedule Facebook posts too. Scheduling posts is an amazing way to keep visitors coming to your site, even when you're not necessarily available to promote. I would say most of my views come from scheduled promo tweets so if you don't do it already, I'd definitely recommend downloading Hootsuite and giving it a try.
UNUM is a game changer for planning your Instagram. It gives you a live preview of what your feed will look like when you upload new pictures, lets you pre-type hashtags and gives you a simple notification when it's time to post and what is REALLY handy is it saves all the hashtags you use so when you create captions on it you have a little bank of your previously used hashtags that you can add with one tap. It also only lets you add 30 hashtags which is the limit that Instagram will recognise.
PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING
I use this app by Adobe to edit every single one of my blog or Instagram pics. If you are a total photography newbie like me then this will make everything super simplistic for you. It allows you to adjust all the usual settings of a photo like exposure, saturation, brightness, shadows etc. and has allowed me to get to grips with some really basic editing features.
Although I only use one feature on this app, it's a game changer. I use the whitening feature which is meant to be to whiten teeth, to make my backgrounds white on Instagram. Thank me later.
I use this to add text to photos or to create headers and similar things. I made my blog header using it actually! There are loads of fonts and layouts to choose from and they have pre-selected dimensions for most social media things. So, if you want to create a Twitter header you just go on to this and choose the 'Twitter Header' dimension and it lets you see exactly how it will look on your profile.
This is also really good for creating a 'pinnable' image for a blog post as there are loads of pre-created Pinterest layouts that look really professional.
You can check out Canva with this link!
I use the dropbox app on my phone to back up all my blog photos, it means there are available on my laptop instantly too to save me sending pictures to myself everytime I'm finishing off a blog post.
ANALYTICS AND PLANNING
One of my favourite things about having a self-hosted blog is being able to access google analytics. The app does take a little while to get used to. it's not particularly difficult to use but you do need to know how to get to the information that is most suited for your use. Most likely page views and users. Although I prefer to sit down on my laptop to properly analyse stats, it's handy to be able to quickly and accurately check stats from my phone.
I use a Google spreadsheet to keep my blog totally organised, so everything from my content schedule to my monthly stats is on there. This app makes it really easy to look at a glance and see which posts I have coming up and need to work on, or if I have an idea for the title of a post I can add it to my 'Blog Posts' tab quickly and easily!
Well, that is pretty much every app I use for blogging! What apps do you use? Have you used any mentioned here, or is there something I didn't mention that you can't live without? Let me know in the comments!