I’m a full time professional blogger making well over six figures a year – find out the blogging tools I cannot live without!
I get asked about my favorite blogging tools frequently. I’ve been blogging for a long time in the grand scheme of things (just call me Methuselah), so I think I get asked for this reason and because I’ve tried every tool in the book . . . and I definitely have.
Well, besides the ones that are popping up every day (at least that’s what it feels like!). That’s actually why I wrote this article.
With all of the new apps and websites being developed constantly, I’ve definitely found my tried and true blogging tools that I use on a daily basis. And I’m sharing them with you.
If you are new to my blog and don’t know me, I’m a full-time, professional blogger for over eight years now . . . and I make over six figures a year doing it.
I personally use all of the blogging tools below as of the date of this article, and will be updating frequently with changes and new information.
I’m excited to finally share my “behind-the-scenes” tools with you – and I can’t wait to hear if you use them too! Here they are.
Post Planner – this is my GO-TO site for increasing engagement on Facebook! Post Planner helps you find popular content on Facebook that you can share on your own page . . . and it also lets you specify pages to follow so that you can see their most popular content as well. I wrote an article all about it! See it here. You can also hook Twitter up to Post Planner which is pretty cool. I LOVE.
Social Warfare – a good social plugin is REALLY hard to find, at least in my opinion. I feel like I’ve found an awesome one in Social Warfare. SW allows you to customize your social share buttons in the colors and shapes you like – and show total shares. You can place them where you like in your posts. AND you can specify the images you’d like shared (and the text!) for Pinterest and Facebook/G+! They have a popular posts widget and some other fun features like Google Analytics (so you can see what your shares are doing. I’m obsessed with Social Warfare and I think you will be too.
Tailwind – this is my #1 Pinterest management tool, hands down! Pinterest is such a huge part of my blog traffic – I take care of it as I would a child. I love the ability to create a queue and add posts to it with one click – I love the analysis tools. They recently added the ability to discover content and then even more recently – Tribes. Tribes let you share content with friends easily.
Tailwind is plugged into the Pinterest API, which means they have a great relationship with Pinterest and we get the benefits of that relationship (learn more about that here). They are also great with responding to messages and incorporating suggestions. Tailwind 4EVER.
IFTTT – this acronym stands for “If This, Then That.” Think of cause and effect to understand this tool. For example, IF you post to Instagram, THEN it automatically posts to Twitter as a photo. This is accomplished through “recipes,” and it automates some of your most common social media tasks. You can do things like automatically post blog posts to Tumblr, send all your Pinterest pins to a Google doc spreadsheet, and WAY more.
Buffer – I don’t use Twitter or Google+ a TON these days, but I manage them both through Buffer App. The Individual plan is free (the Awesome plan costs $10 per month), and you can connect one profile for each social account (one Twitter, one Facebook, one Google+ and one LinkedIn). You can also store up to 10 posts for each profile at any given time.
If you upgrade to the Awesome plan, you can:
- Connect 10 social profiles, not just one for each
- Feed 15 RSS feeds into your account
- Store up to 100 posts in your Buffer
I’m considering canceling my Buffer account in favor of Post Planner which I mentioned above. If that happens, I’m not sure how I will save updates to Google+ (maybe HootSuite) – but as of now, I’m using Buffer so I’m including it. It’s a tool you may want to check out to see if it works for you (especially the free account!).
MailChimp – I truly believe every blogger needs a newsletter – and it doesn’t have to be intimidating! Most bloggers know why they need newsletters . . . social media can change, but you’ll always have those email addresses, right? Newsletter subscribers are typically your most loyal readers, and their weekly readership can drive some serious traffic.
If you don’t have a newsletter, get one ASAP. MailChimp offers up to 2,000 subscribers for free, and you can set up an RSS campaign that’s formatted like a “real” newsletter to go out once a week. It doesn’t have to be a lot of work, and MailChimp has great customer service!
Another service that bloggers are using and love? ConvertKit. ConvertKit starts at $29 a month for 1,000 subscribers (or less) and is made just for bloggers. It’s fabulous too!
Optinmonster – I purchased Optinmonster to work with MailChimp, though it works with a lot of mail providers. It’s a lead generation tool that makes it a breeze to collect e-mail addresses through opt-in forms. I use the exit-intent pop-up tool, which is the tool for people who hate pop ups! It doesn’t come up until someone is about to leave the page anyway. Cool, right? This is how I get most of my newsletter signups.
HelloBar – yet another way to get people to sign up for your mailing list. OR visit your Pinterest page, or like your Facebook page, etc. HelloBar puts a bar at the top of your blog that encourages people to take the action that you specify. You can see it at the top of this blog. I use the free version and love it . . . but if you want more options and no branding, there’s a Pro package for cheap.
Basecamp – back in my twenties, I used to be able to remember everything. Then in my thirties, things started to head south . . . and now I can’t remember squat. It doesn’t help that I have multiple blogs, multiple clients, etc. I honestly couldn’t live without Basecamp for project management. One day I’ll have to write an article about how I use it, but until then, you NEED to sign up and learn how. It’s pretty easy once you get a method, and there’s a phone app too. And it’s not that expensive per month for the peace of mind! I spend $20.
Adobe Stock – this is where I’m getting all of my stock photography these days! It used to be Dollar Photo Club but they were acquired by Adobe in 2015. Yes, I pay for stock photography. There are free sites to use, but often times I need an exact photo and the free sites don’t have it – and in that case, I use Adobe Stock. I recommend purchasing a basic Adobe Stock monthly subscription and using that with the free sites. That’s what I do!
Some free photo sites you can try/bookmark:
- Barn Images
- Death to the Stock Photo
- Free Refe Real Life Photos
- Life of Pix
- New Old Stock
- Public Domain Archive
As I start using new tools, I’ll be updating this post. Now that I’ve let you know my favorite blogging tools – I’d love to hear yours in the comments!