The Bumper List of Blogging Tips, Apps and Extensions
Why let Wordpress have all the fun? Just because you haven't made the move, don't mean there aren't 1001 ways to improve your content from Blogger. In this post, I cover my favourite apps and extensions that help me write my blog, take and edit photos and keep up with my social media.
The best bit? Most of the apps mentioned below are completely free and those that don't cost little more than your morning coffee. For reference, I use an iMac, Google Chrome and an iPhone 6. I'll wait whilst you get up the App Store...
For Writing Content
I use the Grammarly Chrome extension for each and every post I write. Not only does it correct simple grammar and spelling mistakes, but phrasing errors too.
Alongside Hemmingboard for Mac to cure my terrible habit of re-using the same word over and over again. It's very easy to use to generate new synonyms, rhymes and puns for your content and you can download a keyboard for iPhone too, making it perfect for writing social media updates.
MozBar is a brilliant Chrome extension for keeping tabs on your page and domain authority after a Google algorithm update. Or if you've rebranded your blog and changed your domain name, like me. You can also view the page and domain authority of other website and blogs your read if you're into target setting.
For the Technical Bit
Stumped by SEO? Learn what it is, why it's important and some easy ways every blogger can use it to improve their content and search rankings here: Basic SEO Tips for Bloggers. This post also includes some rather helpful free tools such as keyword finders and content checkers.
Google's URL Shortener allows you to keep tabs on who is clicking what over on your blog or on social media. If you're not into checking your Google Analytics.
My basic Basic Coding for Bloggers series can teach you the basics of HTML - and soon CSS - so you can start to finally start to fiddle around with your blog's sidebar. Can't wait? Check out this free Codeacademy HTML and CSS course here.
For the basic editing, stick with PicMonkey.
To broaden your spectrum whilst still having access to a bunch of automated features, move onto Polarr - the only exception to the cost of your morning coffee rule. Then, if you're looking for something more powerful and long-term, I'd recommend purchasing a Lightroom subscription.
There are so many websites out there that stock free stock images for those days when you just do not have the time.
You can also read my full post in Instagram App Hacks that teaches you everything from how to achieve the coveted white background to cheating the look of an expensive lens and creating quick, social media graphics using free artwork. All using apps!
Other photography apps I love: Enlight, Afterlight, VSCO and Layout for simple collages
For DesignTo create basic social media graphics from a range of presets, you really can't beat Canva. You'll be showing off your new Twitter header complete with a media kit and Insta-worthy blog promo in no time.
Sellfy has plenty of affordable design assets such as fonts and stock photo packs alongside their newsletter that offers some new freebies each week.
Search for images licenced under the Creative Commons licence here so you're safe to include, and edit, them on your blog.
For Social Media
Being able to upload photos directly from my computer has indeed upped my Instagram game. I use a paid app called InstaMaster that displays Instagram just like it would on your phone. However, if you do a little digging around online there are some free online alternatives such as Deskgram.
Similarly, Image Downloader is a useful extension for 'monthly roundup' type posts and saves you endless time scrolling through your camera roll by adding a handy little download button to your Instagram feed.
Download UnUm to plan your Instagram feed like a pro.
Even if you don't fancy paying for it, the free Buffer Chrome extension allows you to schedule up to 10 updates in a queue so your Twitter feed is never bare. Though, I'd highly recommend shelling out the $10/month if you're a social media fanatic like me. If you batch schedule updates, why not try Hootsuite or Tweetdeck? They're both free and allow you to schedule a large amount of content across multiple accounts.
Manning a group account? Round Team have got your back with options to auto RT certain hashtags and users and tweet via DM. At first, it can be a little buggy, but we've hashed it out and it's been helping our @HullBloggers account tweet for years.
If automated tweets are your thing - I've written all about my love of the Workflow app here that can do everything from tweeting your Instagram images to publishing your social media updates and blog posts instantly across as many networks as you need.
Have I missed something? Comment your favourite blogging tools to have them added to the list. Let's help each other out. To read more posts in my #BloggingHacks series, click here.