Are you a new blogger who is totally fed up with TRYING to figure out which tools are helpful and which are just, well, crap?
I’ve been overwhelmed too, and I see a lot of people diving into this world.
So here are my must-have best blogging tools that I use everyday.
I have loved Evernote for years now. My thoughts are categorized into a beautiful, searchable database.
I initially started with my PhD. Every book I ever read. Written up in Evernote with the title. I now have a digital library of thousands of books that I used.
But now, I use Evernote on my phone. I create posts with it. Usually, it’s while my kids are at the park, playing on the swings or the slide. And I’m composing blog posts, talking into my phone like a secret agent.
You could use OneNote or something else, it’s just personal preference.
I discovered Zotero in my first year of grad school. An older student told me about it, and I smartly said, “It’s fine. I don’t mind typing them out. I have the formatting memorized.”
She laughed and said, “If you want to waste all your time, it’s your call.”
She was right. I finally bit the bullet and tried it and it changed my life. 10 pages of thesis end notes, and I hit a key and my bibliography was generated in seconds.
I use it now when I cite stuff, which isn’t actually all that much. But It’s still easy to store sources and go back to it. What was that policy article on PhDs again?
Oh yeah. ctrl-alt-A.
There it is.
Do you spend all your time hanging out on social media? Are you trying to build authority, but spending more time composing and sharing social posts than actually working on your craft–whatever it is?
Then maybe you need a social media scheduler.
There are a whole bunch of them. Twitter’s native scheduler, TweetDeck, is great. Facebook also has a great scheduler too, you’ll find it under “Publishing Tools” if you manage a page.
But sometimes, schedulers that post across multiple platforms are great.
And the one that I use is Hootsuite. You can get a free account and try it, you can have 2 streams for free. I use it for Roostervane, which has like 6 different social media streams, so I pay for it every month.
It lets you publish across platforms with one click–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. It has saved me a ton of time and helped me build a following.
If you’ve spent any time hanging out on podcasts or reading blogs about online business, you’ll hear people talking about email lists. They’re vital, or so they say.
And for a long time, I used MailChimp. Or, to put it more truthfully, I didn’t use it. I collected emails, sort of, but I never sent any out. I found it tricky to use, and I never actually figured it out.
ConvertKit was a lifesaver. It really was.
It made collecting emails easy, but I could also really simply set automatons and schedules–you’ve probably gotten one of these if you’re on the Roostervane mailing list.
Believe it or not, I don’t hit send on 500 emails every day. The machine does it.
Of course, MailChimp does this too. Obviously. But ConvertKit did it better and easier and that’s why they won me as a customer.
If you’re starting a blog or website, you need hosting.
Of course, you can use a free blogging service that will give you a place to store your blog, but it will be yourname.blogspot.com or something like that.
Honestly, if you’re going to do this I’d probably just go with Medium or LinkedIn. They look beautiful and they have audiences attached.
But if you want to build your blog or website into an asset that you own, and can even monetize someday, I’d recommend paying for hosting. It can cost as little as a few dollars a month.
I built Roostervane with Bluehost. They’re an amazing host, and that’s why I recommend them. Their customer service was always amazing, and so many times I jumped on the live chat an they helped me.
And I use the built in content management system, WordPress, for everything. It’s a bit more complicated than some drag and drop platforms, but honestly, it’s so amazing and customizable, and the majority of the world’s websites run on it.
My blog isn’t hosted on Bluehost anymore, I switched to a host called Kinsta. It’s faster and better, but also costs me $50 a month. If you’re just starting out, that’s an absurd amount to pay. Start with Bluehost.
Elementor is a page-builder tool for WordPress. WordPress comes with themes, and you can pick one when you install it in Bluehost.
It used to be that, if you wanted your blog to look a bit nicer, you’d pay for a premium WordPress theme. Now’days (okay grandpa) theme builders are the norm.
Instead of install a nice theme, Elementor makes your WordPress website customizable… you can build something from scratch or pick from templates.
It’s easy enough to make anyone feel like a web designer.
If you build it, they will come… probably. But how will you know if they actually came? This is where Google Analytics comes in handy. It’s free. Basically what happens is that you install a piece of code on your site (you can do it with a free plugin like Monster Analytics if you’re a beginner), and it will track users: where they come from, how long they stay, and where they go.
It’s really important data for any website, and it’s good to learn how to use Analytics now.
Like its cousin Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a free and essential tool for bloggers. Its main purpose is to track your SEO–essentially telling you when your blog shows up in Google searches, how frewuantly, and how much it gets clicked on.
Trello is an organizational tool that can help you plan projects. To be honest, I do use Trello, but I struggle with it. I’m not a naturally organized person. But Trello does help me to keep my projects and goals in line.
Adobe Spark Post is straight up amazing! If you are trying to create images for either a blog or social, it can help you get professional-looking images in seconds!
And, the best part, the basic version is free!
Check it out, and watch how it shaves the time off of creating beautiful things online.
These are my favorite online tools. They make my life so much easier, and I use them pretty much every day. So if you’re looking for the best blogging tools, look no further. These are all fantastic! Happy building.