I’ve been blogging for a WHILE now. More than a decade, which makes me something of an antique in the blogging world. So, I wanted to give new or struggling bloggers some recommendations for the very best blogging tools that I use in my own business to boost my productivity.
My Best Blogging Tools
One of my biggest strengths is that I am INSANELY PRODUCTIVE. Seriously. This little ol’ grandma can get more shit done in a day than anyone else you know. Part of that is because I’m just a little bit lazy, so I’m always going to find the easiest and most productive way to get things done. Plus, it’s kind of a carry over from my Corporate life. I work for Wells Fargo and I’ve had a 40-year career as a Financial Analyst with them and other firms. My company recently honored me with an award (and a special trip to New Orleans!) ranking me in the top 1% of the company. That was a major honor for me and I was so pleased to be recognized for my accomplishments.
So that’s what I’m bringing to the table. In addition to my very demanding 40-hour work week, I also:
- Run THREE different WordPress websites
- Am an owner or admin for FOUR different Facebook pages
- Run a Facebook group for over 400 bloggers (learn more here)
- Operate TWO different Instagram accounts (Instagram is sooooo not my jam, but I’m tryin’)
- Manage SIX different Pinterest and Tailwind accounts for myself and my clients
- I create THREE different newsletters on two different platforms
- I still do some work as a Scout leader, though not as much as previously, and I sit on the Board of another major charity organization – whew! You tired yet? I AM!
So, yes you might say I’m just a little bit BUSY. But here’s the dealio – in order to get all this stuff done, I’ve got to have the right blogging tools in place to help me.
Disclaimer: These are affiliate links, so if you click them and make a purchase, I’ll get some money from that – might be just a couple bucks, might be more. I think that’s OK – it’s kind of like tipping your waiter. But if you just go straight to the site and sign up, I don’t get a dime (sad face). This is a major way bloggers make their money, so it’s always good karma to try to use an affiliate link when signing up for new tools.
Let’s get to the Blogging Tools
Let’s start with the foundation – the hosting plan. This is the company who gives you webspace to run your site and they can also help you fix some of the problems that might happen with your site. Mine also provides free SSL security, free daily backups and free site scans, unlike my previous host (who shall remain nameless). My top pick is absolutely SiteGround. Go here to my SiteGround post to learn more.
Next is your theme. That’s the software that creates all this pretty background and sets up your header and all your sidebar stuff. I’ve used several themes over the years and some of them were pretty bad. So now I use Bluchic themes on all my websites. This one is the Isabelle theme, which is terrific for bloggers, but they have several others. I like them because they are simple to set up – they have great tutorials and it was super easy to customize my colors and create my header and slider images.
Also, the coding is extremely important so your website is properly mobile responsive, and also resistant to hacker attempts – very important. My last theme WASN’T coded properly, so I had a lot of trouble with it looking terrible on mobile and loading VERY SLOWLY. A good theme costs a bit, but it’s totally WORTH IT.
They also have some professionally designed social media graphics like this one so you can coordinate your look across all the different platforms. I highly recommend having a theme like this – it gives a cohesive and professional feel to your social media.
Once you’ve got a website, you need to get some subscribers and start creating newsletter content. You can’t count on people visiting your website all the time to get your new content, so I use MailerLite to push content out to my subscribers and also to share tips and great deals with them. I had previously used Active Campaign which I HATED. I’ve found MailerLite to be cheaper (it’s FREE up to 1,000 subscribers), easier to use, much PRETTIER, and it just works better. I can even set up multi-step automations on the free plan to send out an Email series to my subscribers. That’s pretty awesome. Since it’s a free tool, you can try it with a small group of subscribers to see how you like it while you are building your list.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Here’s a cool productivity tip for you! I use an Evernote document to keep all my affiliate links and landing page links in one place. Then I’ve got them right at my fingertips anytime I want to share them with another blogger. Smart, huh? ” quote=”Here’s a cool productivity tip for you! I use an Evernote document to keep all my affiliate links and landing page links in one place. Then I’ve got them right at my fingertips anytime I want to share them with another blogger. Smart, huh? ” theme=”style1″]
Obviously, Pinterest is my big traffic source/money maker/obsession. And I really couldn’t do it without Tailwind and don’t think I haven’t tried. In addition to manual pinning, I’ve tested several of the other tools on the marketing and I just didn’t find them as useful and feature-rich as Tailwind. They also have Instagram auto-posting with their patented hashtag finder and now auto-posting to Facebook and Twitter. Plus their Tribes, board lists and analytics are huge time-savers. Their looping feature is now in Beta testing (shhhh, I’ve been secretly ALPHA testing it for them for months now and it’s pretty cool!).
Best of all, I get my Tailwind for FREE and have for years due to their generous referral program. You can’t beat free, especially for a great program like Tailwind.
Of course, my own Ebook is my top recommended blogging tool! Since Pinterest is the best traffic source, your first strategy move is to learn exactly how to use it effectively. I’ve seen so many hours-long courses that cost HUNDREDS of dollars and take you weeks to actually get going. Mama ain’t got time for that! This is a simple Ebook with a couple of short videos, so you can read it and implement it in a weekend and best of all, it’s only $25 bucks. Click here to learn more about it and see my BONUS ITEMS.
There aren’t a lot of courses I recommend. I just don’t have the patience for them, but I think the Micro-Influencer’s Toolbox is definitely one of the best, especially if you are a small site that is just starting out. I am proof that you can make a successful business with a small site and a smallish following. You just have to be strategic and smart and this course teaches you exactly HOW to leverage even a small site to become extremely profitable. It’s still work, but it’s fun to see your income grow and grow. I love to wake up to new money in the morning! I wrote a whole post about the Micro-influencer’s Toolbox. Check it out here.
This is a brand new one I’ve discovered. Hopefully, you’ve seen my MiloTree popup inviting you to Follow me on one of my social media platforms. It’s a simple way to grow your social media Followers with almost no effort. And it takes like 2 minutes to set up. I think it’s quite brilliant and it’s worked extremely well for me. More info about it here.
Well, there you go – my best recommendations for you. If you have any questions or need help, leave me a comment. I’d also love it if you’d share this post with your blogger friends! Sharing is caring…