So you’ve chosen your platform, set up your blog, and started publishing. What next? As your blog (and your vision) grow, you’ll benefit from additional blogging tools, support, and systems that help you stay focused on what you do best: writing.
Here are a few of my current favourites:
Canva is like a basic form of Photoshop for people who don’t need Photoshop’s advanced features, nor are inclined to learn how to use them. While it doesn’t have super advanced features, it comes with everything you need to make attractive images to complement your blog posts. Using their templates, you can also create everything from posters and ebook covers to infographics and banner ads. One of my favourite Canva features is the “magic resize” button. This enables you to take your blog post image and turn it into images sized for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and many other networks and formats with a single click of a button. This feature (and a few others, including a branding kit) are only available with Canva for Work. If you share your writing through different networks and mediums, the $12 per month will be more than worth the amount of hassle you save.
Similar alternatives: Picmonkey
Trello became one of my favourite blogging tools last year. After reading a post about using Trello for blogging workflows from Natasha Vorompiova, I implemented her suggestions and haven’t looked back. As a visual person, it’s useful to see where I am with current posts at a single glance, and Trello enables me to do this. It’s free for individual users and comes with handy features like checklists that help you streamline your workflow even further. Whenever I outline, write, edit, create images or share a post, I have a checklist for each step of the process so a) I don’t have to keep the process in my head and b) I don’t forget something important along the way. I also keep all my blog and social media images together with the relevant post card.
IFTTT pairs different software and services you’re already using to create automated “recipes.” Each recipe uses the formula “If X, then Y.” For example, if I publish a new blog post, it gets pushed to Twitter with an image. Or, if I publish a new blog post, a new bit.ly link for that post is created within my account. You can also use IFTTT to automate social shares to other networks like Facebook, to do funky things with Google Drive and for personal use (does my weather app say will rain today? If so, send me a text). IFTTT won’t cover all your automation needs, but it’s a great start.
I use Scrivener for most projects, from books, to courses, to running my two blogs (the one you’re reading now and this one). I have a specific Scrivener file for blog posts, where I keep track of ideas, outlines, first drafts, and completed posts. Scrivener is a powerful tool and I don’t use most of its more advanced features (those are mainly aimed at novelists). It’s still a brilliant way to organise your ideas and drafts in one place without getting into a tangle of Google Sheets or Word documents.
ProwritingAid is another one of the brilliant blogging tools I started using recently. It’s invaluable for self-correcting spelling and grammar issues, and highlighting terrible writing habits I’ve picked up over the last few years. I love ProWritingAid, not just because it provides suggestions to improve a particular piece of writing, but because it’s taught me about where I can improve my overall writing style. There’s only so many times you can see countless adverbs underlined in a piece of text before you become much more conscious of how you use them…
What are your favourite blogging tools? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.