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I want to cut out extra noise as a blogger.
Sometimes extra noise shows up as extra work. It might be that time spent scheduling Facebook posts becomes time spent scrolling through your Facebook feed. Or your hunt for the perfect Pinterest image becomes a frustrating search that ends in a lackluster photo.
I’ve learned, after many months of doing the exact opposite, that simple is always better. Success comes from sticking with a plan, showing up regularly, and engaging with your audience.
It may seem too easy, but look at any of the experts and you’ll see that it’s true.
People with growing platforms keep everything simple.
There are incredibly helpful blogging tools for keeping things simple. Some of them are paid services or products (though none will break the bank), and some are completely free. I’ve found that the following 10 tools are worth the investment because of the time they save and the noise they reduce.
10 Blogging Tools That Help Keep Things Simple
5 Paid Blogging Tools
1. Tailwind for Pinterest Scheduling
All bloggers must be on Pinterest. However, Pinterest can become a huge time-waster if you’re not careful. It’s a great idea to regularly pin on Pinterest at various times throughout the day, but who has time for that? Or the desire to be on Pinterest all day?
Tailwind has been a lifesaver for me. It keeps my pinning consistent and allows me to spread my message across many group boards throughout the day. It’s easy to set up and the cost is beyond reasonable for the service.
2. Photoshop for Image Creation
Just as you must be on Pinterest, you should also have beautiful, eye-catching images to pin on Pinterest. We live in a visual society, which means that creating appealing images is more important than ever.
To do this, I use Photoshop. When I started blogging, I had no clue how to do anything with the program. So, take heart, anyone can learn to use Photoshop.
3. Essential Grid plugin for Freebies Library Organization
This is not an essential tool, but the plugin does make organizing my freebies library quick and simple. I also use this plugin to showcase my most popular posts on my category pages (you can see that here and here).
Any time I add a new freebie to my library, I simply insert an image with a link to the download. There is no coding, no roadblocks, and no frustration. Plus, the final product looks pretty and matches my overall branding.
Again, if you’re just starting out as a blogger, there is no need to purchase this plugin. But tuck it in the back on your mind for future projects.
4. Convert Kit for Nurturing My Email List
My favorite part of blogging is using Convert Kit. Go ahead and laugh because I know it sounds silly, but I love connecting with my audience, creating free content to give away, and making my new subscribers feel welcome. All of this can be done simply with Convert Kit.
Everything is automated, which means I don’t need to worry whether someone has received her free gift. Once you set up your email sequences, you can leave them and forget them for a good long time.
If I had to recommend one tool for all bloggers – new and seasoned – it would be to invest in Convert Kit. Nourishing my list is fun, simple, and so much faster than with other email services.
5. Adobe Stock Images for Cohesive Branding
Remember those Pinterest images I mentioned? They need to be beautiful. And while I did not pay for stock images for the first year and a half of blogging, I finally decided it’s worth the monthly price.
Rather than scrolling through pages of Unsplash images (my favorite free stock photo site), I can now search for exactly what I want in an image. Adobe Stock Images are professional, and you can use them again for again for different social media, freebies, or branding on your blog.
Not all of my images come from Adobe Stock, but many of them do and I’m thankful for the time this resource has saved me.Need to keep things simple as a #blogger? Here are 10 tools to do just that! Click To Tweet
5 Free Blogging Tools
1. Akismet for Spam Monitoring
I am not into monitoring the comments on my blog. It takes time and focus away from other projects I could be working on. Some people decide to monitor their comments to ensure there is no spam or inappropriate language. I understand the thinking behind this decision.
However, I suggest using Akismet for a few months to see if all of your concerns aren’t solved. I rarely have to delete comments on my blog because Akismet blocks all spammy comments from ever making their way onto my site. Plus, it’s completely free.
2. Later for Instagram
Instagram is my favorite social media platform because I feel like it’s the most authentic of all the options. I don’t automate much of what I post on Instagram, but I do use Later to schedule my quote graphics. This ensures that one or two quote graphics make it onto Instagram each week.
Later sends a notification to your phone when you have a post ready to be shared. You can choose to schedule it right away, or if you ignore the notification, the scheduled post will be saved to the app. Any time you’re ready to post, you can open the app and choose the quote graphic you’d like to share.
It’s easy. It saves so much time. And I always have something to share if I’m unable to get to my computer to make a new graphic that day.
With Later, you’re allowed to schedule 30 posts per month for free.
3. Google Forms for Surveys/Questionnaires
If you’re considering creating a product or detailed freebie for your audience, surveying them is a great way to get started. This ensures that you’re creating a product they need and will purchase. Plus, your audience will feel heard and cared for when you take their suggestions into consideration.
I tried using Survey Monkey the first time around and it was complicated and time-consuming. Now I use Google Forms because 1) it’s free and 2) it’s easy and 3) it looks clean.
4. Yoast SEO plugin for Search Engine Optimization
Earlier I said that Convert Kit is my favorite blogging tool, and I wasn’t lying. But Yoast takes second place, no questions asked. Yoast makes it easy to optimize your posts for SEO so that Google can rank your posts among their search results.
Two tricks for using this plugin:
- Always choose a phrase rather than one word for your keyword (best tips for new bloggers rather than tips).
- Add your keyword to the SEO title, the URL for your post, and the meta description.
5. iPhone Notes App for Collecting Thoughts/Quotes
This may be the simplest tool of all, but I use it more than most of the others. Life is full of distractions, and I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t write something down the minute the idea pops into my head, I won’t remember thirty minutes from then. Many blog posts ideas have swirled the drain because I didn’t write them down.
To combat the frustration, I started keeping everything in my iPhone notes app. I have a list for Blog Post Ideas, Quote Graphic Ideas, Email Newsletter Ideas, Hashtags for Instagram, and so on.
Of all of the tools I’ve shared, start using this one first. It’s the most effective way to remember your ideas, keep the inspiration flowing, and save time when you sit down to create content.
Cutting out the extra noise takes time and lots of intention. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking that more is better and you should be doing everything your blogging friends are doing. So, I want to end this post with a quick reminder:
Just because these tools work for me doesn’t mean they will make your life easier.
I believe they will, but before you jump in and start using all of them, choose one or two that would cut out the most noise for you in this season. If Instagram feels overwhelming, start a Later account. If SEO is a burden, add the Yoast plugin.
More is not always better, so start small.
Finally, before you go, let me know about your favorite blogging tools in the comments below!