In case you missed previous “blogging” related posts, you can check them out here:
- The 5 W’S You Need to Ask Yourself Before You Start
- Which Blog Host is Right for Me?
- The Importance of the First Impression
- Planning Your Content & Editorial Calendar
- Growing Your Blog Through Social Media
- Why You Need a Media Kit (and What Should Go On It!)
- Dealing with Negativity
- Six Ways to Take Your (Blog) Photography to the Next Level
- BLOGGING TOOLS & ESSENTIALS: WordPress Plugins That Make Blogging Life Easier
- Blogging Tools & Essentials: BLOGSTOMP
Another common question that I get with regards to blogging is, “What blogging tools, resources, or apps do you use most often or which ones help you the most?” I will say this off the bat – these types of things can often be very personal and some might use a program that others don’t like and other might love something that I don’t use or like all that much. I’m just going to share what I personally use regularly and why I like them!
These are in no particular order and aren’t categorized or anything… Just sharing what I use regularly and love! 🙂
My Favorite Blogging Programs & Resources
I actually wrote an entire post dedicated to how much I love Blogstomp a little over two years ago and it is STILL one of my most-used and most-loved blogging resources. I won’t go into all the details since you can refer to that post here.
And for those of you wondering? Yes, it is WORTH the $49 one-time fee (which is actually CHEAPER than what it was when I got it).
Disqus (pronounced like discuss) is the commenting platform that I use on this blog. It’s been around a long time and for awhile I stopped using it (like five or six years ago) because they had made some changes I didn’t like. In any event, they made MORE improvements about two years ago and I switched back and I’m SO glad.
It’s such a great commenting platform. It’s VERY user friendly, you can view analytics, you can see user engagement on your posts, AND you can monetize it! It’s a great way to make some passive income through your blog, meaning you don’t really have to think about it… you can get it set up and then let it go from there.
If you EVER run a giveaway on your blog, and if you’re a blogger you’re bound to run a giveaway at SOME point, I cannot recommend Rafflecopter enough.
It’s THE BEST (in my humble opinion) giveaway widget platform out there. It makes hosting and organizing a giveaway SO easy and so simple.
It allows you to randomly select a winner and even gives you the entry that won so you can check and make sure the entry is valid.
There is a free version of Rafflecopter, but I think you’re limited in what you can do. I pay for the basic monthly package and it’s so worth it!
Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Lightroom
First let’s talk Adobe Photoshop.
This is where I do all of my graphic design-type stuff… this is where I add text over pictures, make collages, and do any “specialized” photo or graphic work. This program DOES take some practice and there is, for sure, a learning curve when it comes to working in Photoshop. However, there are AWESOME free YouTube tutorials on how to use Photoshop and different tips and tricks for how to manipulate images and graphics within the program. Think of Photoshop as your trusty old Microsoft Paint… but like the superhero version.
Next, let’s talk about Adobe Lightroom.
This is THE BEST program for editing your images. It also takes some practice and there’s a learning curve, but again, YouTube tutorials are your best friend. I edit ALL of my blog images in Lightroom. It’s, (again, in my opinion) the top program for making your images beautiful, sharp, and giving them the feel you want to go along with your blog.
Let’s talk pricing…
These programs are pricey on their own… HOWEVER, Adobe launched the Creative Cloud a few years ago which basically gives you the ability to download the programs and pay for them with a monthly fee. The photography plan is only $9.99 a month and you get both Lightroom AND Photoshop!
I absolutely LOVE Hootsuite for scheduling social media posts. I could do a whole post on Hootsuite alone!
It’s a platform that basically allows you to add social network accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and you can create and schedule posts. It’s a really great way to best organize your social media accounts and posts.
Twitterfeed does basically one thing for me… it is the program I use to link my blog RSS feed to my social networks and it automatically posts my latest blog post for me. So, when my blog posts go live, Twitterfeed pulls from my blog’s RSS feed and then sends out the post on my social networks automatically. Boom. Life simplified.
Remember, if you purchase any of these monthly subscriptions or even programs that have a one-time fee, that’s a tax deduction for you because they’re business resources! So keep track of that stuff!
What do you think?
Which programs do you love and use most often? Any programs you’re excited to try out?