Blogger Tools

 

Everyday is a school day and with the internet constantly changing it’s often hard to keep up with what you should be doing to help your blog following grow. Social media is a wonderful tool but working out what works for you is essential otherwise you will be attached to your laptop or phone at all times. Add links to useful posts you’ve discovered at the end of the page and we’ll include them. Share your blog posts with other sewing members in the forum. 


General Reading:



Editing images:


We know how hard it can be to edit photos and overlay writing to get them ready for a blog post or Pinterest. Here are a few of the best image editing platforms on the market at the moment:

the fold line - top tools for bloggersPicmonkey – a really user friendly interface where you can add lots of filters and overlay writing to existing images. They have recently updated it so you can add your own fonts too. A great place to get free fonts is Font Squirrel. Make sure you think about how many fonts you are using, we would say that three is the maximum you should use. There is a paid version of this where you can use more features.


the fold line - top online tools for bloggers

Canva – is similar to pic monkey in terms of what it can do, the main benefit of using this is that you can create the long Pinterest friendly images on here. The service is free if you use your own images.

 


Better pictures project

Read the blog series ‘The Better Pictures Project‘ from Crafting a Rainbow for lots of tips on taking great photos. Also see Katie Marcus’s contribution from What Katie Sews blog on tips for editing your blog images.

 

 


Free Stock Images:


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There are a few places to get free stock images online these days, here are a few of the ones we like:


Getting your content organised:


the fold line - top tools for bloggers social media

Hootsuite – This is sooo handy if you are managing multiple accounts, as it has a user friendly dashboard that allows you to see what is going on across all your platforms. What I really like about it is that you can install a little button a bit like the the Pinterest button so that as you are browsing the internet you can click the button and schedule it onto your content calendar. The other thing that it offers is you can publish to Instagram, which is very handy!


the fold line - top tools for bloggers online

CoSchedule – I haven’t used this but everyone is talking about how great it is. It’s linked to your blog so you can plan content for your blog and social media calendars at the same time and it also has a function where you can re-share old content automatically. There is a drag and drop format so that you can move things around easily if you change your mind.


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Epic Blog –  If you are more of a pen and paper sort of gal or guy then I have heard fantastic things about this planner. All the months are blank so you can start at anytime of the year and there are some fantastic bits for you to track your monthly stats as well as make up a simple business plan.

 


Newsletters:


Mailchimp seams to be the most used newsletter builder, it has a simple interface and is free up to the first 2000, do think about the cost of having a mailing list when you get above this though. We didn’t when we started and are now paying about £50 per month, although this is not a huge amount it’s a cost we didn’t really account for. Here are some interesting articles and also some great tips if you are thinking about starting a newsletter. It isn’t for everyone and you need to think what you will be offering your customer. They take a long time to do and it might just not be worth your time, saying that they tend to be your most engaged audience.


WordPress Plugins:


For those of you with WordPress blogs we have found some great plugins that are easy to install and some of them have really helped us make the site more interactive:

Social Sharing with Frizzly: – This adds a Pinterest/Facebook/Twitter button over the centre of an image on your blog and encourages people to share your content, it is easy to install and you can either stick with the original colours and icons or upload your own.

Grow your newsletter numbers with Mailmunch: A handy little pop up window that links to Mailchimp to increase your newsletter numbers. I have tested this out on another site and it doubled the number of subscribers in a week.

WordPress Notification Bar: I’m sure you will have often seen a bar at the top of a webpage advertising free shipping or a special offer. This could be a good place to encourage people to follow you on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram or Bloglovin. It’s simple to install as easy to customise.

Click to Tweet: This is a nice plugin that shows a pre-made tweet within your blog post and encourages the reader to share your content with their followers.

Speed up your loading time with BJ easyload: this is a neat little plugin to speed up your page loading time. It is especially helpful if you have an image heavy blog or site.

Backing up your site with Updraftplus: Back up your site with this plugin as well as saving it to your server. It lets you save a copy to a Dropbox folder too.

SEO with Yoast: I know what you are all thinking zzzzzz. I agree but SEO is really important to help get your blog found. With this handy plugin you can change your blog post description to make it suitable for Google, add keywords and lots of other nerdy things.


Podcasts to listen to:


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