10 Tools any new blogger needs to know about

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Navigating the world of blogging when you are a newbie is one intimidating task! There are increasingly high standards expected now of the regular blogger. Your pictures have to look of professional quality. They have to be artily placed and oh you are screwed if you don't have that pure white surface to take product photos on! You have to be present all the time on all social media and on top of that you have to have a good following on each if any brand or PR company would even consider you worthy (if that's the kinda thing you're aiming for). And finally, you have to have banging unique content. Phew, its a lot more to think about than I even considered. So in order to help you find your way I've collated the 10 tools I've found most useful to blogging so far for the first post in my Newbie Blogger Series.

Image editing tools
#1 I don't have Photoshop or a particularly fancy camera; I often use my iPhone 4S or my Nikon Coolpix Bridge Camera! So having a way to spruce up my photos is a lifesaver. I use Picmonkey which is a free online photo editor to make my photos look prettier with their Instagram style effects! I also use it to resize my images for my blog layout and add effects and text! It's been such a cheap-skates saviour and great for the blogger who isn't technologically savvy enough to use photoshop.

Social Media tools
#2 I'm going to go and say it. Twitter is the greatest tool for promoting your blog. I swear I would only have about 5 followers if it wasn't for the website. Twitter allows you to get involved with chats via a hashtag such as #lbloggers, you can @ mention brands etc that you are talking about in a post (and if you're lucky enough they'll retweet you!), you can mention specific blog retweet accounts, you can hashtag things like #bbloggers or #beauty which means your blog is more likely to be found and finally its such an easy way to make some blogger friends! I could go on about the benefits for hours! If you are to choose any of these tools; Twitter is the one!
#3 You all know exactly what Instagram is and I'm hearing on the grapevine that its the new Facebook! Apparently youngsters these days (haha how old do I think I am) even direct message each other on it?! Who knew! Anyway, I feel like Instagram is a great way to show off some of your better blog images, get a few new followers, interact with other bloggers, get inspiration and let people into a little slice of your life. I created a separate Instagram for my blog from my personal one so as not to annoy my friends with multiple hashtags and pretty pics (although a few have actually found and followed me there which I don't mind as its their choice to get a double dose of my instas!). I would say that Instagram isn't a great traffic booster (unless you're a fashion blogger) but its an easy and simple way to get a steady trickle of views. Its great for a new blogger to start getting their name/brand out there.
#4 Speaking of Twitter, a great tool I was recommended during a Twitter chat was Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to see your Twitter home, your profile, your mentions and any hashtags you've saved all on one screen. This is a lifesaver when trying to follow a quick twitter chat but sometimes even then its still impossible to follow! Tweetdeck also allows you to schedule tweets which can definitely boost traffic when you're busy out and about, although I definitely need to utilise this feature more often.
#5 Bloglovin' is a fantastic way to keep track of your favourite blogs, find new blogs and keep a track of your followers. Bloglovin' is a must have for a new blogger - its the only way I follow and read blogs and the chances are I won't want to clutter up my email inbox by subscribing with my email address.

Content tools
#6 See how I have my little signature at the bottom of each post? Don't you think it adds a nice personal touch? I think its such an easy way of adding that little bit of personalisation and professionalism to your blog and its so easy! Its free on this website and literally takes a matter of minutes.
#7 This is a bit of a random one. Portent is basically a title generator to help you phrase your blog titles in new ways. I don't use Portent all the time, and a lot of the time it gives pretty absurd results but I've found it really helpful to just think about phrasing my titles in different ways! It might spark an idea in your head too and its pretty fun!

Traffic tools
#8 Again, another essential. If you are part of any blogger networks or PR programmes, chances are they will want stats. Blogger is not a reliable source of traffic statistics so at the earliest stage you should install Google Analytics. This is where you'll find your unique users and page view numbers, while there's also a huge amount of other info you can browse if you're nosy! With a little bit of playing about and after reading a few tutorials, you'll be a pro, and a pro with reliable statistics!
#9 Twitter analytics was a tool again that I was recommended during a Twitter chat - great thing these chats! I haven't made a huge amount of use of it yet (as I don't promote on Twitter as much as I should) but I can see huge potential of how helpful this would be. It shows you how many times your tweet has been seen and interacted with so you can see for example, which hashtags drive you the most traffic. Clever huh?

Other

#10 Last but not least, make a blog email! So many times I have gone to email a blogger and their email address is clearly an old email they've had since they were about 15. Having an email address which relates to your blog can ooze professionalism while also aiding organisation as all your blog stuff comes to one place! I use GMail because its easy to navigate and links your Blogger, Google+, email and YouTube all in one place!

I hope these tools help some of you achieve your new blogs full potential and get it off to a flying start! I'd love to help your new blogs grow so please leave your links in the comments!

Are there any tools which you found particularly useful as a new blogger?
If you're not already, you can follow me on Twitter and Bloglovin'!

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35 comments

  1. Ok this post was a life saver! I've been trying to figure out how to do a signature for a few weeks now! I agree picmonkey is definitely a life saver!
    http://figuringoutmyeverafter.com

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    1. Great I'm so glad it helped you! The signature is so easy to do once you know how, only pain is remembering to put it on every post!

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  2. Such good tips for newbies lovely. I'm not even a newbie but have never got round to making a sign off signature - such a good idea to do so :)

    Elle
    www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

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    1. Thank you! Yeah I think it adds that little something but I quite like little details haha.

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  3. This is one of the clearest and most helpful posts for newbie bloggers I have seen! Thank you so much for sharing - will be following on bloglovin and saving this for future reference!

    Beth x

    themiscmusings.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh wow, thank you for such a lovely comment! I'm so glad you found it helpful! x

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  4. Picmonkey is a saviour for my pictures, sometimes even just getting the right size from my layout! I love twitter chats for opening my eyes to things like twitter analytics!

    sheepishlyshameful.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Yes that's exactly what I use it for a lot! And yes Twitter chats have been so helpful because half the time I wish I had someone just to ask silly little questions to who know what I'm on about and Twitter chats provide that platform! x

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  5. I got an ipod 5 and it has a great camera. I never invested in huge DSLR, not that I don't want to but because it will be too much for me. I still need to figure out this blogging business.
    If you're interested in chats, why don't you join #socialbloggers chat sometimes?

    Noor's Place

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    1. Yes I heard the 5's camera was good! Haha too true - there's far too much to learn without complicating things. You can barely ever tell too! I joined #socialbloggers chat for the first time last night and found some lovely blogs! Hopefully will catch you on it next time!

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  7. These are great tools! I would also recommend checking out Fotor - it's a great site that allows you to make professional-looking collages for your blog posts.

    www.mascarawarrior.com

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation - I checked it out today! Will definitely make use of it next time!

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  8. Love these! I just started using Pic Monkey about a week ago and I adore it- I never knew how to do any of that fancy picture stuff before, but it's so easy with that program! Great post! :)

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    1. I know I can't believe its free! Thank you!

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  9. This is a great post! I am a very new blog and I use almost all of these except Twitter Analytics! I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the tips :)

    xoxo Brynne
    http://theblissfullysimpleblog.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much! You're totally ahead of where I was at your stage then!! Twitter Analytics is actually just really interesting for nosy people haha but it definitely has its uses! You're welcome xx

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  10. So many great tips! I find Twitter so useful for getting my blog known, and I have heard great things about Pic Monkey.

    Bethan Likes

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    1. Thank you! I know, Twitter is honestly the best tool though I probably do write about blogging too much haha, I'm sure my non blogger followers unfollow me!

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  11. Amazing post!I already use some of these,but these were great new tips as well!I have my signature saved as a word document and repasted it into every post,but to know there's a tool for that is so helpful,I've hopped on that bandwagon now! I've found that Tweetdeck is super useful for blogger chats! I've used Twitter Analytics a few times(when I had a bit mroe cash) and it definitely helped promote my blog very well! Just putting $5 into a promotion every now and then definitely helps(: I also have no idea what I'd do without Bloglovin :P Such a great post,had to follow,and I'm glad to share this on Twitter!(: Keep up the great work(:
    http://www.aswestumblealong.com

    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/7843547

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully that means that it'll quicken up that process for you! Oh you used Twitter Analytics for the promotion side of things? I've never done that! I purely just use it to see which tweets gain the most interaction etc. But might look into the promoting side of it - although I definitely don't have the money for that haha! Thanks!

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  12. Knowing how to use PicMonkey is a must. A cheap and super simple way to always have a great pinnable image for any post!

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    1. Yes exactly! I always find its helpful to have the image for Twitter aswell as I am always more likely to click on a tweet that has a photo!

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  13. Such a helpful post, I really want to start taking part in Twitter chats! Also, I didn't even know you could send direct messages on Instagram aha!

    The Velvet Black // UK Style, Beauty Blog

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    1. Thank you! #lbloggers, #bdib and #socialbloggers are my favourite chats :) Some of the others just move far too quickly! Haha I know right... technology moves so fast!

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  14. This post is so helpful to me so thank you!

    I've nominated you for the Liebster award here: http://noranoraa.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/the-liebster-award-noranora.html

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    1. You're welcome!! Oh really?! That's so lovely - I've never been nominated for a blog award. I got your email too! Will get onto that when I have a minute - life is crazy right now :) thanks again lovely x

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  15. i have some of these but i haven't heard of the others, definitely going to check them out!

    xx danielle // shades of danielle // bloglovin

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    1. Great news! Thanks so much for commenting :)

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  16. Such good tips! I've been meaning to get a live signature - thanks for reminding me. Also, Google Analytics is so confusing. Do you know any particularly helpful tutorials?

    Also, I was nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award and nominated you in return! Check out the post here x

    Ornella @ EUHNELLA

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    1. I totally agree with you! I found it so confusing at first and didn't really know how to make it valuable. But yes this tutorial here made it much clearer for me http://www.chapterfriday.com/2014/10/the-wonderful-world-of-google-analytics/ - hope it helps you out!

      Ah thank you so much thats so lovely of you :) x

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  17. These are really helpful tips, I haven't been blogging for that long so I shall definitely make use of some of them! Particularly the social media ones, I've been a bit of a social media phobe but I need to embrace it!
    Hannah x
    Hanniemc.co.uk

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    1. Thanks for reading! I hope they are helpful! Social media is such a great tool :) x

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  18. Nice, very informative :) x

    extantmind.blogspot.com

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I read, love and reply every single one of your comments! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave one - Laura x

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