Transitioning from Blogger to WordPress was like entering a whole new world of blogging. I learnt a lot of new things that I was not bothered about earlier like SEO, backlinks, Keyword planning! I picked up a few blogging tips along the way and learnt of a few new tools! Today, I will talk about my 5 most used tools and some blogging tips to make your posts better and easier.
Blogging Tips and Tools I Use
A lot of bloggers start blogging because they love writing. However, in today’s blogging scenario just being a good writer is not enough. You need visual elements to enhance your posts, hooks for social media and a regular posting schedule. Those who know me would know that I am a bit of a Geek. I use a lot of gadgets and apps everyday. No wonder then I would be drawn to some of those for blogging too!
Blogging Tips and Tools – Canva for Graphics
Earlier I used to rely on a simple Google search for images. As I became aware of copyright laws and image licenses, I started looking into my stash and digging out old images more and more. I also rely heavily on Pixaby for images. However, there are some posts where I do not find the right kind of images for the post. For such cases, I use Canva for creating great looking graphics relevant to my blog posts. Sometimes, I also use Canva to add graphic elements on photographs. That looks pretty cool in my opinion and is great for Pinterest!
Canva is a free service. You can sign in and you have access to all its design features. It has some great tutorials to get you started. It has a rich library of graphic elements, allowing you to create fantastic images! There are several stock photos and illustrations that can be purchased for as little as 1 dollar. Tweet my Canva blogging tip.
My best combination is when I can find a relevant image in my stash or on Pixaby and then combine it with catchy text and cool graphics using Canva. Check out some of my posts where I am using canva made graphics!
- GM Diet Series – This was the first time I wanted to give a few of my posts the uniform look of a series. When I could not find a suitable picture that went with the theme, I designed a very simple graphic using the free elements. By changing the caption, I was able to reuse the image for 8 posts 🙂
- A to Z Blogging Series on Professional Life – In March, when I was participating in this challenge, I knew it was going to be HARD work. Combine that with hectic year end activities at work, I wanted to minimize my effort. So, I decided to create a graphic before hand that could be used in each one of the 30 posts. I found a theme worthy pic, added a placeholder for my text and voila! Everyday, I just added the title of the post to the graphic and that was it!
I do not know who introduced me to Canva. I think I was reading a mommy blog and she had recommended Canva. Whoever you are, thank you very much for this wonderful blogging tip 🙂
Blogging Tips and Tools – Picasa for Photos
I like personal images on blogs. So I use a lot of photos that I have clicked. To make them post worthy, I like to crop them and also do a bit of post processing. I realised that Picasa is a good enough tool for simple processing. A lot of serious photographers have told me they do not like Picasa! I understand why. It does not offer the element of control that the traditional photo editing software packages like Photoshop and Lightroom provide. I have dabbled in photoshop and feel that it is a little complicated. It takes time and effort to learn. Picasa is very easy to pick up. Picasa also works as an image curating software. You can view all your images at one place and manage them very easily. The people tag allows you to sort images of a particular person. When I am looking for pictures of my daughter, I simply use the people tag to look at all her pictures! Tweet my Picasa blogging tip
Picasa can easily sync to your google account so you can store your treasured pics on the cloud. I typically create albums of events and upload a few pictures to the cloud. The albums are available for offline access too. This is really good when I am in a hurry and want to sift through a few good pictures. If you are like me and come back from vacations with thousands of photographs, this comes real handy :p
The best feature of Picasa and one that I use extensively for blogging is exporting with a watermark. I can edit the image and export it without having to save it. I have saved the pixel count as well as the watermark for export. This means that I just click on the export button and Picasa reduces the size and adds a watermark on the pics I selected! Have you seen My Hairstyles Story Post? I exported all the pictures at one go…!
Oh and you can create some great collages using Picasa. You simply select the pictures and the template you like and Picasa generates the collage for you. It takes less than 5 minutes. Once you have the collage, you treat it like just another picture. Check out my Munich Sightseeing post for a sample of those collages.
Blogging Tips and Tools – Evernote for Posts
The thing about being a (compulsive?) blogger is that you are in an everyday situation and thinking, “Can I blog about this?” and before you know it, a slew of words are arranging themselves into sentences in your head. Inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere. I usually capture those thoughts on Evernote. As I mentioned in my smartphone apps post, Evernote has a desktop version that syncs with the mobile version. This means that random thoughts captured on the way can be properly edited when I get back home and ta-da… a blog post is ready.
Evernote is great for organising random notes as well. You can create notebooks to keep different types of notes together and even tag them with keywords. This is great when you want to search for a particular topic across notebooks. While composing notes in Evernote, you can use a picture, add a file already on your device, a text note, a reminder or even a handwritten note! If your device has a stylus, you can very quickly take notes in your own shorthand 🙂 Tweet my Evernote blogging tip
As a free app it is packed with features, some of which I haven’t even explored. For example, there is a work chat feature that helps collaboration.
I even use Evernote to backup all my posts! I have used an IFTTT recipe to backup every WordPress post in Evernote. So all my blogposts are on the handheld and synced to my Evernote account as well.
Blogging Tips and Tools – Jetpack Plugin
The awesome thing about blogging with WordPress is that there is a plugin for almost everything! Jetpack is powerful plugin that is packed with 27 features! It is a freemium plugin which offers 2 paid features and the rest are free! The feature I use most is site stats. It is a nifty little thing that quickly allows me to see visitors and pageviews from within my dashboard.
This does not count your own pageviews so it is a handy little tool. However, I must tell you that the traffic results shown by site stats and google analytics are different. So you should choose to follow one metric and stick with it!
In case your theme does not allow it, use Jetpack to add a Favicon or site Icon to your blog. Also, you can use it to create a mobile theme if your wordpress theme is not responsive. It adds sharing buttons to your posts and allows you to post each blogpost on your social media automatically! I quite like the Related Posts feature that shows an image thumbnail and the post topic. Jetpack also makes it easy to verify your site on Google Webmasters or Pinterest.
That’s not all!! remember I said 27 features? Go to the Jetpack page and check the rest out 🙂
Blogging Tips and Tools – Twitter for Socialising
While I am present on a variety of social media and do publish my posts to most, twitter is the platform I use the most. Each post of mine is published on twitter via publicise from Jetpack and IFTTT. What I like about twitter is that the community is very responsive. A good informative tweet gets retweeted getting you more followers and constantly driving traffic to the blog. As with any social platform a give and take is a must so you need to be actively engaging with other people as well. The twitter app works great on iOS and Android devices (I use both) and allows you to easily browse through what people are saying.
Coming back to why twitter is great for blogging, twitter is the only platform that allows you to reach new audiences with minimum effort. Using the right hashtags will draw your target audience to your tweet and to your blog. Unlike a facebook where you reach only friends or a google plus where you reach only your community and circles. Tweet my twitter blogging tip
Twitter has a built in analytics tool that allows you to gauge the reach of your tweets and also see the engagement that comes with it. You can use it to re-promote your popular content and drive even more people to your blog. If your tweet is about a book or a movie or an event, adding the relevant person like the author, the director or the persons involved in the event maybe a good idea. Now some of us may feel it is silly to tag SRK on a tweet about his movie review but I have proof that it works! Check out my tweet below
— LifestyleProBlog (@LifstyleProBlog) May 15, 2015
I had posted about Amish Tripathi’s new book Scion Of Ikshvaku. I tweeted about the post and marked Amish on it. He retweeted it. This tweet earned over 6000 impressions and sent 91 visitors my way. Now you have seen my stats above. I had three times the pageviews than I nomally do. It earned me several new followers on twitter and I am hoping some of them would become regulars on the blog! Super results for a minute’s work. Don’t you think? Such events will do great to give you the occassional spike. Your content will have the people coming back 🙂
How did you like my blogging tips and tricks? What do you use?