The best tools for your blogmin

Written about
19th February 2017


blogging-advice

Your admin list surrounding your newest post can be as lengthy or as little as you'd like, but if you're putting the effort into creating some great post content, you should follow that up with getting it in front of as many people as possible.

Some of the below are likely already on some of your radars, but hopefully there are some new elements that streamline your to-do list. These are some of my daily uses or auto set-ups that make life a little easier or optimise my content in the best way, from items to help your photos, to setting up your social shares right, let's get to it.

The online tools

Buffer
A recent heavenly chorus for me, this is a scheduling tool for your social content. The reason this has replaced my previous Hootsuite is because of how easy it is. You set up your schedule to post to begin with, then just add each of your social posts to the queue. So once you've set up your timings, you just need to input a ton of content and you're done. No need to continuously select dates and times, plus it auto-shortens your URLs, another little help.

I use the paid for version (around £8 per month), but you can get limited use on a free account, plus a free trial to get to grips with it.

If This Then That (IFTTT)
The possibilities are pretty endless with this one. It's a tool to use across any platform you're on, where you set up 'applets' - meaning if this happens, then that happens. It's behind my instant Insta shares from Instagram to Twitter (with the image posted as well as the image URL), auto-posting to Twitter &  Facebook once you share a new blog post or sharing your YouTube videos straight to your blog. It's a little something extra that instantly promotes anything you set-up, one less thing for you to worry about.

Polarr
A very basic version of Photoshop, hosted online and entirely free for what I need it for, or you have the option to upgrade to a Pro account. I have the bonus of a boyfriend with Photoshop for any more difficult photo edits, but I'd say 95% of my photos are edited on here.

 

Optimising your blog

Twitter cards

To make sharing to Twitter even easier, make sure you have Twitter Cards implemented on your blog. A Twitter Card means any share of your blog URLs come with an image and excerpt. It usually makes it look a little more appealing when sharing and could result in a few more clicks for you. Likewise, if you're on a lazy social scheduling day, you could just share the URL and the rest is done for you. Here's an example of my standard one:

You have a little more control over this if you're on WordPress with the social excerpt plug-ins available (I'd recommend Yoast, which will also tick off your SEO needs), but you can still set these up on Blogger or any other platform, too. It just needs some back-end coding action and for you to validate your site once set-up which you can do with this tool. Get all the info & how-to from Twitter themselves.

OG tags

That would be Open Graph tags, the tags that share your content's good side just like Twitter cards, but for other platforms. It's a separate set of code for you to implement but it's all for the better. Facebook have a good guide to better talk you through this.
Wordpressers - Yoast normally covers all the variations you will need, to make it a little easier when manually editing your different excerpts and descriptions.

Expertly curating your blog post titles

This one is somewhat personal preference. I like to strike a balance between getting some SEO pick-up, but not taking away from a genuinely engaging title. If you're here to grow your blog, then SEO is without a doubt a massive factor you should be considering, but doing it for the sake of it becomes obvious, fast and you'll turn-off your readers.

Add in some keywords to your title & naturally through your content where you can (the stuff that people are likely to be searching online). For social, focus on grabbing people's attention and getting them to click, your social posts are there to stand-out amongst the hundreds of others competing for the same click.

A great way to see what your audience like and what they don't is to keep a close eye on your Google Analytics. Hopefully you can effectively experiment with your titles to see what gets people engaged - head over to Rhianna's blog for a beginner's guide if you're new to it.

 

Essentials you should know about

Bloglovin' formatting

The frames and in-app tools that Bloglovin' lay over your own content is likely contributing to less time spent clicking around your awesome content and users jumping straight to their next blog read. If your blog is listed on the site, you should make sure you know how it's being shared. Fee from Makeup Savvy shared a super helpful post about little edits you can make to ensure you're still getting the most out from your audience via Bloglovin'.

How to get new lines in Instagram

I actually thought this was wider known, but I had a conversation on Twitter about this a while back and there were a few people who had no idea. Each of my Instagram captions includes a sentence-ish on the picture, then three separate line breaks and millions of hashtags - gotta get them likes, amiright? Whether you're formatting to disguise some less-pretty hashtag lists, or just want to make your captions a little easier to read, it's super simple.
All it takes is creating your insta caption in the Notes app on your phone - where you have full access to the return button - and then copying into the Instagram caption. I have the three dots saved for instant copy & paste, you could do the same with usual hashtags or any signatures you might use on every single photo.

Save time with your hashtags

Another time-saver which is a must-do if you repeatedly use the same hashtags in your Instagram posts. Head to the text replacement tool on your iPhone and set up some shortcuts to generate all your hashtags. For example, if I type "hashtagfood", it'll replace with a standard list of hashtags that I can then add specifics to. You can obviously create as many as you'd like, just make sure you use a shortcut word that you're not likely to use in text conversation, or it's going to get really frustrating, really quickly.
For a ton more A+ Instagram growth/time saving tips, go check out another of Rhianna's posts if you haven't already. Some genuinely useful advice in there that doesn't require loads of your time or money and isn't click bait like so many other insta-advice blog posts can be.