For the last couple of months I been a part of starting up several corporate blogs. I been frequently asked questions about blogging so I figured why not blog about blogging. This will be the first post out a serial of three and it covers why the right tools are important.
There´s plenty of reason why a one should have a blog, corporate or personal. It´s a great way to build a brand, your brand, tell stories, invite users to develop your product or service, show your companies human side, share knowledge and build up SEO around the keywords you want to be associated with. Like you see, there´s plenty of upsides to having a blog. If you like writing then you shouldn´t hesitate to start one.
Blogging makes you think and revaluate both your ideas and business plan. For myself the blog was a catalyst for learning the business and a door opener to many closed doors and possibilities. It helped me into many events that I couldn´t afford as a student. The blog got me in touch with people I would never got to talk to otherwise and as a bonus it creates business opportunities for me.
I always loved writing and my blogs gives me playground for words and ideas. It also helps me develop my writing. Like everything; practise makes perfection and I´m on a never ending learning journey! Most of all I think it´s fun and that above all is what drives my blogging! Sometimes it even ties my stomach into a knot when a comment full of acidity contradicts the core of the content in a post I written. But that´s all part of the game. It drives you to think more. There´s so many different world views and beliefs, ways of doing things so we can´t be all the same.
This will be the first out of 3 post of about blogging. I won´t write about what all the different CMS (Content Managing System aka blog platforms) to use, there´s plenty of that information out there anyhow. I will focus on 3 things:
- Convenient tools for a blogger
- Getting inspiration as a blogger
- What to think of when writing (as a blogger)
Convenient tools for a blogger
Even if you don´t blog every day there´s still plenty of tools out there that can help you a lot. Some times you need to resize your picture, keep track of a hashtag, make your content easily shared and so forth. This post is to shine a light on whats most important. Writing, sharing and tracking and how to get there as easy as possible.
1. Lifehack; Namechk
Before you launch any online presence for your business or for personal use, make sure all social media accounts related to your name you want are available. That’s where Namechk.com comes in and reliefs you of hours of unnecessary checking.
2 . Stay focused
The free StayFocusd app (available on Chrome only) is a must-have for anyone with a eminent online presence. If you getting notifications from all over while writing your head will be else where. Keep your mind set on the job and create. There will be plenty of more time over for engaging with friends if you get your post done more efficiently.
Stay Focusd also lets you block out websites of your choice. You can also set up for how long you can spend on your blocked sites, and once that time is used up; WHOOPS, they’re inaccessible for the rest of the day.
3. Resizing pictures to fit blog
For my personal use I have a CS subscription on Photoshop. If you just want to have Photoshop the cost lands around 11-12 Euro a month. It´s a great tool that enables you to do anything you can ever imagine to your pictures and then more. If you want you can probably commit your soul to the tool for life long learning. If the prize tag scares you there´s plenty of easy to use free tools as Picresize.com that crops the pictures with ease.
4. Make your posts shareable
If you like me use WordPress as your CMS your in for a lot of treats. Since the platform is Open Source it enables anyone with coding skills to create, modify and enhance the platforms with plugins. Most platforms use the same concept where you either can install plugins for free or for a small fee.
I use the plugin in called; ShareThis, it got analytics connected to the share buttons. Also you can modify everything from size to what buttons to include without coding skills. It´s easy to use, install and stable.
5. Keyhole keeps track of your and others hashtags
Once your up and running (or if you already are) there´s always great to keep track of your content. If you want to keep track of your hashtag, the company hashtag or any other for that matter Keyhole delivers real time data and is simple to use.
The benefit is that if you write about the tool like I do here you get a months free subscription which is an awesome and heart warming way to growth hack. Check it out Keyhole here, the tool tracks hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Keyhole gives you information about:
- Number of posts
- Influencers (based on Klout)
- Word cloud surrounding your hashtag
6. Google Analytics
This is free tool offered by Google to track website, e-commerce and blog statistics. Nothing offers deeper insight into the actions and the surfing behaviours of website visitors than Google Analytics. By using this tool, you can find out the sources of your traffic, how much time visitors are spending on your site and where they end up clicking. In fact, with analytics, you can also analyse traffic that gets converted by pinpointing the sources that send you the most number of buyers and subscribers. It´s an amazing tool and Google also have online tutorials of how to use the tool.
7. Store your ideas in Evernote or in Google Drive
Your seldom in front of the computer when the ideas starts to hitting you. I keep my notes in Evernote or Google Drive that connected to your Gmail account. They work seamlessly over all devices, both are easy to use, gives you easy control over your content. A notebook works well to. You just need to remember to bring it.
8. Use CC (Creative Commons) stamped pictures for free
If your not a great photographer or just don´t have the possibility to take a picture that fits to your blogpost than CC is your salvation. There´s plenty of free pictures online to use with no copyright rules attached to them. Some of the owner just want to be credited (which is the least you can do). I often use photos from Photopin.com to my newsletters and credit the photographer in the end of the post.
Flickr is another great option to find your next picture to use. Just make sure no matter what tool you use that the picture you want have the level of CC that matches your purposes. Some are ok to alter, some are not.
Sometimes a simple meme says more than any other image could. Meme Generator lets you create a meme from scratch or use an existing meme character to add your own saying.
10. Simple and quick design for beginners with Canva!
Epic tool for design. Drag and drop, download and your done. Canva can get your artistic feelings flowing without the need of being a designer ninja! It got plenty of templates if you wanna fix your Facebook Page cover, Instagram picture and much more. Or just start from scratch but with the right measurements.