As a graphic designer, I had no idea of what I was doing when I first decided to start blogging. With time, I began to discover some great tools (plugins, websites, add-ons…) that helped me optimize all the blogging process, leaving me with enough time to dedicate to write new contents for the blog. Today I want to share with you the main tools that I always have around when working on the next post.
When you start sharing your contents via social networks, it can be difficult to stay online at all time, which makes necessary to have a tool that allows to schedule your messages as well as receive how other people are interacting with you. Hootsuite is a nice tool where you can check your mentions, direct messages, manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts and more. Plus, you can use Hootlet, an useful bookmarklet that allows you to schedule anything without having to open Hootsuite.
When I first started tweeting, I realized that unlike Facebook, I had to keep my messages as short and brief as possible due the 140 characters limit. I noticed that some of the things that occupy most of the characters are links, so I started to search and I found this tool that allows you to shorten any link before sharing it. Of course you can find other shorteners such as goo.gl, but in my experience, Bit.ly does a great job.
During the first days of the blog, every time I wanted someone to share one of our articles, I sent that person the article’s link. This worked fine for a while, until I realized that I could make things better. With Click to Tweet I can make a tweet with all the hashtags and words that I want and then I can generate the link and simply share it with the person that I’d like to share my content.
When you leave comments in other people’s websites/blogs, it’s a good idea to have an universal account that allows people to identify you in all places. Gravatar allows you to define an email address and picture that will be always shown when you leave a message using that account.
Running out of content?. StumbleUpon is a great way to find inspiration by randomly browsing other people’s posts and things you may like. You just need to set up your preferences and start stumbling.
Note: This site used to have an amazing shortener named su.pr, sadly it stop working a few months ago.
This tool works great if you have a large monitor at your disposition. Yoono appears as a sidebar (or desktop application) in your browser from which you can access several social networks. I say that this tool is great for large monitors because it covers a considerable amount of your screen in order to function properly. I highly recommend it in case you need to monitor multiple social accounts.
There are many plugins that can help you fill forms automatically, but in this case I like to recommend this Firefox add-on. When we publish a new post, we usually send it to many news feeders where it can gain exposure, and that usually means having to fill large forms. Because this process can be boring, having an auto fill tool can save you a lot of time.
Yes, I know you can say that the reasons for starting your blog were truly altruistic, yet it’s always useful to keep track of the site’s performance to see who are visiting it, how are the visitors interacting with the page and more. A great tool to perform these tests is Google Analytics, a very complete (and free!) tool where you can monitor your site’s statistics, analyze how to improve your visits and more.
Note: On Mishës case, we got screwed after forgetting the email account that we used to monitor the site for the first time, now we have no way to find it and so we cannot use Analytics as admins.
Insights is a tool I discovered recently and since then has become one of my favorites. This tool allows you to compare different search terms in order to discover the keywords behind people’s search and therefore be able to generate rich content that can easily be found by people and indexed by browsers.
And finally we have WeFollow. If you’re starting to build an audience on Twitter, this tool will help you find those key users that you must definitely follow, either for their influence or because of the quality content that they share.
I hope this article can help you improve your blogging skills, what other tools do you normally use while working on your own blog?.