(This post contains referral and affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.). Blogging is tough, and so any time we spend on it must be productive. Which is why there are so many blogging tools out there to help us all. That creates its own problems though – which ones are worth investing in? As we were recently named in the top 5 UK parent bloggers by Feedspot, we thought we’d share some of our productivity tips with you all. Just in case it helps you all too.
Blogging is NOT an easy option for working from home. It is, in fact, far from it. From managing the promotion of your blog, pitching for work, writing and creating content, and keeping on top of a never-ending email inbox, there is no let up. It is absolutely constant, and bloggers have to be incredibly disciplined to stop their blog taking over at the wrong times in their personal life.
One of the key ways of achieving balance between blogging and lifestyle, is to employ as many blogging tools as possible to create that productive environment. If the time you spend on the blog is as streamlined as it can be, then your work is more focused, and likely to generate the revenue you need as a blogger. So with that in mind, these are the ten blogging tools that we recommend for making you so productive you’ll kill it! 😆 We use ALL these tools, and as we can only really spend 1-2 days maximum a week on the site, we think they are all working pretty well.
Blogging tool to help find you the best blogging tools!
This might seem counter-intuitive, but we are starting with a tool that allows you to find other great blogging tools, and get them at great prices.
This is THE BEST of all of the blogging tools that we have here at KiddyCharts; and it is simply making sure you are on a list. We have picked up some amazing deals on productivity tools with Appsumo. Some of the tools we use, we have gained lifetime access to for the price on a month’s membership. Literally, the service has saved us THOUSANDS of pounds over the last eight years we have been blogging. Sign up to their newsletter and make sure you are on their list.
But do be disciplined about what you buy from them, don’t get too carried away!
Blogging tools for social
10 messages on 1 acct free – $15 per month for 8 social account and 1 user
Buffer is a social media scheduling tool; and it is literally, the dog’s bo**ocks. Schedule for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest all in one place! Schedule INSIDE some of these platforms using the Chrome extensions provided as well. This can massively helpful when you find content on other sites you want to share, but don’t want to inundate your followers all at once.
If you run competitions on your site, you will know how difficult it is to manage them; tracking entries, complying with GDPR rules, and picking a winner randomly. Gleam takes away all the headaches associated with it, and the paid plans enable you to offer a few more ways to enter too.
The paid plan entry methods can make the offer more compelling for those you are working with on the giveaways too, so it is definitely a win-win.
Missinglttr is a tool KiddyCharts signed up for years ago, but didn’t start taking full advantage of immediately. Once we started though, we didn’t stop. It automatically imports new blog posts into the system, and generates Twitter campaigns for promoting them automatically too. Initially, it was only possible to do this over the following 365 days, and with 9 messages going out in that time frame. However, the system now allows you to schedule independently, and generate campaigns of different lengths:
- Two weeks – ideal for giveaways,
- Two months – great for seasonal content which ideally you want to promote 8-10 weeks in advance for Pinterest, and
- Six months, and
- The usual year.
The system is a godsend; KiddyCharts used to spend far too long scheduling content, and now it takes about 5mins for each post. Just beyond amazing as a productivity blogging tool. There is a limit on the number of campaigns you can run, but it is well worth the money.
We have nearly 5,000 people in our email list; and we don’t really do anything at all to send out our emails to them. It is all automated thanks to the RSS functionality within the Mailchimp package.
We keep the list streamlined, so we have a 15 – 20% open rate; if you don’t open our email regularly; you are OUT. We can’t pay for subscribers who don’t interact, so the most time we do spend on our list, is making sure we are talking to the right people.
Mailchimp makes maintaining, and sending to your email list so much easier. We used to spend a long time managing the emails, but now, Mailchimp does it all.
Free for some functionality, and then $39 per month (annual billing)
We get over 500k visits to our site, so we need to maximise those visitors, and keep them coming back to us. SumoMe is one of the key blogging tools for doing this. It allows us to specify how we capture email addresses for our visitors; perhaps through embedded forms, or pop-ups.
Most importantly though, it is highly customisable, so:
- You can change the forms depending on how your audience reacts, but best of all,
- Display specific forms depending on where your visitors have come from. For example, if they came from Pinterest, show them a form that is likely to entice email sign-ups more based on platform specific needs.
Some people aren’t pop-up kinds of people. We know it works for us, why not see if it does for you?
Tailwind is awesome, there is just no other way of saying it. Managing a Pinterest account with over 500,000 followers would be totally impossible for KiddyCharts without it. It is possible to set up cyclical pinning in their new Smartloop tool, to schedule pins in groups using their board list functionality, and to schedule content as you see it using their chrome extension. If there is one tool for social that we feel is a must, it is this one.
Blogging tools for your pitching and revenue generation
Anything that saves you time on pitching, and getting a little bit extra for the site is worth it for us.
THE worst thing about being a blogging is the huge amount of emails we get. When we have been out of the office for a week, we literally have thousands of emails in our inbox. That is enough to drive people totally insane. The blogging tool, for such a small amount of money at the starter level, cuts through the crap and gets you on track.
We pitch to many different companies; for giveaways, social media work, travel, product, and compensation within a week. The ONLY way we can keep track of what we are doing within the email system is using Boomerang. As with Gmail, you can set reminders, but you can also schedule messages for the future, and be reminded to follow up on an email when someone hasn’t replied. It is nothing short of a godsend for as on of the most important blogging tools for organising my life.
We LOVE it.
Gmail canned responses
Gmail is an amazing FREE service, and there are some little tweaks you can make within the system so that you are a little more productive. It isn’t a blogging tool as such, but it can give you great productivity wins if you use it effectively. The most fabulous feature within Gmail is it’s canned responses. They are so simple to set up, and then access when you are writing replies. You can create a number of standard template replies within Gmail, so that whenever you reply as a standard, perhaps to a PR for the first time, or an SEO, you’ve got most of the words already written for you. If you don’t use Gmail already, it is a really good reason for changing, alongside autocompleting emails, and the ability to get a nudge if you haven’t replied to emails sent a while ago.
Wisestamp (for individuals)
Looking professional when you pitch is important for winning business; so get yourself an amazing email signature. Include all your social channels, and even the last blog post that you did in there, and you are also helping those brands you reach out to get to know you. Wisestamp even allows you to set specific signatures depending on they type of message you are sending, e.g. first contact or a reply.
Definitely one of the blogging tools worth investing in a little so you come across as professional. Wisestamp also reduces the need for you to add your media pack, or your social channels into your emails yourself, keeping time to write them down as well.
Blogging tools for image creation
Stock photos give me a headache; what to use when, and what size does it need to be? Get Stencil soothes the aching brow because:
- It has hundreds of thousand of stock photos,
- It allows you to upload logos to the system which you can add into any of your images as the flick of a slider,
- It’s got LOADS of free icons to go alongside this,
- It has pre-set image sizes for your social, and you can customise for your blog too,
- It’s got templates as well, and finally,
- It has a bank of quotes you can draw on, which is searchable, if you like a good quote for social media from time to time!
Get Stencil is worth it’s money JUST for the presets on social, but the system is evolving all the time, and the addition of templates, more icons and pictures have made it one of my most fabulous blogging tools ever.
Though Get Stencil is great for stock images, sometimes the image creation functionality isn’t quite there. There isn’t the ability to adjust pictures, or add filters on the package. If you are playing with your own photographs then you typically need to turn to one of the other image blogging tools.
We have found that Picmonkey is the one; it is relatively cheap, easy to use, and has everything you need all in once place. The addition of templates, and the hub (allowing you to save image to their server) also means that you can reduce the time it takes to make images because you already have presets within the system.
Their blog is brilliant too for picking up little tips and tricks for your images as well.
We really hope that some of these recommendations really work for you and help you in your blogging journey. We write on blogging a fair bit of KiddyCharts, so why not take a look at:
- Parenting blog rankings – which ones to bother with and why,
- Parent blogger and influencer rankings explained; what do they really all mean, and
- How to monetise your blog effectively.
Take care and have fun blogging.