People often ask me how I manage to fit in everything that I do blogging wise when it’s not my full time job and usually when they do, I look at them and reply ‘I just do’ because I don’t know what else to say.
Maybe the fact that it’s not my full time job and I’m not reliant on the income that blogging often brings helps me because I still get to do this for fun which means that I still love blogging but without the obligation as I don’t feel pressure to earn money from it (although that’s nice). It could also be because my children are a little older at 11 and 14 so on an evening when I sit down to blog, they’re doing their own thing and we all seem to do our own thing for that few hours before we gather round the table for a warm milk and cookies before bed (OK, so we don’t actually have warm milk and cookies but we do all sit down together before bed).
I could even say it’s just excellent organisational skills and great time management on my part that helps me get everything done although that would be a total lie as I’m the world’s most easily distracted procrastinator.
That’s why I’ve never really answered the question about fitting it all in – because I’ve never really known what to say but when someone emailed me this week though to ask for a bit of advice about how to fit it all in I had to sit down and really think about it. Because let’s face it, responding with ‘I just do’ in an email would have been a bit pants. 😉
Anyway, now that I’ve had a good think about things, I’ve come to the conclusion that I only manage to do as much as I actually do because I have some great blogging tools to help me so I thought I’d share them with you today in case they could help you too….
The Wunderlist App – Cost £0
I don’t know about other bloggers but personally, I have random ideas at all times of the day and if I don’t write them down then the chances are that I’ll forget them. I used to write them on scraps of paper (which I always lost) or in a notebook that I carried around (but never had a pen that worked handy) but neither of those methods worked for me. Then I discovered the Wunderlist app and it’s perfect for what I want. I have a blog post idea list that I add to frequently and as I’m never far from my phone it takes me about ten seconds to quickly open the app and type in the idea – even in the middle of the night! I also have lists for photos I need to take for planned posts and things I need to do/buy for planned posts so I have it handy when I’m out and about.
My Editorial Calendar – Cost – £0
A good editorial calendar is probably one of the most important blogging tools you can have as it keeps you on track and organised. There are plenty of different systems and ways to have an efficient editorial calendar but I always go back to Google calendar for mine. I have it set to a month view and I plan my posts a month or so in advance usually so I know what I need to do in order to get the posts written.
I have a very loose blog plan where I’ll try and post something foodie on a Monday, moneysaving on a Tuesday and family related on a Wednesday. I’ll aim to post something thrifty on Thursdays, Five Frugal things on a Friday and the weekend is anyone’s guess. That makes it a bit easier to plan my posts although to be honest, when I say I plan them, that makes me sound a bit more organised than I actually am. I basically have a 15 minute brainstorming session and then spend about ten minutes transferring the ideas I get from that and the post ideas I’ve typed into the Wunderlist app over on to Google calendar.
Co-schedule – Cost $10 a month
I love social media for the social interaction side of it but I hate it for the blog promotion aspect of it. Promoting blog posts on social media is boring and time consuming but it’s a necessary evil if I want people to see my posts. I pay for a tool called co-schedule which is a plug in for WordPress that does all of my social media posting to Twitter, Facebook, my Facebook page, Google Plus and Tumblr for me.
It’s so easy to use and takes minutes to schedule posts to any or all of my social media networks. All I do is choose which networks to share to, when I want the post sharing and what message I want to go out with the post link. I schedule shares for the month or so following the post at the time I write it and it takes me less than a minute to do that. I can then go back into it easily to schedule more whenever I want.
It costs $10 a month and it saves me hours in time so it’s well worth it and is one of my favourite blogging tools. If you want to see if you’ll like it before you sign up then you can get a free trial with my referral link.
Tailwind – Cost $10 monthly
Tailwind is my favourite blog tool EVER. I used to avoid Pinterest as far as blog promotion was concerned because it seemed like such a chore but then I found Tailwind and never looked back. Tailwind helps me schedule pins by telling me what the optimum times are for my audience and then letting me schedule one post to as many boards as I want at whatever interval I want at the click of a button. For example, I’ve set all my boards up in Tailwind in categories so if I have a moneysaving post to share then I’ll click schedule instead of Pin and choose my group of moneysaving boards. I change the interval to 1 day and then Tailwind will share that post to every board – one a day – until it’s done. It takes literally three clicks of my mouse to do that!!!
Not only that but there’s a tribes feature where you can get together with a group of people who share the same sorts of posts as you and you can schedule each other’s posts to Pinterest for even more reach. I’m in tribes that have a reach of more than a million people which means that instead of just my followers seeing my pins, they’re being shared far and wide by the people in my tribes.
Tailwind is another paid for service but it’s made me more money that I pay because of the volume of extra visitors it brings. You can try it for free for a month using my referral link if you’d like to see for yourself.
Picmonkey – $33 annually or $4.99 monthly
I love PicMonkey because it’s so easy to use! Great images are vital for any successful blog in my opinion and Picmonkey helps me make them with no fuss and no complicated settings or systems to learn. It costs about $33 a year for the Royale version and it’s probably the most value for money thing that I pay for in terms of the amount I use it for the price I pay. It really is all you need to edit photos and produce great blog images and graphics. I like Canva too but it’s not as simple to use as Picmonkey so I rarely go there. They also have an app which is almost as good as the online editing software so I often edit on the go and email the images to myself ready for when I need them – it’s a great way to fill in time while I’m sat waiting for the kids in the car.
My version of a bullet journal
I love lists so I love bullet journal and the lists I make in there – I have lists for posts due, for reviews due, for plans I have, things I’d like to do – everything. It helps me keep on top of things and prioritise important things that I need to do.
Do you have any secret blogging tools to share with us?
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