Here is a list some of my current favorite blogging essentials! They just make work that little bit easier.
Since I started blogging in 2008 I have tried lots and lots of programs, online systems, plugins and learned what works best for me.
This is my favorite online imaging tool and it’s FREE (there are some elements to purchase but lots of free ones too)! I mainly use it for creating “Feature Images” for posts and thumbnails for YouTube. You can create images, collages, and thumbnails of all shapes and sizes. There are a lot of free options on Canva and there are some paid elements too. But you can just use it completely free if you pick and choose what you do.
All the free layouts are not watermarked and are downloadable in high-resolution jpegs, pngs and pdfs for most. (The pdfs even give you the option of downloading with bleed/crop marks, which is handy if you are sending and add to print flyers or to a publication.
The best bits about Canva
- Easy to use.
- There is also a smartphone app
- Lots of great templates
- You can fully customize your own designs from scratch
- You can upload and use your own images
- There are a ton of free elements, layouts and texts to use.
- All of your designs are saved in your profile.
- All of your designs are easily duplicated to create a new layout.
- You can download high-res files for print and web use.
- You can download pdfs for print.
Snipping tool (on PC Windows)
I only started using this about 2 years ago because I never knew it existed. Just type “snipping” into the search of your windows menu and voila!
This is such a handy tool for making notes and way easier than the “PrtScr” button. (Thank Colm for showing me this.) It is very handy if you are doing a tutorial blog post and you want to add screen grabs to it for instructions or edits etc… Like so….
The best bits about Snipping Tool
- It’s FREE and most likely already on your PC
- it’s easy to use and you can save images as png, jpeg or gifs.
- It is great for doing screen shots for instructions and tutorials.
- You can make notes on the screenshot and highlight areas for edits.
I use Google Drive a lot. Mainly for backups and for storing images to post later to social media. It’s great for project work. If a client has to send you a lot of content it is better to have a folder on Google Drive so it’s all uploaded to one place. I really don’t like having to scroll through emails to find attachments. And you also have an attachment max so Drive eliminates that.
Best bits about Google Drive
- You get 15gb with every Gmail account you have
- There are smartphone apps so you can access on the go.
- The apps mean you can backup on the go also. (This is important if you are working remotely and need to make sure you don’t lose valuable data.
- You can share files and folders with others easily and vice versa
- You can link to your google docs to edit on the go.
- If your laptop doesn’t open a text file, it is likely that google docs can do it for you.
- It integrates with so many apps you already use.
Classified as a communication and teamwork tool, I just love Slack. (Thanks to Rowena from Visual Sense for the recommendation.) You create a profile and then you can create channels/teams for projects, invite team members to these channels. You also have a personal area for gathering notes, links, and research for ongoing projects.
There are paid plans but you can use the FREE plan for small teams to use it for an unlimited amount of time. I find it perfect because a lot of projects are solo with the client or a small team so I have never needed to upgrade.
The best bits about Slack
- easily accessed on desktop, tablet or smartphone
- the app has a dictaphone which I find great for capturing ideas and its way faster than typing or writing.
- Great way to keep all communication about a project/with a client in the same thread. (not in a ton of individual emails).
- It integrates with so many different apps to make work easier for you. (eg. drive, dropbox
- You get 5gb of space to use.
- You can upgrade for larger team facilities and more perks.
My Blogging Essentials……
I use all of these in conjunction with each other. I create images, memes, quotes, thumbnails etc in canva and I upload them to Drive or Slack for use later on the blog and social media. Or simply to be able to access them all the time and not take up valuable space of my hard drive.
I hope this is of help!
What are your blogging/social media essentials?