After posting the “why” behind my blogging, I thought it would be fun to talk about the stuff that I use to make the whole process a little easier. While I am no where near a pro at all of this, I have found a few things that make having a blog a little bit less of a headache-inducing hobby. With no further ado, here are my top ten blogging tools:
I want you to all highly consider ditching your big DSLR for a compact one. If you are not a professional photographer, I swear this is all you need. The best part is obviously the size difference. I don’t want to even think about all the quality photos I used to miss out on because I didn’t want to lug my huge camera around. This one is small enough to toss into my purse, and I basically have it with me at all times.
You are still able to purchase lenses, tinker with all of the same controls, and take amazing photos. On top of all of that, many of the compact DSLRs come equipped with Wi-Fi capabilities. That was a huge selling point for me. After I snap a picture, I can send it to my phone, text it to other people, or immediately post it on the blog. I swear my Instagram game has improved tremendously since purchasing this thing. Super important, am I right?
Tripod and Remote
The most recent life-saving blogging purchase I made was for a tripod and a remote. Y’all. Do you realize that this thing may or may not have saved my marriage? I no longer have to fuss at Ryne to take my picture (and retake my picture…), because I can just do it myself.
Basically, owning these things makes me less annoying. Unless you follow me on social media, because it means selfies are just way too easy now. It’s an issue.
Windows Live Writer
I am addicted to Live Writer. If I’m blogging from a computer, I’m blogging from this program. It’s way more intuitive than blogging from WordPress.com and makes the whole process go by about a zillion times faster. I love how you can see exactly what everything will look like as you are going. It’s pretty sweet.
I’m not going to sit here and discuss every single feature, but one that I really love is the hyperlink tool. You can automatically make a “no follow” link without messing around with any HTML or special plugins. Actually, you don’t really have to mess around with any HTML when blogging from Live Writer. It’s a pretty great program and continues to work well for me day after day.
When I’m blogging on the fly, I use the free WordPress App. I rarely do this, but it’s nice to have if I feel the need to share something quickly. I just laughed out loud about anyone believing that any of my posts are that important that I need to press publish right away.
In reality, my favorite part about the app is the ability to respond to comments in real time. I’m really, really trying to work on answering questions a little faster. This makes that a lot easier.
Tweet Deck is Twitter on crack. You can see the feed, your notifications, your messages, and pretty much anything else you need all at once. It’s still free, so there’s also that.
The most helpful part about it, though, is the ability to schedule tweets. If you are at a point in blogging where you want to work with brands, this is essential to not freaking forgetting to say something you were supposed to for a specific campaign. I have the memory of a squirrel, so this is important for me. I feel bad for stereotyping squirrels right there. My bad.
I do most of my editing o my phone or in my computers native editor, but when I want something extra funky I head to PicMonkey. There are a ton of fun options, and you can do everything from simply resizing a photo to making a pinnable collage.
PicMonkey is free for most features, but you can remove the ads and access bonus features (like new fonts or editing abilities) for a small monthly fee. I’ve had both the paid and free versions, and I ended up sticking with the free one. I’m cheap.
PS Express App
My all-time favorite picture editing app is PS Express. It’s basically a free, limited version of Photoshop for you phone. There are a few features you can access for price, but I’m sticking with the basic stuff. It has everything I need.
I usually send pictures from my compact DSLR to my phone and then edit with this app. I can post the new photos directly to social media or email them to myself. 9 times out of 10, I end up using the photos from the app in blog posts instead of editing them on the computer. So easy.
I think it’s funny that I need a paper planner for something I do primarily online, but whatever. I need to be able to write, erase, and visualize each month. While I don’t really plan out my posts in advance all too often, I always pencil in due dates for brands.
Behind the scheduling section in my notebook, I have one for blog finances and one for contracts and deliverables. Tracking my blog finances was so difficult until I merged it with my main planner. I keep record of income, product income, and expenses. I also stick any receipts in that bad boy. The only downside is I would die if I lost this thing. I should totally back it up online.
I can’t tell you how many times I almost quit blogging in the beginning. As fun as it is, it can be stressful if you let it get to you. People say mean things on your posts, certain brands say you aren’t a good fit for them, etc. Having a group of people to talk to about it all can help put things in perspective. Reach out to other bloggers, participate in Twitter chats, or do whatever else it takes to make some buddies.
A big thing I’m working on this year is remembering that this is all just a hobby for me. If I deleted my blog tomorrow, not much would change in my life. I’ve had some amazing experiences and met some great people because of Run Pretty, but it isn’t my career. Having people to remind me of that fact helps so, so much. It’s what keeps me from having full on panic attacks about any of it, y’all.
Lack of Shame
This is probably the most important tool for blogging: don’t be afraid to look like an idiot. The minute you are worried about what someone might think, the more you will hate every second of it. Just be yourself and do what you set out to do. Your blog should be a direct reflection of who you are, not a copycat of something you think you should be.
I’m lucky that I have a job and a hobby where I essentially get to be ridiculous. Teaching 4k can be just as embarrassing. I’ve learned to embrace it, and it makes everything a whole lot more fun.
So, there you have it. Like I said, I’m not a professional but I’ve learned a thing or two. If you have more suggestions, feel free to lay ’em on me in the comments. I’m always learning!
Disclosure: While this post contains affiliate links, they are all things I have personally purchased. I appreciate any and all support for Run Pretty!