Thursday, November 5, 2015

10 Completely Free and Crazy Useful Resources for Bloggers

I'm so excited to share today's guest post, written by Christine of 'Christine Everyday'. She's dishing about 10 great resources for bloggers and they are all free! I definitely use some of these religiously, and some I haven't heard of! So, while I go test some of these out, go ahead and read Christine's tips. Let us know what you've tried, liked, disliked, or what she can add to the list! ~Kali

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When I first started blogging, I was under the impression that all I needed was a blog.  I would just type up my posts, submit them to the wide world of the Internet, and wait for fame.  Pretty simple. Oh boy, how wrong I was. Blogging is a constant give and take of work and balance, and so many resources are needed to make our blogs more successful, and to save us time in all the tasks we have to as bloggers.  Between unique photos, social media community, blog design, and everything else, it is so great to have a handful of really useful resources to help you along your blogging journey!


Disqus 

This is my favorite comment platform, because your readers can sign on once and it will keep them signed on - not just on your blog, but on any blog that uses Disqus.  The platform is sleek, pretty, and functional, and allows for comments with minimal efforts.  This prompts more readers to comment, because let's face it, everybody hates having to type in their name, email address, and blog HTML every time they want to comment.  Plus, Disqus allows you to tag other users in comments, which makes it easy to share content with people who may enjoy it.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer 

This resource from CoSchedule (the producers of many helpful resources) is my favorite.  It is basically plug and chug - put in an idea for a title, and it scores it.  Not only does it give you a numerical score, but it color codes the scores.  A green color is the sign of a decent title, while yellow or red should be worked on!



 


But the headline analyzer doesn't just leave you to figure out how to fix it yourself.  It tells you how your score was figured out, and how you can improve your score.  These scores are based on the amount of words in the title, as well as what "kind" of words they are.  I also love that the headline analyzer saves your different title ideas as you work so that you can compare the scores of different titles as you go.

 

Unsplash 

I'm sure you've all heard of this one already, but if not, you are really missing out.  Unsplash is the best place to get completely free, no-attribution-necessary, and super pretty stock photos for your blog.  These photos do not at all look like stock photos, and that's the beauty of them.  You can find photos for any number of different post topics, and they are all free to use without any kind of source identification necessary.  Plus, they update the archives all the time, so there are always new pictures to use.

Tweetdeck 

Every blogger has their preference for Twitter scheduling, and Tweetdeck is mine and always will be.  Because it is actually run by Twitter, this platform client seems to work better than any others that I have tried.  Tweetdeck makes it super easy to schedule Tweets, see notifications, and keep up-to-date with your favorite Tweeters, all on one page.  But the best part of Tweetdeck is how easy it makes keeping up with specific hashtags.  Simply search a hashtag, then add it as a column on your Tweetdeck platform, and bam!  It updates automatically and you never miss anything tweeted to that hashtag!  This is especially useful for Twitter parties, as you can imagine!

 

Board Booster

Oh my goodness, I could go on and on about Board Booster.  I was recently introduced to this resource by Anne, my Pinterest Guru, and I am in love.  Board Booster is a resource for scheduling pins unlike any other that you've seen before.  Basically, BB takes all your boards and creates secret versions of them.  Then, when you have some time to spare, you pin things to these secret boards and BB will then pin them to the real board according to your set schedule.  There are also tools like pin analyzer, campaigns, pin doctors, and all kinds of amazing things.  Now, this is a little bit cheating on this list because it is not necessarily free - I believe there is a free version, but to really get the most from it, you will need a subscription.  However, the $5 a month is plan is more than enough, so it's really a steal!

W3 Schools 

W3 Schools is a great resource for all your HTML needs.  They offer tutorials on any HTML subject you will ever need tutorials on.  These tutorials are super useful when trying to design your own site, or even when just trying to do fancy things in the body of a post.  What's really awesome is that you can easily copy/paste HTML templates, plug in the info you need, and you're ready to go!

 

Jing 

Jing is the BEST RESOURCE for screenshotting that you will ever have.  Gone are the days of having to take a full screenshot, load it into photo-editng software, crop out the part you want, and resave.  Jing allows you to select certain portions of your screen, and either copy and paste them or save them as a file.  You can even email the selected screenshot to somebody straight from Jing.  As you can imagine, this is really useful when doing blogging tutorial posts (much like this one).

Aviary 

This is an app for the iPhone for editing photos straight on your phone.  This is perfect for editing photos that you've shot on your phone and want to share on Instagram or Twitter.  I especially find this useful for when I'm wanting to draw on a photo to draw attention to something, but it also has tons of other useful tools, such as cropping, lighting, etc.

 

PicMonkey 

For more powerful photo editing on my computer, I always turn to PicMonkey.  This website is the best for photo editing.  In my opinion, it is the easiest to use of all the different sites, and is really intuitive in its mechanisms.  You can pull a picture into the site and in a matter of moments you have it edited and beautiful.  The array of editing tools for the free account is significant, but you can also pay for Royale.  At only $33 for the year, this is a great deal because you get access to more in-depth tools and tons more fonts.

Social Fabric 

This is by far my favorite tool for monetizing my blog.  Anytime you've seen a blogger post something sponsored by "Collective Bias", it means they have been working on Social Fabric.  Basically, you hook up your blog and it tracks your stats.  Then, you just apply for different campaigns with how you would promote the product, then wait to be selected!  I've only been on this site for a month and have already gotten selected for two campaigns.  Plus, Social Fabric University has a ton of free courses to help you learn more about blogging - especially how to monetize!

 

What are your favorite blogging resources?  Have you heard of or used these already, or are they new to you?

6 comments:

  1. Great tips Christine! Some of these I haven't heard of before so I will definitely check them out and try them!! Great post! Xo
    Andrea
    Www.phdfashionista.com

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    Replies
    1. So glad you like it, Andrea! I hope you'll follow along...I often post blogging tips!

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  2. Most of these tips are new to me - thanks so much for sharing!

    Xo,
    Allie @ LunaVida
    Http://lunavida23.blogspot.com

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  3. Thaks for your tips! Aviary was my favourite soft for such things. Some times ago in the "Improve" was a mega convenient button "Auto" which resulted in one-click snapshot to normal. It is quick and simple. Now there are 5 buttons that I do not understand what to do with. All adjustments are now in one place, but why the developers did not bother the two parameters with the same name, "brightness", plus there is the "exposure", which seems to be working and all this does not sound like "intuitive interface" ... In general, , I begin to look for an alternative like my http://macphun.com mac editor

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  4. I know one great solution for bloggers, if your looking for some professional templates for your website or blog read this article Get the best Graphic Diagrams and I'm sure you'll find some great solution, hope it will be useful for you. Good luck.

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