When it comes to blogging, there’s a lot of tasks to juggle. Writing, social media, newsletters and email marketing, design — there’s never a dull moment.
While it can be challenging to keep everything in running smoothly, it’s definitely possible — if you have the right help.
Today I want to share 7 important resources I use to keep my blog running smoothly. These programs either help me keep the ship sailing or they’ve helped me get to where I am today.
I know it can be tempting to use free or budget-friendly resources when you’re starting out (I certainly did) but as with any business, eventually, you need to invest in it to take things to the next level.
Here are 7 vital resources — both free and paid — you’ll want to consider when you’re ready to level up your blog:
Once you decide to start blogging, one of the first things you’re going to need is a website. And to create a beautiful, functional website you’re going to need to purchase a theme. Themes allow you to create intuitive, stunning websites with significantly less time and effort than a custom design built from scratch. They provide you with a template to build your dream website, and they can be updated or swapped out at any time (I’ve updated my site numerous times over the years).
When you’re just starting out you’ll want to invest in a premium theme from a company like Studio Press. Their themes are functional, beautiful, and come with great support.
This app is great for organizing your tasks and keeping yourself on track. You can create single or recurring projects, set dates and reminders, and generally keep yourself on task. Best of all? It’s free! (a paid version is available, but unless you have a massive team with complex needs, the free version will suffice!)
If you struggle with procrastination or just need a way to keep yourself on track, this is where you want to start!
For more productivity suggestions, check out these helpful books!
This is the service I use to manage my newsletters and email funnels. Over the years, I’ve used pretty much every service out there and I’ve found ConvertKit to be the most comprehensive. It is incredibly intuitive and easy to use, you can create all sorts of different tags and segments, and the customer service is top notch.
While free services like MailChimp can suffice when you’re just starting out, they are also limiting your potential. A mailing list is one of a bloggers most important resources. For that reason, I think investing in a great email marketing service is money well spent.
Buffer is a social media scheduling app that covers Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin. It’s the best tool to use when you’re just starting out as it’s free. You’re limited to a certain amount of posts per months, but that’s perfectly acceptable when you’re just starting out. Once you begin to grow and are ready to expand, consider the next two apps for your social media needs.
This is my go-to app for social media scheduling. While I’ll still post live updates on social media from time to time (mainly Twitter), each month me and the team schedule out all the content I want to make sure gets shared. Integrating with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, this is a great all-in-one social media manager to help you save time and stay focused. It’s not free, but it’s worth the price for the simplicity and ease of use. I use it mostly for Facebook and Twitter, but it’s great for every platform.
Tailwind is my go-to app for managing my Pinterest and Instagram accounts. It’s easy to use and makes managing these platforms a breeze. And at only $9.99 per month, it’s affordable even if you’re just starting out. I see so many new bloggers wasting more time on social media than they should. Save yourself some time and invest in an app like Tailwind (or Social Sprout). It’s a worthwhile investment.
SEO is important from day one, and while you don’t want to focus 100% on creating keyword-oriented posts (doing that will just make your blog rather generic) you will want to make sure you create some pointed, SEO-focused articles to drive organic traffic to your site.
AHREFS is a great links checker, keyword tracker, and all-around incredible website to figure out who is linking to you, what you rank for, what your competitors are ranking for, ways you can improve, and how you’re doing with keywords. It’s my main SEO tool these days.
As you grow, you’re going to need to think about how you advertise and promote yourself (especially as you start to attend conferences — which you should definitely be doing). Having a logo and professional business cards is a must. While there are cheaper services out there, such as Fiverr, at the end of the day you get what you pay for. Investing in a high-quality logo will make your blog more recognizable and help you appear more professional. You’ll also be able to develop more brand uniformity, which will help you in the long run. It’s better to invest in a great logo now than pay for a sub-par one just to save a few bucks. Remember, first impressions matter!
When you’re ready to get serious about converting visitors into subscribers or customers, sign up for Optin Monster. It’s a powerful lead generation tool that converts abandoning visitors into subscribers with impressive results. You can create beautiful opt-in forms with their drag-and-drop platform and boost your conversions exponentially. You can test forms, target specific pages, and review your analytics — all on one easy-to-navigate platform.
While there are tons of other amazing and helpful apps and programs out there (many which you can find in our blogging resource section), these are the 7 you’ll want to consider first as your blog continues to grow. The sooner you can invest in your blog — and in yourself — the sooner you’ll be able to reap the rewards and take your blog to the next level.