Getting started as a blogger can be a hard and expensive process. Building a website from the ground up, paying designers to create a logo or customize a blog template, purchasing stock photos… the list goes on and on. As you build your brand, free tools and apps can help you establish your website without breaking the bank.
Our list of free tools will help you get started as a blogger by making many of the things you might need to pay for initially, a little bit more accessible. Most of these tools start free, but as you progress into their advanced features, may require a small monthly fee.
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Canva provides templates that can help get you started with the design process. Using free backgrounds and beautiful fonts you can create professional looking Facebook cover photos, logos, or social media posts in minutes.
With the ability to upload your own images and use any of Canva’s thousands of illustrations and layouts, it’s possible to develop a fully personalized brand and message that can be used across all of your social media platforms.
PicMonkey is more of a photo editor than a design tool, although it is possible to do design within the application. Ideal for creating Pin Images to lead-off posts, PicMonkey allows you to upload an image and overlay text or illustrations.
BuzzSumo is a content analyzer, providing insight into which content creators are writing relevant posts similar to your chosen topic. As a blogger, this allows you to see who else has covered a topic, and specifically what platforms that content was most successful on.
There are two ways to use this information to improve your own personal posts. As a research tool, you can identify similar content and work to provide an authentic take on the topic in a way that has already resonated with readers.
You may also wish to use well performing posts as inspiration using quotes from the original article. If you do this, link back to the original post and notify the first writer that you have done so. This may encourage them in turn to share your post and help extend the reach of your content to their already active audience.
Understanding who is following you on Instagram can help provide direction for what type of posts you should write, and who you should not return the follow for. Instareport shows new followers and who has chosen to stop following your profile.
Managing multiple social media accounts at once is challenging. Hootsuite allows you to automate postings across several accounts at one time and view any posts mentioning you or selected hashtags in a single place. Using HootSuite you can easily schedule out several weeks of content in a few hours.
To be effective on Twitter, you must share new posts several times per day. If you do not have the time to write your own content, Quu will provide posts that are within the topics you wish to share and are written to sound like an authentic post. Free accounts allow you to automate up to 3 posts per day.
Quu offers a true set it and forget it solution to Twitter, but if you wish to have more control, you can log in daily to approve or delete posts.
Growing an email list is an important part of blogging. Emails allow you to quantify the number of followers you are regularly in contact with, outside of what you may be able to view directly on Google Analytics.
Mailchimp provides easy to use subscription forms that you can embed into your blog design, and allows you to automate sending a newsletter with recent posts. If you post regularly, this provides a reminder to your email subscribers without adding an additional project on your to do list.
As you begin to grow partnerships with brands and media contacts, Rapportive provides quick insight into the individuals who are contacting you directly. This plugin shares a high level view inside Gmail of the sender’s details, including titles and Linkedin and Twitter profiles.
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