I have a new blog- now what?
Several months ago, I had an idea and some thoughts on posts. Four months ago, I had an outline of what I thought it would look like if I made a blog. Three months ago, I put it all together, chose a hosting site, chose a theme, and put the look I wanted on the (probably never) finished product.
Now, I’m posting, I’m working social media channels, I’m trying to come up with new ideas, I’m trying to get everything straight with the technical side, I’m working on affiliate marketing, I’m trying to figure out something called an algorithm, I’m trying to do everything at once — and did I mention I have a full-time job as a business writer which takes about 50+ hours of my time each week?
I’m feeling a little bit scattered, so I turned to technology, my answer for nearly everything, to keep me sane. I decided as part of my series on how I started this blog, I should also tell you how I’ve been managing everything else that goes with it.
It is overwhelming – go to any blog with startup advice and they will say the same exact thing. Keeping up with social media, trying to manage posting schedules, figuring out the technical side of the equation – it all adds up to a lot of confusion, late nights, and stifling the impulse to throw that pretty little laptop at the wall.
Since I have a limited number of hours and spend a great deal of my day already writing, I chose a few tools, some I spend money on, some I haven’t, but will soon, to help me manage the daily tasks of a blog professionally and create processes (I’m also a project manager, so you know I LOVE processes) to keep me and my significant others sane.
My Favorite Blogging Tools
- Tailwind – I use this exclusively to schedule Pinterest pins, which are one of my focuses at this time and a significant source of my initial traffic. It allows me to schedule all my Pinterest traffic for the week, providing me with their suggested best times for posting and allowing me to save time by automatically scheduling where and when each pin posts out. They provide a free trial to start. If you click on the banner below, it will take you to their site and you can sign up using my link to try out this very valuable tool. I used it for the first 100 pins and loved it so much, I signed up as soon as my free trial ended to keep the service.
- Hootsuite – This tool is free for up to three social media accounts. I am considering purchasing a full version, but right now I use it to schedule out Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I can see all three in one dashboard and I can schedule posts out in one shot for all three platforms. It does not cover Pinterest, but it does have an app for Tailwind, so I can see my posts scheduled from the same dashboard. It is really nice to have everything in one place and it is available as an iOS app and Android app as well, if you want to keep tabs on your phone.
- Canva – I found this wonderful little tool when researching how to do Pinterest graphics. The free version provides templates, a limited number of free photos and a larger library of photos which are very inexpensive as well as the ability to upload your own photos and graphics. While the free version is limited in the number of templates and does not allow for automatic resizing and transparent logos, this powerful little tool is what I use to create and size my graphics. I will be upgrading to a paid version soon so I can save my own templates and make the graphic creation process faster.
- PicMonkey – This little application provides photo editing on a limited scale, but it is adequate for what I need. I hope to someday upgrade to full Adobe Photoshop license, but it works for now.
- Pixabay – this is my favorite free stock photo site, although I use several. I am not yet in a position to purchase a package, but when I am, I will probably use either ShutterStock (which offers paid images on this site for a fee) or iStockphoto, which is more expensive, but has a wider reach.
- Grammarly – I am fairly good with grammar and spelling, but everyone needs an editor. Grammarly’s free service uses a web browser app which automatically reviews your pages and posts and provides feedback and editing on spelling and grammar. It is a nice backup to make sure I didn’t miss anything obvious in my posts. Click on the link at the bottom of this post to start your free trial – they do have an upgraded service as well, but I encourage you to try it out, even if you feel comfortable with grammar and spelling.
- JetSuite (plugin) – this is a plugin for WordPress and provides site data and also notifies if the site goes down for any reason. There is a free version which I am using now, but I have plans to upgrade.
- Akismet (plugin) – you need this plugin – it protects against spam in your comments, and believe me, you will be overwhelmed without it. Again, they have a free version to start and a paid version with more features.
Other (less) Technical tools
I have a written spreadsheet of usernames, passwords, and details – once I passed six or so new logins, I knew I would never remember everything. So, I created a simple template and I write them all down, on paper. I know you are not supposed to write these down, but I work from home and keep them in a safe location. Otherwise, I would never remember it all.
I use a Blog planner with a calendar and pages for blog post ideas – I found a free printable blog planner and sheets to keep track of postings. I created an editorial calendar, a running list of blog post ideas, and outlines of future blog posts with keywords, potential affiliate opportunities, link backs to other sites, etc. It is essential to helping me stay on track.
I also have a “little book of ideas” – I have this nice little book I keep with me at all times. I write down ideas for posts, bits of advice I come across, anything that I think will help me move forward. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but with all the information coming at me, it helps to sort through all my thoughts.
Join the Conversation
For now, these are the tools I am relying on to keep me organized and make sure I keep myself honest to my posting schedule. I am constantly on the look out for more ideas, so if you have any tools or tricks you use to help organize the messiness of the blogosphere, let me know in the comments sections. I’d love to hear about how others are managing their processes!
This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission, at no cost to you, for advertising the availability of these services on this site. I only provide links to those services which I use and believe are helpful to my readers.