Blogging is a busy business. In an effort to be efficient with my time, I spent months going through various tools – I think I looked into every single CRM in 2014! And there are a lot of them! As a result of that search, I came up with a framework to help me find and filter the tools that would be useful for my blog. Over the years since, and several trials and errors, we’ve come up with seven online tools for bloggers specifically, that we think will be the most useful to you.
The seven tools for bloggers that I’d like to mention today have saved me over 15 hours each and every week. In short these are the seven:
Buffer, Tailwind, Acuity Scheduling, Freshbooks, ConvertKit, ActiveInbox and Twigyposts. If you don’t have your systems nailed down in these areas – test out these apps, they’ve been worth their weight in gold for me!
Buffer & Tailwind
As bloggers, we need to be on social media constantly. Although each site and audience is different, on average we:
- pin 60+ times per day
- tweet 3-12 times per day
- Facebook 2-4
- Instagram ??
Buffer handles Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Google plus. You can also use it for Instagram. We prefer Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram because it is a ‘verified’ application and has ‘tribes’. Tribes are magnificent groups that find and post the best content for each other. As long as it is voluntary and there’s a benefit to joining, these are a great boost.
Just those two apps alone save over 5-8 hours per week.
Jana of TwigyPosts is a photographer, blogger and artist. I highly recommend TwigyPosts subscription – saving you hours of searching for images. Stock photography is the best way to create photos for Pinterest on posts that don’t require your own photography.
If free photography is more your style try unsplash or pexel to find some great gems.
Obtaining stock photos within our brand has saved me not only the time of creating and editing photos but learning how to do that in the first place!
One day it is a dream of mine to learn photography, but in the meantime stock photography saves me 30-90 minutes per week.
One of the most important tools for blogging is the email sign-up process. Anything to make that easier and more effective is worth its weight in gold!
Have you noticed that there are a lot of downloads on this site? There is also a few opportunities to sign up for the Espresso News – more than a few opportunities. 🙂 Getting the Espresso into your hands and your friends’ hands is my most important goal! It is where I post all security upgrades, important upgrade announcements and other goings-on.
Convertkit makes it so easy to add sign-ups to the website. And it also makes it super easy to deliver opt-in incentives. It is as easy as uploading the file in a drag-and-drop interface and clicking a button to ‘add to confirmation email’.
Compared to MailChimp this saves me 90 minutes per week.
Lets discuss blogging and email. Email and blogging. It’s its own adventure!
Ashton Kutcher said, “Email is someone else’s to-do list for me. I do my own to-do list before I open my email.”
Isn’t that brilliant? So simple and yet so effective! I don’t know about you, but I can spend the whole day in ‘reactive’ mode answering emails – and that doesn’t allow for any of the other very important work.
One of the biggest time savers and I think one of the best tools for bloggers is ActiveInbox. It’s new to me this year and is now absolutely indispensable. My favorite feature is the “follow-up on…”.
- If you are waiting for a response from an email you can file it away in a ‘follow up’ folder.
- If the person responds to you, the email is automatically removed from the follow up folder.
- If you do not get a response, you are reminded on the day you specify!
Also, I can turn an email into a to-do item in one click!
This saves me 7-10 hours per week.
Because almost all bloggers work remotely, this next tool is essential! This scheduling app takes care of time-zone conflicts, automatic scheduling and calendar syncing.
And guess what? You never have to have that 23 email long conversation about availability.
Why I love Acuity:
- pretty interface (lets face it, that’s important)
- easy to use
- accepts payments automatically
- sends automated email reminders, thank yous and they’re all customizable
- free for up to 3 appointment types
- syncs with any iCal or google calendar feed
- allows me to add limited # of appointments per day
- allows me to set up a buffer period between appointments
Acuity is an essential tool for bloggers and saves me 1-2 hours per week.
Do bloggers need invoicing systems? This one might surprise you a bit… I didn’t even realize how useful it would be when I tried it.
A few years ago, during a business audit, we needed a lot of detail on the specific numbers – how many sales in each country, offline and online, how many sales in each product, how many expenses belonged to each product, etc. Thanks to Freshbooks, they had all been recorded automatically. Paperwork is seriously in a folder on my desktop titled, “Yucky Paperwork”. #truestory #embarrassing
As far as a necessary tool for bloggers, invoicing/ bookkeeping falls into the cover-your-butt category. Yes, it is necessary. No, its not fun. And that’s why I love Freshbooks! If it can be automated, Freshbooks automates it! For example:
- recurring billing
- partial payments
- recording payments against invoices
- tracking time & invoicing for it
- team time sheets
- expense payments
- account syncing
- customer account statements
- late payment reminders
- late payment penalties
Am I the only one that is giddy about not having to do all that??
This system is a huge part of my business administration – invoicing, item tracking, expense tracking, time tracking, contractor payments, password keeper, accounts reporting. I can’t even say how many hours it has saved me! If I had to guess, probably 4 hours per week on average.
What do you think?
Did I cover the main time-saving tools you use? I realize there are a lot more tools out there, but these ones are the daily-use ones that save me and lots of other bloggers a ton of time! What do you think? Did I miss an important one?