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Before we jump into today’s post, I usually share blogging specific posts like this on my blogging tips website The Coco Creativ. If you’re a newsletter type of person, you can sign up for my weekly Coco Creativ newsletter where I share exclusive content directly to your inbox (PLUS you’ll get a sweet freebie when you sign up).
I think a lot of people get overwhelmed at the thought of starting a blog and also feel pressure when it comes to maintaining a blog. That pressure gets even more intense when you start comparing yourself to others in the blogosphere.
Bigger bloggers have polished sites,
their pictures are edited to perfection
and they make everything they do seem so elite
– comparing yourself isn’t fair
It can feel like you have to do the most to keep up with the pros and that feeling trickles down to wanting to use the best tools and programs to create a superior blogging experience. As I mentioned, I’ve used a lot of goodies throughout my blogging journey and I’ve learned to use what fits your brand and your experience. Blogging shouldn’t be centered around keeping up with anyone else, you should focus on creating your own space and building that space up the way that’s right for you.
With that stated, the tools I’m sharing are very newbie friendly but they’re also great to grab onto if you’ve been in the game for a while and want to start taking things more seriously. Are you ready to get your blogging tool education on? Let’s go!
Blogging Tool: A Self-Hosted Blog and Domain Name
Blogging on a free platform with a free domain name can only take you so far. If you want to get the most out of your blogging journey at some point, you should invest in a domain name and a self-hosted blog. I shared why I believe these tools are critical to your blogging process, but I don’t mind talking about it again today.
Going self-hosted and getting a domain name is more affordable than you think. As I say all the time on my Coco Creativ Twitter, if you can afford a coffee or treat from your fav fast food joint once a month, you can afford to pay for these blogging musts.
When you have your domain name, you automatically look more professional, and you own that name. If I blogged under olliviette.freeblogplatform.com, anyone could buy the name olliviette.com.
Also, brands often balk at working with bloggers who aren’t on their own platform. Since so many of us would like to get blogging opportunities, this is a big reason to move from a free platform.
READY TO GO SELF-HOSTED? Buy your hosting for as little as £3.13 a month – but you can only get it with my link! It’s down from £6.32 so you’re getting a nice savings PLUS you’ll get a free domain included when you level up today!
Blogging Tool: A Good Website Theme
A good theme can make or break your blogging experience. Not only should your theme be visually appealing but it should tick some additional boxes included, but not limited to:
- SEO friendly
- Running on the latest version of your platform
- Does your theme come with support
- Is it blogger friendly
The wrong theme can hurt your blogging journey, so it’s essential to look beyond the visuals and focus on the details. Read this post to learn more about choosing the best theme for your blog.
Organization & Productivity
When I am on social media, I almost always see a blogger asking how do you guys get everything done? I am not an organized person by nature, so I have to work extra hard to remain focused. Working on my organization skills has helped me immensely, and while I know I can always do better, I am proud of the progress I have made and how it impacts my blogging journey.
Here are my top three productivity and organization tips that work for me:
Batch Working: This is one of the top ways I get my posts and newsletters written. Once or twice a week I set aside a dedicated batch of time, and I draft posts or clean up posts. Working in a set of time keeps me focused and helps me get the work done. You can do this for anything: creating videos, taking pics, planning for your blog – anything.
Planning/bullet journaling: I am operating on what I call ‘bullet journal lite’’. A big part of my blogging experience involves capturing ideas, writing notes and future planning. Having a system where I can find everything is essential, especially when it comes to actualizing my plans.
For example, I have my blog posts tentatively planned out for the next quarter. For the next few weeks on my posting days, I have a proposed blog topic, and under the topic, I have a few points I want to highlight in each post and notes that can help me while writing the post.
Facing priorities: This is an area that I struggle with; I don’t like to work on things unless I feel in the mood to do it. Pushing myself to focus on the top priorities for my blog has helped me streamline my process.
Blogging Tool: Grammarly
I cannot get enough of Grammarly. I know you’ve seen the commercials for it on YouTube, so it’s not a complete secret, but it’s one of the best tools I’ve invested in for my blog.
The free version is pretty sweet and covers the basics; you can’t go wrong with installing it. However, the premium version is so powerful. It catches mistakes that I would never think of, and it explains each correction.
One of the main reasons I opted to upgrade to the premium version is because I’m applying for more writing jobs so it gives me an extra boost. Hey, no shame in the game.
Grammarly is one of my favorite blogging tools and I’m so happy I invested in it. Sign up for a free version of Grammarly and test it for yourself.
Journals & Office Equipment
I couldn’t publish this post without talking about my journals and some of the goodies I have in my home office.
First up, I’m a journal lover. As I mentioned earlier, I like to write and plan out my ideas so it’s essential for me to have a journal to write my thoughts in. I own books or each of my blogs and I also have a general life journal.
In addition to my awesome journal collection, I am steadily accumulating a stationery collection as well. Right now I’m in love with using gel pens and highlighters to help me jazz up my notes. It also adds a little flavor to my home office.
The other equipment I can’t do without is my laptops. For blogging, I use an Acer laptop which I originally bought to play The Sims. However, I discovered I enjoy writing on my gaming laptop; the keyboard feel so good. Since I offer design services over on The Coco Creativ, I use my Mac Air for a lot more design projects. Anything “creativ” happens on that computer.
Blogging Truth: You do not need a fancy laptop to call yourself a blogger. Don’t look at me and say Olli has all this equipment. You can blog on any computer, even a tablet or your phone.
Blog Tools Secret Tip: If any of the stuff I’m talking about has you thinking you’re ready to level up your equipment, I shared a handy guide for bloggers during Christmas that’s filled with gifts and goodies bloggers actually want. Take a look; it’s beneficial if you’re ready to upgrade some of your tools.
Camera & Smartphone
Contrary to popular belief you do not need a fancy camera to be a blogger, but a camera can come in handy if you want to invest in your photography.
I use a mix of my camera and my smartphone. I own an Olympus camera which I purchased a few years back when I believed I would be a travel vlogger. This camera isn’t perfect but it comes in handy and it takes professional pics and video. I have a list of a few handy blogging and vlogging cameras if you’re ready to invest. If you don’t have the money to drop on a new camera, just use your smartphone.
A phone is probably one of the ultimate blogging tools for new bloggers. I own an iPhone SE and it’s what I use when I want a quick snap for Insta or I just need something quick and fast. What makes your photos POP is editing it to perfection and that’s how some of your fav influencers get professional looking pics without using a fancy camera. Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to share some of the apps I use for blogging.
Do you like my blogging tools?
These are just a few of the tools that I use as a blogger so I might continue this as a series. Remember, you can find helpful posts like this regularly on The Coco Creativ. If you want to take it a step further, you can also sign up my Coco Creativ weekly newsletter. Every Sunday you’ll receive an email bursting with info PLUS you’ll get a sweet freebie when you sign up.