Ten Resources I Can’t Run My Business Without
Some of the links in this post are “affliate links.” These links are marked with an asterisk (*). This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affliate commission. These resources are actual products and tools I have used personally used to build my blog and business.
I’ve pretty much nailed down my blogging routine and workflow, so I wanted to share with you all the resources that I use for blogging. A few of these programs or websites I use when researching my topics, and others are what I use afterward to promote those posts and share them with my followers.
My most important blogging and business resources:
I love everyone and everything they write over at CoSchedule. They were the first blogs about social media and blogging that I started reading when I started out (and they still are!).
I stumbled upon CoSchedule Headline Analyzer a while back and it’s been a part of my workflow ever since. I come up with one (usually plain and boring) headline and use to start, then I branch out and come up with about 5 more.
When you put a headline into the analyzer, it will give it a score and talk about some things that you can fix and what’s good about your headline.
They rank your headline out of 100, so I try to keep 3-5 that score 70+. I then use these headlines as my tweets and in the text I put in my Pinterest graphics.
If I’m not using any of my own photography, I’m using some from this site. I usually find one photo that I think would fit my Instagram theme/aesthetic first.
I try to stick to a general color scheme for my Instagram for cohesiveness, so I like to collect photos from this site that either blend with those colors or have a lot of white or negative space in them.
Photoshop is where all of my graphic design magic happens. I want to teach myself how to use Illustrator but it just seems very intimidating! It’s one of my 2017 goals though so it’ll get done.
Photoshop is my baby. I create templates for every graphic that I make so my graphic creation workflow is extremely streamlined.
If you don’t have Photoshop, I know people that swear by Canva and it’s free platform.
If all of this graphic designs/graphic creation is new to you, please check Canva out to make your social media graphics.
SmarterQueue has increased my organization and automation goals ten fold. In addition to Convertkit, it’s been the best thing that I’ve added to my arsenal. SmarterQueue is a social media marketing platform much like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, etc.
What I love about Smartqueue over all the others is:
The basic plan includes their library feature which is PERFECT for storing tweets and using them over and over again. My problem when I used Hootsuite and CoSchedule is that I would schedule posts for the next few weeks promoting a recent blog post, but once those tweets ran out, I would have to manually go back in and re-add or come up with more tweets to promote those tweets. Oh no. I wasn’t cool with that. Took too much time and it was something else I had to remember. Smarterqueue stores and reuses all the tweets that I want it too, so all my posts are getting promoted till the end of time.
You can create a schedule of when you want certain types of posts to go out. I get a lot of traffic from Twitter around 11am - 5pm, so I can set up a schedule of a mixture of my content and content from other bloggers to go out around that time so they can be seen by and followers.
Don’t think that SmarterQueue is only for Twitter! You can post to your Instagram and your Facebook page as well. When it comes to price, it’s about the same as the basic plan of CoSchedule, and it way less expensive than Meet Edgar($49/month).
Buzz Sumo is a secret of mine that has helped me when coming up with content to publish on this blog. Buzz Sumo is a content research tool that scours the internet searching for web pages with the most shares based on keywords in their titles.
For example, if I search for “blogging resources” (which I did for this post) it will pull the top web pages that use those keywords in their titles and shows how many shares that post has received.
This is important for me for two reasons:
If it doesn’t seem like a lot of top ranking articles have been created around my chosen keywords, then I know I have the ability to rank pretty highly on Google and other search engines for that keyword.
If there are articles with a large number of shares, I read those articles to see what they’ve done that I can do better or add a different perspective too. I can add a content upgrade, a quiz, writing more and in-depth about the topic, etc. This not only forces me to think about my topic more and in-depth and what I can add to the discussion, it adds more value to my website and to my audience. Wins everywhere!
DOING KEYWORD RESEARCH BEFORE I WRITE A POST (USING TOOLS LIKE GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER AND BUZZ SUMO) HAS UPPED THE VALUE OF MY CONTENT AND PUTS ME IN A GREAT POSITION SEO WISE.
I can’t stand changing my Instagram bio every damn time I want to promote a new post or new freebie.
It’s majorly annoying and I get frustrated when I forget. I’ve integrated Linktree into my workflow to cut all of that foolishness out. Linktree creates a link for your Instagram that leads your followers to a “landing page” of links that they can click on.
This lets you promote multiple products, posts, etc at once in your Instagram bio without constantly having to update the website URL, and you can add an unlimited number of links for FREE.
Convertkit became a second boyfriend to me the moment I signed up. Not only has my list skyrocketed, but so has my open rate!
Convertkit is an email marketing platform like MailChimp and Mailerlite. I’ve tried both Mailchimp and Mailerlite and I’ve felt either aesthetically confined or found the features to be confining. Convertkit allows me to make the embed forms, buttons, landing pages, etc. that I need to keep everything on brand and flowing smoothly.
My favorite part of Convertkit, which I didn’t think I would be so excited about, is being able to add tags to subscribers.
I add tags to subscribers that sign up for certain freebies, so I can send them emails that are tailored to them in the future. For example, if someone signs up to take the Squarespace Template Finder Quiz, it’s a pretty sure shot that they’re thinking of using Squarespace or are already a user looking to change templates. Once they’re tagged with “Squarespace”, Convertkit adds them to a group that I can send Squarespace related information too.
Tagging in Convertkit is perfect for helping you tailor your email marketing to specific needs and customers. If you create a freebie about copywriting formulas or how to write sales pages and people sign up, you can be pretty confident to say that these are potential customers. They’re in that stage where they’re trying to write their copy themselves but probably need some help.
Sounds like you need to swoop in and help out, boo.
Boardbooster is a pin scheduling program that will pin to my pinterest boards for me at scheduled times that I tell it too. It’s similar to Tailwind (I didn’t particularly care for Tailwind when I first used it but definitely give it a shot!).
The program will take your pinterest boards and make a corresponding secret board for you that you will pin to instead of the board itself. Then it will take, at the times you tell it too, that pin and pin it to the right board.
My favorite feature of BoardBooster are the Campaigns. I’m a bunch of group boards that I’m pretty active in, but I don’t want to post my each one of my new blog post pins individually to each board. Plus, I don’t want to pin those pins just once!
That’s where campaigns come in. BoardBooster will make a secret board on my Pinterest so I can pin all my new pins from my blog, then it will push those pins to the boards that I specified on the days that I want it too. Some group boards only allow for personal pins to be posted once every set number of days, so this allows me to automatically follow that rule.
Since I make multiple pins for each post, Campaigns have been a HUGE help. You can learn more about Campaign boards and other BoardBooster in their help section.
Google Keyword planner is a tool that’s an amazingly important part of my workflow and my content creation process. I don’t write or even put a blog post headline in my editorial calendar without using it.
A quick overview: Google Keyword Planner is a database of keywords that shows how many times those keywords are searched in a month, and how much businesses can bid on those keywords. The importance of these keywords, besides ideas for blog posts, is for SEO and keyword ranking.
The name of the game when using keywords is to use ones that have a high search volume, but with a low competition rate.
Sounds interesting doesn’t it? I’ve made a walk through guide on the what, how, and why of Google Keyword Planner here.
If you have a wordpress site, the click to tweet plugin is going to be your best friend. If you use Squarespace you can use images or buttons to take advantages of Click to Tweets.
Click to Tweet is a service that allows you to make some text from your blog post, or whatever text you want tweet-able for your readers to share with their followers. These can be snippets from your post that are insightful, funny, or enticing to get your audience help your readers remember an important point of your post; i.e. a conclusion or quick analysis of something, the importance or benefit of the upgrade, and many other things.