5 Ways To Make Running Your Blog + Biz Easier
#1 Use Automation where possible
If you manually posted to all your social media platforms every day, you’d never have time to do anything else. With the exception of Instagram, where I think you need to be present and engaged when posting, schedule everything else!
A great tool for scheduling tweets and Facebook posts. You can customise your schedule and queue up to 10 posts at a time on their free tier. The “Awesome Plan” costs $10.00 (~£7.75) per month allowing for unlimited scheduling and many Twitter accounts.
Using the Buffer Chrome extension, you can “share with buffer” links from websites and it will pull in the photos to choose from. In 30 minutes, you could schedule a week’s worth of content. And if you schedule blog posts in advance and know the custom URL you can create tweets for these too.
Not sharing your brilliant but old posts enough? Hiplay ($5/£3.90/month) is a great app that works with Buffer to automatically cycle through old Buffer tweets. You can choose which ones to archive (not post again) and leave the rest to be picked at random however many times a day you want. Alternatively, you can set it to just post whenever your Buffer queue is empty. Ideal for those days when you forget to schedule. This will also help you fill your Buffer queue. I’d recommend going for evergreen content and archiving seasonal content when that time passes. You can always add any archived posts back into the picking.
Harness the power of Pinterest in 30 minutes using Tailwind. I freakin’ love this app. Create a pinning schedule (it helps you create the ideal one) and add whatever you want to pin. The Chrome extension for this makes it a dream to batch schedule pins. A consistent stream of quality pinning makes Pinterest like you more and encourages your pins to be seen more too. As an example, Pinterest was my second highest traffic referral when I was using Tailwind or Boardbooster. I stopped for a few months and Pinterest traffic to my blog practically became non-existent. It works and I’ve actually found some great new blogs through pinning too. (The free trial allows you 400 pins). Tereza has written an epic ultimate guide to Tailwind if you're interested in more info.
#2 Get yourself a virtual editor
The free version of Grammarly (as a Chrome extension) is amazing at highlighting spelling errors, missing or overused punctuation and basic flawed sentences.
The Hemingway App is another favourite that I use often after I’ve drafted a piece of content. It highlights complicated sentences, unnecessary words and helps you make your writing clear, concise and flow. I used to ramble a lot (in a bad way) in my writing and it’s helped me write more purposefully getting my point across before you doze off.
#3 branded photo editing
Not everyone has the time, skill or money to invest in Photoshop or similar tools for editing photos. Especially if you’re working with minor changes and jpeg files.
VSCO is my favourite mobile photo editing app. It allows you to edit large sized images and offers a huge range of presets. Choosing a few of these to use consistently, can help you create a branded aesthetic for your work. Perfect for a cohesive Instagram gallery.
Photoscape is a free desktop app for editing photos which I love for simple edits, adding frames or making collages. You can also create gifs and overlay texts.
Canva is an amazing selection of free templates, icons and an easy to use drag and drop functionality. What’s not to love? They provide template sizes for all social media posts. Create beautifully pinnable Pinterest images, slick business cards, media kits and A4 printables.
The paid version allows you to set your brand fonts, logos and colour palette and set your own size dimensions. A tip I picked up in Lucy’s What She Said Podcast episode 9 with Beverly Reinemann, was to create branded Instagram story assets in Canva. However, you could do this in Photoscape with a new canvas size of 1080px x 1920px if you don't want a paid Canva account.
#4 Make use of stock photography
Last year, when I started writing more lifestyle content and blogging tips, stock photography became a life saver. It wasn’t always possible to have photos that fit the content I wrote about and sometimes I didn’t want to chuck in something from my Instagram feed that didn’t reflect the imagery of what I was writing about.
Free stock photos are widely available now. You’ve got Pixabay, Unsplash, Pexels etc. All brilliant websites that I’ve used photos from for both my blog and business. However, there comes a point where you see the same photos from a popular aesthetic used everywhere.
This was the turning point that pushed me to create an affordable stock shop. Uniquely styled photos across popular aesthetics. That clean, fresh, minimal look. Photos that you can overlay text onto for Pinterest images, landing pages, pdf covers. Truth be told, these won’t be widely used and chances are, if you use a pack to style quotes on Instagram or your e-book cover, you won’t be adding imagery that people have seen 100 times before.
#5 Simplified Google Analytics Reports
Here’s the thing with Google Analytics. You need it to track your website’s stats but it can be overwhelming to navigate and understand what the hell those numbers even mean. To simplify the graph and number stress, I’ve created 5 custom Google Analytics reports for you. In the post linked below, I’ve explained Google Analytics terminology, what’s included in each report and why these are useful. All you have to do is click the report links and your Google Analytics dashboard will show up with a drop down menu. Choose your website from the drop down, change the title of the report if you wish and away you go.