It’s been awhile since I’ve done a tips & tricks, tutorial or BB101. I’ve been letting it stew. This one isn’t really a tutorial, just an info dump. This is from the survey I had everyone take back in February. I asked for everyone’s favorite app and programs that they use in conjunction with their blog. If you don’t use some of these programs I suggest checking them out. They make life easier.
Edit and Create word documents, spreadsheets and forms online. With Google docs you can create forms for giveaways, sheets for collecting data and even slides for presentations. With Google Drive they give you 15GB of storage for online storage. Google Docs and Google Drive are truly one of the best online resources for a blogger. I personally like the sharing function. You can choose who to share your document with. I’ve used this on joint posts and collaborative events.
I don’t like to sweat pageviews, but you do need to know who’s going to your site, and how many, if you plan on selling advertising. Using Google Analytics you can track your visitors activities, what pages they click, what they like. This helps you find out what posts work and what posts don’t work. They can also let you know if something is going wrong. If your bounce rate is high there might be something wrong with your blog set-up. They can also tell you where your visitors are coming from. If you find you have a lot of visitors coming from Austrailia – maybe do a post targetted to those visitors.
A Feed Management Tool
Five years ago Google ruled with Feedburner, but now the tool is slowly being fazed out, even though a lot of bloggers reported that they still use it. Feedburner reportedly has not been updated since 2012, but it is good to use a Feed Management Tool. Use tools like the Jetpack plugin subscription if you use WordPress. If you want to use a 3rd party software, MailChimp and AWeber offers great alternatives (pay features kick in when you reach a certain amount for MailChimp). There are also programs like Feedblitz, Specific Feeds & FeedPress that do things similar to Feedburner.
Youtube & Facebook Video
Videos are the most shared medium on Facebook so it’s a good idea to utilize them. Use Youtube.com to draw traffic from that site to your blog, or use Facebook to get your message out. Facebook even has live broadcasting which is a very underutilized tool…it can be epic.
Wondering why the BAR just went way up for graphics on blogs? It’s because canva.com was launched. You don’t need Photoshop, you don’t need super design skills. Canva has templates and typography ready for you to drag and drop.
Not your Mamma’s spellcheck, Grammarly is an in-browser app that checks your grammar and spelling as you type. I use Grammarly for everything, I’ve only found issues with a few things (mostly comma placement) but overall I find it fantastic. It’s also free. They have a paid option for more in-depth advanced grammar, and I did the free trial and didn’t find it was worth it (sentence structure etc).
Disqus is a 3rd party commenting system that you can install on your blogger and wordpress blogs and even weebly blogs. Disqus was listed as on of the resources that bloggers use in the survey, but I have to say, I’ve switched off of Disqus and I’m using strictly the WordPress commenting system. Mainly because it’s compatible with my theme. Bloggers use Disqus because of the spam filtering and comment tracking. They also have a very robust admin dashboard where you can reply, block and control the comments on your blog. It is a good program, if it would work well with my theme I would still use it.
Evernote is a blogger’s organization dream come true. Basically, you use it to take notes, insert pictures and URLs and keep it all in one place, synced over the cloud. This is a great tool if you are writing a big piece. It’s also a good idea if you like to keep notes while reading. Create to-do lists, scan text from photos, outline projects and much more. Evernote is a great tool for organization.
SumoMe is a traffic conversion tool. A lot of bloggers claim you can double your subscriptions by using the tool. And it’s kind of fad at the moment. It utilizes an opt-in pop-up (list builder), a smart bar, and a variety of back-end tools. I like the behavior tracker, especially the heatmaps which show where your visitors are clicking.
Buffer is a social media management tool. Bloggers are using Buffer to get their content shared and posted. It also has an option to control how you share your posts. Buffer has also teamed up with sites like Feedly – which allows you to share your content well on their interface. Schedule retweets, analyze when your followers are online to deliver your tweets and posts perfectly, post to all the social networks at once, and have the ability to post images easily. Buffer is a great social media integration tool.