5 Free Tools for Beginning Bloggers
This post is sponsored by NJ SEO. All opinions my own.
Every blogger you talk to will agree: it’s hard to be a blogger. It’s time consuming, demanding, and often expensive. You want to have a professional blog — beautiful photos and design, great content, an engaged audience — with time to spare.
If you’re just starting your blog, you need all the help you can get. After starting my blog late last year, I looked to find a way to make my blog look luxe for less and grow my readership. These tools are all free ways to grow your blog and make it look beautiful. “Free.” Literally my favorite word ever.
I utilize Canva for almost every graphic I make for the blog (the title photo for this post is Canva-created!) Canva makes it easy to design graphics for social media, blog headers, and more — they give you the exact dimensions, stock photos, design elements, and more. If you’re confused by InDesign or just not sure where to start, Canva is your perfect free design option.
As a professional digital marketer, I use Buffer on an hourly basis. They make social media scheduling so easy (literally saving me hours of time), and with their analytics tools, you can see how your posts are performing. On top of their products, Buffer’s focus on inclusion and company-culture is unparalleled.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is just what it sounds like: making your web pages as search-engine-friendly as possible. SEO is one of those tools that you cannot grow your blog without: focus on keywords and web page readability as starting points. Do a simple Google search for your blog and some posts: if you’re not on the front page (and hopefully at the top of the list), you need to focus on SEO.
If you’re looking for a little more help at a price (SEO can get really complicated) consider finding an agency like NJ SEO, the number one marketing agency in New Jersey. NJ SEO agency provides full service digital marketing needs for any business, big or small. They provide a free SEO analysis (a $300 value!) and then develop a suitable conversion-rate that is customized for you specifically.
Matt Anton (here with his adorable daughter!) is in charge of client strategy and execution: optimizing for specific industries, business goals and budget. He’s the former online marketing manager of Liberty Travel, a billion dollar travel agency, where he managed a digital marketing budget of 250k each month. Check them out if you need a lil’ SEO assistance.
Another free service, IFTTT stands for “If this, than that.” It’s basically a trigger service — for example, post a new blog post and IFTTT will tweet it from your account. Create and add recipes like, “When I get home, turn my lights on,” “When I post on Facebook, post the same thing to Twitter,” or “When I get to work, start tracking my hours in a GoogleDoc.” It can be used for anything from scheduling social updates to monitoring the temperature outside. There is every recipe under the sun (my personal favorite, getting an email every time the President signs a bill) to make your personal and professional life more routine (and help grow your blog.)
5. Facebook Groups
You’re probably already posting blog posts from your personal Facebook or from your blog’s page. However, Facebook groups are a great way to find new content to curate, networking with other bloggers, and increase engagement on posts. I love the community these groups promote: I’ve connected with so many incredible women who have the same struggles I do (and want to help each other.) Some of my favorite groups: Millennial Blogger Network, Gen Y Girl Career Advice, and Boost Your Blog. Comment some of your favorites!
If you’re just starting out, don’t fret. Finding your niche, growing your community, increasing traffic, and beautifying your website can all be accomplished — start with these free tools and you’re on your way!
I get asked all the time: what are your favorite tools as a personal finance/career blogger?
These are platforms and tools I use on a daily basis — I could not run my business (or life!) without them, and hope you find them as useful as I do!
Airbnb: If you've never experienced Airbnb, I cannot recommend it enough. You feel like a local in the city, save money on expensive hotel rooms (by being able to cook your own food!), and always know your stuff is safe (bye, sketchy hostels!) Click here for $40 off your first stay!
Ebates: Gives you cash back on almost all your favorite stores, so whether you're buying business stuff (like a new desk chair from Office Depot) or makeup (hai Sephora) or those cute shoes (what up Macy's), you literally earn money on stuff you'd already buy. Click here for a $10 bonus!
Trim: You remember that time where I talked about how you should be negotiating all of your bills? (You should.) I know it's scary — that's where Trim comes in. Not only are they a perfect spending tracker and budgeting system (think Mint but on steroids!), they also will negotiate cable and phone bills FOR YOU. Click here for the free app!