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3 Essential Tools That Help Me Blog Like a Pro

I’ve been blogging for 4 years now, and I’ve learned about a million “dos and don’ts” along the way.

  • Do be yourself and write like how you actually talk.
  • Don’t center the text or use teeny tiny font.
  • Do blog consistently every week.
  • Don’t share things that have no value to your reader such as random food pics or an angry rant.

And some of the coolest things I’ve learned are how to use plugins, apps, and other programs to make my blogging easier and look more professional.

Today I want to share 3 tools that are absolutely essential for me and my blog.

CoSchedule

I can honestly say that this WordPress plugin revolutionized my business. It’s an editorial calendar and social media scheduler in one, and it resides in your WordPress dashboard where you create your blog posts.

Before CoSchedule, I used to have to wait until my scheduled blog posts were published, then grab the URL and share it on my social media accounts. Trying to schedule the social media updates before the blog URL was live was a problem and often caused broken links even when the blog posts were live.

Now I can schedule my social media updates at the same time as I schedule my blog posts. After I finish proofreading my latest blog post, I scroll down past the text box and choose when to share my updates on social media through the CoSchedule plugin.

I share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ 3 times the day it goes live, once the day after, once a month later, and once 2 months later. CoSchedule has saved me countless hours of time scheduling my social media updates, and I love the satisfaction of knowing I can work on other things without neglecting my followers.

PicMonkey

There’s a lot of pressure to buy expensive photo-editing or design software when you’re starting a business. After all, you want your website to look professional, right?

Well, I say screw that! I run a successful 6-figure coaching business because I’m strategic about where my money goes. I’ve seen too many entrepreneurs waste their hard-earned cash on extra software when there are tons of free or low-cost alternatives.

Unless you’re a graphic designer, stick to inexpensive or free solutions until your business grows. My favorite free design tool is PicMonkey. All my photos, buttons, and graphics on my website are designed with this user-friendly Photoshop clone.

I especially love being able to add borders, use the fonts from my computer, cut my photos into different shapes, and adjust the colors on my less-than-perfect iPhone pics.

Akismet

A fantastic way to grow your blog following is to interact with your readers in the comment sections. It’s where I can answer their questions and get ideas for upcoming blog posts.

But as all bloggers know, eventually you’ll get some spammers who try to fill your comment sections with junk like creepy ads for Viagra. That’s why it’s crucial to use a spam filter so your readers don’t see all that yuckiness.

I started using the Akismet spam filter during my first month of blogging, and I’ve been tremendously impressed with it. I get more than 1000 spam comments a week (yes, really), but you never seem ‘em because Akismet swoops in and shuffles them off to the trash without me having to do anything.

I know I said you must be strategic with your blogging budget, but a high-quality spam filter is one of those purchases that’s definitely worth the cost. And it’s only $5 a month!

One of my pet peeves is bloggers who try to get around having a spam filter by using a Captcha. It’s that jumble of letters and numbers that you need to type correctly into a box or else the program thinks you’re a robot and won’t publish your comment.

Here’s a tip: if you want to foster a respectful, engaging environment for your readers, DO NOT use those awful Captcha boxes!

If you care about what your readers have to say, don’t make them jump through hoops just to leave a comment. The easier you make it for them to talk to you, the more they’ll trust you. Just get Akismet and keep on rockin’.

Those are 3 essential tools that help me blog like a pro. If you want to learn more tips and tricks to up your blogging game, check out my digital guidebook 7 Days to an Edited Blog.

How do you blog like a pro?

In the comments below, share your favorite tools, apps, and plugins that make blogging easy.

This post focuses on Step 3 of the Life Editing Process, Add Good Habits and Routines. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

7 Comments

  1. Librada on July 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks for sharing your favorite tools! It’s always helpful to hear from folks that have experience with products. And, yes, I agree that you have to be strategic about what you spend your money on, particularly if you don’t have a steady flow of income yet.



  2. Erika on June 24, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I’m going to check out Co-schedule and Akismet. I get spam comments and sometimes it’s A LOT! And scheduling sounds like heaven! Streamlining is always a good thing.

    Thanks, Sage!



  3. Jennifer Blumenthal on June 23, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Oh my, how much easier life would be if I could schedule my social media shares for my blog posts all at once. CoSchedule looks like a life-saver!! Thank you Sage!



  4. Lucy on June 23, 2015 at 3:18 am

    I must check out Co-Schedule, that sounds great! I use pic monkey but prefer canva, it’s more designers! I use akismet. Thanks for the tips, Sage!



    • Sage Grayson on June 23, 2015 at 8:44 am

      You’re welcome, Lucy. CoSchedule is awesome! 🙂



  5. Bev on June 22, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I’m a huge fan of those first two. They are well worth the (pretty minimal) cost. I’ll admit, I don’t use Askimet only because I use Disqus for commenting and seems to do a really good job generally of filtering out spam comments. If I were using the WordPress commenting, though, I would definitely be using this!



    • Sage Grayson on June 23, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Yes, sometimes spending $5-$10 a month is worth it to make blogging easier. Thanks for commenting, Bev! 🙂