I’ve talked a bit before about “getting serious” with blogging, and I think that one way to do that is to use the tools that are out there for blogging to make your life a bit easier, plus it ties in with my whole getting organised in 2017 thing – I’m not doing too badly, if I do say so myself! I moved over to WordPress from Blogger a while ago and never looked back. WordPress gives you a whole load more freedom with blogging so that you have a lot more control. One of the best things is that it integrates much better with external blogging tools and that it has its own plug ins too.
In January, I tried out a few new-to-me blogging and social media tools and plug ins so I wanted to share those with you and whether they worked for me or not.
Like to Know It is an affiliate service for Instagram that is connected to RewardStyle. The way it works is that an influencer will sign up to the service and ask (or assume that) their followers do so too. When they publish a post on Instagram, they can then use Like to Know It to tag their items in it so that when a user likes their post, they will receive an email directly to their inbox showing where the items are from so that they can shop them. Influencers then earn a very small percentage of the total price of their order for referring the customer.
I’ve been a member of RewardStyle for years but haven’t ever had a huge amount of success with it, so I mostly nowadays use Shopstyle Collective which works via pay per click (if you click on one of my links through it, I will receive a very small amount of commission for referring you).
So far, I have used Like to Know It on a few posts (such as this one) but haven’t seen much success with people purchasing yet, but my Instagram following is relatively low compared to others. However I did find the service really easy to use. You simply upload your photo to the app, select which items are in your photo (I find it easiest to create a list of favourites first on their site to pick the items more easily on mobile) then write your description. The app then takes you over to Instagram to post it as they can’t do it for you. It’s easy to use and quite helpful. I’m going to continue using it to see how it goes.
Tailwind is primarily a Pinterest optimisation and scheduling tool. I chose to try it out because I really enjoy using Pinterest and find it a good platform to use as an influencer, and its promises of helping you to increase engagement on there were really good! I signed up on a free trial which allows the scheduling of up to 100 pins but limits some of the things you can see on the app.
You can download an extension on your browser which will allow you to schedule any image to publish through Tailwind to Pinterest, and they automatically set these in a queue for you so that they will publish over time, meaning that your pins are being put in front of a varied audience that you might not otherwise be able to reach.
Tailwind also shows you a selection of stats on Pinterest, includes your follower growth, pins from your domain, your profile performance and offers tools such as Pin Inspector. I also like that it gives you suggested pins based on what you’re already pinning.
I enjoyed using Tailwind and I think that it did help me. I’ve noticed my Pinterest growing during January, but I’ve also been very active on there too, so that could be why. I haven’t yet purchased Tailwind after my free trial, but I will most likely be doing so as I’ve found it really helpful and I’d like to use the paid for features too.
You can get a free month of using Tailwind if you click on my referral link here!
Canva is an online image and design creation tool. I was previously using Pic Monkey to create title images for blog posts that I wanted to look good and to be Pinterest optimised but was constantly disappointed with them not looking as awesome as other bloggers with design skillz. Then Michelle let me in on the secret of Canva and I was hooked.
The great thing about Canva is that it has pre-designed templates for all your blogging needs, including Facebook headers, Pinterest graphics, Instagram quote images and many, many more. I’ve used it to create images for my 1000 Posts at Rebel Angel and 10 Blog Tasks You Can Do on your Lunch Break posts recently (and this post!), and also over at Disney Days for my 9 Little Known Facts about Mickey Mouse post too.
Canva is free to use but has features and images that do cost extra if you’d like to download them. So far, I haven’t needed to, but I wouldn’t be against downloading some as they’re awesome.
WordPress Calendar Plug Ins
This is actually two plug ins, and I actually stole both ideas from Amber who wrote about them ages ago and I only just caught on that they are, you know, useful. First up is the Editorial Calendar Plug In which allows you to plan, schedule and draft posts in a handy calendar like so:
(Ooh, sneaky look into my drafts and plans there – and okay, my calendar is looking a little empty the past couple of weeks!). It’s useful because you can see when you’ve published certain posts, what you’ve got coming up and you can easily drop and drag posts to change when you want them scheduled. I’ve found it SO helpful recently and couldn’t be without it now.
I’ve also been using Future Posts Calendar which gives you another little calendar, like so, that appears to the side of your blog post screen at the editing stage:
This one is really handy because it gives you an idea when you’re writing your posts what days you have things already scheduled in for so you’re not hopping back and forth between your calendar. It’s only small, but does its job well!
I’m planning to try out a few more tools this month, but if you have any recommendations, let me know. Have you tried any of these and what do you think of them?