Blogging and Writing

My Most-Used Blogging Tools of 2020

Blogging word cloud

I think a lot of us bloggers have our little tricks up our sleeves, whether it’s a favourite place to get images from, quotes, or whatever it might happen to be. Here’s a quick run-down of the blogging tools that I’ve been using the most over the past year.

Graphics

Canva continues to be my go-to. A kit of the graphics I use are created specifically with Pinterest in mind, and Canva works well for that. I used to get most of my images from Pixabay, but ever since Kacha clued me in to CleanPNG, that’s been my top choice. While I have my suspicions about how legitimate some of their freely available images are, I’m not exactly motivated to try looking into that further. I also use Wikimedia Commons a fair bit, which has all of the images from Wikipedia.

Spreading the word

I’m on Twitter very passively and on Instagram very rarely, but I use Pinterest a lot for blog purposes. My blog is syndicated on Blogarama, Bloglovin, and Flipboard, although Bloglovin is the only one that actually brings people to my blog. Actually, since I wrote this, I’ve deleted my Flipboard account because there didn’t seem to be any point.

Looking things up

Google and Wikipedia have been my good friends for a long time. I also use Google Scholar quite a bit to look up research papers. For some reason, Google has decided I have Campus-Activated Subscriber Access through my alma mater, so I can access a lot of full-text articles. Hey, works for me.

CSS

If you’re on the WordPress.com premium plan or above, or if you’re self-hosted, you can use CSS to customize the design of your blog. A few months ago I started learning how to use it, and W3Schools tells me (and shows me) pretty much everything I need to know.

SEO stuff

Google Search Console is useful to see what search queries are bringing people to what pages on my blog. I started off the year trying to figure out Google Analytics, but I find it’s too much bother to put in the time, especially since I don’t care all that much about those particular kinds of stats anyway. So I rarely check that anymore. It’s the Google Search Console stuff that’s actually interesting, anyway.

Sometimes, Search Console will tell me that my site is slow, so I’ll trot on over to Google PageSpeed Insights. Sometimes it tells me things I can fix after some (or a lot of) fussing around, like if my layout is dancing around as a page is loading, but a lot I can’t do anything about, yet I waste time faffing around trying to figure out if I can do anything. I should just not bother, but that hasn’t quite sunk into my head fully yet.

Ahrefs and Seobility are my favourites for technical site audit stuff; it makes for great mindless busy work. Ooh, I’ve got images missing alt textโ€”I can take care of that with no brainpower required! I knew about Ahrefs before as a backlinks checker, but it was fairly recently that I discovered it does pretty wide-ranging site audits, withe two freebies a month.

I use Moz and SEMrush occasionally to check out my blog’s backlink situation, but my interest has waned in Moz as its whole domain authority thing seems far too mysterious and outside of the realm of what I can control.

Copyright

I’ve encountered a few plagiarizers this year. My go-to resources are this page from WordPress on DMCA notices and the DomainTools WhoIs Lookup to figure out where a plagiarizer’s site is hosted.


That’s it for me and my 2020 blogging tools of choice. Do you have any favourites that you’d like to share?

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42 thoughts on “My Most-Used Blogging Tools of 2020”

    1. Thanks! For me, the biggest thing has really been time. I have lots of time to spend on blogging, but not enough ideas to spend all that time writing, so there’s lots left over for exploring.

  1. I love using Wikipedia!! It’s a favorite site of mine!! I like Pixabay too, but sometimes for book covers I’ll buy an image at Shutterstock for around $15 per image. I guess I don’t use images for blogging quite as much though! And then I get content from the Washington Post and Creators for advice columns!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Thank you Ashley for mining the ore of Internet blogging tools. I am always interested in images, photos and related editing apps. Thank you for the note on CleanPNG, I had not heard of that site. I am a huge fan of Canva too. Great post. ***Shared it on Pinterest. Thank you Ashley Leia โค๐Ÿ‘

  3. I enjoy looking under the hood of other people’s processes. I like Canva still somewhat, but I find that it frustrates me since they made a series of changes. I’m using PicsArt online and QuoteCreator on my phone. I’m impressed that you’re learning the nuts and bolts of the process. I confess, reading it did make me kind of want to flee. Things in the “I should learn this but I probably won’t” category. Props to you – be proud. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. I think it’s just part of the gameย . For most of them, I only found out because people didn’t remove my internal links and I got pingbacks. I used to get annoyed, but now I don’t even waste my time dealing with them directly. It’s much more satisfying to have WordPress swoop in and take it down.

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