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