16 blogging tools I couldn’t live without
Recently I shared a day in my life as a travel blogger and mentioned a few things that I do as part of my routine. Scheduling social media posts, editing pictures and making my blog posts easier to find in Google searches came up several times. In order to do all these things I have an online tool box and some essential blogging tech. Today I thought I’d share some of these blogging tools as useful reading for anyone thinking of starting a blog or who is looking for ways to manage their blog workload.
Before I start, it’s worth mentioning that I genuinely use these tools – I’m not just sharing them because I can score some affiliate pennies if you click on a link (although that always helps). I do use these blogging tools everyday so if you have questions about any of them drop me a line.
*This post contains affiliate links*
Blogging tools: my top blogging tech
Let’s get the pricey, one-off purchase stuff out of the way right at the beginning. Some of these things I already had and other things I bought especially to help me run the blog and create content.
Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera
We’ve had this camera body for years, so this wasn’t a special blogging purchase. I’ve got to admit that it’s hard to use the camera properly while herding the kids, but I do love the quality of the images and the ability to zoom in without compromising image quality. I have a Nikon DX VR 18-140mm lens that gives me a good zoom range. Apologies if you are a camera expert – I’m clearly not! So do visit a good camera shop and talk through the options with someone who knows their stuff.
Products from Amazon.co.uk
Price: £399.99Was: £579.99
This is my most used piece of blogging tech, particularly while we are travelling. It’s what I use to jot down ideas, make videos, take pictures, do research and manage my social media when I’m not at my desk. I have a terrible habit of dropping my iPhones so when I bought the iPhone X* in October last year I also got an Otterbox phone protector*. It’s doing a great job so far.
Products from Amazon.co.uk
Price: Check on Amazon
Price: £16.06Was: £20.99
This is my regular desktop and where you’ll find me most of the time. We bought the iMac when my last laptop gave up the ghost about six years ago. I use it the most for work and blogging. Mr Tin Box likes to sneak on to play games from time to time too.
This is my mobile office and comes with me on all my trips. All my documents are synced with the Cloud so I can access everything I need for working on the go…when the kids allow.
GoPro Hero 5
We bought the GoPro for making our YouTube videos a few years ago and I’ve got to admit to being pretty slow to use it. My iPhone always seemed like the easiest videoing tool when I had to juggle the kids and a DSLR camera too. However, now that the girls are a little older the GoPro is getting a lot of use for action shots. It came in particularly useful during our recent trips to Lake Garda in Italy and Cornwall in South West England where we were able to get some good water-based shots.
Products from Amazon.co.uk
Price: Check on Amazon
Price: £35.00Was: £49.99
Buffer (free and paid)
I’ve used Buffer Pro to schedule my tweets for about three years. Prior to that I used Tweetdeck and Hootsuite but found these more difficult to use when I wanted to add custom images and recycle content. So, my allegiance turned to Buffer.
I like the fact you can easily change pictures, and edit and reschedule posts with a few clicks. You write your tweets, set a schedule for how regularly they should go out and Buffer does the rest. I pay for this service which costs $10 a month for scheduling up to 100 posts on 10 accounts (1,000 total), which can include Facebook pages and groups, LinkedIn and Pinterest as well as Twitter.
Recurpost (free and paid)
More recently I’ve been maxing out my Buffer Pro schedule for Twitter so I’m trialling using the free version of Recurpost. This is where I’m putting evergreen posts – the ones that can be published at any time of year.
You can plan in up to 100 posts using the free version. It’s working well so far and is a good tool as it makes sure you never reshare the same post. I’m using it for Twitter but it can also be used for Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Tailwind (free and paid)
Paying attention to Pinterest has been a game changer for my social media referrals to Tin Box Traveller. It’s gone from being an irregular source of blog traffic to my highest referring social media each month. I’ve achieved this by creating pinnable images for my posts, scheduling them using Tailwind, and participating in Tailwind Tribes with other travel bloggers.
I’ve heard a few people say Tailwind has messed up their impressions and click-throughs in recent months, but I haven’t had a problem. A combination of scheduling plenty of my pins and hopping on to live pin other people’s content has made a big difference to my impressions in the past four months. The key has been pinning more of my own content than other people’s.
The Tailwind interface takes a bit of getting used to but once you’ve found your way around it’s really easy to use. I pay an annual subscription of just under $120, which allows me to schedule from one account and be a member of up to five tribes. Find out more about Tailwind.*
Blogging tools: picture editing and design
PicMonkey (free and paid)
I love how easy it is to use PicMonkey and the huge range of templates they’ve recently introduced. It’s much more like Canva these days. I use it to edit and resize my blog pictures and create pinnable images. This costs just under $50 a year if you pay the annual subscription.
Want to see what PicMonkey is all about? Sign-up for your free trial today!*
Canva (free and paid)
I use Canva to design my blog media kit because it’s always had more functions that I align with ‘proper’ design – snap-to guidelines and document templates to name a few. I can also share my designs with other people. I use the free version and it works just fine for what I need. I did try creating pins on Canva but went back to using PicMonkey as I preferred it. This is now even easier since PicMonkey expanded its range of templates.
PS Express (free)
This is the free app for iOS and Android smartphones that I use to edit photos on the go and was recommended to me by Karen at Mini Travellers. Its auto-correct is excellent for sorting out images that I’ve taken in terrible light. Sometimes these don’t work out for pictures I want to put on my blogs but they are great for quick social media updates.
Blogging tools: stock photos
I have a ridiculous number of photos on my iCloud but sometimes I don’t have quite the right one for the post I’m writing. This is when I turn to Pixabay. You can find all kinds of reasonable shots here, and they are free to download and use on your blog. Be aware that because they are free you may see them used elsewhere online. The coffee and MacBook shot at the top of this post is from Pixabay.
You definitely pay for quality when it comes to images. When I really can’t find what I’m after on Pixabay I search Shutterstock. They have a reasonably priced package if you just want to buy the odd picture or graphic: £29 plus VAT for five pictures. You don’t have to buy them all at the same time, just within one year.
Blogging tools: video and vlog music
Epidemic Sound (paid)
I love this website. Just over a year ago I was really struggling to find good background music for my YouTube videos. Epidemic Sound was recommended to me by Alison Perry who uses it on her Not Another Mummy Podcasts. I did wonder how much value I’d get from it at £10 a month, but it’s definitely been worth it. Good background music really lifts a video. If you want to try it out you can get a free one month trail.
Blogging tools: Search Engine Optimisation
I’m a little obsessed by this SEO tool* and spend ages looking for the best keyword combinations to help make my blog posts easier to find on Google. It works by showing you how many times a keyword or phrase is typed into a search engine and what alternatives might work better.
This is a subscription tool costing $17 a month for the starter package but is worth every penny. If you’re interested in signing up I have a 20% off code for you: KSDISC.
Answer the Public (free and paid)
If you’re looking for a free SEO tool then Answer the Public is brilliant. I use it as another way to find questions and keywords that people tap into Google. The only downside is you can’t see which questions are searched for the most, but it’s a great indicator of what people go online to find. You can buy a pro version for $99 a month, but it’s not something I feel I’d need considering how helpful there free version is. Plus, $99 a month?!!
Google Search Console (free)
This is fabulously free and a brilliant tool for finding out what keywords people are using to find your blog. If you haven’t already connected your Google Analytics to Google Search Console you have to do it. This free blogging course by Cerys from Rainy Day Mum/The Blog Surgery will guide you through setting up Google Search Console.
So those are my go-to blogging tools. If I start trialing or using anything else I’ll come back and update this post. If you’re a blogger then let me know of any other tools you can’t live without. If you’re just starting out in the travel blogger world then you might also like to check out:
- Why press trips are not free holidays
- Travel blogging essentials – tech and kit
- Brilliant experiences in five years of travel blogging
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links marked with a *. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase I may earn some commission. This does not affect the price you pay.
If you’re looking for blogging tools to help you manage your blog then why not pin this post.