Are you struggling to get to grips with all the new technology that seems to be part of the blogging experience?
Heavens knows, there are enough options out there. So where do you start and how do you pick the good from the bad?
Here’s a round-up of the many free tools I use daily or weekly. Rest assured that all those useless tools I’ve tried and wasted my time on are not included.
These free blogging tools will actually help, not hinder you, as you start your blogging journey. They will help take you from blogging newbie to confident, efficient and well-seasoned blogger.
I have many email addresses which all automatically send to my Gmail email account. That way I can check all my emails from anywhere, anytime – even if I’m not at my computer since Gmail is web-based. I use the archive to store emails that have been replied to, labels to sort mail so, such as all invoices are stored in one place and easily browsed, and stars to highlight important emails.
Best of all every single email is backed up free of charge and I’ll never need to change my email address when I change Internet Service Provider or move overseas.
MailChimp is an email management system that tracks your email subscribers. It’s currently a free blogging tool for lists with up to 2,000 subscribers which should be enough for new bloggers, then there’s a monthly charge after that. MailChimp has great statistics so you can check how many emails sent actually get opened.
You can capture anything including Web pages, images, text, and voice notes with Evernote which is available as an app for your cell phone or iPad as well as web-based. Your notes can then be accessed later from just about anywhere via a computer or mobile device. You can also use Evernote search through all of your notes so you can find the information you need fast.
My Hours is an online time-tracking tool to help you work out where all those hours in the day disappear to and see which tasks take more time than they should. I’ve just started using it to track how my time is spent in a bid to increase productivity. It seems easy to use and useful too.
Content repurposing, especially in the form of visual content, is a great way to keep your blog fresh and updated and it’s one of the best online strategies. Additionally, creating an eBook from the blog, especially creating a flip book, is one of the most effective and attention-grabbing techniques.
Here is a FlipBook WordPress Plugin that lets you create amazing interactive content that you can share polished and highly visual content.
There are no excuses for not backing up your work now. Dropbox offers free automatic storage of all your files for up to 2GB.
WeTransfer is handy free tool for sending big files like PowerPoint presentations or videos which can’t be emailed.
Free phone calls all over the world, instant messaging, free video calls and free conference calls are all available once you download Skype. We live in an amazing world. Let’s take advantage of it.
Google calendar is part of Gmail. The calendar sends me reminders of my appointments every morning and I can update it on my cell phone too when I’m out and about. I’ve also just given my hubby access to my calendar so he can see what I’m up to without having to ask me. Hmmm, there could be some drawbacks to that though.
Once you have a Google email account you can use Google Reader to follow all your favorite blogs from one spot so you’ll be able to find out when they’re updated without actually visiting them.
PayPal drives me nuts. Their anti-money-laundering policies are so stringent that almost everyone who ever receives payment via PayPal seems to have their entire account frozen at some point. It took us months to get it sorted out when it happened to us. But it’s still the best way to send and receive money internationally which you’ll need to do if you want to buy blogging resources or earn money by selling products or services through your blog.
This is a tool in the Chrome browser which is far and away the easiest way to compare time zones and work out a time that will suit you and your overseas clients when you want to book consultations or a Skype call. First, you need to download and install Chrome then add the easy clock app to it.
I’ve just treated myself to Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium which is speech recognition software for your computer. Yes, no more typing. The free Dragon dictation app has limited capacity but you can use it on your cell phone or tablet to record short messages or conversations which is handy.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool that lets you manage Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn from one dashboard. I love it because it allows you to add RSS feeds so you can auto-tweet blog posts, both on your own and on other blogs. The free version lets you add two RSS feeds and will give you an idea if it’s worth spending a small fee each month for the professional version.
Focus Booster uses the Pomodoro technique to increase your productivity. It times you for 25 minutes then gives you five minutes off. Wash, rinse and repeat. Productivity magically increases and time-wasting is a thing of the past.
One of the most important factors in regards to your blog’s performance is its loading speed. Bitcatcha’s proprietary server speed checker tool allows users to assess their website server performance from eight locations worldwide. The test results include a benchmark of your blog’s hosting performance against the top 10,000 sites on the web.