There are a lot of things that go into running a blog. I think that when people start a blog for the first time, their expectations are way different than the reality of it. Bloggers put in a lot of work, time, effort and planning.
Blogging isn’t just about writing a post, hitting publish and getting millions of views in a day. Coming up with topics to write about and getting the words down on the page is just one part of blogging. There’s a lot more that goes into and I think that when people fail at blogging, it’s because they aren’t ready for it.
I used to be one of those people! I started a blog about 4 years ago and it failed horribly. I had no idea what I was doing. I thought that I could just start a blog, write posts and get hundreds of thousands of people to read my blog with no additional effort. My expectations were nowhere near the reality of what it takes to be a blogger.
I didn’t know a thing about design or photography. I didn’t understand that photography and social media are also a part of blogging. If you want to know more about my failure as a blogger back in the day, go check out my post on why my first blog failed.
The Apps and Programs I Use
Google Analytics is one of the first things I started using for my blog. I love using analytics so I can check my blog stats. I can see how many pageviews I get, how many visitors come to my blog, their demographics, what country they come from, etc.
Not only can I see who is coming to my blog and where they’re coming from, but I can see which of my posts are the most popular and which ones aren’t doing well at all. Analytics is essential for blogging because you need to know if your blog is reaching the right people.
Let’s say you have a mom blog where you talk about being a parent and raising children. Your target audience will obviously be other mothers who have the same or similar interests as you. But let’s say that you’re using Google Analytics and it’s telling you that the majority of your readers are male, ages 18-25 and that your parenting posts are the least popular on your blog.
This would obviously be a problem since you wouldn’t be reaching your target audience. That’s why I love using GA. I like to check it on a regular basis to make sure I’m still reaching my target audience and to check my numbers. I don’t like to obsess over the numbers, but I do like to see my views at the end of the month and make sure that I’m hitting my goals.
I have to mention Pinterest. Pinterest is a huge reason that I’ve even gotten anywhere with my blog. The majority of my pageviews come directly from Pinterest, so it’s important that I continue to use it!
When I first started my blog, I was using my personal account and only had about 50 followers. I quickly switched to a business account and since starting my blog less than a year ago, I have over 600 total pins (a mix of mine and others), I’ve reached 1.3K followers and currently have over 40K Pinterest views.
My Pinterest views used to be much higher. I hit 160K at one point, but a few months ago a family member passed away and I took about a month off from blogging and my blog took a bad hit. I’ve slowly been working my way back up with hard work and effort!
Canva is a total time saver. I have the app on my phone and I use it on my laptop as well. It’s an easy, free way to create Pinterest images using pre-made templates.
I’ve tried to create my own pins from scratch, but some of them have turned out terrible and ugly. Sometimes it’s just easier to use Canva. I really like to use it on my phone because it’s so much quicker and I can create an image, save it and immediately upload it to Pinterest!
Over the past 6 months I’ve learned a lot about Photoshop. I’ve watched tutorials and experimented with it so that I can use it for my blog. My favorite way to use Photoshop is to create colorful text for my images. I love to create rose gold text and play around with different patterns.
I use Photoshop on a very regular basis, almost daily and it’s become such a large part of blogging for me.
Lightroom is probably the program/app that I use the most. I have it on my laptop as well as the app on my phone. Lightroom is perfect for editing photos. Have you ever seen those Instagram photos that are super bright and airy? Or those different presets that people use to completely transform their photos?
Those edits are done with Lightroom! I’ve learned how to create my own presets with Lightroom and I have an editing style that I always like to use on my photos. The app makes it really easy. I have a subscription to Adobe that includes Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. so I can do a lot more with mine, but you can download the Lightroom CC app on your phone for free.
I highly recommend this because I think it’s way better than VSCO or any other editing apps out there. I never upload any images to my blog without first editing them on Lightroom.
I wasn’t going to mention Tailwind in this post, but I figured that I would anyway. I started using Tailwind in 2018 and I paid for a monthly subscription so that I could schedule my Pinterest pins to post automatically. When I started using it, it was great!
I loved using Tailwind because of the convenience and it did help increase my Pinterest pageviews. However, I no longer pay for a monthly subscription. When Pinterest updated their platform and created their own scheduling system that can be used right on Pinterest, there was no need for me to keep my subscription.
I do still use Tailwind, but I can only schedule up to 100 pins for free and I’m quickly reaching that limit. Once I hit 100 I’m not going to use Tailwind anymore. I like it for the Tailwind Tribes, but it’s not necessary for me anymore.
I used to think that the only way I could increase my Pinterest was to use Tailwind, but after I cancelled my subscription and started working hard to schedule pins and pin manually on Pinterest, my numbers started to go back up. There are bloggers out there who have over 100K views and they have only ever pinned manually, so it’s definitely possible.
If you’re debating trying it out, I say go for it. You can try it out for free and if you sign up through this link here you can get a free month of Tailwind Plus, which gives you access to all of the things that people can only get with a subscription! If you decide you don’t like it, you can cancel and you don’t have to pay anything.
It doesn’t hurt to try it out and see if you like it, because there’s no obligation to keep it if you decide it’s not for you. And if you’d rather not try it out, Pinterest has their new built in scheduler so you don’t need third party apps to schedule your pins anymore.
There are a lot of different things that I use for my blog, but these are the things I absolutely have to have because they make blogging so much easier! What are your favorite apps for blogging?
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