Blogger Edit: Favorite Blogging Resources & Tools

Blogger Edit: Favorite Blogging Resources & Tools | Carrie Meets Martha

Rug : Overstock | Shoes : Sole Society | Laptop : Macbook Air


I don’t talk about blogging much on here because I don’t think thats what most of you all come here for. However, I do get occasional questions about blogging and different tools or techniques I might use from girls that want to get started blogging or other bloggers who are just curious. I decided the new year is a good time to delve into these questions because I know a lot of blogger’s have set goals around their blog for 2018. As someone who loves supporting other women, bloggers, and creators I wanted to help in anyway that I could. This post is going to be a long one, so get comfortable and grab and cup of coffee!

FAQ

What blogging platform do you use?

WordPress

What camera do you use? 

Sony A5100

What is the difference between WordPress .com & .org?

WordPress.com means that wordpress hosts your site. WordPress.org means that you (or a 3rd party service) hosts your website. Either way you can own your domain, but .org gives you way more control over look, feel, and function of your blog. I have a post where I go into more detail here.

How long have you been blogging?

Going on 4 years in February. However, there were periods of time where I was not taking it as seriously. I’m not exactly where I’d hoped to be in this point in my blogging, but I’ve had a few wins and every year I feel like I progress a bit more.

How do you pick a blog name?

There are name generators out there that will tell you to list a few words you’d like to incorporate and then it spits ideas out. However, I like to just brainstorm and jot down words and ideas until something sticks. The next step is to enter it domain purchasing site to see if it’s available.

FAVORITE BLOGGING RESOURCES & TOOLS

Favorite Analytics Tracker : Google Analytics

There are various analytics trackers that you can install out there. My personal favorite is Google Analytics. It’s what I started on when I had a blogging internship in the city several years ago. Since then I’ve used other services for work related websites, but I  prefer Google Analytics for my own site. The dashboard can be a little overwhelming at first, but there are tutorials to help you navigate your way through understanding the data. I recommend the Google Analytics Academy.

Favorite Way To Schedule Out Content : Planner & Google Calendar

This may seem redundant, but I schedule out my content not once, but twice. First I work things out on the month view in my planner book. Post days are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I go through and fill in the days with the topic or post title. Some content is easier to come up with than others. When I get stuck I head to this post by ThirteenThoughts to give me some ideas. Once the month is filled in my planner I open up my Google calendar and fill it in digitally, color coding my posts based on the topic. For example, fashion posts are lavender, beauty posts are red, travel posts are yellow, lifestyle posts are teal, and food & posts are green. This helps me to see what I have too much of or not enough of and I may go back and edit content further to get a more balanced mix. Also, I like having my content on Google Calendar because I can access it anywhere. So if I’m away from my planner and have a spare moment to write future content I know whats on the agenda.

Favorite Blogging Info Resource/Community : Style Collective 

Imagine having tons of blogging worksheets and informative articles all in one place. Plus a community of other bloggers all asking questions and chatting about the industry. Doesn’t that place sound awesome? Well it’s a real place called Style Collective! I’m a member and I love it. There e-courses, tons of info, and it’s awesome for connecting with other bloggers. Different cities do meet ups, which is super great for networking. Also, there is a brand directory with contact info so you can pitch yourself to different brands and crate partnerships. You can sign up for as little as $10 a month, so basically just brown bag lunch one day a month and you’ll have the budget for it. Plus it’s an investment in your blog and yourself, so truly it is priceless.

Favorite Blogging Podcast : Becoming Fearless

Annie Spanno, the creator of Style Collective also has a great, informative, and inspiring podcast called Become Fearless. I actually found this podcast before learning about Style Collective and I instantly loved it. Annie interviews different entrepreneurs and bloggers about their experiences, struggles, and triumphs that got them to the point of success they’re at now. It’s super inspiring and you’ll feel great after listening to an episode. A lot of time I catch up with episodes during my commute home from work. By the time I get home I feel energized and ready to create!

Favorite Social Media Scheduling App : Later

Posting to social media is a job in itself. It’s one of those things that doesn’t take a ton of time to do, however once your day gets started it’s easy to forget. I like to schedule out my posts on Later because it’s easy and effective. The app pushes a notification when it’s time to post and then it copies the caption on to IG for you. It’s free to download and use and you can connect your profiles across Facebook, IG, and Twitter.

Favorite Instagram Reporting App : Reports+

One day I was cleaning up my feed and going through accounts one by one to unfollow profiles. I was getting so annoyed that it was such a tedious process. I thought there has to be and easier way so I started searching. Thats when I found Reports+! It’s great because it lists everyone you’re following and everyone that’s following you and makes unfollowing or following easy. It shows you who has unfollowed you which is super helpful. A strategy that a lot of bloggers use that I don’t like and do not support is adding people hoping for an add back only to unfollowing them in a week and hope they don’t notice. This helps them keep their follower count high while there following count stays low. I think this is a really messed up thing to do and I like to know exactly who’s playing that game! This app does have an annual subscription fee, I think it’s around $23, but I’d say its worth it.

Favorite Affilate Program : Shop Style Collective

A question I get a lot as a blogger is, “how do you make money?” Why affiliate programs of course! I use Shop Style Collective and earn a small commission when people click certain product links or purchase products I recommend. The two most popular for fashion bloggers is Shop Style and RewardStyle. Full disclosure – I’ve never used Reward Style, so I can’t say Shop Style is better because truthfully I don’t know. What I do know is that you have to apply and become accepted to Reward Style and LiketoKnow.it. I started using affiliate programs like two years ago, I had a small readership and barely any followers on IG, so the thought of submitting my stats and hoping to be accepted was daunting and rejection seemed inevitable. Shop Style is super easy to use and get started with.

TIPS & TRICKS

Batch Your Content

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scrambled to create content on a Tuesday night after work in hopes of having a good post for Wednesday. It’s stressful. The only way to combat the last minute chaos is to batch your content. Batching means you’re creating a certain amount of content at one time, so you have material geared up and ready to post. I batch images by having “shoot days.” On fashion shoot days I  usually shoot 4 outfits. Lifestyle shoots (like the image above) I aim to get 7-10 usable images. For recipes I shoot as I cook and try to get two recipes in on a “cooking” day. Then I’ll set aside to write posts for all my images and schedule them based on my content calendar. My writing time is usually Sunday mornings and week nights when Mike works late. Currently, I’m two weeks out, but my goal is to batch a months worth of content and always be at least a month ahead of schedule.

Engage With Readers/Followers

Ever been on IG wondering how to grow your following? Maybe you even took online courses that promised to show you how to increase your followers by X-amount every week! Let me share a secret….there is no magic way to grow a social following! There are techniques you can use, but it’s a slow process that takes time! But let me suggest something that has worked for me and helped me grow pretty substantially in the last few months…engage with people! Comment on images in your feed and in the recommended feed. Like well over 100 images a day. When people like your photo go to their IG and like one of theirs in return. If they comment respond to them and then try to comment on an image in their feed. This is how you build relationships and reliable that will keep coming back and showing love. Do this on your blog as well. If some one takes time to comment, write them back, if there is a link to their blog, check it out an pay it forward!

Network, Network, Network

As an introvert this is one that I’m still working on myself, but have improved on immensely in the last year. You have to get out there and meet people and make connections. Blogging is definitely a hustle and sometime you need to create your own opportunities by linking up with other bloggers, PR and marketing professionals, and media people. You never know who you may be able to help and who may be able to help you! For example this past year I met my blogger bestie, Sylvianna of Lipsticks & Lattes. She’s fabulous, we have a great time together, and we shoot each others outfit pictures, so I’ve gained a friend and photographer!

xx

Any more questions? Feel free to leave me a comment or email me. I’d love to help! If you have any tools or resources that you like to use for your blog and social media share it in the comments so we can learn for you!

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