Blog Toolkit – Blog Tools and Trainings
I have found myself answering the question about what tools I use a lot lately, mainly offline over lunch and coffee. But I have also received emails asking what I use for “this” or “that.” So I decided to write this post that I can direct people to and that can be used as a reference.
Besides being a blogger, I am a social media practitioner. It's my day job. I run a social media program and a social media team at an enterprise-level company. That combined with my fifteen-plus years of digital marketing has garnered me a lot of experience which I apply to Misadventures with Andi.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
By no means am I an expert. But I am constantly tweaking my “system” for managing my prolific social media life, with my career, with my travel, and my husband (and cat). I do that via organization and tools. Lots of tools. I don't believe in one, I use many!
I also keep up in the space by taking or auditing training, online classes, and webinars. No matter how long I have been blogging, I always learn something new. You never stop learning!
I want you to know that there are affiliate links in this post, but you should know I use every one of these items and would never tell you to use something that I haven't tried and wouldn't stake my reputation on. That is not how I roll! If I say I use it, I use it.
So if you decide you want to try one of these tools, then I get a tiny reward for you doing that. You win, I win.
I function in a highly organized manner, it is just my personality. To do that I need systems and tools. That is my approach. I have a lot of blogging friends that are highly unorganized and they use tools to make sure they are doing what they committed to do. Bottom line is, organized or disorganized, tools can help!
My brain is always on, but I am not always able to research a blog post idea or even write a blog post when I like. To keep all my ideas at the tip of my fingers I use Milanote. I have lots of notes organized by boards which I am continuously adding to. I collaborate with Mr. Misadventures on them too. I am able to add tags to each of my notes so that I can easily search for any material I have researched or saved around a particular topic. I use their online and mobile versions as well as a desktop version that syncs and keeps any changes made on any version the most up-to-date and accurate.
An editorial calendar is great for planning out blog posts, series, and other projects associated with your blog. I have tried different calendaring tools but always come back to Google Calendar. I can look back over six years! It is easy to use and keeps me organized!
Action Method Notebooks and Moleskines
Back to the idea of not always being able to write when I want to, or have access to a device. I always have an Action Method notebook in my bag for notes. When I am on the road I use a Moleskine for notes while I am touring, interviewing, etc. it fits beautifully in my camera bag and has saved me so many times when I am writing a post several months later!
I am constantly sharing on social media channels. I share content about the things that I am interested: travel, food, France/Paris, San Francisco, green initiatives, etc. And while I try to keep up on my blog reading there are now a lot of tools that bring the content to you. There are also tools that make scheduling content efficient.
One such tool, and my main go-to when I am reading anything on the internet I want to share is Buffer. I learned about this tool from Melissa Culbertson, more on her in a minute. This tool has changed my life! It allows me to add a whole bunch of content into a queue (buffering it…get it?) for future publishing. I set the frequency and I select the channels. Buffer offers the most connected channels: Twitter, Facebook (profiles and pages), Google+, LinkedIn and now even up to 16 RSS feeds. I cannot live without this tool! (There is a free version, I use the paid one.)
I use Hootsuite to schedule content on my social media channels. I use it primarily for my own blog posts, but I also use it for content I find on Prismatic or Klout. There is a free version, I use Hootsuite as it allows me more features and channels. Hootsuite is now also offering curated content to share as well…bonus!
Trainings, Webinars and Resources
I have used all of these items listed in this section with the exception of one (I'll identify it) and every one of them has brought me a lot of value.
In my first year of blogging, I signed up to do Problogger's 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (affiliate) and immediately learned so many actionable learnings that still guide me today. I was grateful to have had the foresight to do this early in my blogging career, but the material is good for bloggers at any level. I still refer back to the content six years later.
I have also recently helped a few brand new bloggers and think that Problogger's Guide to your First Week of Blogging (affiliate) is a great resource. There is a reason that Darren Rowse of Problogger is a master!
Well…those are the blog tools and training that I use. They have helped form me into the blogger I am today.
How about you? What tools have helped you? Please share!
Thank you for the inspiring post,I learned a few things.
LOVE this post. Thank you! I’m a bit overwhelmed as I see I have some learning to do… maybe over a glass (or three) of wine. 😉
@Katie, you nut, you are doing a bang up job as is…but I would feel great if you started using something I used and loved it!
Aww, thanks! I’m not sure my dismal social media numbers would agree though — time to get crackin’!
Thanks for this ! needed it
@Davia, my pleasure! Which type if tools are you looking for?
The WP editorial calendar helps me schedule out posts that I want to write but dont’ have time. And I love the mobile version of WP to write a post if I have a stroke of brilliance so I don’t forget it. You posted many of the same ones I use, I’ve also been experimenting with stumbleupon for more traffic.
Make it a Double Please
I think our Learn to Blog Hangouts and forum are great resources too. Hour long videos where we give you actionable tasks and step by step tutorials on how to grow your blog!
Great ideas here i seem to try new things but then quickly FORGET about them, my problem is consistency – – any advice on that?
I’ve definitely used hoot suite and Klout before, but I totally forgot about Evernote. I definitely need to see how it can help with my blog!
@Brenda, definitely do I love Evernote! You can use it online and offline and then synch so you don’t need to be connected.
Amen! Using tools to our advantage is important to be successful! Thanks for sharing such useful and helpful info!
@Kristine, what tools do you use?
Such great resources here for any blogger!
@Kayli, thanks I hope you find them useful!
I love evernote! I also use a blogging planner to help keep organized <3
@Sinova, what kind of blog planner?
The only ones of these I use are notebooks and Klout!
@Fi, good old fashioned notebooks work brilliantly!
Wow, I’ve never heard of half of these things! haha! I guess I need to get learning! Great post!
@Alyssa, try one or two out, most have free versions until you find ones you like.
Thanks for sharing such an extensive list! I want to try them all but I’m thinking I should start with one or two 🙂
@Marissa, definitely start slow and then layer others on until you get the right mix.
I am going to have to check out those courses you listed! I am always looking to learn more about blogging- it really is ever changing!
@Chelsea, it evolves every week, so much to keep up on!
I tried to like HootSuite but their interface was so glitchy!
The Accidental Mama
@TheAccidentalMama, they have made a lot of improvements, maybe give it another try!
I love that word “social media practitioner” – never heard it used before (the last part).
I’m pretty organized when it comes to my blog, but basically nothing else in life. I do use a pen/paper combo to keep track of my published posts, if they went live, what dates and if they were schedueled on Hootsuite.
@Nancy, yep that’s what we call ourselves in the corporate social media world! Good old pen and paper works for a lot of things!
This is a TON of great information! I am learning so much regarding social media sometimes my head feels like it’s going to pop lol but I love knowing the ins and outs and can’t wait until I’m a pro!
@Amby, I here you on the head exploding part – you should see how much there is to keep up on social media when you do it for a brand too, a whole other set of tools!
I love Evernote. Haven’t managed to keep up a calendar of any sort for long though and I suck at keeping my to-do lists and paper notebooks updated. What does Action Method mean?
@Lix, Action Method is a type of notebook with built-in to-do lists.
thanks andi for the great tips!!
@Ananda, I am glad you found them useful!
Oh my goodness so much (great) information. I’m going to have to come back to this post when I have more time. I definitely want to take some classes, I know there is so much to learn!
@Erica, yes blogging evolves so quickly, thank goodness there are others who keep up on it all!
These all sound like wonderful tools. I use a few of them already but find that working across so many is a lot of work for me. I’ll have to check out CoSchedule though, you’re the second person to mention how awesome it is !
@Jessica, yeah it can get a little overwhelming, you just have to find the right ones that work for you.
Yup, I’ve got about 5 new tabs open! Thanks for the suggestions! I’m really intrigued by Prismatic, if there is something that can generate content from the web based on what I and my followers like, that’s social media gold!
@Chrissy, I could not agree with you more on Prismatic – they need more lifestyle content and I think that is the next evolution of these content curation tools, which will be awesome.
Thanks for sharing these great tools with us! I absolutely love CoSchedule. I am going to go check out TwitterFeed now. I love using Feedly to keep up with all the blogs I follow.
@Carly, I need to get back to Feedly I jump in and out of using it, but I need to make it more of a habit!
Thank you for sharing. These are great tips and I’m always looking for new tools!
@Jess, I hope you find a new one that works for you!
Great tips! I schedule posts on Facebook and on tweetdeck which helps me out a lot!
@Katie, thanks, yes every little bit helps!
Thank you for the tips! I’m new to Hootsuite but it looks super useful!
@Rebekah, I hope you like it!
Andi I have come to really love your blog and look forward to reading your posts. Thank you for the insight! am pinning this for further review and to sign up for some of those courses!
Love your tips – I use both hoot suite and buffer for scheduling – both are great!
@Kendall, thanks, glad for the affirmation you like these tools.
So much awesome information! I also use Hootsuite and am seriously considering co-schedule. Also, thinking of checking out the ProBlogger e-book! BTW, the checkbox to sign up for the newsletter under the comments is genius! How did you do that? And I see you are now able to send readers an email with a response to their comment. How did you do that as well? I want both! 😀
@JoAnn, I have a developer who is like a little elf and helps me get these things up in running. The response to comments is a plugin for Wordpress, I can get you the info, is your blog on Wordpress?
These are some really great tips on how to have a successful Blog. Thanks, I’ve pinned so I can go back later and read it in more detail. Thanks so much!
@Deanna, I am glad you found it useful!
Evernote is such a great tool for staying organised, love it!
@Jemma, so glad to hear, with the new baby coming soon you will need to be super organized 😉
I just pinned this on Pinterest so I can use these tools! They sound like great programs! Thanks for sharing!
@Leslyn, I hope you find one you like!
Yes, my blog is on Wordpress 🙂
This is probably one of the BEST, INFORMATIVE and PRACTICAL information I have come across regarding blogging. THANK YOU and you have a new follower for LIFE! lol.
@Ayana, oh wow! Thank you so much!
Thanks for this post its pinned so I can refer back to the many tips you have shared, I love hootsuite like crazy
@Myrabev, I am glad you found it useful!
This is so useful, andi! Thank you. Now, to actually get signed up for something will be the next task…
@Jill, I hope they work for you!
seriously.. what would i ever do without evernote & hootsuite!