7 must haves in my everyday blogging toolbox

7 must haves in my everyday blogging toolbox

One of the most common questions I get asked by other bloggers and by my coaching clients is, “How do you do your images?” We bloggers are always looking for great tools, aren’t we? As I have worked on my Blogging 101 and Beyond the Blogging Basics talks for She Speaks, I’ve been taking notes about my process for developing, writing, and promoting posts. I have lots of tips, tricks, and tools I use as a blogger. Most of us do, I imagine.

Today I thought I’d share the seven tools I use every. single. day as a blogger. For me, these are the must haves in my blogging toolbox!

Picmonkey for images

I wish I were as talented as Erin and Phil at graphics, but, alas, I am not. Picmonkey is my go-to photo editing and designing tool of choice. I do have the “royal” membership which costs $33 per year and gives me access to all the fonts and extras available. But the free membership will do everything most bloggers need. With Picmonkey you can add text to images, create collages, and even use a blank canvas to make your own graphics from the elements they offer. I use Picmonkey every day for blog post images {except the ones for posts on DBI which are done by Erin} as well as buttons for my sidebar, Facebook cover images, Instagram posts, etc.

Feedly for reading blogs

I subscribe to over 300 blogs via RSS. Obviously I don’t get those in my inbox every day. {Yikes! Can you imagine?} My reader of choice is Feedly. I tried several different readers when Google Reader was discontinued and landed on Feedly because it looks great on my computer, my iPad, and my iPhone and has all the functionality I needed including the ability to save and share. I have all the blogs I subscribe to divided into categories so I can quickly scan ones on different topics. Erin wrote a great post on reader options last year if you want information about other options.

Pocket for saving information

As a social media coach, I often read articles I want to save for future reference. As a blogger, it is common for me to read a post I want to mention to my readers or on social media. As a speaker, I like to save illustrations and statistics to use in talks. But I don’t like to have all this information in my bookmarks or email. Hello, Pocket! I just add all those posts and articles and images to my Pocket where I can tag them for easy searching later.  And, one of my favorite features of Feedly is the ability to save posts to Pocket.

JetPack Stats for evaluating posts

JetPack is super simple and definitely a tool I use every day {multiple times every day if I’m honest}.  For me, JetPack Stats is less about page views and more about referral sources. For example, Pinterest is my top referral source after search engines. I often click on the links to the pins in my referral list and leave a quick comment on the pin to thank the pinner for sharing my post.  I also use JetPack to share older posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When a post from a year or two ago is viewed multiple times in a day, I will share that link via social media. And I always make note of the search engine terms leading to my blog — this is a great way to know what to write!

Google Analytics for evaluating posts

Google Analytics is my go to research point for my blog. The most important information I get from Analytics is the referral information. Analytics provides far more detail in this area than JetPack. I especially use this information to determine how much impact posts I write on other sites has on my blog. For example, besides DBI, I write for three other sites every month. I track the referrals from these sites. I have used this information to determine if I should continue to write for specific sites. Another great piece of information I gain from Analytics is behavior flow … what are readers doing when they get to my site.

Instagram for sharing posts and more

I LOVE Instagram! It is my very favorite social media site. There are countless ways I use it {and even more ways I have noticed others using it}. The two main uses I have for IG are sharing posts {which means I need square images!} and testing out post ideas. The first one is pretty self-explanatory, but here is what I do with the second. Often I share a quote or thought I’ve had after reading a book or listening to a talk. I gauge response to those posts to determine if they are the type of idea worth expanding into a blog post. IG is also a great way to connect with others and build community.

Pinterest for exploring post ideas and updating graphics

Pinterest, as I mentioned above, is a fabulous referral source for me. But I also use Pinterest for research. Did you know you can see what posts have been pinned from your website? Go to www.pinterest.com/source/designbyinsight.net {insert your blog name in place of ours}. I check this every day for all the sites I write for. I want to know if my posts are pinning — and what other posts from those sites are especially popular. This helps me formulate post ideas and determine what sort of graphics are pinning well. I also check this for my personal blog as well for the same reasons.  However, I have found an additional benefit to checking Pinterest this way: updating post images. If you started blogging pre-Pinterest, you remember we didn’t always add text to our images.  When I notice a post is pinned without a text-enhanced image, I make a priority of updating the image.

So there you have it, my everyday tools for blogging. What are the must have items in your blogging toolbox?


  1. Great post. I already use or at least know of the sites or tools you mentioned, but you approached some of them from a different angle. Thanks for making me think differently about some common tools.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post! I needed all of this information. There is so much I didn’t know about, and what I did know, I was barely utilizing. You are a dream! I can’t wait to check out Pocket and Feedly. I have had a horrid time keeping up with the blogs I love to read because email is a pain and I have a rough time with Bloglovin and others so Feedly sounds like a dream come true!

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