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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Free apps you need if you're a blogger



Whether you're a full time blogger or busy balancing a 9-5 along with your internet life, theres one thing us bloggers have in common: Our phones are permanently in hand. Its a common sight but there is good reason for it, while i use my laptop to deal with writing posts and uploading photos, my phone actually serves a huge purpose when it comes to organisation, promotion and connecting with other bloggers and readers. Here are the free apps i use which i think are essentials for any blogger:


Ever since Instagram changed things up and brought in their algorithm, it has been one of the hardest platforms to grow your following, it's been made even worse recently by people playing the follow - un follow game or buying their followers. So to keep on top of the instagram game and catch out people who have just followed me to unfollow i use the "Followers" app; its got a few features but i mainly use it to see who has unfollowed me overnight and its handy to have the graph at the bottom, which shows you a general trend of how your follower numbers are looking. 
I know a lot of apps like this can give people problems but i've been using this one for a while now and i haven't add any issues, they don't do anything on your behalf so you're safe. 


Even though i import all of my photos from my camera onto my laptop, i always edit them on my phone. I'm no photoshop wizard, scrap that, i honestly haven't got a clue when it comes to photoshop - so all of my editing gets done on the apps listed above. I use each of the apps differently so here's a quick guide to each one: 

1) VSCO: I'm pretty sure everyone knows about VSCO, its one of the best free photo editing apps around, it comes with filters and a host of editing tools. I use VSCO for filtering photos i've taken outside, for example my photos from Paris or most of my outfit posts. I find the filters are a little over edited for photos i've taken inside, so i like to use them when the lighting is 100% natural to avoid adjusting things too much. 

2) Colour story: I use colour story to edit my product photos or photos i've taken inside, such as beauty blog posts with photos of a product or flatlays. I mainly use the "pop" filter to give my photos that bright edge and i also use some of the editing tools to brighten duller photos or get rid of shadows - colour story has some really great editing tools that you don't usually find on free apps. 

3) Layout:  Layout is an app i believe Instagram brought out and it basically just allows you to organise multiple images into collages, side by side or three photos one on top of the other things like that. It's not something i use that often but it's a useful one to have!

4) Later: Later is an instagram scheduling app but i don't actually use it to schedule posts. I use Later to see how a photo i'm planning to upload is going to look in my instagram feed ..i know, i've got feed issues. Theres nothing worse than uploading an Instagram post to see that its so much darker than the rest of your photos or just doesn't look right; so to avoid double uploading the same image i use Later to do a preview of how the image will look once in my feed. 

5) Phonto: Phonto is such a handy app because it allows you to add text to a photo quickly, i download fonts from dafont straight to the app so it means i'm not just restricted to the fonts the app provides. Although now i like to add text to photos using picmonkey on my laptop, when i need to be able to do it on my phone i use phonto. 


Bloglovin is something i feel like every blogger has but uses in different ways, a lot of people use it as a promotional tool to direct traffic to their blog but i use it to keep up with my favourite bloggers. I have to admit I'm not the best when it comes to bloglovin; i should focus on growing my following on there a little more but i'm sceptical as to how much traffic it'll actually bring in, so i tend to use it as a reader rather than anything else. 
The bloglovin app is really useful because you can follow cross platform bloggers, i think it supports pretty much every hosted site so it keeps bloggers from wordpress, blogspot and others all together in one place - all in a timeline of posts. I find myself opening bloglovin while I'm on the tube or a bus journey because i know i can open it up and be directed to content that i'm genuinely interested in.


Promoting your posts is one of the most important things to do when trying to grow your blog, but its often hard to remember to tweet out a link every hour or so. So i don't have to think twice about tweeting and don't get a drop in traffic when I'm not online, i use the buffer app to schedule tweets in advance so everything happens automatically. This would be my #1 essential app when it comes to blogging, when i first discovered buffer and started promoting my tweets my traffic shot higher than it ever had before and without it i guarantee i wouldn't see anywhere near as much traffic to my blog. 

The buffer app works through writing out tweets that you want to be posted for you and then setting them to a time schedule. Once you've written out a tweet you don't have to keep re-wrting it out every time you want to post it again, you simply hit "rebuffer". Every evening i go to the analytics tab of the app and hit rebuffer on the tweets i want to set for the next day, they will then automatically post in the order and time frame that i've perviously set. 

You can also keep track of how well your promotional tweets are doing in the analytics tab, every tweet will have the number of link clicks a tweet got, how many retweets or likes and the potential number of people the tweet would have reached. The analytic data takes a few hours to come in, so don't feel disheartened if you've set a tweet that appears to have no link clicks - check back in a few hours and the number will have changed if you did get some clicks. 


I know not everyone makes money from blogging but if you do its important to keep track of absolutely everything for tax reasons; it can seem like the most daunting thing but its not too bad if you keep a record. I use the microsoft excel app on my phone and iPad to keep all of my money things together on hand if i need it. I'm pretty new to this area of blogging but i've been doing one spreadsheet a month with my income, expenses and totals after deductions, which i think works pretty well to keep things organised. 


Finally we have social media, no blogger's phone is complete without instagram, twitter, snapchat and Facebook. They're all pretty self explanatory but i know some bloggers actually don't utilise every main form of social media but these are the ones i keep on my phone and see as key to having a blog. Every time i upload a post i put it in my snapchat and instagram stories, i tweet a link and post an instagram picture with a link in my instagram bio. From then i'll keep the traffic flowing through tweets scheduled using the buffer app i talked about above. 

Do you use apps to help with blogging? - Maria x

Follow me on BLOGLOVIN/TWITTER/INSTAGRAM.


I have no affiliation with any of the apps mentioned, where possible i have linked to the apps website but some don't have websites so in place of those there's a link to the app store. x

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122 comments

  1. I love the follow app it's so great for keeping up to date with whats going on with your instagram! I love the way you've produced the photos, so easy to follow this post and it was such a good read!! xx

    Tash | natashatodd.co.uk

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    1. Yeah its definitely one of the best apps i've used to keep track! Thank you so much, i'm really happy i laid it out this way i really like it ahah x

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  2. Such a great post hun, Ive been looking for some good photo editing apps and looking forward to some of the ones you recommended. Your posts are always great to read keep them up xx

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, i hope the apps work well for you! x

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  3. Such a useful post! I've never heard of Later, but I always upload pictures on to instagram then delete them because they don't look 'right' with my feed. I get serious OCD about it hahaha! This is going to help me so much! Thanks for sharing x

    Yasmin x
    The Sweet Seven Five

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    1. Thank you! Yeah same, its so useful to be able to see into the future of your instagram feed haha x

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  4. I am so thankful for this post! I wasn't even aware of the follow app and now I can find out those pesky follow and unfollowers.

    Beckie xo // The Pale Tails

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    1. aw thats so great, i'm so happy its helpful - go catch them unfollowers! x

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  5. Great post! Need to try out so many apps you mentioned. The photos in this post are just amazing. Thank you so much for sharing them! xo

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, i hope the apps are helpful! x

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  6. Fab post! I've been looking for an app to keep track of who unfollows me on Instagram so I will be downloading Followers asap! Thanks! xx

    Laura | Blush and Bronze

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    1. Its so so good to be able to see who's unfollowing you because its such a problem at the minute, hope its helpful for you! x

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  7. Just discovered and downloaded Buffer thanks to this post, thank you! xo

    Natalie | Illuminated Hearts

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    1. omg you'll see such a difference in your traffic! No problem x

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  8. I'm glad I have all of those. I don't use Later but Planoly isn't that bad either. This is most accurate blogpost for all beginner bloggers and trust me, blogging is not easy and therefore, hardwork need put into place. Good job, Maria!

    Sophia. x
    www.sophianeve.com

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    1. Thank you! I have never heard of Planoly, i'll look into it! x

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  9. Great post!
    Although I don't care about followers (unfollowing and stuff) and also my IG doesn't have a strict theme or anything, but I do see how this can improve one's feed or blog :D

    xo Honey - blog Royal Lifestyle - Twitter - Instagram

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  10. absolutely loved this darling! Very informative and easy to follow with the lovely simple graphics! Love from www.mimimoda.co.uk x

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  11. Love this!!! What kinds of posts do you plan and schedule for you social media? Do you have a system/template etc? Trying to get into the role of bringing social media into my life more to promote my blog etc!

    Love Aimee

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    1. Thank you! I actually wrote a whole blog post with a section on how i schedule my tweets for promotion so its all written about in here: http://www.mariaj.co.uk/2017/01/there-you-did-it-you-published-your.html x

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  12. Love love love the photo editing in this post Maria! I started using buffer just before Christmas and I find it's the best way to get content out! I find it so useful!

    Neelam | www.neelamjayna.co.uk xx

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    1. Thank you, i really love how it turned out! Buffer is such a great app, i'm so happy it exists! x

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  13. I use so many of these apps myself! They are so good for keeping 'the blogging life' super organised! x

    Alina | http://alinasirbu.uk

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    1. Yess i think they're all essentials! x

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  14. This was super helpful thankyou. I am a new blogger so still learning the ropes x

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    1. aw no problem, i'm glad to hear its helpful! x

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  15. Really helpful post (especially because I'm only just starting out) I've found Bloglovin super helpful for reading and finding blogs. I'm a really big Pinner aswell!
    Kate || www.katerattley.com

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    1. Aw thank you thats so good to hear, i really need to get more into pinterest i know so many people love it! x

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  16. Brilliant post, going to download some of these apps. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, i hope they're helpful for you! x

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  17. I have yet to use the Bloglovin app - I really should have it on my phone. I use the standard social media apps, mostly Pinterest, as well as Follower tracker app (I can't remember what it's called). As for photo editing, I use Aviary for any on the go edits. Mostly, I just do work on my computer. I'm kind of blind, so I prefer things on a bigger screen lol.

    Ashlynn, The Crimson Cardigan

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    1. The bloglovin app is so handy to have i'd definitely recommend getting it, its nice to be able to have everything in one place! I've never heard of Aviary, i must check it out! x

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  18. Absolutely love the images in this post! I also love Buffer, always use that! x

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  19. I've only recently started to take a more serious approach to the social media I have related to my blog, Buffer has helped to increase my blog engagement so much...plus I've been able to go through and unfollow all of the Instagram accounts that I've followed that don't follow me back using Followers Pro.

    Alicia x
    Aesthetic Obsessed

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    1. Yeah its definitely worth investing the same and you can be ready to catch the people playing the follow unfollow game! x

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  20. Buffer changed my life. I was really bad with Twitter as I can't tweet while at work, so my following was pretty low. Once I started using Buffer I could see a big change.

    I'm on Android (have more of a hate relationship with Apple), so not all the apps for photos are available, but I love VSCO and also use Snapseed.

    Maya | http://londondamsel.co.uk

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    1. same! I remember being at work and buffer really helping me out to keep traffic flowing through out the day! Ah thats a shame, although VSCO is one of the best so at least you've got that! x

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  21. Amazing post! I've just recently downloaded Buffer and it's so useful! And I'm without a computer at the moment so apps are EVERYTHING! xo
    Ellieslittleeworld.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you! Omg i can't imagine being without my laptop but I'm sure your phone is filling in well! x

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  22. VSCO has totally changed my Instagram feed for the better. Some of these other apps I've never heard of so I think I will definitely give them a go!

    www.thatsjustspiffy.com

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    1. Its one of the best, the filters are so lovely! Aw i hope they're helpful for you! x

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  23. Love this post, Followers sounds like a pretty useful app and one that I love and use absolutely all the time for Instagram is called Unum. It let's you plan your feed in advance and edit within the app and I find it so so handy!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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    1. ah yeah i've seen people write about that one too, i must check it out! x

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  24. Apart from social media the only app I use from this list is buffer. I really love it as it saves so much time! I don't bother editing my photos as i'm too lazy and I prefer the natural look anyway (or at least that's my excuse!).
    Amy at Amy & More

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    1. Buffer would definitely be my #1 on the list so you're covered there! x

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  25. Great post!! Really enjoyed reading it and I'm going to take on all your app advice. Currently downloading the Instagram followers app and then going for the buffer app and signing up to bloglovin. Thank you ����

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    1. aw thank you so much for reading, they're both really handy apps to have i hope you find them as useful as i do! x

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  26. I love this post! Buffer has become my new favourite thing, you're the one who inspired me to start tweeting out old blog post links as I always see yours on my news feed (aka why I'm here!) and I just completely never thought about doing that!
    Lydia x
    itsheredition.wordpress.com

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    1. aw thats so great to hear, tweeting links is the most important thing i do with my blog - i can't imagine my traffic without it and its only possible through buffer! Thank you so much for reading x

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  27. It's crazy that you mentioned buffer. I've stumbled upon buffer a couple of times but it's only today I decided to give it a try. I'm hoping to make the most of this app. Will definitely come in handy when I forget or when I'm busy and unable to teeet.

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    1. I definitely think buffer is one of the most important apps on the list, i really hope it's helpful for you! x

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  28. Really helpful post- especially the photo editing apps!

    Claudia xx
    www.claudiawright.com

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    1. Thank you so much!! I can't get enough of photo editing apps hahah! x

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  29. What a beautiful and helpful post, thank you for that! Love the flat photos as well

    Justyna
    www.justynakrug.com/blog

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    1. no problem, thank you so much for reading! x

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  30. i've never heared of any of these except the social media , so thank you for the info i'll make sure to download them ^^
    https://tsukihoshino.blogspot.com/

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    1. aw great! I hope they're helpful for you! x

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  31. Hasn't there been lots of issues and comment on Bloglovin recently? Has this changes your view?
    I'm wondering whether to use it to grow my blog.
    Thanks Jen

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    1. Yeah with all of the changes i really don't know what to think, i hate that you don't get a notification when someone comments on your post using bloglovin! I can't say i've noticed much of a difference but as time goes on i suppose we'll see, i think focus on social media sites like instagram and twitter to grow your blog. Twitter is where i get most of my traffic just in front of google! x

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  32. Such a helpful post! I need to get my hands on accounts and Sadly I quit snap chat! It was so hard to maintain all these social media! I'm using Bloglovin as well but yet to understand how it really works.

    XOXO... GreenStory

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    1. Thank you! It is really hard to keep up, i'd say stick to two or three and focus on them! x

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  33. Will try the buffer app soon hihi

    www.extraodiary.com

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  34. This is super helpful! Thanks for the tips xo
    Check out my blog http://www.rileyedixon.com/

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    1. No problem, thank you so much for reading! x

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  35. I've never tried the follower app! That'll be so handy to keep track of my instagram account, going to download it right now!

    xx Susan | Love From Susan

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    1. Its so so useful, especially in the climate of following and unfollowing we're currently going through, its good to catch the pesky unfollowers!

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  36. Really wonderful post Maria, some excellent app recommendations. I can't wait to try the Phonto app and I didn't realise Buffer had an app, I'm always just using it on the desktop! Thank you for sharing.

    Alice | alicemaysnell

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    1. Thank you, omg the app is so much handier! No problem, thank you for reading! x

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  37. Really loving your "Blogging Help" section. The way you break it down & explain everything is SO incredibly helpful so someone like me-- you have no idea! Thanks a lot!

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    1. That's so good to hear, thats exactly why i make it! Really really glad you find it helpful x

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  38. This blog post was really helpful and I didn't know that Buffer had the "rebuffer" option. I should try to find it! Thank you :)

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    1. Yeah the rebuffer is so helpful, that way you don't have to keep writing out all the tweets! x

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  39. I use follower too. Plus for editing I like Insta editor & colour Story. I found a free photoshop app the other day which was free and isn't difficult to use. Loved reading this. Great post. 😘😘

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, i must look into that free photoshop app! x

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  40. Fab post! I use most of these apart from the follower app, so thanks for the tip lovely!
    H x

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    1. Thank you lovely, oh it's a great one to catch up with all of those using bots etc, very useful! x

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  41. Thank you for all the tips 😊 I will have to give some of them a try.

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    1. No problem, i hope they work well for you! x

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  42. Great tips. I always love posts where bloggers share what they use to keep their blogging going. Thank you!

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    1. Aw thank you so much for reading, glad you enjoyed it! x

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  43. I knew about most of these apps (especially social media - obsessed!) but I haven't heard about Buffer before. I've instantly downloaded it so thank you :)
    - www.roisinslatest.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. oh my goodness it'll change your blogging game for good, i hope you love it! x

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  44. I have been using the followers app for awhile now and had nothing but success with it! Thanks for sharing!

    Britt | http://alternativelyspeaking.ca

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    1. ah thats great to hear, thank you so much for reading! x

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  45. Great apps, I hardly use excel on my phone but I'm seeing it's definitely something I should use for my productivity. Thanks for the tips.

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    1. thank you! Yeah it's definitely a good one to be able to keep on top of things, thank you for reading x

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  46. This is such an informative post, I really didn't know there were so many useful apps. Thanks for this Maria xx

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    1. aw no problem, glad to hear you find it useful, thank you for reading x

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  47. I actually prefer using Buffer on my laptop, just because it has this "top tweet" sign haha. But I agree, this app is a life saver since I don't always bring my laptop everywhere!

    Lona | lonajasmiin.com

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    1. I can see the top tweet on the mobile app too! It might have something to do with different app variations! x

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  48. Thanks for sharing Maria. I always love to see what apps other bloggers are using to make life easier. There are so many different options out there, it can be overwhelming knowing what to use. I just downloaded buffer and followers - looking forward to trying them out. Thanks again :-) xx

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    1. No problem, yeah i always find it helpful to check what other people are using! You'll love buffer and followers, they really help me keep on track! x

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  49. Omg thank you so much for this! So many apps I didn't knew that they existed! Omw to the app storeeee💓

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    1. Yay thats exactly why i wrote it! Hope they're helpful for you xx

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  50. Currently downloaded Color Story and Buffer! This was a fantastic post!!! I am always looking for things to make balancing work and blogging easier.

    CKellyBlush
    ckellyblush.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much, i hope you get some good use out of them! I've recently started using colourstory exclusively as my photo editing app, it's that good! x

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  51. This is great !! Thank you for this .

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    1. No problem, thank you for reading x

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  52. This post is truly helpful, thank you so much for sharing! XO

    https://octoberslallu.blogspot.com

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    1. aw thats so good to hear, thank you so much for reading! x

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  53. This was such a helpful post. I used Buffer years ago when I first started blogging and it's amazing! Without it.. I don't even know if I would get views. VSCO is another must have but I'm struggling to master the filters on my selfies..Even if I try tutorials from Pinterest it doesn't seem to work for me, maybe I'm too pale for HB1/HB2 filters :D But again, great post!


    Dominika
    dominikaszeles.blogspot.com

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    1. Buffer is the best way to drive traffic, thats the exact same with me, since posting this i don't really use VSCO anymore unless I'm editing a city shot or a travel post or something! I find it harder using it for selfies/ photos of people x

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  54. Thank you for sharing! I love VSCO :-D xXx

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  55. All of these apps look super helpful, I've been using buffer for a few weeks now and i love it!!
    charlie | http://www.charlieswonderland.co.uk/

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    1. Yesss buffer is actually my favourite out of the lot!x

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  56. I had never heard of the Followers app until now! Thanks for the tip, was wondering how people managed to keep track of their followers ;) Will definitely start using that right now!

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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    1. Yesss it's so useful to catch all those unfollowers! x

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  57. Such a helpful post 😍 gotta try the Buffer app

    www.glimmerofhappiness.wordpress.com

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  58. I saw this a while ago & didn't comment as a newbie I was just getting in my groove I downloaded the buffer app and it's been a godsend especially as I work 2 jobs on Thursday/Fridays!! Thank you 😊

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    1. omg yay!! i'm so happy it's been helpful, it's so perfect for that situation! x

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  59. Thank you so much for writing this post, it has been really helpful. I have just downloaded the buffer app, let’s see how it goes 😊

    Tegancarr.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. No problem. i'm so happy it's been helpful for you! I'm sure you'll love it! x

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  60. I am very much just starting and it is so amazing to find such a helpful post with simple steps. I adore your blog!

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    1. omg that makes me so happy! i hope it's helpful for you x

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