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
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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