Every blogger, writer, editor and researcher has an arsenal of tools they deem essential for their line of business. What’s so great about capitalism is that there is truly a myriad of options for everyone to choose from, and decide what works – or doesn’t work – for them.
Having had this website since 2016, I’ve gone through a few of these myself before finally landing on the ones I’ll be highlighting today. As always, I am not affiliated with any of these companies. I won’t make any money should you choose to visit the links provided. It has always been one of my goals to make things as easy and pressure-free as possible for my readers.
That means no pop ups, no newsletters, no adsense earnings, none of that. Plain and simple is how I live my life. I tried having ads for a time but, as I, personally, always have an adblocker activated, it made no sense to me to subject you guys to them. This website has been, and will always be, a hobby. A place to share interesting or useful knowledge with some fun thrown into the mix.
All that being said, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, or looking to enhance the one you currently have, here are Four Links in My Blog Bookmarks that I think you may find useful.
This might seem like a silly one to include, but WordPress has been my site’s host since the very beginning. Now I’m not going to sing the platform’s praises just yet, as I’ve had my qualms about their business both in the past and as of late. But I will say that WordPress is a great place to start out for someone new to the blogging world.
Since my introduction to it in 2016, their interfaces have undergone at least two big overhauls. One when I joined that year, and more recently with these Gutenberg block things. While I like to think I’m good with change, I must say I wasn’t too pleased with this particular one. I had logged on expecting to just dive right into the redesign for this website (which is still happening) only to discover that I had to learn a completely new interface.
I get that companies must constantly keep up with their competition, and I seriously considered for a good long while last year switching from WordPress to Squarespace. As you can see, I stuck with WordPress, mostly because 1) the idea of migrating everything sounded intimidating and 2) I would lose the momentum in traffic I’d built up over the years.
All that to say, I don’t know how much longer I’ll stick with WordPress. I may finally get brave and fully switch hosts. But for what I need and use WP for, I shall stick with it for a little while longer. If you’re looking for a place to start out, WordPress might be the beginner-friendly platform you need.
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics, according to the blogger world over on Reddit, is one of the best places to figure out if your readers are actual people or those annoying internet bots. I know for a fact that my site attracts a little bit of both, but I was curious as to the actual numbers.
However, since I’m still so new to using this feature, I haven’t been able to see any long term results. I look forward to the day when all that data will be right there for me to digest like it is with WordPress’ insights.
If you choose to start with WordPress, you’ll get an overview (over time) that looks like this. As you can see, my readership is slowly ticking up over time, and I am very very proud of that. 162 followers may not look like a lot to you, but for this little blogger I never dreamed anybody would even want to read what I’d have to say. And I’d rather build my platform here than, say, over on Twitter or Facebook.
I am still fiddling with the controls for Google Analytics, but I am hopeful that it’ll help me with my SEO skills.
I’ve recently talked about Canva in an entire post dedicated to the service, so I won’t bore you too much with a whole other discussion. I’ll just be lazy and include a link to that post. It’s actually a little outdated now since I no longer use Twitter. I deactivated it just last month and I do still use Instagram and Pinterest. Both take a little longer to share information, but I think – in the long run – that they’ll be more worth it. Twitter just got, well, too toxic. I hate having multiple online things to worry about, so I spent this Spring season “spring cleaning” my online life and my mind is very happy with that decision!
Another brand new addition to my bookmark folder, Substack was discovered (just like Google Analytics) through a perusal of the r/blogger threads over on Reddit. I couldn’t tell you which thread, though I wish I could remember so I’d link it here for you to find. So I’ll just link the blogger Reddit as a whole if you, also, are looking for tips and tricks.
Substack is kind of like Medium, where you can write and share articles to whomever chooses to follow you. However, Substack does have an integrated newsletter feature (what did I just say earlier in this post? lol), and I’m actually looking for a way to disable it. I’d like to just share on the Substack platform itself.
Again, I practice the art of simplicity.
However, I really like the idea of having an alternative platform on which to share these blog posts. Sure, it’ll require a little more work, but according to that one Redditor, Substack is quite popular right now for bloggers and readers. Who am I to say no to trying something completely different?
Did you find anything that looks useful? Or do you have a blogger tool you think is totally worth sharing? Please feel free to let me know what it is in the comments below! I have a few more random links in that bookmark folder, but none are truly blogging related. Only services I use for building specific posts n’at. So, please, share! I look forward to meeting you.