I was so pleased with how my 'How to effectively measure your blog traffic' post was received that I thought I'd come back with another helpful post and this time it's on tools and resources that will be helpful to bloggers. I've been blogging for 2 years and I still find these sort of posts interesting to read so I thought maybe you guys would too...... This list isn't extensive by all means - These are just the tools that I regularly use and I find really help me.
UNUMMy friend Fran told me about UNUM and I haven't looked back since I started using it. UNUM is a free app that helps you plan your Instagram Grid. I only started using this in December and now I don't know how I lived without it! I upload my photos to UNUM and it allows me to see how they sit with my current grid and swap photos around until I'm happy with them. If I get a last minute photo I need to post it really helps me see if it will fit my theme before I upload it to Instagram. If it doesn't fit in my grid then it means I have to quickly find another pic to post before I can post the one I want to! Oh the joys of being an Instagram grid slave! There are lots of similar apps around that do the same thing but I really like this one as it's FREE (always helps) and it pulls in your current Instagram grid.
Google AnalyticsI talked about Google Analytics a lot in my recent post 'How to effectively measure your blog traffic' so if you read that you can really see how much it can help you. But in a nutshell if you have a blog or website make sure you get Google Analytics installed and use it! You cannot improve your blog using Wordpress or Blogger stats as they are not accurate or detailed enough. Google Analytics is completely free and will be able to tell you where traffic is coming from, how engaged it is and what posts are most popular to name just a few......
|Planning my Instagram grid using UnUm|
BeFunkyThere are quite a few free photo editing tools but I've always used BeFunky yet I never hear anyone else talk about it, and I don't know why as I love it! Lots of people use PicMonkey but you need to pay to get a lot of the features on there, whereas I find there are more free features on BeFunky. You can of course pay to get some extras on there too but I've never found the need. I use BeFunky for all my photo editing on my blog and they also have an app version for your phone too. It does the basics like brightness, contrast, sharpness, as well as adding text, shape overlays, filters and it makes collages too! On top of that there are templates set up for Facebook covers and Pinterest pins - I just wish there was one for YouTube & Twitter covers! If you don't want to invest in Photoshop yet then this is great free alternative.
VSCOI'm sure a lot of you have heard about this tool but as I use it for my Instagram photos I thought I best include it in this list. VSCO is an app that I use to edit all my Instagram photos and it has some amazing preset filters on it. Some are free and some you purchase in packs. I've purchased a few for around £1.99 but some go up to around £9. If you search "VSCO" on Pinterest you will see loads of different effects people have achieved using the app and they will usually tell you what filter and edits they have used to achieve it. Well worth a look if you are after a new Instagram theme (see some ideas below).
|VSCO filter ideas found on Pinterest (sources: Rizonia, Favim & Unkown)|
FaceTuneAnother one a lot of you may have heard about is FaceTune but again, as I use it I wanted to add it to this post. FaceTune is an app intended to photoshop photos of your face with features such as whiten teeth, blur skin imperfections and remove red eye. However I use it for a very different reason. the whiten teeth tool is brilliant at whitening backgrounds in photos. If I've got a photo in which I specifically want a white background and maybe the light wasn't being kind to me that day I carefully use this tool to make it whiter. I also like the 'detail' tool to highlight specific parts of a photo that maybe haven't come out as sharp as I would have liked.
Google URL BuilderThe Google URL Builder adds a tag to the end of your URL so you can track exactly where your traffic is coming from to your blog. I talk about this tool in quite a bit of depth, and how to use it in my post "How to effectively measure your blog traffic" so I suggest you read that if you haven't already (Sorry I know I've plugged it a lot already). In a nutshell anywhere you leave a link to your blog you should be tracking it - be that Facebook, Instagram, blog advertising etc.. Get reading.... and tagging!
Moz Domain Authority CheckerIf you've heard the word DA thrown around and not know much about it, well it stands for Domain Authority. Domain Authority is a score (between 1 and 100) developed by Moz that predicts how well your domain will rank organically on search engines. The theory is that the higher your score the better chance you have of ranking well on search engines. It's not uncommon for brands to ask for a certain DA score before they work with a blogger. If you want to know what your DA score is then use the Moz DA checker that can be found here. You can also see other bloggers DA in your niche or of a similar size to you to see how you compare by typing their domain into the search bar. Although bear in mind that you can only search the DA of 3 domains a day using the free version of MOZ. Moz update their DA scores monthly, although there isn't a set date every month - if you google it you'll find out when the next one is.
TweetDeckTweetDeck is a Twitter tool which not only has all the features you get in Twitter (DM's, notifications, timeline etc) but you can also schedule tweets which is what I use it for. Unlike its popular rival Buffer there is no limit to how many tweets you can schedule and it's free! With the amount of traffic scheduled tweets can drive to your blog it's worth spending half an hour of your time each week to do this.
I hope you found this useful and as always let me know if there are any similar posts to this you would like to see.
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