6 Free Blogging Tools That Make My Online Life Easy + Awesome

These free blogging tools save me 3-4 hours each week! Click through and find out how I automate social media, find gorgeous Creative Commons photos, and manage projects - for $0! // sarahvonbargen.com
This blog post has been gathering dust in my drafts folder for, oh, always. 
I want to write posts for you guys that are clever, inspirational, and filled with ideas that make your online life more awesome.

I also assume that you already know about the piles of tools/apps/platforms available to you. But one person’s obvious is another person’s you just changed my life with this information, right?

And if you already know all of these? Here’s a cool cat hoodie.

Tweetdeck (free)
This platform allows you to schedule tweets months into the future and (most importantly) upload images for your scheduled tweets. Thus far, this is the only platform I’ve found that will post images with the tweets (rather than posting a link to the image hosted elsewhere.)

If you’re not using images in your tweets, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to OMG DO IT. Tweets with images are 94% more likely to get retweeted and favorited! And you can include the title of your post in the image, ‘freeing up’ your tweet so you can use those 140 characters for pull quotes or @mentions.

Gramblr (free)
In a perfect world, we’d all be professional-level photographers who took in-the-moment, filter-free photos for Instagram. For the rest of us, Gramblr allows you to post images from your computer, so you can pull images from blog posts or something you took with your DSLR.

Unsplash // Flickr Creative Commons // Pickle Jar
All of these are free resources for gorgeous, professional-grade images for your blog posts, social media updates, and marketing emails. If you’re using a Creative Commons image, make sure to link and credit the photographer. You can find Flickr’s best photos by sorting by ‘most interesting.’

Picmonkey (free or $33 a year for platinum membership)
I’ve heard tons of good things about Canva, but I still love my cheap, basic, incredibly user-friendly Picmonkey. I use it to resize images so they’re more Pinterest-friendly, create images for Twitter, and make headshots matchy/matchy.

Trello (free)
Are you working with clients or a VA? I bet you are and I bet you’re sick of 15-part email threads or those “just checking in” emails. Without exaggeration, Trello has completely changed my business life. It helps me stay on top of deadlines and huge multi-part projects. It helps me work with my designer and my VA without annoying them so much they want to quit.

Trello allows you to assign projects and break them into checklists … and then save those checklists so any time someone has to complete that complicated task again, you can just pull up said checklist. And you can assign deadlines! When a deadline is looming, Trello will automatically send the task-doer a reminder email, so you don’t have to!

IFTTT (free)
This awkward acronym stands for ‘If This Then That’ and it writes ‘recipes’ for hundreds of online tasks. Like “If I post a photo to Instagram, then a tweet with the image and caption will be automatically generated” or “If someone posts a Macbook Air on the Minneapolis Craiglist for less than $700, I’ll get a text about it.”

There a jillions of helpful ‘recipes’ – recipes for photographers, streamlining social media, even news junkies.

Of course, I also use all the usual suspects – Google Docs, Dropbox, Google Calendar, Paypal. But I imagine you really do already know about those!

I’d love to hear all about the resources, tools, and apps you use for your business! Let’s make this comment thread a recourse itself!

P.S. I remembered another one! Co-schedule’s Headline Analyzer! It’s amaaaazing!

12 Comments

Jordan

These sound like some apps I definitely need to try out! It’s amazing how much we can accomplish with our phones nowadays. Thanks for sharing!

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Hannah

Ooh, did not know about Gramblr or the headline analyser. Thanks!

For images, I love Unsplash. They’re so pretty, sometimes I just like browsing through them for fun 🙂

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Kate

Unsplash.com has free photos too. A bit more limited than creative commons sites, but professional and nice.

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yoli

Thanks so much for that Instagram URL! I’ve always thought there had to be a better way to share my “nicer” pictures than hoping they were in my Apple Cloud… Such a helpful tip!

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Rebekka K. Steg

Buffer also let’s you add pictures for tweets, and I’ve always found it to be much more intuitive and easy to use than both tweetdeck and hootsuite – plus if you have any issues they have the most fabulous customer support I’ve ever experienced (and no, I do not get paid to say that ) 🙂

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Lisa

My friend just introduced me to Trello and I’m obsessed! Can’t wait to move all of my ideas/organization into there!

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Miranda

These are all awesome – thanks for the tidbit of info re: Tweetdeck and uploading photos. I didn’t know that the other social media managers didn’t upload a photo direct. And, OBVS, based on the comments, I’ve got to check out Headline Analyzer! Tx Sarah.

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