There are various blogging tools and apps that can help you create processes, systems, and SOP’s while saving spoons
Brain fog, fatigue, and pain can make it hard to research the blogging tools and apps you need to create a successful blog and make money. Running a blog is more than writing. It involves graphic design, SEO research, and planning, using social media as well as marketing on the different platforms, administrative tasks, and working the back end of your blogging platform to make the front end appealing to your avatar.
If you don’t use tools, systems, apps, and processes to make this easier, more organized, and streamlined you are going to run out of spoons and become overwhelmed. Many bloggers give up because they can’t get ahead of the workload. It is a lot to handle and the sooner you make it easier and more productive without working every hour of every day the faster you can scale and make more money.
Disclaimer: Some (or all) of the links below are affiliate links and I may earn a commission or other compensation, at no cost to you, (such as a free month of service) if you purchase something via these links. I use most (if not all) of the products listed and recommend them because I have found them to be helpful for my blog and I trust them. Full disclosure If you have any questions about anything I’ve listed please feel free to contact me.
Starting a blog or continuing to blog when you have a chronic illness or disability can be daunting…
especially with pain and fatigue. It’s one thing to write a post but it’s much more to put that post together to publish. Having tools and apps to make blogging easier is life-changing for anyone but even more so for a Spooniepreneur.
I’ve done a good amount of research and organized it in one place here in this post. Some of these blogging tools and apps I use and others I don’t. Some I tried and worked, some didn’t work for me. That doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Sometimes what works for one person isn’t as easy or good a fit for another so try something out and decide for yourself.
Below are some of the blogging tools and apps available and some have links for you to use. As you blog more you will understand the reason for not linking to everything but, for now, you can do a Google search for what doesn’t have a link. If I can help in any way let me know.
Scheduling tools are designed to help you add content to your social media on a specific day and/or time in the future
This tool then automatically posts the content when the day and time you set have come. Some tools already have a suggested day/time that you can add your content to and it takes care of the rest unless you need to add a title, description, hashtags, or board name
Here are several social media scheduling tools:
- NextScripts: Social Networks Auto-Poster
One of the great things about Tailwind is that you can add their extension to Chrome and when you hover over an image you see online you can click the Tailwind bird and it will let you add the image to your “drafts” or schedule it right then. They do have a free membership for up to a certain amount of posts. I use Tailwind and have for a couple of years. I love using them and I am an affiliate too.
Tools for creating your blog are extremely important because you won’t be able to create your little home on the internet without them…unless you know how to code
I’m not going to get too technical here, it’s beyond my abilities. Building your blog takes a lot of code. Because there are people who build themes creating your blog is that much easier.
So when you want to build a blog you need to decide where to host your blog. Think of hosting like the physical address of an actual brick and mortar store. You buy hosting to “claim” that site. Then you need to create the “building” your store will be located. That building is your blog/site.
Now imagine that you have to either build the building (blog) yourself from ground up or you can buy a “shell” to install on the site. This “shell” is your theme. A theme can have many different looks, colors, fonts, etc. Some things can be edited on a theme and some can’t. Some themes work without a supporting framework like Divi or Genesis.
You may choose to use a free simple WordPress theme or you can buy one like mine
The options vary depending on too many variables to list. This is going to require you to research and understand what your hosting provider can handle as well as how much you can handle.
You will have options like site-builders, different hosting plans, different themes on places like Creative Market or even whether you will have someone else build your site. If you are new to blogging this is going to be a huge learning curve. I already have posts scheduled to write to help you through the process but just hang in there until then. It does get easier.
I use WordPress.org NOT WordPress.com and many professional bloggers do too. There is a difference outlined here but only you can make the decision for your blog. Some people choose GoDaddy and their site-builder but that doesn’t give you much creative license to change colors, fonts, or other things.
GoDaddy may be an easier option to start with for new bloggers but you are limited in what you can change AND when you decide (and you will) to move to another platform you will need to take all your work, blog posts, etc. to the new platform. This is no easy task and many bloggers lose data during the move, have to hire someone to move everything or have to hire someone to fix things.
Something to note: If you find a “free” place to blog, it is not as professional as using a self-hosted site. You will have a site address like https://wordpress.com/yoursitename instead of https://yoursitename.com. On some free blogging platforms you don’t even own your own content.
Alongside hosting and platforms you will need to decide on a domain name. A domain name is https://yoursitename.com or actually “yoursitename.com (or .org, .biz, .info, etc.)”. My domain name is savvysupportva.com, the https:// is added to the front.
You can buy domain names at GoDaddy, Siteground, BlueHost, and various other places. If you want, do a search for “domain name” or “domain search” or “domain availability” and you will find plenty of places to buy your domain. Make sure you have a few names picked out so you can use an alternate if the one you want isn’t available. Buying a domain name is not the same as buying hosting. You still have to buy hosting unless you buy both at the same time (which will sometimes be discounted).
Okay, I said I wasn’t going to get too technical but I did. Going more in-depth will require another blog post and more experience.
Something to note: When you are brainstorming domain names try not to do searches for them until you are ready to buy. There are people and companies who have tracking software to see what domain names people search for and then buy the domain to sell it at a higher price.
Below is a list of blogging tools and apps relating to writing, hosting, themes and more.
- WordPress (and app)
- Trello for workflows and editorial calendars
- Google Drive/Docs/Sheets
- CoSchedule headline analyzer
- Google Analytics
- Portent Title Maker
- EMV Headline Analyzer
- KingSumo for A/B headline analyzer
- Sumome Heatmaps
- Screenflow (Mac users)
- Camtasia (PC users)
- PDF Escape
- Portent Content Idea Generator
- Tweak Your Biz Content Generator
- Open Live Writer
- Getblogo (Mac)
- Uptime Robot
- Filezilla (FTP client)
- Google Alerts
- Updraft Plus
- Restored 316
- Elegant Themes
- Siteground (who I use and love plus they have a much better process for getting an SSL certificate)
- Blue Host
I’m not going to get into “Organizing & Productivity” here but you can read a ton of more information in my post Productivity And Organization Tips To Optimize
Organization & Productivity:
- Google Calendar
- Egg Timer
- Google Drive/Docs/Sheets
- WordPress Distraction Free Writing
- Desk (Mac only)
- Zenwriter (Windows)
- Ulysses App (Mac)
- Focus Booster
- My Hours
- Right Inbox
Doing keyword research and using SEO can be difficult at best. There a lot of factors that determine a good keyword or phrase including its intent. This is not something I am an expert in so I love that there are tools to help. Some of these keyword/SEO tools I have used and others I haven’t. I really like UberSuggest because of how in-depth it goes, although other tools may go more in-depth, and I also use Yoast.
Do some research on these and decide what you want to try first. While one may work for me it may not for you and the same for others. Sometimes a choice is personal while others can be more logical. Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything, to begin with, it will take time and you will become more proficient.
- SEO Tools
- Yoast WordPress SEO plugin
- Google Keyword Planner
- Keyword Planner
- Google Webmaster Tools
- Long Tail Pro
One of my favorite writing blogging tools and apps is Grammarly. I have the extension added to my Chrome browser so it can help me everywhere. Whether I’m writing an email, this post or on social media Grammarly helps when the brain fog keeps me from spelling correctly or inverting words.
- Google Voice within Google Docs, you can speak and the words will appear in your Doc but make sure you speak clearly and slowly but not too slowly or it will deactivate and you will have to turn it back on.
For many of your posts, you may not need extensive research but it’s always good to add some additional information for your readers. Plus, you need to link to other sites for various other reasons like SEO. Quora can be a good way to see what people are asking questions about in your niche.
The Mighty is a great place for those of us with chronic pain, invisible illness, and other disabilities to gain some insight into what others are talking about. Even if you don’t blog about chronic illness you can find topics about dating, working, and many other things that may relate to your niche. It would also be an opportunity for you to guest post on their platform if your topic fits their needs.
- Blog Topics Generator
- Twitter trending topics
- LinkedIn Pulse
- Google Trends
- Quick Sprout
- Daily by Buffer
- NY Times: What We’re Reading
- NYT Now (app)
- Media REDEF
- Inbound.org Digest
- Ed Yong: Not Exactly Rocket Science
- Sidebar.io (design)
- Quibb (invitation only)
- The Moz Top 10
- 99U Newsletter
- Brain Food – Farnam Street Weekly
- The Verge
- The Mighty
Email is the best way to capture leads, keep in touch with, and sell to your loyal fans
It is also the only “thing” you own aside from your blog (mostly). If you build an email list with optimal followers and a social media platform changes their algorithm it won’t affect you the way it will if you don’t have an email list.
Some of you will have your account suspended (for reasons unclear, it happens) or Facebook suddenly changes the way you can interact with your followers you will have one less way of reaching them. If you have an email list, you can contact them through that. So start researching what email list builder you want to use, along with any related blogging tools and apps, and start building as soon as you get your blog designed and at least 10 really good posts up.
I tried Drip awhile back and found them difficult to understand and work with but that was a couple years ago. I use ConvertKit now and love how easy they are plus they now have a FREE plan and, yes, I’m an affiliate for them too.
ConvertKit says “Refer a friend and you’ll both unlock broadcast sending for up to 100 subscribers.”
Speaking of sharing affiliate links, and you should use them as one stream of income but ONLY if you believe in them, make sure you always use “no follow” tags to avoid being penalized by Google.
- WP Subscribe
- Optin Forms
- Constant Contact
- Thrive Landing Pages
If you plan on doing something like creating a course and want to launch a webinar to go over some key features you can use one of the tools listed below. I don’t know about everyone else but it seems that webinars have slowed down in place of doing “lives” in private groups like on Facebook. I’m sure there are still webinars going on but I’m pretty busy and probably just missed the announcements.
- Google Hangouts
If you are offering services you are going to want to be able to have meetings with clients and vice versa. Since you will, most likely, be doing work virtually you need a video conferencing tool. I’ve used Zoom and Skype but liked Zoom better because I could record the meeting for both the client and me. Don’t let my shortlist of client-related blogging tools and apps keep you from looking into others.
Plus you can attend a meeting without using the video option if you choose. Bad flare days happen and I am upfront with clients about my health so when I say I can’t do video it’s because I’m likely to scare them. I have some amazing clients who understand because…they are Spoonies too so sometimes neither of us uses video. You can also screen record using Zoom.
Sometimes you are going to get overwhelmed with work and need help. You may need temporary help or long-term help. There are a ton of options when deciding where to find a virtual assistant but here are a few to start your search.
It would be silly of me not to include myself on the list but I want to be upfront. At this time I only have room for a few hours a week so if you need someone more part-time or more than that it won’t be possible for me to help you. Contact me if you are still interested.
My prices start low because I know how hard it is to start and run a business with a chronic illness.
- Hubstaff Talent
- Savvy Support VA ( me!)
I’m not going to go into detail about graphics tools but you can read my post How to Create Graphics For Your Blog | A Spoonie’s Guide To Blogging for more information.
- Paint.net (shareware like Photoshop)
- Gimp (like a free Photoshop)
- Adobe Illustrator
- Death to the Stock Photo
- Skitch (connects to Evernote)
- Meme Generator
- Share as Image (take text from any webpage and turn it into a shareable image)
These are not the same type of tools as the likes of Tailwind or Later. It may be a little while before you start using these tools so start your research and when you are ready you will know how to move forward.
Social Media Sharing Tools:
- Click to Tweet or clicktotweet
- Digg Digg
- Coschedule Click to Tweet Boxes
You’re going to need to do daily, weekly and monthly administrative tasks (<<get FREE spreadsheets) and once you create a template, SOP’s, process and system to handle them it will get easier. In the beginning, you need to create spreadsheets, set reminders and more. Here are some tools that can make that much easier.
- Google Analytics/Docs/Sheets/Drive
- MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.
- Google Calendar
- Facebook Insights
Whether you are tracking time, sending out invoices, tracking expenses or many other financial tasks you’re going to need help compiling all the data and organizing it. These are a few tools to help you keep up with everything. I like Toggle as a time tracker for invoicing clients as well as for keeping me real about how much time I spend on certain tasks.
- Turbo Tax
Down the road, after you have designed your blog, created great content for your readers, and attracted a large enough audience and email list you’re going to want to start monetizing your blog to create different streams of income. Some people like to start monetizing as they build their blog, some say otherwise.
I am no expert but if you are following a certain course, I recommend following it the way it is laid out because sometimes there is a reason for not doing or doing something that you don’t know quite yet. It’s easy to get caught up reading about 100 different methods while never implementing any of them. I may or may not know this from experience (insert winking emoji here).
- Vimeo Plus/Pro
This is a long list but it doesn’t even come close to covering all the different tools and apps you could use for your blog. I hope to be able to keep updating this list as I learn and use more tools. Still, it is wise for you to also do some research because you may find something that works for you that I haven’t listed.
For some of the best business management software choices read ProofHub’s article here.
If you’re new to blogging this is going to overwhelm you so just bookmark this post and save for when you have the energy. Then take it one thing at a time and don’t stress about knowing it all NOW. Even when you’ve been blogging for a while you will never know it all and there will be something new to learn.
While blogging can be a great way to make money, and help pay for much needed medical care, it can also be overwhelming
There is so much to do and another new way to do it is on your feed every day. It can be hard to manage a blog and harder to manage all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a post. That’s why it is crucial that you create SOP’s, processes, systems, and templates as soon as you start.
These blogging tools and apps can make it easier to put together graphics while waiting to see the doctor or at 3 a.m. when painsomnia has you tossing and turning. Some of these ideas can save you precious spoons too.
Try learning these apps one at a time or add these tools to your SOP’s for creating a blog post so they are always right at hand. That way you won’t have to search for them when your brain is playing hide-the-ability-to-function.
Right now, before you forget, save this post to your bookmarks and use it to create your checklist and share it on your favorite social media channel for another Spooniepreneur.
Thanks for reading!
Want to help another spoonie out? You can by sharing this post.
Another sister with chronic illness may need the information provided to keep her blog or business going so she can pay her bills. I also rely on this blog to pay my bills since chronic illness took my health.
Have something you want me to share? Post in the comments. We women, in the chronic illness sisterhood, need to take care of each other. Community NOT competition.
Much love and success!