I still find it funny that I never wanted to start a blog three years ago. Nope, not me. I didn’t want to be like my big sister who had a blog, and who would even want to read 500 words about my Wednesday afternoon? But after talking to a magazine professional and asking her advice on how I could grow in my abilities, she suggested I start a blog. The idea began to grow, and bam. More than two years later, I can’t imagine my life without Round Trip. I’ve made many mistakes and have learned more than I ever imagined. Recently I was scrolling through old posts of mine and cringed at the low-quality pictures whose horizons were not aligned straight. Even reading some of my first posts, I want to wrinkle my face because my writing was so mechanical and lacked voice. I still have miles to go in terms of improvement and growth, but it’s so incredible to see where I’ve come from. And over the years, I’ve found some of my favorite free blogging tools that I’d love to share with you:
1. Adobe Lightroom
Literally a game changer. You don’t need to be a professional photographer with a fancy camera to take beautiful photos. I am obsessed with my Adobe Lightroom app because I can polish up my photos and even save my presets. I edit virtually all of my photos on Lightroom, which gives my feed a more cohesive look.
Sites that manage social media have also been around town for quite some time. My sister who works in marketing recommended Hootsuite to me several times, and I thought, Do I really need one more account? And how helpful will this actually be? Oh, snap. This site has revolutionized my life. Posting becomes much less random or a when-I-have-time-or-remember type deal. As my dear friend Cate of Habit & Heart always says, “consistency creates legitimacy.” And Hootsuite has allowed me to do just that: to schedule posts and do it for me when my audience is online.
This is my new favorite toy. This planning account works great with desktop and helps me organize my to-dos and also organize my content in a way that’s convenient for planning purposes. Along with my to-do lists, I also added my blog bucket list, so that I can dream about how I’d like to grow and update my blog in the future. And you can pick fun backgrounds and color code it all. I am in love with this free blogging tool!
I completely underestimated how valuable webinars could be. I’ve read ample articles on how to blog better and even listened to a podcast, so what could a webinar offer me that these couldn’t? Boy, was I ready for a treat?! I signed up for Wonderfelle and Brittney Lynn’s free webinar on how to never run out of content ideas. I learned such incredible, practical advice that I’d never heard of anywhere before. I also signed up for Helene in Between’s webinar on Instagram Success. Helene is so relatable, honest and personable. I emailed her, and she responded about four hours later. (Mind you, she has over 30,000 Insta followers!!) And for both of these webinars, viewers could comment in real time to leave responses and ask questions.
I know it’s hard to believe, but this site is good for more than cake ball recipes and mason jar crafts. Out of all these tools, I’ve found most of my blogging expertise via blogging pins. And I’d like to share some useful posts I’ve found. Even though you probably won’t use every last one, BC Creative’s 200+ Blog Post Ideas for All Types of Blogs is sure to get some juices flowing and fight that blogger’s block. Yes and Yes’s super practical post on Why + How to Update Your Old Blog Posts helps you make the most of all your hard work over the months (or years).
But above all, your best resource is other bloggers. Find out what they like, how they deal with blogger’s block, where they think best, how they brainstorm. Maybe ask them to guest post. Blogging is all about community; you are not a one woman show. And that ain’t a bad thing, sister.
My blog and my idea of a good blog have changed dramatically over the years. Round Trip began simply as a blog title but has blossomed into a brand promoting not just travel but personal growth and authenticity on the journey we call life. You don’t have to have it all figured out; I certainly don’t. But hey, we’re on our way, right?
Tell me about your favorite free blogging tools in the comments.