1 Jan 2016

What tools I use for my blog




*Updated- May 2016*

So I first published this back at the start of the year and the websites I have listed I still regulary use as they are so God damn useful.
But I thought I would up date you on a few more sites I have unearthed that may also be of use to you.

Rafflecopter- I have seen other bloggers use this site for doing competitions and giveaways and with my recent giveaway I thought I would give it a go. There is a paid and free option. I went for the free to try it out. It was relatively easy to use. With three steps to getting your competition going you'll soon be up and running. 
I think if I did a giveaway again I would maybe just do a tweet and follow on twitter as that involves no third party, so cuts out the middle man. But if you wanna go professional, then I would use something like Rafflecopter. 

Etsy- For blogger templates you can't go wrong with this all under one roof site. Lot's of sellers have stores with their own downloadable templates. I have used this a few times, paying no more than £10 for a template. Some have been more customize-able than others, and I've found it's hit or miss if the template will be easy to adapt.
Still for the variety and price I think this is definitely worth a go.

Clover + Dot- I stumbled across this site by chance after searching and searching for templates. I think in all honesty I have been on hundreds and hundreds of sites searching for 'the one'. And I feel in love with their dot template which I have on my blog. And for a reasonable price too.
Once I paid for it, it was easy to install and customize. It was well worth the hunt!

Websta Widgets- I was looking for a way to have my Instagram pictures at the bottom of my pages and I came across this site. You enter how many images you want displayed along with a few other details, add the html code it creates for you into an html code box at the bottom of your blog template (for blogger- don't know about wordpress or any other sites) and ta dah, you should with any luck have your Instagram pics now showing!

**********Original post below **************

I started this blog back in August last year and I started with not much knowledge of where on earth to start! I'd seen lot's of great blogs and I was inspired by Zoella's in particular.
I'd heard of Blogger and Wordpress and decided to go with the Blogger platform as my husband had used Wordpress before and said Blogger would be more user friendly for someone just starting out.

Creating an account on Blogger was simple and ta-dah, after I had chosen a template, my blog was born! I started to post some blogs to get things going, but really wanted to 'up' the look of my blog.
And this is where searching and searching on the internet helped me find some really useful websites.

These are the one's that have been a God send when trying to design my blog and I wanted to share them with you, should they be of any assistance to yourself...

Canva

I have only recently discovered this website whilst searching for graphics. It was shared on someone else's website and I clicked on the link and I have been using it ever since!
Canva is great for creating designs for social media sites, such as size specific images, like youtube thumbnails and google plus headers.
There are lots of free images to use and it is really user friendly. It also allows you to be creative as possible, which I love.
I'm really glad I found this website!

PicMonkey

This website I have been using for a while now and is similar in many ways to Canva as what you can create. There are not photo's to use but there are theme's with various graphics. There is a paid option, but I've coped fine using the free version.
You can also edit photo's more than you can on Canva, such as using filters and cropping/re sizing.
Again it is really easy to use and you can create size specific images too,
It is my go to site for creating images for my blog and thumbnails for my youtube channel.

Pipdig

Pipdig have various different blogger and wordpress templates to purchase. I have seen that quite a lot of other Bloggers have used this for their templates too.
I currently went over to Pipdig as I was looking for a template with image slideshow at the top and tiled images below. I was pretty chuffed when I found a template that was exactly what I was after.

I have found through searching on the internet various of other free templates, which have been great for being free. But I feel that paying for pre-made blogs means you tend to get more functions, such as moving images, social buttons and slick layouts.
Using Pipdig was easy and after paying for my template I could download it straight away and after a few setting up steps I installed my template and am very happy with the results.
A few other websites for templates I have found through lots of searching are:

  • Etsy- Great for templates, headers and graphics.
  • Envye- A selection of girly and pretty premade blogger templates to purchase. 
  • DesignerBlogs- Pretty and classy looking blog templates
  • BloggerCandy- A great website with free and paid templates
  • TheCutestBlogOnTheBlock- As the name suggests cute blog templates!
  • ShinyMagic-Another site with lovely templates
I'm sure there are many other websites with templates but after scouring the web these as the ones that stood out for me. Please comment if you would like to share any other sites that you rate!


I'm sure most social media people would of already be familiar with hootsuite. But should you be unfamiliar let me give you a quick run down.
Hootsuite lets you schedule tweets, facebook messages to your page and more. So you can store up a number of posts and then decide when you want them to go live. Maybe when you know when your target audience is most active online. 
Also when you send a tweet and directly insert a website link address, the address can take up valuable characters in your tweet. Enter the wed address into hootsuite with shrink the address so that you can type more in your tweet. Magic!

Disqus

I first noticed Disqus on Zoella's blog and followed a link through to their site. I liked the look and functionality of the comments boxes they offer and added it to my site. You can see the comments box beneath this post and you can even leave a message to give it a go!

Other websites I use are Bloglovin', though I find this hard to get followers on as there are so many on there, it's trying to stand out amongst the rest to be seen. 
Creative Market also looks great, as it has lots of graphics and fonts, but I think you need to be good at photo shop to be able to utilize them. Which I am not!
DaFont has lot's and lot's of fonts or typefaces, which you can download for free.
*Update- Fotor is also a great photo editing website. You can also download the app on your smart phone.
And most of all, Google. Without Google, I would not of found all the useful websites that I use!

I hope that has been of some help. Again I have only been at blogging for nearly 5 months as I write this so I'm sure I will discover many more useful website's in the future as I continue to learn about social media!

Please do comment below if you have any great websites you use that you want to shout about!

Love





2 comments:

  1. I used to use picmonkey all the time, it's such a good site that's free! Instead of hootsuite, I use buffer! Xx

    Jasmine || http://www.blogsallbeautyy.blogspot.co.uk

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