5 Free Resources for bloggers

Free resources for bloggers

When you start a blog nobody tells you that you’re going to end up having to do a lot of different jobs. For a lot of us, we want to run our blogs in a professional manner, even if we aren’t doing it full time. This means you’re the CEO of the company, the copy writer, editor, photographer, the finance manager, and the marketing team, all rolled into one. It can be exhausting having all this going on, but there are some great tools out there in the internet to help you get the most from your blog, and all for free.

Here’s my top five free resources for bloggers.

Google analytics academy

Tracking your analytics is the easiest and best way to keep an eye on your blog traffic. With Google Analytics, you can find out all kinds of information about your site, from what people typed into Google to find you, to the average age of your reader. Google Analytics is a vast tool though, and I’m sure I’m not the only one barely scratching the surface of what it can offer. Google’s own Analytics Academy is an amazing resource. It is completely free, but teaches you, through a mixture of live demos and video tutorials, how to use their Analytics tools and understand the data. It’s a great tool to help you boost traffic, and the lessons are relatively short so you can squeeze them in your coffee break. There is no time limit either, so you can return to keep learning at any time. Once you’re done, if you pass the assessment, you get a certificate to say you’re Google Certified, which is nice.

Buffer

I swear by Buffer and use it daily! Buffer is essentially a Social Media Assistant. You can add your social media accounts and use Buffer to schedule posts. You can do this by going to Buffers site and typing in posts, you can use Google Chrome’s plug-in, and just click to add a page to your schedule. I use Buffer to share my own blog posts periodically, and to share content I like form other bloggers or media outlets. Buffer will run tests to find when you get the most engagement, and advise a schedule on that. You can set posts to go out as many times a day, at whatever time, you like. So much easier than trying to remember if you’ve already shared that great post you found.

ifttt

IFTTT stands for If This, Then That. This site lets you build a chain of events that trigger a command. For example, you can tell it to email you every time someone posts using a keyword you’re interested in. You can tell it to auto post your Instagram posts to Twitter (with a picture instead of the link!). I find it really useful for cross-posting content across multiple social channels. I highly recommend it!

Picjumbo

Obviously we’d all rather take our own photographs, but sometimes time and daylight aren’t on our side. If you have a post that doesn’t need your own pictures and would be fine with some stock style photography, you don’t have to pay the big bucks to get access to a good image library. Picjumbo has a huge, searchable, free library of images. I use this myself sometimes, and find the images are nice quality, and it’s easy to find something that suits your theme.

picmonkey

If like me, you don’t want to spend on Photoshop, and find Gimp really confusing, Picmonkey is a free, and crazy simple, web-based photo editing tool. The free version has great options to edit your images, and there’s a handy little collage tool too. The premium version has more options, but they’re mostly of the ‘makeover’ or filter variety, so I’ve never felt the need to pay up for that.

Share your top picks! What do you find makes your blog life easier, without parting with any cash?

Grand Designs Live with Eat Sleep Live

Grand Designs Live

Despite living in a rented flat, I still love a good daydream about what I might do with a house I owned. In these daydreams I’m generally a millionaire, obviously, so all the amazing Pinterest style ideas are totally feasible, on budget and will fit in my imaginary manor house.

Grand Designs Live is like Pinterest in real life, so when Eat, Sleep, Live invited me to check out the show, I jumped at the chance. It helped too, that Eat, Sleep, Live seemed like a brand I wanted to own myself.

Reclaimed wood furniture

All their furniture is made from reclaimed wood, which gives all the pieces warmth and texture. We saw several of their pieces on their stand, including this beautiful bed. I think my favourites are their dining sets though. Their large tables are perfect for gathering all your friends together, and the Cavendish set has joined my dream kitchen. We chatted to owner Mark, who was absolutely lovely too, which always helps. His dream was to create beautiful, high-quality furniture, that could rival mass produced furniture, without being a stupid price.

Wood Furniture

One of my favourite parts of Grand Designs (and Ikea, I admit) is the room sets. This year, the rooms were inspired by famous TV shows. Can you spot which they are?

In the gardens section, we found similar sets, but all based in garden sheds. This could be a great one for renters, or young people with limited space in their homes. The idea was to turn the humble garden shed into an extra room, rather than a dumping ground for the lawn mower. We saw sheds reimagined as reading rooms, craft spaces, a spare bedroom…everything!

I’m not sure I’d want to sleep in the shed, but using the shed as a craft space or study is genius. I’ve seen people do this with summer houses, so why not the shed? Ideal, and such a cheap way to expand your space.

As usual I was drawn mostly to colour, which clearly shows I could never live in one of those very minimal white houses. I found myself snapping a lot of lights too. Perhaps I should look at making a feature of some coloured lights at home! 

We also managed to catch one of the Miele Kitchen Live sessions, where the Miele chefs were joined by none other than Kevin McCloud himself. He was actually hilarious, which I didn’t expect, and he was a pleasure to watch.

Kevin McCloud

Of course, after all this planning a house we don’t own, we’d worked up an appetite so we had to buy an extravagant amount of sweets to recover.

Thank you for inviting my Eat, Sleep, Live! We had a great time. Save a Cavendish table and benches for us…

I was invited, with a plus one, to attend Grand Designs in London. Eat, Sleep, Live sent me two tickets in exchange for a blog post, but I was not obliged to review their products. All opinions are honest and my own. 

Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up

This week, I’ve been mostly dying, but I did fit in a cosplay test of my femme Gambit, which I am super excited to wear to a convention soon. Yay for new cosplay.

We also snuck in a review of Moseley Park Beefeater. There’s a full blog post to come, but you can get a sneak preview of what we ate and what we thought.