If you are a blogger, you probably already know that it’s far more demanding than most people realise. The amount of work that needs to go into creating, optimising and promoting content is quite extensive, as the bloggers who contributed to my Things That Bloggers Wish People Knew post will testify. Still, the right equipment, hardware and software and the best productivity essentials make the whole process one heck of a lot easier. As those of you who follow me will know, I’m quite obsessed with getting organised and having the right tool for the right job to make life easier.
In the 8 months since I started my blog, my monthly page views have gone from zero to over 17,700. I would attribute much of this success to having the right tools, training and systems in place. I’m going to share with you things that I use from my blogging business to help me get the job done.
(By the way, this post is jammed full of affiliate links – just FYI)
Hardware / Equipment
One thing that you will definitely need as a blogger is something to blog on. Until very recently I was making do with our nearly 10 -year-old MacBook Pro, which in computer terms was prehistoric. The people in the Apple shop were amazed that it still turned on. As my blog has become my business it became apparent that I could no longer make do with the computer so old that I felt like I was using dial-up. I invested in a shiny new MacBook Pro (more specifically an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display 15-inch Laptop (Intel Core i7 2.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Intel Iris, OS Sierra) – Silver – 2015 – MJLQ2B/A – UK Keyboard ) and I love it.
Tempting as it was to go for the model with the touch bar (especially for a gadget girl geek girl like me) I decided instead to spend the extra money on the larger 15 inch rather than 13-inch screen. As a blogger, I do a lot of work with design and editing using side-by-side windows, so the larger screen is really beneficial.
In order to keep my shiny new MacBook to keep it scratch free, I bought a MOSISO Plastic Hard Shell Snap On Case Cover, which protects is but doesn’t get in the way. I also invested in a laptop sleeve and a tempered glass screen protector to protect the screen from any mishaps. Although totally nonessential to blogging, I love that my MacBook unlocks with my Apple Watch. (Yes, as I mentioned, I am indeed a closeted tech geek).
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Before having my before purchasing my new MacBook I was also using my iPad through complete with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil for lots of my blogging. The iPad & Apple Pencil are just amazing for lots of things, such as photo editing. However, some things in the blogging world the iPad just can’t do. For example, Canva (see below) can only be used via the app on the iPad, and for full functionality, you need to log onto a computer. I still use my iPad loads, especially for quick check-ins updates and social media, that for really building the back end of my site and doing detailed design work it’s back to my Mac.
Up until recently, I was using my iPhone 7 256 GB in Rose Gold for most of my photographs. That is until I went to John Lewis and had a play with the new iPhone X and was totally blown away. I took the photograph on the left with my own iPhone 7 and the one on the right with the demo iPhone X they had in store. Both photos are unedited and were taken in the same place under the same conditions.
I use my phone so much when it comes to blogging. When I’m out and about I use it for engaging with social media, keeping up with emails and staying on top of my reminders, to-dos and ideas. couple this with the fact that the iPhone X camera is so good, I felt that it was a good investment.
While the iPhone is very beautiful as it is, my hectic lifestyle means that a protective case is an absolute must. I love the Casetify cases, which offer fantastic all-around protection and come in a huge range of designs. As you probably know if you follow me on Instagram, I have a bit of a thing with anything ballet-themed, so my last 2 Casetify cases have had pointe shoes one them.
I also have a tempered glass screen protector on my phone to protect it from the bumps and bruises of Mummy life.
Although the iPhone camera is fantastic in daylight, it really falls down in low light settings. This is where the Diva Ring comes in. This an amazing and very affordable little gadget clips on your phone or iPad and provides fantastic close-up lighting for your photography.
I use a bigger, free-standing Diva Ring for filming my YouTube and Facebook Live videos and for doing specific photography shoots. Although this is a bit of a pain to set up for taking a quick snap, it is fantastic for really improving the quality of my pictures.
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I have a full size tripod that I use for taking photographs and recording video. I also use a small tripod that has bendy legs that can wrap around things such as the steering wheel for filming in the car. (Only when parked, obviously).
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Although my iPhone camera is fantastic and super handy as it’s always on me taking photographs of the children, when I am taking specific photographs for a blog post, I reach for the DSLR. I have the Canon EOS 1100D (which was a birthday present for Daddy Of Four some years ago and has barely left the bag since he had it until I started blogging). Although it is more hassle to use than my iPhone, the photographs are very high resolution and better in low lighting.
Which camera upgrade is on my wish list? It’s got to be the go to vlogging camera, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera.
I have a number of props which I use specifically for photography for Instagram and the blog. I Love my Letter Board, plus a selection of backdrops and other small props such as ribbon, petals and feathers.
When I started blogging in October 2017, I was on WordPress.com. To maximise the functionality of my blog I went self-hosted and moved to WordPress.org in November 2017. This simply means that I have a lot more functionality available to me, such as plugins and widgets (like apps for your blog). Keep reading to find out my favourite add-ons.
Since going self-hosted in November 2017, my blog is hosted with TS0 host. They have given me a discount code which will give anyone else signing up to TSO 10% off their hosting.
Code : MummyOfFourTSO
I purchased the wildly popular an extremely versatile X Theme for my blog at the beginning of the 2018. Although I have yet to make the most of all the features that theme has to offer, I’m pleased that I have the capability to now do whatever I need to do with my blog with this incredibly adaptable theme. Get your copy of X Theme here.
Are utilising a number of plug-ins on my blog, some of my favourites being;
- WP Editorial Calendar
- Who Stole The Justify Button
- Amazon Associate Link Builder
- Cookie Notice by D Factory
I recently moved from Mail Chimp to MailerLite as my email marketing provider. Mailerlite is free to use when you have less than 1000 subscribers. I use this to allow readers to opt-in to my email list, to create email marketing campaigns, send emails to various segments and track the results efficiently. I find Mailerlite’s funnelling capabilities and functionality fantastic and would definitely recommend them.
Social Media Scheduling
I use Buffer to schedule my Facebook Twitter and Instagram social media update. I have the app on my phone and iPad plus the browser extension on my Mac. It makes sharing content, both my own and from others bloggers, really easy across all of my platforms.
Hiplay is an additional piece of software that I use to create a bank of evergreen content to fill my Buffer queue.
My Pinterest account is doing very well and Pinterest is currently my main source of traffic. This is largely thanks to Tailwind, which I use to schedule all of my Pinterest pins. Since utilising Pinterest and tailwind I have seen a massive search in the traffic to my blog. If you fancy giving Tailwind a go, using this link will get you a trial period plus $15 discount should you decide to sign-up.
Can there is an amazing piece of online software that is free to use the computer graphics really easy. Can play many template for graphics in all the sizes the various social media platforms. You can choose to use the free software or upgrade to Canvas For Work which has a lot more functionality and the ability to store your custom logo branding for ease-of-use. I also have the Canva App on my iPhone and iPad in case I need to create custom graphics on the go.
I use iMovie on my MacBook and iPad for editing video primarily for YouTube. I movie comes preloaded with most Apple devices and has pretty good functionality, but I am open to any suggestions for a more comprehensive video editing suite.
I’ve been using Evernote for years, since long before I started blogging. I use Evernote for absolutely everything. It’s basically a series of online notebooks in which you can store everything that you need. You can forward emails to it so that you can easily find them in future. You can store receipts, letters photos, anything you might need to refer to. I have the Evernote toolbar in my browser and also app on my iPad and iPhone you can download the apps. Evernote is free to use that you can upgrade for further functionality. Download the Evernote app here.
I have recently discovered AirTable which was introduced to me by Aby Moore who described it as “if databases and spreadsheets had babies, those babies would be Airtable”. I love it. Are not only is it super pretty (which is really important, obviously) but its functionalities are blogging is just awesome. I use it for content planning, swipe files, plus storing important information such as HEX codes. Download the AirTable app here.
Omnifocus is another productivity app that I will rely on heavily for planning which I have on my MacBook as well as on my iPad & iPhone. You can download it here.
My final top productivity must have a blogging (and indeed for life) is calendars. I use Google Calendars for not only planning out my work schedule for the blog, but also time blocking tasks such as outlining drafting and editing posts, brand work and time for working with my social media clients. I also use it for blocking out everything I need my home life from school runs, to house work to extracurricular activities and doctors appointments. You can read more about how I use Google calendars to organise my life in my Make Your Life Easier With Calendars post.
Training & Support
The fabulous Aby Moore is the Tots 100 Number 1 Parenting Blogger, author, coach and general rock star who leads the Mamapreneur Revolution. I was lucky enough to come across Aby’s blog just before Christmas in 2017 and she has totally changed the way I go about my blogging. Aby helps Mum bloggers turn their blogs into a business through courses, a membership community, blog critiques and free training delivered via Facebook. If you are serious about blogging, seek this woman out, and the sooner the better. It’s thanks to Aby that just 7 months in my blog is doing so well. I am able to help other Mums who are going through parenting struggles, earn money and stay home to look after my four children – what could be better than that? If you want Aby to help you do the same, check out her blog – themamapreneurrevolution.com
The wonderful Kelly Kemp is not only a blogging pro, but an amazing VA. You know when there’s that piece of CSS code that you need to make a parallax work? No? Nor me. I’ve been building websites since 2002 (gosh, that makes me feel old), but there are still some coding puzzles that are beyond me. Kelly has come to my rescue on more than one occasion and is an absolute legend.
Being a blogger means that there is a whole load of next level back end tech stuff that you need to do. If I’m honest, this bit of blogging bores my brains out, which is probably why I am less than brilliant at it. So when my site’s security certificate expired (in layman’s terms, it was broken and it wouldn’t let anyone on it), the wonderful Kim came to my rescue.
I am telling you now, save this lady’s details, you will be so glad of her when your site inevitably breaks at some point. doing those fiddly but essential jobs on your blog.
Kim is excellent for doing those fiddly but essential jobs on your blog. From setting up Google Analytics, to transferring your site to a new host – she can do it all (even moving from Wix to WordPress). Kim offers two main packages – a site speed audit (which I have had) and switching your blog to a new host package. Check out her site thebloggenie.com
GDPR – 4 letters that I am SO sick of. I am compliant now, but only thanks to the hand holding from the wonderful Aleena who provided me with everything that I needed to know to make not just my mailing list, but my actual blog GDPR ready.
If you thought that GDPR didn’t apply to you, sadly you are wrong. Sorry. Before you start to hyperventilate, message Aleena, she’ll get you sorted. For help with GDPR and all manner of other VA services, find Aleena at theblogva.mummymamamum.com
Jade has been an absolute rock, helping me our with so many issues that I have come across since starting blogging. Jade is also a VA and her speciality is getting fellow bloggers to master Pinterest. Head over to get site to access her free Pinterest challenge – theblogassistant.com
So those are the main resources that I use for blogging.
Have I missed anything out, is there a piece of hardware or software that I could be using to make my blogging life easier? I have total FOMO and shiny object syndrome when it comes to all thing blogging, so please let me know your recommendations in the comments.