Blogging Tools That Make Our Lives So Much Easier

blogging tools that make our lives so much easier

We all have our go-to, essential tools and programs we direct ourselves to every time we sit down for work. Other than stating the obvious app of Instagram, we have several apps that help us run our everyday kind of business. Little things like email marketing, using proper grammar in writing copy, to even purchasing a domain name are all things someone first starting out may forget! Check out our life-saving favs that we can’t help but to rave about!

NameCheap

First and foremost, you are definitely going to want to get a domain name tied down to you. Because what’s the point of being a blogger or an online biz owner if you don’t have your own website?! NameCheap is the best for helping you find the perfect domain name. It can be split up in 3 different categories: individuals, business, or resellers - all in which to piece together the most efficient way to help you. It will tell you what domains are available by having a search bar smack, right in the middle of the homepage. NameCheap works great with WordPress users, too! The best part? It is one of the most inexpensive resources to purchase your domain. They really do put the “cheap” in NameCheap.

Grammarly

So, have you ever gotten frustrated because you have to go back to your iPhone or make a Word Doc just to see the spelling of a word or whether to use affect or effect? No need to worry any further with Grammarly! It’s an add-on for your computer and will jump onto anything you’re typing to give you pop-ups of recommended words, phrases, and proper grammar to use. If you’re a blogger, I’m sure that your Mac or website you use for your blog will help you if something is misspelled. But, wouldn’t you love it if you got extra help to structure your sentences differently or even helping you stay consistent in a passive/active voice, too? We love it so much because we sometimes will write all day long and little things like that will happen! Get started here!

blogging tools that make our lives so much easier

Capitalize My Title

We honestly can’t be the only ones out here who have pondered a good chunk of time if certain words should or shouldn’t be capitalized in titles. And we both have degrees in this kind of stuff! Capitalize My Title has saved us so much time, energy, and disputes on what we think should be capitalized! All you have to do is go to their website, type your title in the bar provided, and it will tell you instantly! Not to mention it helps in all different types of writing formats!

Canva

Think we are anywhere near done from gushing about Canva? Not a chance! Canva is the place where we create beautiful templates for our InstaCrush Society members, share ideas with collaborators, and experiment with new designs. You can make literally anything in Canva. From inspirational quotes, advertisements, to Instagram Story Q & A’s, the possibilities are endless. If you’re a blogger, this is a great tool for announcing you have a new post up!

For more on how we use Canva, check out these blog posts:

Coschedule

What if you could be guaranteed to get 20 hours back each week? Well with Coschedule you will be able to plus a ton more! You will organize all of your marketing in one place where it is easy to understand and use. Build teams, keep projects & to-do lists on track, and be able to promote and manage posts all in one condensed location! Get proactive in your organization with your team, business, and with yourself! Who doesn’t love a beautiful color-coordinated online calendar at the tips of your fingers? Coschedule gets things done for the busy working woman that you are - just get it set up and get rolling!

blogging tools that make our lives so much easier

ConvertKit

One of the most overlooked tools, whether it be your blog or biz, is your email list! And ConvertKit is our favorite tool to help us utilize our email list to grow to its fullest potential. Here’s the thing - you may not know anything when it comes to starting an email list. We didn’t either! Luckily ConvertKit gives you three different options of levels you can start at: Beginner, Experienced, Advanced. Depending on which level you select, ConvertKit will help you down a path to learn how to email market like a pro! It helps to configure analytics of your subscribers and how to improve your productivity with email marketing. Start your money-making email list here!

Tailwind

Is your business marketing centered around Instagram and Pinterest? Are you finding it crazy time-consuming to go through both accounts and constantly having to post and figure out what is working for you by hand? Then Tailwind is here to save you time and stress from your problems! What Tailwind does is help users save time by planning and scheduling posts, maximize your reach to highly-engaged audiences, and become informed of the types of people who are getting exposure to your content! Tailwind is especially great for teams in your biz to stay organized and on top of current goals! You can join us in being super automated and super organized from here on out!

Learn more about Tailwind in these posts:


We’re always on the hunt to find other amazing sites and tools that can help organize your blog and streamline your productivity! What tools could you not blog without?

Xx,
Katie & Maddie

blogging tools and resources we could not blog without
blogging tools and resources we could not blog without

How to Create Pinterest-Worthy Blog Graphics

how to create pinterest worthy blog graphics on canva

Originally posted on katiemander.com

Are you adding all of your content to Pinterest but not getting any traffic?

Although people consider Pinterest to be a social platform, it really is a visual search engine. And like other search engines, there are algorithms in place to show the best content first. Luckily, it is simple to create Pinterest graphics that people will want to repin, and I am going to show you how!

Important things to know about Pinterest:

  • There are over 150 million monthly active users on Pinterest

  • There are more than 50 billion Pinterest pins on 1 billion boards

  • 87% of Pinterest users have purchased a product because of Pinterest

  • Longer half-life than Facebook. This means that it takes 3.5 months for a pin to get 50% of its engagement

    • This is 1,680 times longer than a Facebook post!

  • Call to action pin descriptions can increase engagement by 80%

  • Red and orange images receive 200% more repins than blue images

  • Light images receive 20 times more repins than images that are dark

  • Pinterest images in a feed will only ever display as 238 pixels wide

    • This means that it is much smarter to create portrait graphics, as landscape images or square images will be very small

    • Longer pins will take up more space in a feed and will be more likely to capture the user’s attention

Have you heard of Canva?

It’s about to be your new best friend.

Thanks to Canva, you can create Pinterest graphics even if you have no background in design!

canva tutorial for pinterest

Create a free account using your Facebook, Google account, or email.

To begin, select Pinterest Graphic under Create a Design, as shown below.

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

Selecting Pinterest Graphic will then bring you to the screen shown below.

The left-hand side of the screen shows Canva’s Pinterest layouts. Scroll through until you find one you want to use!

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

After you choose a layout, it will display with all of the filler content – as seen below.

canva tutorial for pinterest graphics

Canva provides thousands of options to customize their layouts. On the left-hand side, you’ll see the tabs for Search, Layouts, Elements, Text, Background, and Uploads.

You can choose from a huge selection of free photos, icons, fonts, and backgrounds to alter the graphic in any way you want. You can also upload your own images to Canva. Don’t forget: use warm colors and light/bright images.

Layouts

templates and layouts on canva

elements

element options on canva

text

text options on canva
 

Using Canva’s Templates: Before & After

canva tutorial for pinterest blog graphics
canva tutorial for pinterest blog graphics
canva tutorial pinterest worthy graphics


As you get more familiar with Canva, you can start designing graphics from scratch!

Canva automatically saves all of your designs, making it easy to use the same design for each blog graphic. This will make your pins more recognizable on Pinterest!

 

How to brand your Pinterest graphics

Pinterest is all about visuals, so it only makes sense to make your profile as visually appealing as possible! When designing your Pinterest graphics, you want it to be clear that it’s your brand. By using your brand’s colors and fonts on your graphics, your pins will be easily recognizable!

Canva is a free tool and you can do everything that was mentioned earlier in this post with a free account. However, you can upgrade to Canva for Work. Canva for Work comes with some extra features that can be very beneficial if you’re creating lots of graphics for your blog, business, and/or social media. One of the most useful features for creating Pinterest graphics for your brand is the brand kit.

With Canva for Work, you can upload your brand kit to your account. This includes your color palette, your brand fonts, and your logos. You can upload your own fonts so you’re not limited to Canva’s default fonts. This is great if you have a specific font that you use for everything!

When you create a graphic, your brand’s color palette will always be available. This saves you from the hassle of having to type in your color’s hex code in order to use your exact color. You can set your heading, sub-heading, and body text fonts so you don’t have to change the fonts every time you add new text.

You can also upload all of your logos or brand graphics to easily add them to your Pinterest graphics!

Here’s what the brand kit page looks like on Canva for Work:

canva for work brand kit
 

More Resources for Creating Pinterest-Worthy Graphics

Creative Market

Creative Market is a designer’s dream. It’s full of fonts, graphics, photos, templates, and much more. If you’re not interested in designing your own pins, you can purchase templates from a designer on Creative Market. And the best part is, you can buy templates for Canva! Templates are no longer just available for Photoshop. When using templates from Creative Market, you open the file(s) provided by the seller, then follow the same instructions that were given in the first part of this blog post!

My favorite pinterest templates for canva on Creative Market


I hope this post was helpful! Once you have your pins on Pinterest, it’s time to share them! One of the best ways to share your pins and get tons of targeted traffic to your blog is by using Tailwind.

Tailwind is a Pinterest (and Instagram) marketing platform that has everything you need to drive traffic, sales, and leads to your website. The best part of it is that you can just schedule your posts for Pinterest, then Tailwind will post them for you! I like to schedule a month’s worth of pins in advance. Tailwind tribes are similar to Pinterest group boards. You can search for tribes that relate to your blog or business’ niche, then share your pins there!

Check out our blog post all about using Pinterest and Tailwind!

Join the Girlcrush Collective Tailwind tribe!

Join the Girlcrush Collective Pinterest group board!

We’re looking forward to seeing your beautiful pins!

katie mander
 

how to create pinterest worthy blog graphics on canva

How to Create Your Own Instagram Story Highlight Covers

Instagram highlights diy

A great way to step up your Instagram game is by adding some Instagram story highlight covers! There are plenty of ways to do this - you can pay someone to make them for you, you can purchase premade templates, or you can DIY it! Creating your own Instagram highlights is easier than you would think, so I have put together this step-by-step tutorial to walk you through it.

What are Instagram highlights?

Instagram highlights are stories that you choose to keep on your profile for more than 24 hours. Normally, when you post a story to Instagram, it stays visible for 24 hours and then disappears. But the highlights feature allows you to permanently save stories on your profile.

Instagram highlights are front and center on your profile - right below your bio and above your feed. They are a powerful way to choose what you want your visitors to learn about you or your business as soon as they come to your profile.

Why create highlight covers?

Because highlights are front and center on your profile, you want to capture your viewer's attention and entice them to click on your highlights. It is a way to brand your profile and keep it looking clean and organized.

Instagram Highlight Inspiration

Instagram highlights
instagram highlights

How to create Instagram highlight covers with canva

If you have read some of my other blog posts, you'd know that I love Canva. Canva is a free, simple, easy to use, web-based design platform.

If you are choosing to DIY your Instagram highlight covers, Canva is a great option.

1. Go to canva.com

2. Create a new design using custom dimensions - 1080px x 1920px

canva instagram highlights
 

3. On the left hand side, click on background

canva instagram highlights
 

4. Canva has some free backgrounds that look great on highlights. You can also purchase a premium background for $1 on Canva or purchase premium backgrounds on Creative Market. Some of my favorites are:

 

5. Once you have selected a background, decide what categories you are going to create.

6. Now it's time to select some icons. Canva also has a great selection of free icons that you can use for your highlights. You can also find icons on Creative Market.

7. Duplicate the page and change the text and icon for each category.

8. Save your highlights by clicking download in the top right corner.

canva instagram highlights
canva instagram highlights
 

9. Upload the highlights to your Instagram stories.

 
canva instagram highlight
Add to your story-2.png
 

I hope this was helpful!

Xx,
Katie

instagram highlights