1.29.2014

On Blogging :: Blog Tools

I know that I've written posts like this in the past, but I have productivity ADD. I'm always, always looking for a way to streamline my processes and just make my life easier and more efficient. I've probably gone through at least a dozen different programs, project management and task lists and calendars, in the past two years, trying to figure out ways to be as organized as possible, in business and in life. 

I'm finally feeling good about where I am, which is making things a hell of a lot easier in general. It's so much easier to implement processes that are already established, than to build them from the ground up. I guess it's the curse of my background vs. my current position. I used to work in project management and documentation, and I've found that I actually brought a lot of what I learned in that position here. Wedding planning is a type of project management, I suppose, and planning and documenting things for my blog always makes me happy. 

So, here you go. A few of my favorite (current) blog tools and apps that I love to use. 
1 // SMARTSHEET. Sure, at a glance it's just another spreadsheet system, but Smartsheet is the best of the best. Seriously. The functionality available in this program is actually what I need for both my business and my blog. The best part? The forms, which allow clients/customers to enter their information into a web form and it transfers directly to the spreadsheet. Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know that Google Docs has this, but Smartsheet is about five steps above Google Docs. I can set reminders on rows, telling me when I should schedule client meetings according to my general wedding spreadsheet, and attach documents (from Google Drive) to specific items. Linking cells between sheets and their easy templates make Smartsheet one of my favorite discoveries of the past year.

2 // CREATIVE MARKET. I have a graphic problem, meaning I like to buy graphics and fonts and patterns, much more than I need. If you've ever wondered where I get these things from, it's all Creative Market. I sell my fonts on the site, and pretty much just use whatever I make from that platform to buy myself pretty things on the site. Warning: it's addicting.

3 // REDBOOTH. I've tried a lot of project and task management applications. Basecamp? Of course. Trello? Duh. Asana? Obviously. Redbooth (previously Teambox) is the only one that I've found that comprehensive enough in both functionality and ease of use. I mainly use Redbooth for wedding planning, since I can assign tasks to my team easily and efficiently, but I also like to use it as a task manager for my blog. They have a free base package that would be perfect for bloggers, so you should probably check it out.

4 // EVERNOTE. I know I'm not the first to claim Evernote as a lifesaver, and I definitely won't be the last. I use Evernote as a place to brain dump; if I have something formal to write, I put it in Word or Google Docs, but Evernote is a way for me to just spill my thoughts without having to worry about formatting or whatnot. I also use it as a note taking app; I pull it up when I have a phone call or meeting, and just tag my notes with clients or topics. It's easy to figure out, and free too!

5 // ELANCE. In my last post on blogging, I wrote how learning Photoshop has been a blogging game changer for me. It's the truth! Learning Photoshop has hands-down been one of the best things that I've done for my blog and my business, but it can also be a curse. When you know how to do design or coding or whatever, it's hard to bring yourself to pay someone else to do it for you. I've realized recently, however, that my time is really valuable. And that's where Elance came in. Sure, I can design my own pretty documents or create vectors out of my calligraphy, but that stuff is really time consuming. It was so easy for me to find someone on Elance that can just churn these projects out like nobody's business. I'm so thankful I took the plunge and started hiring out for small projects like that.

These are just a few of the tools that I use in my blog and in my business. Other programs and apps that I use include Google (gmail, calendar, drive, etc.), Freshbooks, PayPal, Hootsuite, Workflowy, and Pocket. What are your favorite blogging and business tools that you would recommend?

4 comments:

Joelle Duff said...

*signs up on Elance*

Joelle Duff said...

i love creative market! thanks for the intro. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

Joelle Duff said...

This was very useful! i will def start looking into these

Joelle Duff said...

I am obsessed with Evernote. It really appeals to my obsessive need to categorize and organize--without taking a lot of time to do it. I have a stack for everything, and probably 100 frequently-used tags. Yeah. Obsessed.


Also--I saw a tweet about Creative Market a few weeks ago (I think from you?) and it's become my new baby. I use it frequently for clients, and they always love it. Best of all? Minimal work on my part, so it's a win for me AND them!