6 Must-Have Accounts When Starting a Blog
Save time, grow bigger, and work smarter
I began writing on Medium as a hobby, literally to blow off steam from my day job. Since then I’ve become more committed, and of course, what used to relieve stress began to cause it.
Whether you’re dipping in your toe or diving headfirst, there’s a lot more to growing a blog than putting words on a white screen.
If you have any intention of nurturing your blog — not just periodically venting to the world — then you need to be prepared.
Here are six absolute must-have accounts to give you a leg-up on your blogging journey. All of these accounts have three things in common. They are free, will save you time, and will pay dividends in the long run.
We start with the most important. Having your mailing list is everything. Capturing email addresses for your mailing list opens up the option to send welcome emails, newsletter updates, promotions, and request feedback.
With MailChimp’s free subscription tier, you’re able to embed a customized signup form, create email campaigns, and automate messages to be sent based on criteria like first registering or being their birthday.
You can see an example of the embedded form at the bottom of my website.
Eye-catching featured images are so important when it comes to attracting viewers to click on your content. It’d be amazing if you have the resources for custom illustrations or premium stock photography, but that’s a luxury…especially when you’re starting.
Unsplash has a vast library of free stock photography. There are enough photos on there that you’ll rarely run across the same stock photo as long as you don’t take the first image that comes up.
What I also really enjoy about Unsplash is they make it super easy to give credit to the artist. I appreciate that as somebody who also publishes content.
If you didn’t guess it by now, the featured image for this article is from Unsplash.
If you treat your content as a one-time deal, then so will the internet. I encourage new bloggers to focus their energy on creating a sizeable cache of content, but also to keep renewing their existing work.
Buffer allows you to schedule posts with connected social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Their interface is stupid easy, by default setting natural-feeling times to schedule posts, such as 9:42 a.m. versus 9:00 a.m.
I use Buffer to make sure that my message is consistent across all social media platforms and also to schedule out the next seven days every weekend so I don’t have to pay attention during the week.
My tweet about this article — approximately a week after publishing — will have been scheduled via Buffer.
I doubt this account needs an introduction — if you’re on YouTube at all then you’ve seen their ads. Grammarly is spelling-and-grammar-check on steroids.
With Grammarly, you choose your audience, formality, tone, and intent for each document you create. Then you’ll be prompted for corrections as you write in their editor.
My favorite feature about Grammarly is that they explain why corrections are being suggested. As a budding writer, this helps eliminate future errors because you understand the root causes of your mistakes.
This article was written in Grammarly and is “very clear,” “very engaging,” with a “just right” delivery. Do you agree?
If you’re not in the tech world, then this is probably a new one for you. Zapier is all about making integrations — software A talking to software B — insanely easy via their trigger-action setup.
Whenever you create an integration, called a Zap, you start with a trigger from a specific app. Next, you choose a subsequent action that is for either the same app or another supported software.
The two great things about Zapier are its ease-of-use and being able to choose from over 2,000 different apps.
I use Zapier for integrating my RSS feed with Buffer to schedule a post and adding all my social media posts to a Google Sheet so I don’t promote the same article too soon.
This last one is a bit of a cheat because you will eventually have to spend money, but signing up and window shopping is free. Fiverr is the belly of the gig economy. From custom animations to business plans to social media kits, Fiverr has everything you could ever outsource.
You are a writer, a blogger. Don’t waste your time putting together a half-baked logo or fuddling with Adobe Illustrator for that infographic you want to publish. On Fiverr, you can find somebody who will probably do a better job and at a fraction of the time.
See my avatar? That was done on Fiverr. So was the free Python Programming cheat sheet that I send as a welcome present for subscribers to my newsletter.
If you found even a single resource on this list that you did not know about before, then I’m happy. All of these accounts have saved me countless hours, allowed me to focus on content creation, and helped grow my audience.
Share your favorite resources that make the blog-life easier in the comments below. Thanks for the support, and best of luck in your writing!