Blogging is such an amazing hobby to have because you get to share your work with the world. You come up with cool website designs and spend days optimizing your site for easy access and viewability. If you’ve come that far and have started churning out the posts, congratulations! You’ve overcome what is arguably the biggest hurdle. Any writer will know that the technical aspect of blogging is usually the hardest. Once everything is set up, the fun begins. But wait! Did you know there are a few blogging essentials you need to have on hand as well that will smoothen the process?
I started my blog in May 2020, so I would like to believe that the learning curve has flattened quite a bit. Of course, there will be more learning as I go. But from a setup perspective, these are the things that I found to be the most important to keep it going.
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Here are some blogging essentials that I personally cannot live without:
This is a no-brainer when it comes to writing for a blog, but it’s top on my list of blogging essentials regardless. I’ve seen many bloggers that praise the WordPress phone app and swear by it for blog posts, but I don’t. It’s amazing to check your comments and publish an already finished draft. But when it comes to writing detailed and polished posts, I just cannot do it on my phone.
If you have used both a laptop and a phone to write some blog posts, you know it’s not the same. Accessing things like Grammarly, plug-ins, viewing what the post will look like on different devices are just a few of the perks of writing on a computer. To prove a point, I tried writing filhos section on my phone and I am frustrated just trying!
I have to admit that this one took a while to stick. A few bloggers had recommended using Grammarly well within my first few weeks of blogging, but I was stubborn. Not just stubborn, but extremely stubborn! I thought I would be okay with reading every single post that I drafted before making it public. Besides, English is my first language and I did always get A’s in my classes! And it was going well at first…
The main problem with my big headedness was human error. It was only when Blogmas came around that I realised how little time I actually had on hand to reach each post. Of course, there’s the obvious skim, but posting daily does leave room for errors to slip through the crack. With Grammarly, you don’t have to worry about missing any mistakes because the browser checks it for you!
Yoast SEO (One of the blogging essentials not everyone has access to)
I hate to bring this one up when most of the other bloggers are unable to download this plugin, but it wouldn’t be an honest post without it. Yoast SEO is probably my favourite plugin because of how easy it makes it to optimise your site for search engines. You can do lots of research on SEO, but most advice will never really give you the last details to get you over the line. This plug-in covers everything from keywords to the length of each sentence or paragraph!
If you are self-hosted, I would highly recommend that you get some sort of plug-in to help with optimisation. For those of you who aren’t self-hosted or on WordPress’ business plan, I would recommend that you do a little bit of research on SEO and redo some of your old posts.
Access to a library of free stock images
This is a no-brainer if you’ve been blogging for a while. But for anyone new to the game, I can’t emphasise enough how careful you need to be with your images. It wasn’t until I decided to apply to Google Adsense did I realise just how bad it is to upload images without permission from the owner. If you post your own pictures, you can just skip over this point. However, for anyone who is new to the game, please take note.
Being online isn’t just as simple as publishing content you wrote and supplementing it with pictures. You need to own the pictures or get a license to use them! That is why WordPress gives the option to use free pictures from Pexels. You aren’t just limited to Pexels though, there are other sites that offer stock photos. If you need to know which sites are most commonly used, you can check here.
Whether or not you choose to pay for images or download free ones, make sure you read the disclaimers to know if there is a license. The last thing you want is for your website to be blacklisted because of Copywrite issues.
A proper schedule/ scheduler
If you are like me and love leaving things to the last minute, it won’t get you too far in the blogging world. One important essential (although not really a tangible one) is a blogging schedule. I don’t care if you write on your hand each day or scratch your notes into the floor. You just need to make sure you know what you are posting and when.
WordPress has a great scheduling tool if you don’t want to go as far as writing down your posts somewhere. What I would highlight is that you need to be careful of the dates. I’ve backdated a few posts because the scheduler didn’t realise I wanted the future, no the past. But that is a story for another day! If you’re curious to know what sort of schedule I follow to stay consistent, check out my 30 Day Blogging Strategy Plan.