Everyday Blogging Tools

Whether you’re a brand new blogger or have been blogging for ages, I think every blogger out there is constantly on the lookout for tools that make blogging easier, more user-friendly and fun. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by all the tools and tricks that are available and emails containing questions about blogging are some of the most common emails I receive from you guys.

I love talking about blogging, so I welcome the emails and they previously inspired me to launch the Blog Talk Tuesdays series that popped up on the blog several months ago. (In case you’re new around here, I previously published a bunch of blogging-related posts with tips and tricks related to everything from how to start a blog to increasing blog readership and balancing blogging and real life, which you can find on the Blogging page underneath the Favs tab.)

Though I still consider myself very (very!) far from an expert when it comes to blogging know-how, I figured a roundup post that included information about some of my favorite everyday blogging tools might answer questions for some of you out there, especially those relating to adding text to images and editing photos since I’ve received more and more requests to specifically address this on the blog.

If you’re tech savvy or have been blogging for a long time, these tools may be old news to you, but if you’re late to just about every techy thing that springs up like I am, maybe something will pop out at you!

blogging tools

I’ve learned about most of these tools from other bloggers or through many, many Google searches that I’ve done when I’ve become frustrated with something and searched for a shortcut!

Everyday Blogging Tools

picmonkey logo

This website is a dream! I use PicMonkey to add text to photos, edit images and more.

I created the following images by uploading a photo to PicMonkey and playing around with the various editing options on the site:

10 to 6 workout

chocolate cottage cheese

sunrise circuit workout

(In case you are interested, if you click the above images, you will be directed to the original post where they were first featured.)

This is my favorite website for quickly editing photos. It is free to download and makes editing pictures a breeze. Picasa’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button that I mentioned in my previous blog post about photography and photo editing is my best friend.

i'm feeling lucky picasa

Original photo:

barley

After “I’m Feeling Lucky” editing:

barley2

You can also add text to images with Picasa, but I prefer the font options offered by PicMonkey.

Picasa text:

crock pot oatmeal

I personally find that PicMonkey has more options when it comes to adding a little flare to photos.

blogging tools

As a huge fan of Pinterest, I love it when bloggers make pinning recipes, workouts and other photos really easy. I try to remember to add the Pin It button below recipe or workout images for my fellow Pinterest addicts. There are plugins you can use to automatically add a Pin It button to your website, but I prefer adding it right after a specific image and use the coding created by the Pin It button that you can find on Pinterest’s Goodies page. Pinterest provides detailed instructions that will walk you through how to embed the Pin It button into your blog posts.

Windows Live Writer is recommended by bloggers over and over again and I have to reiterate this recommendation. It is a free downloadable program and makes every aspect of blogging easier for me. When I first downloaded the program, it easily cut the time I spent blogging in half. I no longer had to wait forever for photos to upload and utilized the program’s user-friendly features. (Note: Windows Live Writer is compatible with PCs. MAC users typically recommend Ecto, though I’ve heard mixed reviews about Ecto.)  

Back to basics, baby! I use Excel to create a lot of the treadmill workouts or interval workouts you see pop up on the blog. I’ll create a spreadsheet with all of the speeds, inclines, etc. in Excel and will either use the image as is after changing background colors like you can see here and here, or I’ll upload it into PicMonkey and add fun text and color to the image, like you see below.

elliptical workout

For that image, I typed up the minutes and resistance level in Excel, took a screen shot of the image and uploaded it to PicMonkey where I added the colored text.

Question of the Afternoon

  • If you’re a blogger, what blogging tools or programs do you use most often?

Comments

  1. says

    I love picasa after you told me about it! I unfortunately broke my Mac book over the weekend. But hoping on the non mac bandwagon so I can use Windows Livewriter and make my life so much better! I am going to have to look into picmonkey now too! Thanks for the tips!

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  2. says

    Wow! This is great. I also went back and looked at your other blogging posts, and bookmarked them. I’m just starting out in my blogging journey, just doing it for me and my friends for now — but eventually I’d like to expand, self-host, make a brand of myself if I can, and these posts are invaluable!

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  3. says

    I use Flickr to store all my photos and then insert via the HTML codes it provides. My photos upload faster on my blog and I’ll never have to worry about losing my photos if my computer dies one day. (Which of course, I back them up using an external harddrive as well).

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  4. says

    I use photoshop for my photo editing which really just includes text, and imaging sizing, and adding some borders here and there.

    I’ve heard great things about live writer, but as a Mac user, I am too nervous to try the other since I have heard mixed reviews too.

    Thanks Julie!

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  5. says

    PicMonkey is the best! I used to use picnik but then they got bought out 🙁 So happy I discovered picmonkey. And I use that Pin It button exactly like you do. So much easier to pin a workout or recipe when the button is directly under the picture instead of at the end of the post. I should look into windows live writer. I use squarespace right now and am typing out my drafts in MS word then copying and pasting into the squarespace formating tool. I would LOVE to be able to time-delay my posts and format it better.

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  6. says

    Thanks for the tips! I used another site than PicMonkey for a while but it was weird and hard to use. And one of the sites is now a part of google, but I can’t really find it. So it’s great to hear about PicMonkey!

    Also I remember a while ago you mentioned about how Ryan felt sad/ slightly neglected when you would spend time on the couch with him but you’d be blogging. How did you two eventually work that out? Did you just clarify your time spent or was it that you updated your technology?

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  7. says

    I do a lot of picture editing, including text additions, using iPhone apps. My favorites are Labelbox, Phonto, Instagram, Camera+, and Diptic. I save most of my pictures on my external hard drive, and only upload photos to the web using Photobucket if I’m creating a button, since then I can use the HTML code. If I didn’t rely on my iPhone for photos (my regular camera broke), I’d be using PicMonkey for sure!

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  8. says

    PicMonkey is my favorite! I’ve discovered so many cool things you can do with it. I’ve even used it lately for creating printables like lables, cupcake toppers, etc. The one thing I wish was different about it is that they’d have a “Save” button to be able to come back & edit a project later. Great blogging tips, thanks! 🙂

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  9. Erika says

    I use Picasa but am still trying to figure out my organzing system with it. It does make editing easy though.

    Maybe PicMonkey is easier but you could add the same color and fonts to your Excel file. Just sayin’ 🙂

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  10. Stephanie says

    Wow, this post was exactly what I am looking for! I am getting ready to enter the blog world in a few weeks. It’s literally like you were reading my mind. Thanks for the great tips! Can’t wait to use Pic Monkey 🙂

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  11. says

    This was such an informative post! I haven’t heard of any of the programs you mentioned (except excel and pinterest), so I definitely plan on checking these out. Since I’m a mac user, I do a lot in Photoshop – but I still have a lot to learn!

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  12. Rebecca says

    Thank-you! Thank-you! This is great! I was wondering how you were doing that fun print on your photos. I’m hoping to start a blog of my own, and all this info is much appreciated!:)

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  13. says

    Great tips…thanks for the website recommendations! I’ve never heard of PicMonkey but I am going to check it out! Lately I have been using iPiccy but there are pros and cons to that site as well. Also, as a mac user, I was not a huge fan of Ecto and don’t use it. I have been trying to find a Mac version of Windows Live Writer because its honestly the best!

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  14. says

    Couldn’t live without picasa and windows live writer. I also use the imageshack plugin for windows live writer so that the images are hosted elsewhere rather overloading my website database. I’ve never used pic monkey, can’t wait to try it!

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  15. says

    Can’t wait to get home and take time to read everyone’s comments (I’m at work now). But I will say, I have my own blog that I try to keep up regularly but I work as an SEO Consultant for a Technology company during the day. SEO is the one thing I see many blogs lacking and something I would highly recommend they work on. Improving your SEO practices will improve your rankings in search which will also lead to new readers. 🙂

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  16. Lindsay says

    I hate using Excel for anything other than a massive chart with not too much text, or for a chart with functional formulas! For your interval workouts, you should just create a Table in Word! So much easier to format everything, in my opinion.

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  17. says

    This is very helpful! As someone who is very new to blogging (less than 2 months), I’m still learning about the basics of blogging. Thanks for posting these suggestions. And I’m definitely going to check out your other blogging tips posts!

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  18. says

    Thank you!! This is wonderful!! I only started blogging a couple of weeks ago, but already I am HOOKED!! It’s just so much fun and really keeps me on track with my healthy lifestyle since I feel more accountable now. Can’t wait to start incorporating all of these new tools!

    p.s. you’re blog is what inspired me to start!! Can’t even remember how I found it, but I’m happy that I did!

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  19. says

    Thanks for posting! I love reading your blog tips. I really like that you are happy to answer people’s questions about blogging, because to some of it, it’s still a mystery!

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  20. says

    I just have a blog to remember my little families life but these tips are really great for me as well!

    Also wanted to say how much I love your blog… You are so sweet and carry yourself with such grace… Everything I have read (and I have stalked your blog a lil bit haha) is so encouraging and uplifting. <3

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  21. says

    These suggestions are awesome, thank you!
    I just started following you (and also blogging myself!) and you’re very inspiring 🙂
    Also, I grew up in South Florida (now I live in CA) but it’s fun to hear you write about it, makes me nostalgic!

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  22. says

    Yay…..thanks so much for all of the helpful tips. I just learned about picmonkey very recently and I’m absolutely loving it. I’ve thought about using livewriter, but when I tried to create an account it was wanting me to use a hotmail acct. Do you have to have a hotmail acct?

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  23. Ashley says

    I just wanted to mention to you that awhile back you posted some quote (determination now or regret later… or something along those lines) that I say to myself a lot now and has helped me …. Just thought you would want to know that made a difference to me. 🙂

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  24. says

    Julie–this post was SO helpful! I’ve already used some of the tips you suggested but your elaboration on everything really helps me out! As a newbie blogger, I thoroughly enjoyed all this information and will be using it as a reference point for sure 🙂

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  25. says

    Thanks for such an awesome post and sharing your knowledge. It’s great when other bloggers like to share 🙂

    Do you use PicMonkey to make the word balloons on your Sadie pics then? Also, what do you know about uploading photos on your blog…I keep seeing comments about how you should host your photos online somewhere else rather than your blog?? I’m not really sure what this means lol or how one would do it! Is this something that happens over time as your blog gets older and you therefore have more pictures on it? Meaning, the more photos, the slower your blog?

    Ahhhh so much to learn! 😀

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  26. says

    I know my blog is so completely….um…..elementary? 🙂 I never go anywhere without my IPad, and I do all of my pictures and blogging from it. The only thing I use the laptop for is editing pages, and its a miracle that I even know what that means!! Most of your post just flew right over my head. My laptop is vintage and super slow, so I have forced myself to learn to do as much as I can from the IPad. One day, I’ll quit being so cheap, and buy a new laptop so I can utilize all of those awesome blogging tools, because I do LOVE my blogging. Thanks for all of your informative post! I love them!

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  27. says

    Julie, you rock! Thanks for sharing these. Some of them I knew about, some of them I didn’t. I use Windows Live Writer and LOVE it. I also use PicMonkey, and I think it’s amazing. I need to figure out how to add the Pinterest button to my posts. So thank you thank you!! 🙂

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  28. says

    I love WLW too – it definitely makes things go faster, plus it’s great to see what it’ll look like when it’s posted. Having the formatting right there while you’re writing the post is awesome.

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  29. says

    Thank you for posting a good site to play around with pictures. I just recently started a blog called Vodka Infused Lemonade and i’m hoping to play around with my pictures. Love the fashion portion of your blog. I just discovered it so i’ll have to read your workout tips and your meals.

    Thanks again,
    Agi:)

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  30. says

    Thank you so much for publishing this post! I am a new blogger and have been wondering how other blogger’s post text on their pictures! This post was so helpful!

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  31. says

    LOTS of great info here! I have been on the fence about doing more blogging…my past attempt has been meek at best. I had a bit of an epiphany realizing that my subject matter was just so specialized that I didn’t have enough content to keep myself interested let alone other readers! I also realized that what I liked to read in a blog was about real lives, in progress, bad hair days and all. So today I’ve been working on doing some layout tweaks and playing with some of your suggested tools to help me. THANKS SO MUCH! You are a true inspiration to us wanna be bloggers! I even mentioned your blog in my “coming out” post!

    http://fabulouslyflawedcrochetcreations.blogspot.com/2012/08/its-new-day.html

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  32. says

    This is such a great post! I just started my blog about a month ago so this information is so helpful! Thank so much, I’m definitely going to follow your advice.

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  33. says

    Julie, this post was perfect timing! I just started my blog a few days ago, and your section on Blogging (including this post today) have been amazingly helpful. I’m already looking forward to playing around on PicMonkey…it looks like so much fun!

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  34. Monique says

    I just have st share. My happy news is I ran 16k without stopping once yesterday. Ouch I can feel my legs today. I wouldn’t normally comment but I’m so proud of myself. I’m training for a 1/2 marathon and 16 k is the furthest I’ve ever run. Not stopping or wanting to throw up afterwards really gives me confidence to believe in 2 weeks time I’ll be able to face the challange of the half. Your blog wives me much needed motivation, so thank you for helping me to get out the door

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  35. says

    Never heard of Picmonkey and it looks great.. Thanks for the example which gives a clear idea of what I’m going to get..Going to try it now….Thanks for your extensive list 🙂

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  36. says

    Ah, thank you for sharing! I’ve always wondered what programs you use to add text to your photos (great hint for fancifying excel spreadsheet images as well!). Love, love love your blog and never miss a post. The workouts you post always inspire me to get moving. The circuit exercises are my favorites!

    Recently (very!) started blogging. I’ve been reading blogs for a while now and it’s time to start writing!

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  37. says

    I LOVE that you did this post today! I’ve been wanting to blog for so long now, I’ve been reading yours for over a year! I finally made my first post tonight, but find blogging still very confusing! Anyways, thanks Julie!

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  38. says

    Thanks for posting this!! I have followed blogs for quite a while, but I have had my own blog for less then 24 hours and this will definitely help. Thanks!

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  39. says

    Picmonkey is calling my name – thanks so much for sharing!!!

    As a mac user, I love a program called “Mars Edit” that works really really well – almost exactly like Windows Live Writer. They just published a new version and it’s amazing!

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  40. says

    This is fantastic! I am just getting into blogging and my sister actually sent your site over to me as an example of some of the ones that she reads consistently. It’s taking me a while to figure things out and this is such a huge help! I always wondered how people wrote on the photos! Any other tips send them along!

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  41. says

    I had never heard of PicMonkey but I’m so excited to try it out! I just started my blog in April and so far my favorite tool is Windows LiveWriter – I’ve been debating switching to a Macbook and LiveWriter is about the only thing keeping me from taking the plunge, it’s that good 🙂

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  42. says

    Hi! I must say, I read this and it really hit home. I am not someone who comments on blogs (and i read a select few, including yours, daily). Its weird, I just feel awkward commenting on things. But I wanted you to know how much I do enjoy your blog! Its great and very fun to check in with, not to mention great ideas for recipes, workouts, etc. I am a BRAND NEW blogger. I have been wanting to start one for months but have been scared (horrible excuse, I know) but I finally did it. http://www.nourishandmove.worpress.com I clearly have a long way to go but this post was so appropriate for me! Thank you for sharing and thank you for opening up so much of your life on here. 🙂

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  43. says

    I’ve got to tell you that I keep clicking on the “You may also like” posts and before I knew it, half and hour had gone by while I read pbfingers! 🙂 I have just started my own blog on wordpress, but really agree that it would be best to create my own domain name & drop the .wordpress. Will this cause all of my previous posts to disappear?

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  44. says

    Thank you so much for sharing these tools Julie. I admire your authenticity and gift of sharing/teaching with your readers. Plus, your love for Sadie speaks volumes to a fellow dog lover like me. It’s my dream to write more…for magazines/online resources, so I look to you for guidance ALL THE TIME! Hugs!

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  45. says

    I am not sure if anyone mentioned this but I use the Buffer App (www.bufferapp.com) to load up some tweets and facebook posts so I’m not sitting at my computer all day, but I have an active internet presence. It allows you to schedule posts, shortens your links, and lets you use a few accounts at a time!

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  46. Ruth@FacetiousFarang says

    Hi Julie
    Thanks so much for publishing this! I’m a new and technologically illiterate blogger, and these tips were really helpful. I started using LiveWriter and Picasa, and you’re right – they really do speed things up.

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  47. says

    Thanks SO much for recommending PicMonkey! I’m a graphic designer, so it’s a habit for me to pull every. single. picture into Photoshop to crop and resize and adjust the colors. Then if I want to make a workout or add type, into Illustrator it goes. That process takes FOREVER!

    I wondered how you have so many pictures and roll out blog posts so quickly, and I’ve always been wary about using online editors. But PicMonkey is amazing! I’m actually motivated to blog more now that I’ll be saving so much time. Thanks again for sharing!

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  48. says

    These tips are so helpful, thank you!!! I started my blog this year because of reading PBFingers. I learn so much from you every day! Thank you again. 🙂

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  49. says

    Hi Julie,

    What do you use to store the images you post to your blog? So when you upload images off your camera to put into Windows Live Writer, where do the images ultimately “live?”

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  50. says

    I’m somewhere in between new and old on blogging. I’ve done it for awhile but just really getting into making it a consistent thing. Trying to build followers and use it as not just my personal venting post but a way to inspire others through my own journey to health and fitness. This is absolutely wonderful and helpful for me to see! Once I start adding more things into my blog these sites are going to ROCK my world 🙂
    Thanks

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  51. says

    Try adding NewsAssist to your list of tools? NewsAssist is an open source Firefox add-on that provides an editor (blogger, journalist) all necessities for News Searching, Editing, Publishing, Content distribution to social media. It is a powerful tool and a great working environment that is fully integrated with Firefox. It is aimed to increase the productivity of blog and website editors without having to leave the web browser.

    “blog search tool”:http://www.newsassist.org

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  52. says

    You could certainly see your skills within the article you write.

    The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say
    how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

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  53. says

    I just found your blog tonight via a link from Carrots N Cake. The tips you offer just may be what I need to crack the secret code of creating consistently good content. What can I say, I’m late to the party! 😉 I love seeing your success and your transparency – that you didn’t really know what you were doing when you started either! Thanks so much!

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    Hi, Awesome write-up. There exists a issue with your internet-site throughout web traveler, would probably examine this specific? IE nevertheless is definitely the market chief in addition to a enormous component men and women miss a person’s great composing just for this difficulty.

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  57. says

    Honestly wish I would have found this post last night! Spent about 2 wasted hours on something this summed up for me. Just discovered your blog and I love it! 🙂

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  58. says

    I was looking around for a new photo editor for Pinterest and got directed to your article from socialmediatoday – looks like PicMoney is now my go-to tool!

    Thanks for the heads up and the great examples

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  59. says

    I love Picasa! Great tips here. Question for anyone who knows. This Windows Live Writer mentioned. It sounds rather wonderful. Right now I write my posts right in Blogger, and pull my photo’s in from Flickr and videos from you tube. This can be time consuming and which is the cause of my not posting as often as I’d like.

    My question is, if I use Windows Live Writer, in the off chance I don’t care for it, what happens to my blog if I uninstall it or take it off from blogger. So if I did 5 posts while using WLW, then decide not to use it, are those posts affected?

    Thank you. I really appreciate it.

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