Tag Archives: blog design

My Must-Have Tools for Blogging

As a blogger, I’m always on the hunt for new tools to help make my blog look better and keep functioning. From tools that I can help make my images look nice, to apps that can help spark some inspiration, and even to apps that can help me on the go, in case I don’t have access to my laptop.

Blogging ToolsUnsplash // Jeff Sheldon

Here are some of the apps I rely on.

iPhone Camera

This one might be pretty obvious. I love taking pictures with my Nikon D610, but it’s not always feasible to carry it around with me. My iPhone 6 has an incredible camera on it, and since my phone is always at my side, I always have a camera with me.

PicLab or PicLabHD

I love imagery with motivational quotes. I love posting them on Instagram, but also for use on my blog. Both of these apps (you get them here and here) are great because you can add your quotes right on your images. The free version doesn’t have a ton of quotes to use, but you can purchase packages that will open up more for you.

i can i will correct
Created with PicLab

VSCO Cam

VSCO Cam is probably one of my most used apps. I edit a lot images in this app, as many people do. I love the filters they offer, but also the fading effect you can create with it. It can help to create some really lovely images for your blog. Plus I want to be insta-famous for my pictures, and I feel like everyone that is uses VSCO Cam.

PicMonkey

I use PicMonkey for just about everything. Most of photos that have that a title included on them for the blog were done here. My blog, Facebook and Twitter header were created there. You can do pretty much everything there. There is a free version, but I pay the $4.99 a month to have access to all of their features. It’s a minimal fee for the amount of things you can do with it.

Trapper

When I’m not near my computer, and I have an idea for a blog post, I run to this app. It’s a place where you can literally trap your ideas. As someone who gets inspiration at random times and through random things, this has been a lifesaver on a few occasions.

Hootsuite

I know many fellow bloggers use some form of a social media management system. I love HootSuite. It’s my preferred one. I’ve been using it for years. What I usually do with HootSuite is, once a post has been published, I go in and will schedule it to post a few times throughout the day on Twitter, as well as a few more times throughout the week. Then I’ll choose other new stories, tweets, and other things from other people to fill in through the day.

I have the app on my iPhone as well so I can pop in and check on things throughout the day.

Blogsy

Blogsy is my go to app when I’m out of town and want to blog. I don’t bring my laptop with me on trips, but I do bring my iPad, and this app is my blog away from home. It can be a bit tricky to figure out at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty great.

What apps and tools do you rely on for your blog?

New Signature

The Blog Got a Facelift.

If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile now, you’ve probably noticed that its been through a few changes. First, it moved from WordPress.com to self-hosted. Then I bought a new theme for it. And as of yesterday, it has another new design.

I know, most bloggers stick to one theme and run with it (branding 101). But to be honest, when I went self-hosted, I didn’t know what I wanted. So I bought a simple theme off of Etsy, installed it and attempted to figure everything out. The more I dove into it, the more I discovered that it wasn’t nearly as customizable as I wanted it to be.

Hence the new look. I’m much happier with the overall feel. I think it’s much cleaner and easier to navigate. It’s more appealing to the eye. And it’s much more me. That’s the most important part.

It will probably continue to be a work in progress, and that’s okay. I’m just happy that I  found a theme that I enjoy.

Here are the elements that were most important when I was looking for a new theme.

1. It needed to scream ‘ERYN’ : Essentially, it needed to have the right feel. The other one was nice, and it was pretty, but it wasn’t… me. I thought it was initially, but looking back, I realize it wasn’t. It was actually too plain (I never thought I would feel that way seeing how I like things clean and semi-plain). The new theme is simple, clean and pretty. It’s easy on the eye. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for. The colors aren’t 100% me, but that’s easy enough to tweak.

2. It needed to flow: My other theme felt jumbled together. I didn’t like the header, besides the splash of blue. I felt like everything was just thrown on there. This one feels like everything has its place and purpose.

3. It needed to be girly: Yep. This was a requirement. I love girly/vintage/chic/feminine things. I’m not a total girly-girl that’s life revolves around the latest fashion trends, but I am feminine and like pretty things. And my blog needs to represent that side of me. I like that this one is subtle, with the ribbon and the pretty script-text. It’s girly, without being over the top.

4. It needed to have some style: And I’m not talking about CSS style.  I wanted it to look like a blog should look (or at least how I envision them in my mind). I didn’t want a theme that was just a big white background with some text and images… wait… I already had that. This has exactly what I was looking for.

5. It needed to be customizable: That was my complaint from day 1 with my theme from Etsy. I bought it knowing that I couldn’t do much with it. I knew I would be able to adjust fonts, and such, but that was it. I bought it because I wanted something unique. What I found instead was a headache. If any changes needed to be made to the actual style, I had to contact the designer and have them take care of it and resend me an entirely new download, or provide them with my log-in information and have them change it.

I know this is how they make their living, and I 100% support that. But when I went self-hosted, I wanted something that I could adjust on my own when I wanted.

Overall, my first look will always be near and dear to my heart. It was my first self-hosted theme after-all. But this new one, is much more me and much more what I was hoping for all along.

So I hope you like it as much as I do!

Question: What were the elements you had to have with your blog set-up?

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