If only there was more time in the day! As bloggers and online business owners, we know the importance of automating where we can and finding tools to just make this blogging stuff a bit easier! Here are some of my favorite scheduling tools and plugins to help you out!
PIN ME FOR LATER!!
Please note this post may contain affiliate links and ads, read my full disclosure HERE.
Whether you are just beginning this blogging journey as a hobby or you are a stay-at-home mom or you work full-time out of the home, your time is precious! Sharing your content on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media can take up a LOT of your time if you don't use a great scheduling tool. These tools enable you to spend an hour or so a day, once a week scheduling your content out to your various social media platforms for the whole week (or longer). As you create a new blog post, you just jump in there and plug it in where you want it and how often and BAM! Sit back and let it run on autopilot!
Hootsuite – I use this one for scheduling my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts for BOTH blogs. You can get the free version for use of up to 3 social profiles but since I had more than 3, I upgraded and pay about $19/month (paid annually). I spend about an hour twice a month, scheduling posts for a 2-week period.
CoSchedule – is great for scheduling to multiple platforms. You can check it out and try it for FREE
Tailwind – Tailwind is the ultimate in scheduling for Pinterest! I'll be discussing Pinterest in another section but wanted to mention it here because it is a scheduling tool.
Boardbooster – Boardbooster is another scheduling tool for Pinterest.
Plugins are like apps that you install on your blog. Some are absolutely necessary, while others add cute stuff or creative options for your blog. You can also read about my favorite plugins that help boost traffic, subscribers and blog income!
There are several plugins that you will want to install before you go live. (Most of them are free). These help with your SEO and post configuration, protect against spam, make you affiliate links “no follow”, and help speed up your page loading time.
Yoast SEO – In addition to a few other functions, Yoast helps you to SEO-optimize your blog. SEO (search engine optimization) is what helps your blog get found in search engine results.
Cookie Notice by dFactory – this plugin adds the cookie notice to your homepage (required for GDPR Compliance). There are other similar plugins to choose from – this is just the one I use.
Google Analytics – GA will track all of your site traffic, tell you which posts are the most popular, where your traffic is originating from and so much more! Connecting to your Google Analytics will help you track your blog's performance from the beginning to help you formulate a plan.
JetPack – is an all-in-one plugin that offers site security, and helps increase traffic.
Akismet – this plugin keeps spam out of your blog comments. When I switched over to SiteGround from Bluehost, I forgot to switch my Akismet account over and OMG I had so many spam comments on both blogs! There other anti-spam plugins available but this is just the one I use for both of my blogs.
Optin Monster – This plugin enables you to create various opportunities for readers to subscribe or “opt-in” to your email list. I HIGHLY suggest this plugin – I use it for all of my optin forms!
Rel Nofollow Checkbox – If you plan to use affiliate links, you will need this plugin to ensure you don't forget to put “no follow” on each of the affiliate links (as required by FTC). It simply adds a checkbox next to where you enter the URL for the link.
WP Smush – One thing that slows down your page loading speed is the graphics (pictures) that you put into your blog posts. Most readers get frustrated when a page takes forever to load and simply move on. WP Smush is free to install.
WP Super Cache – This is another plugin to help with page loading speed and is free to install.
TinyMCEAdvanced – If you are using a Genesis Framework theme, you'll need to install this plugin to enable you to change fonts, font size, and font colors on your blog.
Other Plugins You May Want to Install
The following aren't really required, but they make your life so much easier and simpler!
Pretty Links – This plugin enables you to make custom links for all of your affiliate links so they don't have like a million random characters! (Just remember – you can NOT alter your Amazon affiliate links – but most others you can). I love this plugin because I know there have been times that I was hesitant to click on a link because it just looked weird. With Pretty Links, you can make it look like one of your own links, For example, I could make a Siteground affiliate link look like this: www.girlbossesrock.com/siteground
Tasty Pins – This is an absolute MUST for both hiding Pinnable images and for ensuring you have the correct Pinterest text entered. You can manually hide pins and also insert the correct Pinterest description text but it is so much easier with this simple plugin!! If you aren't sure why you need to hide pinnable images, watch this video!
Sumo – This is an AWESOME plugin that you can use for adding high-converting social share buttons AND tools for getting those email subscribers. It's kind of an all-in-one plugin with multiple uses!
Social Warfare – I LOVE Social Warfare! Aside from providing your readers more sharing options, it gives the “click to tweet” ability. You can embed a cute quote or really anything and readers can simply tweet it (linking it to your Twitter!).
Shareaholic – This is another social sharing plugin. I actually use BOTH Social Warfare AND Shareaholic. I can't stress enough how important it is for your readers to be able to FIND and share your content! I could totally love your post but if I have to dig to find a share button, I'll just leave. Also, ensure that you have sharing options for all available platforms – even if you don't personally have an account.
Instagram Feed Widget – Make sure they see how awesome your Instagram feed is by having a sample of your feed right on your blog!
WP Forms – This plugin enables you to create forms in your blog posts such as those needed for your “contact me” page.
MORE BUSINESS TOOLS
LMS & COURSE CREATION
One great way to monetize your blog is by creating courses and/or downloadable products.
Teachable – I've been using Teachable for creating my courses on Blogging and Pinterest Affiliate Marketing and absolutely LOVE how easy it was to get started. You can get started for free and try it out!
LEAD MAGNETS & SALES FUNNELS
Once you have created a course, now it is time to draw in students (or customers)! There are two really great programs that I HIGHLY recommend for this:
Clickfunnels – Clickfunnels is one of the best and also offers a 14-day free trial for you to get started!
LeadPages – Leadpages can help generate leads and sales for your business on the web, in emails, via text messages, and on social media.
Just remember, this isn't an all-inclusive listing of plugins. Depending on the theme you choose, there may be others that you'll want to install.