Advertising
Advertising

7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

Creating blog posts that stand out in an over-crowded space is a challenge. These days, it feels like a simple text post on its own isn’t enough. Picking an interesting idea and writing out a thoughtful post is only half the battle. After all, there are a ton of posts out there already filled with pictures, infographics and videos.

The need to create visuals and graphics to enhance your post can seem daunting at first. But if you’re not design-saavy, there are tools created with you in mind.

With the click of a mouse, you can create content that looks as if a professional customized it just for you. Even though I don’t create visuals, I personally found using a number of these tools easy to use (and even fun).

So take a look at the resources below and see if they can help make your content creation easier.

1) Piktochart

At first glance, infographics can look complicated to make. But Piktochart can make things much easier. They provide some free templates for different situations. You can customize the template to your liking by using the shapes, fonts and images available.

Advertising

Besides infographics, you can also use Piktochart to create presentations, reports, and posters. Below is an infographic I fiddled around with by using a template:

Piktochart

    2) Haiku Deck

    You already know about SlideShare. But what about Haiku Deck?

    Haiku Deck enables you to make beautiful decks using templates, images, and font designs. They are designed in a simple, yet elegant way so that you have a scenic backdrop for your message. Adding a deck to your blog post creates a visual element that’s easy for readers to flip through.

    3) Photopin

    Advertising

    Do you ever feel frustrated when you see a nice image that’s perfect for your post, but then realize you can’t use it? Try using Photopin instead. Photopin is a free resource for bloggers to use that has a large database of Creative Commons photos. You can select the image size and then grab the HTML for attribution (hey, it’s only fair, right?).

    4) Canva

    Adding a downloadable freebie is a simple way to add value to blog readers at the end of the post. Providing a PDF that’s a worksheet, checklist or simply a summary of the post is a good way to make your post stand out.

    If you want to make it look professional, Canva is easy to use. It provides pre-made templates, images and easy editing.

    5) Word2CleanHTML

    If you’re like me, you probably write your initial blog post draft in Microsoft Word or Google Drive. But even though these programs make it easier to craft your article, it can be a pain to transfer over the post to your content management system.

    Advertising

    This is where Word2CleanHTML comes in. It takes your document and fixes it so that it’s HTML friendly. All you have to do is paste the document, click a button, and the job is done. Voila!

    6) Google Scholar

    Linking to scientific research helps create credibility and authority. When writing a blog post, Google Scholar is a great resource to look up academic journals and studies. It’s just like typing into regular Google, except you get the output of research data. One of the best features is that you can adjust the period of research, which keeps you from having to sift through outdated data.

    7) Hemingway App

    Find yourself rambling on in your writing? Hemingway App, named after the famous writer Ernest Hemingway, helps you simplify your writing. The app highlights words and sentences that could do with some tweaking.

    Just copy and paste your work into the app and it’ll analyze your writing. The lower your grade, the more readable your writing is.

    Advertising

    Conclusion

    Going the extra mile with your blog post can work wonders. Your post becomes more appealing, making visitors more likely to share your content.

    Don’t be afraid to experiment around and see what works. Remember, though, these are simply tools to get you started. You need to decide how you want to use them in order to increase the value of your content.

    What’s a resource you like to use to give your blog post that extra shine?

    Featured photo credit: Mans Hands Typing On Laptop With Smartphone, Book And Coffee/ Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

    More by this author

    Melissa Chu

    Founder of JumpstartYourDreamLife.com

    6 Things Happy People Never Forget 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing If You Want To Be More Productive This Is How I Stop Procrastination. 7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

    Trending in Featured

    1 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 2 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 3 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone (2020 Updated) 4 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone 5 How to Find Time for Yourself

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

    Advertising

    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

    Advertising

    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

    Advertising

    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

    Advertising

    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

    Read Next