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8 Software Products to Aid Your Blogging Skills

8 Software Products to Aid Your Blogging Skills

When you choose to become a professional blogger, you enter a world of competition. To navigate that world, you have to know basic rules on CSS, HTML, analytic data collection, outreach and use of websites like copyscape.com and articlechecker.com. You also have to stand out in an information-overload society, making people find you and choose your blog over others on the same topic.

You have to put a new spin on old information. You have to give people a reason why they want to read what you have to say. To stay competitive and current on issues in the world, professional bloggers post three to six articles every week.

These run 500 to 1,000 words each, but depending on your industry, this might be excessive and turn off readers who have short attention spans.

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To help you get to the next level in blogging, here are some software products that are good for creating content.

1. StackEdit

This product is meant for bloggers who regularly post to WordPress from Google Docs or Microsoft Word without formatting. Besides a spell-checking component, it allows users to sync files from Doodle Drive or Dropbox. Writers can post the material directly into Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress or Dropbox in HTML format.

2. Unplag

This will find content that is similar to yours so you can avoid plagiarising others. It was developed for students, but it has its place for professionals too. The software compares two or more text files for Internet sources.

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3. Portent’s Content Idea Generator

Who hasn’t had a writer’s block? It can be especially painful when sitting on a deadline and no ideas are available. This software solves the problem of writer’s block. Portent’s Content Idea Generator will give you ideas. It helps you brainstorm headlines, topics or copy for the body of a blog.

4. Easel.ly

The software will make your blog even better because you will be able to include an infographic along with the blog. It comes with ready-made templates. You add, edit or remove the infographics until you have them the way you want them. The grid in the software allows you to make sure text or pictures are symmetrical. When you are done, you can convert into a PDF and submit to your blog.

5. Hemingway

Like the author that gave it its name, Hemingway allows writers to improve their blogs. It offers tips on readability, poor word choices, long-winded sentences or run-on sentences and grammar mistakes. If your blog is reading at a level of grade 11 or a level of grade 7, you will know and make adjustments depending on your audience. If you tend to write in a passive voice, Hemingway will tell you how to make the sentence more active. When you are done, you can convert it into HTML.

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6. Camtasia

Blogs that come with videos are ranked higher, are more searchable and are more interesting for readers. Therefore, professionals who use videos and share them are more successful. Camtasia is considered the best software to capture and record the parts of a video that will improve your blog and make your writing more interesting to writers. The software will split visual, auditory and speech into separate tracks, which allow you to edit them separately and make the video a professionally produced one.

7. CoSchedule

This software is for Twitter users. Because of Twitter’s size limitations, many people have trouble posting a link to their blog. This software will shorten the link so it can be shared on Twitter. It also will pick out a few keywords from your blog to tweet.

8. Feedly

Just like Google news alerts, Feedly will give you information relating to your industry or blogging topic of interest. You will be able to follow leaders of your industry through their Web sites, blogs and YouTube channels and not miss any hot issues. This will make you appear on top of what is on the readers’ minds, which will help you get more readers. You are also able to learn if people are discussing your blogs or ideas.

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Featured photo credit: deafconnected via deafconnected.com.au

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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