Best Tools and Resources to Use When Starting a Travel Blog
If you are starting, or wanting to start, a travel blog, it is as easy as heading to a blogging platform, signing up, and away you go. This can all be done for free and you can get a relatively functional website or blog for no cost.
What people don’t tell you, is if you want to expand it, making it something bigger than you thought, have a newsletter, monetize it or whatever it may be, these functions can sometimes cost you money, in most cases, money you don’t have or money you don’t want to put into this very new project just yet.
Have no fear though, there are many free and low-cost tools out on the market that will help you get the most out of your blog without having to break your budget before you have even properly started.
Canva is a brilliant, and free, graphic design platform that allows you to make incredible images and designs. You can add text, drag and drop images, create infographics and make presentations.
There is no need to be a skilled graphic designer with Canva, as there are pre-set templates and designs that you can then customize, or you can make your own if you have a particular need. It is brilliant for adding a new dimension to your pages and site.
Quicktime Player is brilliant for creating and posting videos to your site. It is a free tool that comes preinstalled on Macs and is also easy to download for other PC’s. Quicktime player can be used for short videos, all the up to hour-long presentations or discussions.
Quicktime Player is the perfect alternative if you do not want to pay for a premium ScreenFlow program (a program that records your computer screen). Quicktime has many uses and is very versatile and is the best beginner video platform when you are starting out.
Gmail does not need much introduction, but if you aren’t sure what it is, it is a free emailing service used across the globe. When starting out, there is nothing wrong with having a .gmail account, and you can upgrade at a later stage.
Gmail is very quick and easy to sign up for, you can have multiple accounts such as an enquiry account, a business one and a personal one. It has multiple features and is just simple and clean.
Google Drive, Docs etc.
Once you have signed up for Gmail, you will then be able to access Google’s Suite of platforms. Whether it be Drive, Calendar, Docs or Sheets, the Google suite has multiple free tools to help you curate and manage your blog.
Google Drive allows you to create, store and share documents, folders, pictures and whatever else in an organised fashion. These documents are then stored in the Cloud, leaving you with little risk of accidentally losing or deleting them.
Free Stock Photo Websites
One aspect that some bloggers always trip up on is where to get high-quality, beautiful images for your site if you are not a photographer, don’t know anyone who is, or can’t afford to pay for a professional one. This is where free stock photo sites come in.
These sites are jam-packed with millions of very well curated stock photos covering hundreds and hundreds of topics. These photos are free to download and license, and you can use them on your site.
There are limitations to using them that you need to be aware of to avoid being sued by the photographers. These rules can be found on the site. Just simply Google “Free Stock Photos” and explore away, you will find what you are looking for, guaranteed.
Skype has long been the go-to platform for communication with anyone across the globe. It is easy to sign up for and install, and allows you to easily communicate with potential clients, collaborators and is brilliant for business calls.
Hootsuite or Buffer
If you still have a day-job or you are just too busy to constantly be uploading to your social media feeds, then a client such as Hootsuite or Buffer can make it so much easier for you to stay on top of it.
These clients allow you to schedule social media posts far in advance, allowing you to make them all in one afternoon, and then simply set the time and day when you want each one to go out to each of your platforms, and it will do it for you.
Google Analytics is a great platform for keeping track of how your blog is doing with regards to the readership, clicks, search engine rankings and much more. You can see where your posts are the most popular, which times are the most popular, and which types of posts your audience prefers.
If you are going to be taking this blog and website very seriously, this data is essential for knowing what and when to post, and how to get the most out of your posts. You will know where you are going wrong, as well as which direction will offer the most success.
Google Keyword Planner
Improving your SEO for your blog is a complete necessity nowadays with so much competition on the internet, you want to stand out from the crowd. Keyword planning allows you to write relevant posts in regards to which key phrases are the most popular on Google at the time.
If you are wanting to write about a holiday to Hong Kong, you can use the keyword planner to see which is the best combination of keywords to use to ensure your post does not get lost in the forest of other posts about Hong Kong.
Dropbox is an alternative to Google Drive and allows you to share and send files across the internet. The basic package is free, and you can pay for an upgraded subscription if you want more out of your account.
Evernote is a great way of keeping and storing notes on the go. You can download the app to your phone, and it syncs to the Cloud for storage. If you don’t carry a notebook around with you, Evernote can easily replace it.
PayPal may not be the most perfect payment platform for your website, but it is free and does its job quite well. If you are an e-commerce store or you are selling services, you can’t go wrong with PayPal.
Placeit is a brilliant platform that allows you to see how images, an e-book or a presentation would look on a smartphone, a tablet, laptops, TV’s etc. It’s a great way to ensure all your images are optimised for all devices and platforms.
If you are just starting out and need a way of keeping an emailing list, MailChimp is for you. It is free until you reach a certain number of subscribers, but until then, it is a great platform for sending out newsletters, alert emails and whatever else you would want your readers to know.
These tools are the best ones when starting out as a blogger. They cover a range of actions that you are going to need and being free means you can keep your costs down until you can afford to upgrade to premium packages.