I got a message from WordPress a couple of days ago, congratulating me with the 8th birthday of my account. Whew, eight years seems such a long time. And in all that time, I don’t think I’ve ever shared my blogging toolkit. So, let’s have a peek at the bare basics I use.
Blogging is one of those hobbies for which you need very little tools to start. If you have a computer that can run a browser and you have a smartphone, you’re good to go. For my day-to-day blog post, my physical blogging toolkit is still small.
- Notebooks + pretty Hema pen: I can’t go outside without at least one notebook in my bag. At the moment, I even have two as I’m keeping the Maddy and Plutomeisje ideas in separate books. I’ve noticed this is counterproductive (and bad for my shoulders). I’m trying to fill them as fast as possible and then I’ll move to one book for All The Things.
- Smartphone: At the moment I have a Samsung S6, which is a decent smartphone. It has a good camera and still runs all the newest version of the apps I use, so I’m happy with it. The only downside is its lack of a spot for an SD card. It has 32GB memory, which isn’t that much if you want to use your smartphone for photography and video. I do think that if you have a smartphone with a decent camera you could probably skip buying a camera (at least to start).
- Camera: I use a Canon Eos 550D with a 50mm 1:1.8 STM lens (eg. the cheap one). I don’t think I’ve switched to my kit lens (18-55mm) even once since I bought the 50mm, although it isn’t always the perfect lens to use. Especially when I’m taking product pictures (eg. the picture on top of this part) I have to stand on a stool, on the tips of my toes, keeping the camera high, to be able to take this sort of picture. It is not a pretty sight. But in most situations, this lens allows me to take decent pictures and I love it. It’s also only since I bought it I found pleasure in taking pictures.
- Laptop: My laptop is a love-hate story. It has decent hardware, on paper, put it acts like there is a curse on it sometimes and it has a crappy screen. Which makes me sad, because it wasn’t cheap. Still, it runs all the things I need it to run (eg. Adobe software) and even though I often have more than 50 tabs (74 atm) open, it doesn’t slow down when I also start editing pictures in Photoshop. Some people would probably call this misuse of a laptop, but this is how chaotic I work.
I have some extra tools, especially in my photography kit, but that’s for another time.
- WordPress: I run a self-hosted version of WordPress on webspace I got at One.com. I heard both good and bad things about One.com, but at the moment I a happy customer and it’s cheap.
- Evernote: I use Evernote as my digital notepad, where I drop ideas or start writing drafts of posts when I’m on the go. I feel I don’t use it to its full potential yet, especially when it comes to sifting through ideas later on and using the drafts I started.
- Google Analytics: I don’t think you can go around Google Analytics if it comes to your website’s statistics. I use it to track my stats and keep an eye on the progress of my numbers. I also feel like I don’t use this tool to its full potential. Google Analytics has a lot of options, so getting really into it will take some time on my part.
- Feedly: This is still my preferred feed reader, although I definitely read fewer blogs than I used to. A bit of a pity, because I feel less connected to the community.
- Pocket: I love Pocket! I only rediscovered it a couple of months ago and it helps me have fewer tabs open in my browser. In Pocket I can store all the articles I really want to read at some point in Pocket and then, when I have some time to read, just pull up the app. I also use tags in Pocket, so I have tags for interesting articles about blogging and social media, but also for blog posts I found inspiring and I want to look at on a later moment.
Ok, I feel like this blog post is getting long enough. I also really want to share the plugins I use on WordPress and all the awesome apps I found for creating photos for social media and blog posts, but that would mean this post would be, at least, double in length. So let’s keep that for another time. I’m curious, though, what do you consider the bare basics in a blogging toolkit?