I am determined to become better at blogging, without spending anything.
I saw a course today for mastering Medium that’s cost $500 about £385. As a new blogger and writer, there are few of us who can afford this, when starting out. The course maybe excellent and teach me many techniques but, the simple answer is I can’t afford it.
So I embarked on a project to research and find as much FREE stuff as I could.
Here are the top 5.
I appreciate many of you may have heard of this but, I will never stop telling you about it. The help it has given me to craft concise well-structured sentences has been outstanding. When I started blogging my work lit up like a Christmas tree with all the hi-lighted passages. As time has progressed I have found less editing is needed. Don’t use the program to correct your work but, use it to learn your craft.
Incidentally, before I used Hemingway I used the word ‘just’ in every sentence I wrote. With Hemingway’s help, I have eliminated the word almost completely. I would never have known this about my writing had I not used this website.
This is another program which is very popular. There is both a free and paid version. I use the free version and find it adequate for my writing. Grammarly not only checks your grammar but, stops you using the wrong word in posts. Make sure you read the explanations for the changes it wants to make and don’t click to change everything. There are times when Grammarly can get it wrong. Used with caution it is a brilliant program.
This again is a popular application and website. I use Evernote to store all my notes and writing ideas. I have set a notebook up for every idea I have. As I go through my everyday life I can throw all types of research into the notebooks for collating later. Once again I find the FREE version more than suits my purpose. The syncing between platforms is also outstanding. Evernote is a brain dump for my mind.
Headlines are the area that I struggle most within blogging. I am proud of my writing but, my headlines rarely attract the engagement they should. I have tried various analysers but CoSchedule is my favourite. It stores all the headlines you have tried so that you can tweak them to get the best score. Headlines are something, I will always have struggle with but, CoScheduler helps.
Recur, I only recently discovered and it has been revolutionary. I have not completely mastered it yet which is why it is in fifth position. Once I have spent longer working it I can see it becoming my number 1.
Recur helps you to schedule and organise posting to various platforms. The FREE version limits you to three social media accounts only. If you have followed my advice on Deleting Half Your Social Media you can manage your three profiles. On a Sunday I sit down and within an hour I can schedule all my posts for a week. Don’t make this the only way you post to your social media. Followers will prefer some original, on the spot posts, this is an excellent addition to that.
Facebook groups are a great way to meet people and grow your online presence. They allow you to network and gain support from people in similar situations. I belong to many Facebook groups and even have my own for Bookworms.
These five have been the most supportive and increased my blog flow.
Every day there is a different thread where you can post your latest articles. This can be posts on Medium or your personal sites. Grown Your Blog Movement has increased the traffic to my posts. I would say it is important to interact and be supportive on there. Don’t post and leave without supporting the other writers. I have met several lovely people on the site who I always look out for their work.
This group also gives you the opportunity to post links to your articles. Unlike Grow Your Blog Movement though it is more than that. The group offers advice, support and resources. I have never felt that I have asked a stupid question on there. The group is smaller than some but has a lovely, friendly supportive atmosphere. The group is run by Blake Powell who is an excellent resource. He has a wealth of information and is more than happy to share it with anyone.
If you are looking to make money from your blogging then this is the group for you. Advertisers and bloggers post opportunities for others on there. Normally 2–3 a day, so lots of opportunities to find some paid work. I have the notifications for this group turned on so I can always see when a new opportunity is posted. At present I haven’t received anything back from them but, it is still a valuable resource.
What this group doesn’t know about Medium is not work knowing. I have asked many questions when I started with Medium. All my questions have been answered. I have now found that I can give back to the community by answering the question of others. Again this is a friendly network of people.
This group is similar to Bulletproof Writers. It has a daily opportunity to posts links to your articles. This is a new group for me so I am starting to get to know people on there. Again they have been supportive and friendly. Many of the people I have chatted to through the site have followed me.
This is my opportunity to give a shout out to some of the bloggers that I follow. Each of them has offered advice and I have enjoyed learning from their journey.
This blog is contributed by two main authors Anne and Ruth Harris. Both have worked in the publishing industry for many years. Their blog aims to help newer writers create their best possible work and launch it. It is not just a valuable resource but its a well set out blog. It is something you can curl up with on a sofa with a coffee.
CopyBlogger has content from many bloggers. Their blog is crammed with hints and tips on all aspects of blogging. It is worth scanning through their posts to read the articles that interest. It is a place you can keep coming back to as you develop your writing. I started looking for posts on making your headlines better and have now moved on to working with SEO. This is a wonderful database of information which can help all bloggers.
This blog is not as well laid out, compared to others. However, it makes up for it with content. Every day a different tip or piece of advice is given. Some are relevant to my writing, some are not. It is a blog I like to keep my eye on and read the posts that interest.
I met Jenny on Twitter and have followed her success for many months. She writes on such a range of subjects, it is this diversity which makes me love her blog. She is also successful in what she does and has made money from her blog. Some of her sponsored posts are not for me but, they are easy enough to skip. Jenny marks these posts so you can skip over them. Not what the sponsors want to hear but, never mind. What Jenny does offer though is some brilliant articles on blogging. She details how she reached the success she has. Her blog has taught me so much over the months, I will forever be grateful.
Jo Botha is a new blogger who is documenting how she is starting a blog and making it successful. There are things to learn from all her posts but, most of all I like following her journey and supporting her.
I asked people to send me links to their email subscription so I could feature them. The take up was poor. Before starting this I thought that email subscriptions were popular. After the poor uptake, I’m not so sure I should spend time concentrating on building my own list. Here, however, are the five I couldn’t live without.
The main thing that attracts me to Tom’s writing is his strong writer’s voice. It feels like he is talking to you when you read his posts. His email lessons are like this. They are friendly in tone, as well as containing a huge amount of information and advice. The lessons are well divided and not too excessive, you never feel as if you are being overwhelmed. The suggestions he puts in his emails work. Through his help, I have increased my following by 100 in a week. I’m not going to tell you how to, go and subscribe to him and get this and many more tips.
Subscribing to the Writers Digest newsletter unlocks amazing resources, such as:
- writing prompts;
- advice on crafting your manuscript;
- tips on publishing;
- latest posts from bloggers.
Although this site is more suited to novel writers it still has great resources.
When you join this list you get access to a FREE book. As a bookworm, I always like a book, especially if it costs me nothing. You also get access to cheap courses and other resources. The emails again are not excessive. They contain tips and tricks that could help you develop your blog.
Shaunta has written a couple of books as well as having her own Facebook group. Her email subscriptions deliver a range of advice and resources. She is very prolific with her email subscriptions and is a constant presence in your inbox. This is actually why she only made fourth spot. When you start receiving her emails they can be too much. As you join you are met with 3–4 emails which I found overwhelming. The information is good but, a little too excessive for my liking.
This email subscription started excellently. Every day I was presented with a range of practical solutions to help market my posts. As the posts progressed though they have become more about advertising. The original content and information is now limited. I am going to persevere with this but, it may be in the future that I unsubscribe. I would urge you to engage with it initially though as the advice if very valuable.
These are the best FREE resources I have found to improve my writing craft. As I find more I will post them here and on twitter.
What are the best FREE resources you have found?