You know, for a hobby, blogging can sometimes feel like a full time job. If writing posts and taking photos and editing them to perfection wasn’t enough, there’s Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest and and Snapchat and goodness know what else to keep up with by the time I’ve published this. Having a job and a social life and, y’know, other commitments often gets in the way of the ideal constant stream of self-promotion and social interaction, so what’s a girl to do? Well, whatever problem you have, there’s an app for it. Here’s my list of five apps that makes the daily blogging grind that much easier.
This is my favourite app for scheduling content on Twitter. I’m not allowed my phone on me at work, meaning I can’t tweet throughout the day — Buffer solves that problem for me! It allows you to schedule tweets whenever you want, be that ten times a day or morning and evening, or at 2:37 AM on Tuesdays only. Mostly I use it to promote new blog posts because I like how it formats links and allows you to attach pictures. There’s also a handy analytics tab where you can see how well your past Buffered tweets performed and even repost them (this makes it really easy to keep promoting favourite posts or other social media accounts). And all of this without the constant nagging alerts to upgrade to a Premium (pricey) version of the app.
I use this app for one thing only: to see my Instagram unfollowers. It’s absolutely shocking how many accounts — particularly brands! — play the follow-unfollow game with Instagram users to get them to follow back before unfollowing them and making their Followers comparatively higher than their Following. It’s infuriating, especially when a brand or blogger you admire does this. It’s petty — but honestly, so am I. I’ve tried a lot of apps that claim to display Instagram unfollowers, but there are so many glitchy ones and even more ones that demand you upgrade to gain that feature. +Reports is the best one I’ve tried. There are plenty of features that you need to pay to access, but the free version is helpful enough. It allows you to see not only unfollowers, but also other kinds of relationships between accounts. I particularly love the feature that lets you see accounts who are following you but who you aren’t following in return — I’ve found a number of great feeds this way that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise!
This app completely changed my photography game. I know it’s not brilliant now, but before Lightroom, it was a lot worse, trust me! The app is essentially a watered-down Photoshop for your phone or tablet, and I use it to improve the bare bones of my blog photos before taking it elsewhere to slap on a filter. You have very basic features like crop, rotate, exposure, sharpen, etc., all very common features of photo-editing apps, but on Lightroom it’s all very precise and responsive. I get a lot of use from the Color tab, which allows you to cool down the photo’s temperature with casting it in that awful blue light like in other apps. There’s also the Lens Correction feature that’s great for flatlays to help them look straighter!
The word Facetune has undergone the same pejoration as Photoshop did. Where magazines are accused of Photoshopping their photos beyond recognition, celebrities are likewise accused of “Facetuning” them on Instagram. I’ve tinkered with the alteration features, I’ll admit, but it’s a lot harder than it looks. So why do I use it? The filters, of course! The filters are stored in categories depending on the kind of look you want to go for. A lot have to be paid for, but my favourites (FG1, NF2, and GS1) happen to be free! I find they make my pictures brighter without being too gaudy or grainy, and gives them the nice cool hue that I tend to go for. There’s also a few light leaks if you’re feeling really fancy!
I’m still quite new to Planoly, another scheduling app, this time for Instagram. I’ve tried Buffer for Instagram a little while ago, but didn’t like the fact that it didn’t actually post for you — just reminded you to post it manually yourself. Unfortunately Planoly does the same so I’m still looking for that perfect app (I’m blaming that bloody algorithm!) — but Planoly still deserves a shot. Why? You know when you post to Instagram and realises that the new post just doesn’t look right in your feed? Planoly helps you to avoid that. Even though it doesn’t post for you, it still allows you to “schedule” your Instagram posts so you can see what the photo would look like on the grid. Never go off-theme again!
What’s the most important app in your blogging toolkit?