If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of blogging, a significant portion is like any other job. A typical day-to-day involves answering emails, scheduling meetings, project management, content organization, communication with clients and team members, social media, and more. Over time I’ve incorporated a variety of small business tools and programs to keep things on track, whether working from home or on-the-go.
As I’m not moving around at the moment, my focus has been on organization for myself and our small team. When I am traveling, trips often overlap normal weekdays and a lot of work is done remotely, which makes organization and tools for productive work even more essential. Having a routine while working from home is also key. Over the years I’ve learned what’s worked best, and I’m constantly trying new programs that others recommend! This is a full list of the programs and tools that we utilize on a daily basis:
Airtable has an initial learning curve, but I now use it every day. The best way to describe Airtable is spreadsheet organization meets project management, with crazy capabilities. It allows you to create interactive bases that can be customized by view and functionality, and that interact with one another. We use it for keeping track of projects and day-to-day tasks, managing content and social calendars, auditing blog posts and much more.
We use Slack to communicate and send messages. It’s essentially a chat dialog that’s incredibly user-friendly and can be synced with a lot of popular programs and tools, including Airtable. I also love that I can search for previous conversations, attach documents, and start video calls from Slack directly.
Google Docs allows me to create and manage various documents and spreadsheets and share them with anyone to access online. I use it for anything from how-to documents, to one off projects, to note taking. I also keep an Airtable base with descriptions of each Google Doc and links to each, so they’re organized and easy to find.
My most-used creative tool is Lightroom, hands down. This is where I do all my photo editing and organization for all the photos you see on my blog and Instagram. If you’re new to Lightroom, this quick photo editing guide breaks down what it is and how to use it.
I use Photoshop mainly for creating Pinterest and email graphics. Sometimes I use it if I need to spend more time removing something from a specific photo I want to share, like a person or object in the background.
Canva is also a great tool for creating designs if you’re looking for something easy to use. They have pre-built templates for Instagram stories, Pinterest graphics, Facebook templates, and so much more.
Tailwind is a Pinterest management tool. It allows me to determine the optimal times for my pins to go out, and helps me schedule them accordingly. It’s huge for growing your Pinterest following, and one of the main sources of traffic for my blog personally. I highly recommend it for bloggers, small businesses, and anyone selling a product or service online.
Google Anayltics is key to understanding what’s working for your website. It’s an essential part of tracking my website traffic, what blog posts are performing well and insights so I can tailor my content more strategically.
When writing a new blog post, I use Keysearch to research the best SEO keywords to include. It’s helpful to plan content and also see what other websites have ranked for the keywords I’m targeting.
This is a calendar tool that allows me to send a link via email for people to schedule a call. It’s especially useful when I’m working with people in different time zones.
Along with Calendly I use this website frequently to plan meetings, and have it saved as a bookmark on my web browser for easy access.
Zoom is a video calling app for virtual meetings. It’s especially useful for larger groups, since it can accommodate many people at once.
We use QuickBooks for generating invoices, managing our income and expenses, and everything to do with finances for our small business.
I have multiple emails, and this keeps all my email accounts in one place. I can also access it offline, which is helpful if I’m traveling or on a plane without wifi and want to draft emails to send later.
I use this simple notes application every day. Since it can be accessed offline, I’ll often include notes and thoughts here as I’m working. It syncs back and forth from my laptop and iPhone so I can start a draft and edit it later. It’s useful for sharing with others, ‘pinning’ relevant notes on top, and drafting blog posts and Instagram captions.
Though this one seems like a given, organized bookmarks are perhaps the most important tool of all. My web browser has folders like ‘Wordpress’, which contains a shortcut to login and relevant pages, articles, how-to pages, tutorials, and more. I also save relevant pages and delete page names so that only icons show, for quick access to websites I use every day.