My colleagues and the students in my blogging class frequently complain that blogging takes a lot of time. Naturally, if blogging is a time-consuming or difficult process for you, you’re likely to procrastinate or not do it at all.
Yes, it can take a good chunk of time to put together a well thought out blog post and set it up on your therapy website, but there are lots of free tools available that make blogging easier and faster.
Writing a blog post doesn’t have to take all day and these blogging tools can help you be more productive.
Blogging tools that make blogging faster and easier
- A timer. A basic timer is one of the best blogging tools, and we all have one on our phone or kitchen stove. I use a timer in a couple of different ways.
If I’m unmotivated, overwhelmed, or unfocused, I’ll set the timer for 30 minutes and commit to writing for this length of time. This feels manageable and I know I can stop after the thirty minutes if I want to. Getting started is the hardest part, so generally, I’ll be able to write well past the allotted time.
I also use a timer to limit the amount of time I spend on tasks like finding photos or creating infographics for my blog posts. There’s an old adage, known as Parkinson’s Law, that states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” In other words, a task will take as much time as you allow. So, setting a timer for ten minutes creates a deadline and prevents me from spending an hour or more searching for the perfect photo.
- The dictation function in Google Docs. If you don’t like to type, you probably already know that you can dictate from your phone into a Google document by clicking on the microphone icon. You can also dictate from your computer and it works quite well. Here’s how you do it:
- Open a document in Google Docs
- Click the Tools tab at the top
- From the Tools menu, select Voice typing
- Canva. Canva is a free design program that allows you to easily create impressive graphics for your blog. It’s great for making infographics, quotes, and title images. It takes some practice, but it’s quite intuitive to learn and use. You can access it online (Canva.com) or through their free app. (I find the app a bit glitchy.) I created the image to the right using Canva, which I’ll pin repeatedly on Pinterest to drive more traffic to my blog.
- Grammarly. Once your post is written, you’ll want to spell and grammar check it. I recommend installing the free version of Grammarly (you can find it online). It’s really helpful and I always find more errors when I check my blog posts with Grammarly.
- Read Aloud function in Word. In addition to using Grammarly, I suggest reading your blog post out loud to catch additional errors before publishing it. This will help you find and rework clunky sentences and small errors (like “on” when you meant “of”) that spell check misses. I recently discovered that Word has a built-in Read Aloud function that makes doing this even easier. Here’s how to use it:
- Click the Review tab at the top of your Word document
- Choose Read Aloud
- It may start immediately, or you may need to click the Play arrow that shows up in the righthand corner of your document. See the image below.
- If you click on the person icon, you can choose the reading speed and a male or female voice.
- Yoast Plugin for WordPress. This last blogging tool is a WordPress plugin for improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, it only applies to those using WordPress (if you’re not sure if your blog is on WordPress, check with your website designer or site administrator). Adding and installing the plugin is easy (again, ask your site administrator if you need help). The Yoast plugin gives you specific ways to improve the SEO of your blog posts and web pages. Your goal is to get a green light from Yoast by adding keywords to your post title, images, headings, and so on. The visual cues of the green, yellow, or red light make are a good reminder that making simple changes to your post can dramatically improve the SEO and likelihood that it will show up in search results.
I hope you find these blogging tools helpful. I’m always on the lookout for new ways to make blogging easier and faster, so if you’ve got a tip or tool to share, please feel free to leave it in the comments.
©2018 Sharon Martin, LCSW. All rights reserved.
Photos of timer and woman courtesy of Unsplash.