Guest post by Daniel Cassady.
There’s no doubt that blogging is time-consuming work. You have to produce content, manage comments, and promote your blog using social media sites, at a minimum. Beyond that, if you have guest and co-bloggers, you’ve got to stay in the loop on what they’re doing and make sure they’re on the right track.
If you’re struggling to manage your time, your posts, and even your team, there are a wide variety of great free tools to streamline your work. Here’s a list of free services and sites that can help you keep your blogging house in order:
1. To Be Done
To Be Done is a great first-time project management tool, so if you haven’t had a lot of experience with these types of programs, TBD, a completely Web-based program, is a good place to start.
Projects are laid out in a user friendly, graphic style and organized into tasks, which can be prioritized by date or rank. If your blog has multiple contributors and you’re having a rough time getting organized and staying organized, TBD’s cloud-based collaboration tools may be exactly what you need.
This is another great web-based program for blogs that have lots of contributors. Start a new project, assign tasks to different members of your team, and iTeamwork then sends emails to task-owners asking them to register to see the task.
iTeamwork stands out among most free project management systems for two reasons. First, it gives you the option to change a task into a project (perfect for tasks that may need more than one person to do); and second, you can attach notes to each task. These notes basically allow you to update the task with any new information or instructions for the task-owner.
Online service dotProject is the perfect web-based tool for bloggers who run more than one blog at a time. dotProject give you the chance to manage all your blogs – and all the projects and tasks on those blogs – in a well-designed, easy to navigate program.
While the dotProject software is free, you do have to pay for hosting on the site, but with all the features available to you, the price is well worth it.
The Skype of yesteryear was pretty limited, and only allowed you to make phone calls, both local and international. The new Skype is a whole other animal, letting you chat, send files, and collaborate on content.
But the real value of Skype to bloggers is its ability to help you create fast and easy content. Need some blog content on the fly? Skype empowers you to video conference with guests and create interviews, and you can use a quick Skype conversation for an instant and compelling blog post.
Sometimes the most time-consuming part of blogging life is tracking down interesting images to accompany your posts. You can easily spend hours looking for that oh-so-perfect shot, and many paid services lack the variety of solid images needed to add color and style to your blog.
With stock.xchang, recently bought by Getty Images, there are premium images available for a price, but the vast majority of images are high-quality, royalty free photos that you can add to your blog in seconds. Save images in your lightbox and you can go back, narrow down which ones you want, and even save some for posts down the line.
With so many free services for bloggers, there’s no reason to fret over time-sucking tasks. The tools above are not just great for organization, but they can up your blogging game by helping you manage and produce amazing content.
This is a guest post by Daniel Cassady who is an experienced freelance writer and frequent contributor to a blog by Benchmark Email, a global email marketing company.