If blogging is your side hustle, you need to budget as much as you possibly can, especially in the beginning. I wish I had a list like this when I was a beginner blogger because it would have saved me time, money, and mistakes.
When I started blogging, VSCO Cam didn’t exist and there were barely any blogging tools, let alone tools that were named after animals like PicMonkey and Mailchimp. Now, it’s easier than ever to be a blogger without looking like a newb.
In fact, I see more and more beginner bloggers killin’ it early on and I wouldn’t be surprised if the only camera they used was their phone. And to be honest, the cheaper the better because once you start to really build your brand, you’ll need all the money you can get.
So, if you want to save money while trying to make money, check out these 5 tools every budget blogger should use.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but you need the VSCO Cam app. Not only is it free, but it will give your Instagram feed a clean, consistent aesthetic. My favorite filters are A6, F2, G3, M5, SE3.
Some of the filters are not free and you could end up paying $2.99 or something like that. I recommend getting a bundle deal for $5.99 so you can play around and see what filters speak to you and work with your brand.
The benefit of VSCO Cam is that you can get professional looking editing for free and by using the same filter time and time again, it makes a really pretty Instagram feed.
Note: All filters are strong and if you use them at full opacity, your picture will look grainy. Tone it down about 50%.
Snapseed is Photoshop’s mobile little brother. It has the editing capability of a professional, yet made specifically for your cell phone pictures.
You can color correct, brighten, contrast, warm, cool, or airbrush pictures with the swipe of your thumb – pretty amazing. A lot of bloggers use Snapseed first to brighten and saturate, then they’ll open the VSCO Cam and add their signature filter.
You may not even use VSCO Cam after seeing all of Snapseed’s features. But as long as you stick to the same amount of editing and filters for each picture, you will have a beautiful feed your followers can’t resist.
Note: Snapseed’s alterations are more subtle than VSCO Cam’s so you can increase edits anywhere from 20-50.
PicMonkey.com is a photo editing website with a free and paid option. I’m assuming the paid version is like Photoshop, but I haven’t tried it. I strictly use the free version and do all my graphics, banners, and blog pictures. It’s great for minimal editing, resizing, and designing blog banners. Of course, if you’re not blogging on a budget, then by all means go for Photoshop.
Quality is a key selling feature when you’re a budget blogger, so Photoshop is worth the investment. The quality of a photo isn’t based entirely on your editing tools – it has a lot to do with the photographer and camera. So if you have a DSLR or the latest iPhone and don’t want to spend money on Photoshop, PicMonkey will do just fine.
Someone asked me about automation services and Hootsuite was my answer. Hootsuite, like the other tools, is free with a paid option, yet I haven’t needed more than the free option so I can’t speak to the paid version.
What I do know is, the free version of Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts on up to 3 social media profiles. It also gives you performance insights and lets you monitor your social profiles.
Hootsuite is the easiest and most effective scheduling service that every budget blogger should use.
Mailchimp is another great automation service for e-mail. You can schedule e-mails, make multiple lists, and customize templates with the click of a button. This is not a sales pitch for Mailchimp… though it should be!
I started using Mailchimp back in 2009 and haven’t looked back. You get the free service up to 1,000 or so contacts and then you have to pay for options that are as cheap as $9.99 a month.
Mailchimp also allows you to integrate sign-up forms to WordPress, Facebook, and anywhere else you can think of. You can make as many forms or as little as you want. You can also merge e-mail lists, track your growth, open rate, and click rate. There’s nothing Mailchimp doesn’t do and it’s totally free!
What are your favorite tools for budget bloggers? Tell us below, we’d love to know!
Image Source Credit – Lifestyle News
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