Sunday, 7 February 2016

Blogging Tips | 7 Insanely Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed

Blogging Tips: 7 Insanely Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed | Not Dressed As Lamb
Ever been frustrated by any of the following?
- Leaving Caps Lock on and typing out a long sentence you've then had to retype?
- Using Twitter on your laptop and wanting to paste a 'face blowing a kiss' emoji as a reply to a tweet (but can't)?
- Seeing a great font on a blog or website but have no clue what it actually is?

If you've said "Yes" to any of these things then you need my list of insanely helpful tools and resources websites... and when I say insanely, I really mean it - I don't know how I got by without these things before I found them!

YOU NEED MY LIST OF INSANELY HELPFUL TOOLS AND RESOURCES WEBSITES... AND WHEN I SAY INSANELY, I REALLY MEAN IT - I DON'T KNOW HOW I GOT BY WITHOUT THESE THINGS BEFORE I FOUND THEM

I've been inadvertently gathering these websites for a while now and thought it time I shared them with you to hopefully make your life easier as well. They're not made for bloggers per se, but if you blog regularly (or even if you use computers in your day job!) then these sites provide some invaluable assistance that you just didn't know you needed. And in case you're wondering, they are all free to use.



I'm sure there are many more excellent websites that are just as helpful, as well as there being similar ones that do the same functions as some of the ones I've listed here. If you have any suggestions for ones along the same lines, do mention them in a comment - I'm always on the lookout for new things to simplify my life! 

Have you found these websites helpful, or were you already using any of them? And please don't forget to mention any sites that you use - tell me in the comments or tweet me @notlamb!

Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - Convert Case

1. Typed out a huge chunk of text and left Caps Lock on in error, or need to capitalise a sentence quickly? You need... Convert Case

If you've accidentally left the caps lock on and typed something, but can't be bothered to start again and retype it all, you can simply enter your text and choose the case you want to convert it to. You have the choice of Sentence case, UPPER CASE, lower case, Capitalised Case... Then there's a word count, character count, and a clipboard. All super handy - I use this several times each day. I use Convert Case for every post I write - I create the quotes from my copy in upper case with it (as above).




Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - Hemingway Editor

2. Want to improve your writing style? You need... Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor makes your writing Pulitzer Prize-worthy. If you're writing something a little wordy, or if you're writing an article for a publication, it's the perfect tool for you. Paste in the text you have written and the app highlights long, complex sentences and common errors in different colours. Yellow sentences are too long and need to be shortened or split. A red highlight denotes dense, complicated sentences that your readers will get lost trying to follow.

One thing it does that I especially like is highlighting adverbs in blue to encourage you to pick words that pack a greater punch instead. For example, instead of saying "I was really happy", you could say "I was overjoyed" (much more descriptive).

However, I would say use Hemingway Editor with caution - blogs are all about your writing voice, after all. If you try to perfect your writing for every blog post with this app you may find your personality disappearing... None of your readers want that more than perfectly written prose!



Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - WhatFont

3. Want to know what font someone's used on their blog or website? You need... WhatFont

WhatFont is an easy way to identify fonts on websites. This is a Google Chrome app that, once installed, identifies web fonts when you click on your WhatFont widget and then hover over them. It's that simple, and somewhat satisfying that you've worked out what font has been used (it's like a "aha! Gotcha!" moment. Most identifiable fonts can then be downloaded from Google Fonts or other free font sites like http://www.fontsquirrel.com or http://www.1001fonts.com.



Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - Click to Tweet

4. Want to create an easy way to encourage people to tweet something you've said? You need... Click to Tweet 

This is the best way to promote and share quotes and exerts of your writing on Twitter. You'll need to sign in with your Twitter account, then you simply write the message that you want others to share in the box. You can create a custom link by clicking the "Generate new link" button and the box can be embedded into your blog post. The activity of each link can then be tracked to see how popular it has been.

I'll own up and admit I haven't actually used this service yet but I've seen it on other sites, and always read good things about it. In other words I need to utilise this asap.



Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - Get Emoji

5. Not on your smartphone and need emojis on your laptop or computer? You need... Get Emoji

This page is simply a list of all emojis to copy and paste into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. - especially handy, if like me, you are on your laptop most of the all day and tend to use your social platforms via their actual websites rather than on your phone. I use them a lot on Tweetdeck (another essential tool for bloggers) and can now reply with a simple heart or kiss-blowing emoji rather than having to type out "thanks so much kiss kiss" (so tedious, I know)! #FirstWorldProblems



Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - PRShots

6. Need professional product images that don't require permission to use on your blog? You need... PRShots

PRShots is a royalty-free high quality online image library that serves the professional press (this includes bloggers). They put press-quality product and promotional images from leading retailers onto their website which you can download as and when you need them. It's free to use as long as you are a member of the press or blogger using the images for editorial (you need to register with them and give details of your blog, but it's pretty straightforward). Great for using in outfit layouts or posts about a brand's new season's range, for example.



Blogging Tips | 7 Helpful Tools and Resources Websites You Didn't Know You Needed - Wayback Machine

7. Want to see what your blog (or anyone else's) used to look like? You need... Wayback Machine

This isn't an essential that'll make your life easier necessarily, it's more of a fun thing to use. Wayback Machine by the Internet Archive is a tool that allows you to visit archived versions of websites - in other words, what a website looked like on a particular day in the past. Type in a URL, select a date, and then see a working version of what the website used to look like. Seeing how Manrepeller or The Blonde Salad looked like years ago may make you realise that the super bloggers weren't always as sleek and professional as they are now - we all start somewhere!

Warning: This is only for the brave if you've been blogging for a few years and you decide to look at your own. You can see what Not Dressed As Lamb looked like one year ago, two years ago, three years ago, and four years ago. =Yikes=


Don't forget to leave any suggestions for other similar sites in the comments! Hope they help, thanks for reading J


Catherine

P.S. Like this post? You might also want to check out my Blogging Tips page for lots of other handy tips!

Linking up to: Let It Shine, Brilliant Blog PostsFriday's Fab Favourites
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32 comments

  1. Wow Catherine!
    I did not know I needed these tools until I read this post. All brilliant!
    I am going to investigate them further, this week.
    However, I am blaming you for losing even more of my time to my blog...I am not even out of bed yet and the dog is looking at me with that "I need" look on his face.
    As for that last site? Hahahahaha....fantastic. It showed how blog styles change and not just the clothes!
    The blogging world moves at a eye-watering pace!
    You are (as always) so generous with sharing your tips and tricks.
    XXX
    Samantha
    fakefabulous.com
    P.S. That picture of you with your bowl cut was so funny, adorable and slightly cruel! :oP.

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    1. Oh Samantha your poor dog...!!!!!! I'm sorry, tell him!

      Hope they help - I've found them to be invaluable over the years. Plus I can't believe you went all the way back to my early blog design, I couldn't believe how different it looks!! Thanks hun xx

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    2. Oh, I have a wee question!....
      Would you (have you) ever deleted old posts because they were not in keeping with your new look?
      I wondered if, each time your blog changed it's "Frontage" did you ever cull content? Or, do you leave it all as a record of what once was?
      X

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    3. Hmm I can't remember ever deleting anything for that reason - but I have done it just once ages ago when a brand asked me to make all the links "do follow" to which I said no, and it all got a bit unpleasant so I just deleted the post. It wasn't worth keeping anyway, promoting some discount for them or something. But other than that I just keep all the embarrassing stuff on there... I assume that if it's rubbish no one will have searched for it anyway!! x

      P.S. For old posts that continue to be very popular I do reformat the font, signatures, etc. to keep in line with the current design (like headings and quotes and things). And I'll also add new rewardStyle links because I can see people still click on links to dresses and accessories and things, even though the post is, say, three years old...!!

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    4. Hahaha....fair enough! It is nice to look back and see how you and your blog has evolved.

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  2. Thank you for these, Catherine! I LOVE the reverse caps lock (see what I did there?). You are without fail a treasury of good ideas. See you later at Vis Mon, xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. I agree, Patti - that and the emojis are probably my most-used suggestions here! And yes, I will be at VM later 😉 Thank you sweetie xx

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  3. Really handing websites thanks Catherine. x x

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    1. My pleasure, sweetie - hope they make life a bit easier for you!!

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  4. You are such a doll to keep us up to date and informed! I'm definitely looking into the press benefits this week!! jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com
    ps. But like Samantha said, I could spend hours with these things---my cats will be fine but my husband starts to growl!!

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    1. Oh no I'm beginning to feel responsible for all my readers' husbands and pets not getting fed, haha!!! Thanks Jodie, I think you've got your work cut out for you ;))

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  5. Great sites! I know I'll use the emoji site A LOT!!! Thanks for sharing!

    I loved seeing what your blog used to look like! And I just got sucked into looking at random posts on my own site from way back... So interesting to see what I blogged about seven years ago...

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    Replies
    1. The emojis are SO useful, Andrea!! Well, maybe not essential, but they are fun to be able to use when you're not on your phone ;))

      Thanks sweetie, glad you've found them useful x

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  6. Wayback machine is so funny! Can't believe my favorite blogs used to look so... let's call it "vintage" :-D
    Hemingway is a brilliant tool, I also use a plagiarism checker (I prefer Unplag.com) as a part of editing process. I wonder why some bloggers don't, because their reputation depends on originality of the content they create. Anyway, I appreciate your decision to describe exactly these 7 tools. Great choice, Catherine.
    Keep blogging,
    L.

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    1. Ooh I've not thought of a plagiarism checker, Leona, though if I know I'm writing from my head (and heart) then I'm happy it's still original content - most subjects have been covered in one way or another...! I hope the tools help you, thanks for your comment! x

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  7. Thank you (I think :-D) for all of those tips. Now it looks like I have a lot more work to do on my blog! Really great info, Catherine. xx

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    1. Hehe I hope it SAVES you work, not makes more, Lisa...!! ;)) thanks hun x

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  8. These were great tips! Hemingway Editor sounds like something I need to look into...

    ~Julia
    www.thepetitefastinista.com

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    1. It's a really good one, Julia - it's good for "tidying up" no matter how well you think you've written something. Succinct and punchy is always better than long and waffly! Glad you liked the post :)

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  9. There are some amazing sites here. I'm going to bookmark this page! Thanks Catherine :)
    xx
    www.suzyturner.com

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  10. PR Shots is a great one. Thanks so much for introducing me to this site x Sunita #brillblogposts

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  11. SO many sites I don't even know about. Bookmarked for my reading later on. Thanks for sharing Frenchie Mummy #brillblogposts

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  12. Ooh I love this sort of post - I can see me spending hours faffing about on these sites! Really useful thank you - especially the Hemingway Editor as I have no writing experience and a m aware that my posts can be very wordy sometimes! Oh and who doesn't need an emoji finder on their PC? 😘 Love this! I genuinely just typed that in CAPS by mistake FYI :) #brillblogposts

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  13. This is a brilliant post! Some of the tools I already use but others will come really useful in the future. I am bookmarking this for later, I am so glad I came across this!
    #brillblogposts

    Petra from behealthynow.co.uk

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  14. I am going to bookmark this page to check allthese out later, looks really good. thanks

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  15. fab tips and hemingway editor is great :) #brillblogposts

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