While some of the health coaches, personal trainers and wellness pros I’ve met over the last two years can find their way around the latest plug-in or app, many ask for advice on the best tools to use with their websites, blogs and mobile phones.
In the two Facebook communities I moderate, Social Media for Health Coaches and Health and Wellness Bloggers, we talk about tools that make social media marketing easier. I often share the ones I like and learn about new tools from fellow group members. Here’s a round-up of my current favorites … and even though all of these may not fit squarely in the social media category, they’re at least digital and deserve a mention here.
Tools I know well and love to use:
- Feedly – Call me obsessed, but I subscribe to 150+ health and wellness, social media, marketing and motivational blogs. Feedly, an RSS reader/news aggregator helps keep this lovely mess of things to read nice and neat. Here’s a screenshot of my Feedly home page, where you’ll see I categorize blogs by Healthy Living; Marketing, Business + Motivation; Social Media Marketing + Blogging; and Uncategorized (miscellaneous). If you’re still getting blog post updates via email, jump on the Feedly bandwagon – and I promise you’ll never want to jump off. I could explain it to you in less than five minutes, or you could search YouTube and find dozens of how-to-use Feedly videos, like this one, that can help you get quickly up to speed. Feedly, I couldn’t keep on top of my blogs without you!
- Google Alerts – I’ve been using Alerts for years. It’s super-easy to set up an account, and it’s a great way to stay abreast of topics I care about like health coaching, influential people I want to follow and news about my city. I also get Alerts whenever my name or company name is mentioned anywhere on the web. And I now use Feedly to capture these Alerts instead of getting the emails from Google. Google Alerts, you’re oh-so-easy and I mean that in a good way.
- Google Drive – My husband convinced me to start saving my docs on Google’s cloud, and that’s where everything now goes. Of course, now he’s telling me there are certain things I should still keep on my local PC and that we’ll run out of cloud space at some point and have to pay something – but, despite his warnings, I still save to Google more often than not. Google Drive, please tell me right before I run out of space so my husband doesn’t say, “I told you so.”
- jQuery Pin It Button – Mouse over one of the images on my site, and you’ll see this nifty WordPress plug-in in action. Want to get your blog post images shared more easily on Pinterest? Installing Pin It Button is a must-do. Seriously. Pin It Button, you’re so cool – why don’t more people know about you?
- PicMonkey – As my wellness pro friends on Facebook know – boy, oh boy, do I love this nifty image-editing tool. I use it for just about everything, including creating, resizing and color-correcting images. It’s free but I love it so much that I buy the Royale version, which sets me back only a few dollars a month. I still use Photoshop and similar software, but more and more PicMonkey edges them out. To see an image I created using PicMonkey, check out 99% of the posts on my site, including the image on this post. (Note: the photo is from Pixabay.) PicMonkey, I need to be an affiliate because I talk about you non-stop. And I love your blog and its helpful tutorials!
- Pixabay – This is my go-to site for free and free-to-use (public domain, royalty-free) images. I can find most anything here … and if I don’t find the perfect image on my first search, I re-think the key word I’m using and try again. Works. Every. Time. Pixabay, you make finding the perfect pix easy-peasy.
Tools I’m getting up to speed on:
- Buffer – I first learned about the Buffer app in my Social Media for Health Coaches Facebook group. It took me awhile to look into it and then I discovered it can work with (and not have to replace) HootSuite, which I’ve used for years. I’m now on the Buffer bandwagon, but I only use it for Twitter. (Maybe that’s because the one time I tried to Buffer something on Facebook, I couldn’t get it to work. Probably something I did wrong.) I’m sure there are additional Buffer features I should use, and maybe I’ll “Upgrade to Awesome” (what Buffer calls its premium account) someday. Buffer, I love your app, your blog and your customer service rocks.
- Canva – I don’t want PicMonkey to get jealous, but I’m a fan of another image-editing tool: Canva. I don’t think it’s as easy as PicMonkey, but maybe that’s because I haven’t spent as much time with it. It offers some cool templates and has loads of photos you can buy for just $1. I know many wellness pros who swear by it, and that’s why I keep checking it out. To see an image I created with Canva, check out my Turn one blog post into 21 shares, posts and tweets. (I looked everywhere for a herd of bunnies photo, and Canva had it.) Canva, will I grow to love you as much as PicMonkey? It could happen …
Tools I’m taking my time to learn:
- Google Analytics – I have an Analytics account for this blog, but I’ve barely scratched the surface using it. I listened to a Social Media Examiner podcast this week, Google Analytics: How to Make Smart Marketing Decisions, that got me excited about learning more. I also found this 6 Google Analytics Tips for Business Insight Way Beyond Traffic post and an overview video, Google Analytics Tutorial for Beginners 2014, which is 36 minutes long and means I’ll need to be in the right mode to take it all in. Why care about Analytics? At a minimum, you should know where your site traffic is coming from, which pages are performing well on your site and you should also know which devices are being used to hit your site … because, if you don’t have a responsive-designed site and Analytics tells you 30% of your visitors find you on their phones, you could be frustrating potential customers who can’t quickly find what they need on a site not built for mobile. Analytics, I know you’re ready to share amazing insights about my blog that can help me make smarter decisions!
- Google Webmaster Tools – Okay, I hope I’m not losing you; these “take time to learn” tools are not for the faint-hearted! But if you have a website or blog, you do need to get your tech on – or at least have someone you can turn to. I’m lucky in that I’m married to a computer programmer, and he’s my 24/7 tech support and can help me better understand the things Google search and YouTube reveal to me. Case in point: Webmaster Tools, which I signed up for this week, is something I’ve been intending to check out for awhile now. So far, I’ve only completed the verification piece and will likely need my favorite tech nerd to help me fully utilize (and understand!) Webmaster Tools. But I do know it’s important, so I’ve at least taken a first step. Webmaster Tools, I hope you help me (or at least my husband) know why I should spend quality time with you.
- If This Then That (IFTTT) – Health coaches like good-for-you recipes, right? Well, how about an IFTTT recipe? These recipes are good for you, because they automate key tasks and save you time. And time is everything, right? IFTTT lets you connect two programs or services together, so that a task – like saving your Instagram photos to Dropbox – is done once you post pix to Instagram. You can create your own recipe or do what I do, which is look for existing recipes to solve problems I didn’t quite know I had. One of the recipes I use is to automatically save new Twitter followers’ info to a Google spreadsheet. This lets me delete those “You have a new follower” emails from Twitter and keeps the information in a helpful spreadsheet I can check out later. Like last night I did this and was able to spend more time reviewing my new connections and sending personal “thanks for following” messages to some of them. Read up on IFTTT, and I bet you’ll find at least one tasty recipe worth using. IFTTT, is there a recipe that slaps my hand when I want to open the freezer to get ice cream? Because I could use that.
So these are my of-the-moment favorites … and I’m sure if you ask me in a couple of months, I’ll have new ones. But I’m also sure Feedly, PicMonkey, Pixabay and a few of the others will still be at the top of my list.
What tools and apps do you love and why? I’d love to try out some of your faves, so let me know in the comment section.
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