Tools for the Blogger

Hey hey! Thanks for the kind words and support about our latest fiasco. ;) The adjuster came out today and he was SO awesome – we’re hoping for good news. It could be up to two weeks before we can do anything though, and I’m already itching to have a working kitchen again.

It may be a long two weeks! :)

Anyhoo, I joke that I’m shocked I even have a functioning blog, let alone one that does alright for itself, cause I’m CLUELESS when it comes to computers, web stuff, html, all of it. Terms like “SEO” make me go HUH? I just don’t get it – I think I would if I took the time to learn it all, but I’m too busy DIYing and then blogging to learn all that.

Someday I will. For now, I continue to hang on by my fingernails. ;) But there are a few sites that I use constantly that are extremely helpful to me when it comes to blogging. And most of them could be helpful to anyone – blogger or reader!

The first one that I think is most important is keeping track of your statistics. Even if you don’t have advertisers or care what your numbers are, it’s a good idea to have some kind of tracker installed on your site. You just never know when you’ll want to check out your stats. It’s also fun to look back and see how you’ve grown from time to time. :)

I’ve told you before I don’t look at mine often. I’ll check maybe once a month just to update my numbers for advertising purposes. If I look much more than that, I get all weird and freaky and wonder if I should do more and feel like I can’t keep up and I hate that feeling. :)

I use two sites – the first is StatCounter:


It’s super easy to install on your blog (in blogger I think I installed it as a html button) and it keeps track of all sorts of things:


The thing with StatCounter is that their numbers are wayyy low compared to other programs I’ve used. Blogger now has stats readily available, and StatCounter’s numbers don’t even touch what Blogger tells me.

And the Google Analytics numbers are between those two:


Their numbers are still way higher than StatCounter’s, but not as high as the Blogger stats. It’s highly confusing. I still haven’t heard a good explanation as to why this happens, but I think it’s common for most bloggers.

I typically use Analytics – especially for things like page views and to see where referring traffic is coming from. I post my top ten blog referrers for each month (down on the bottom left side of my blog) and I get that info from Analytics:


I put the code for Analytics on my blog myself the first time I did it, and then when I got a redesign I had to have the designer do it – I could not for the life of me figure out how I did it! It can be tricky, so ask around if you need help.

I told you – clueless! :)

I’ve mentioned my love for Picnik before:


Most of the photos you see on this blog are touched by The Nik somehow. And you can do SUCH fun stuff with their effects:

image image image

I highly recommend playing around with it for a while. You’ll love it! (And most of their options are free!)

When it comes to the moola, I only accept payment from individual advertisers through PayPal:


There is a small fee that comes out of each deposit, but it’s worth it to me. It’s so easy to use for invoicing, and they keep track of all of my transactions for tax purposes as well. (You can get a monthly statement or end of the year.)

And the great thing is, most small businesses use it anyway – so most everyone has an account. I tried accepting checks for a while and it was just a mess. This works out much better.

Of course there’s the social media STUFF. Twitter and Facebook namely. And many of you know the great Pinterest for the awesome online archiving system that it is:


I showed you more about this amazing site here. And yes, I know. It’s annoying when everyone under the sun is talking about some site you know nothing about. Believe me, I avoided it for a while just because I felt like “everyone was doing it.”

I can be a brat like that. ;)

But it really is an awesome tool. For reals. If you love blogs, you will love it. And if you are a blogger – USE IT. Pinning will get your blog out there because you know a good “pin” will travel endlessly through time. ;) If you have a blog, I highly, highly suggest you create your account with your blog name. I can’t find half the blogs I follow because they’re all under personal names and that bums me out! I want to see what they are pinning! REAL bad. (Go to “edit profile” under your photo to change your name if you want to do so.)


And I absolutely pin my own projects – if I post on something DIY or decor-related, Pinterest is one of the three places I link the post to right after I hit publish – along with Twitter and Facebook.

Yes, it felt odd doing it the first few times, and I don’t do it a ton (Pinterest specifies that they don’t want the site used purely as a tool for self-promotion), but I see it as another marketing tool and find it’s brings a TON of traffic to my site. It now beats out Twitter and for sending traffic to TDC.

Please don’t be afraid to promote yourself! Just be cool and don’t get all freaky about it. ;)

Speaking of linking to Twitter – I use to shorten my links:

You only get so much space for tweets, so this helps a ton – it knocks the link to my posts down to 10 or 12 characters.

I’ve used similar sites in the past and had one link to a very spammy site instead of mine once, so since then this bitly site is the only one I use. Yikes. No one wants to see that. Seriously.

One great little tricky trick that I learned a couple years ago was to use Google Alerts:

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are email updates based on a topic you enter – so say you want to know every time your blog name is mentioned out in Googleland. You enter it as one of your alerts and it sends a daily email with links to each site that mentions you.

It’s just a cool little tool – and you can use it for any term you want. You could enter “painting” or “molding” and everything will come up daily for those terms. The sky is the limit! It’s a great way to see who is talking about your blog, but it’s also an easy way to find out more about any topic you are interested in.

Finally, the boring stuff – but it’s the stuff that keeps your blog and all of your tools safe and sound! Did you know you can download the content of your blog whenever you want? If you are in Blogger, go to “settings” then under “basic” click on “export blog” under blog tools.


Remember – hit export, NOT delete. ;) When you hit download blog, it will save the content. So JUST IN CASE…you’ll have a back up. I try to do it once a month but should do it more often. And I’m not even sure what “Atom export format” is – but I know it’s saving something. I hope.

(If you didn’t believe me the first few times – clueless.)

And I also use Carbonite for my computer:


I only use it cause Dave Ramsey told me too. ;) I’ve had it installed for a couple months and so far so good. It is GREAT peace of mind – I know all of my files (especially my photos!) are safe and sound. I used to use Photobucket for everything, but it just became too time consuming to download every photo.

And if you enter “Ramsey” when you check out, you get two months free or something like that. ;) (I think it’s Ramsey!) Whoo!

So there you go – a few of my tips for the blogger that even non-bloggers can use. I aim to please all peeps! I hope this helps some of you! Are there any I’ve missed? Any great tools on the Net that you use and love? Share with the group!

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