It’s time for our first ever <em>press Link Up! It’s the start of a new series in which each month, we’ll release a blog post prompt, and anyone who wants to participate can write a post answering it! All the details of our Link Up are here, but just to recap, our first prompt was:
What are 5 items under $50 you can’t live without?
Today, we’re so thrilled to be sharing 5 work tools under $50 that are total must-haves, AND featuring a bunch of other bloggers who are answering this question with us. Read on to see our picks, and to find out what 16 other bloggers listed as their can’t-live-without items!
Ok, on to business! For our version of this month’s prompt, we decided to focus on work related tools since we co-authored this post together. Plus, while it was easy to think of little beauty products or other treats we loved, we know bloggers are always on the lookout for must-have resources from fellow creatives. Here are ours:
The app so good, it’s being mentioned here, and on our personal posts too! Lisa and Victoria both pay up for ToDoist’s premium plan, which costs just under $30 per year. It makes collaborating on tasks a dream—you can assign tasks to people, leave comments so tasks have more context (and file/link attachments!), easily see what’s been completed, and so much more. Victoria used ToDoist for years without the premium plan and loved it still, so if you are in the market for a task management program, you can try ToDoist for free and get a lot out of it. The collaboration tools just take it to the next level. Read more about why we love ToDoist here and here.
As designers and developers, we rely on Typekit regularly. What is it? Typekit is a cloud-based font application run by Adobe. With a single subscription, it allows you to sync hundreds of fonts straight to your desktop, so you can use them in applications like Word, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Illustrator—really anything! Typekit also gives simultaneous access to web font version of their fonts, so you can utilize fonts in their collections on your website (learn more about desktop vs. web fonts in this post we wrote!). This negates the need to buy multiple licenses from lots of different vendors, since Typekit offers fonts from many of the largest foundries, all in one place. It’s not a perfect system—we’ve definitely run into fonts we want to use and can’t get them on Typekit, and there have been instances where a client purchased a font via Typekit’s Marketplace program and couldn’t share it with us for design purposes (so we had to buy our own version). But all in all, it’s a must-have, and the platform just keeps getting better as more and more font foundries get added. If you are interested in design, or if you simply want access to a lot of great fonts for a low annual price, Typekit is the way to go.
While we both use CoSchedule for our studio businesses, we’ve really come to rely on it for <em>press. If you’re trying to amp up your social media presence, it’s a must-have! We love that we can use CoSchedule’s calendar view to plan out social posts, as well as blog posts, our marketing promotions, and input markers for when newsletters are going out. It gives us such a clear, bird’s-eye view of our social media presence, and that’s invaluable. CoSchedule also manages all the social media heavy lifting: we can schedule posts on Twitter and Facebook, and even Pinterest and Instagram, too. One of CoSchedule’s best features is called ReQueue, which allows you to repeat a series of social media posts over a particular period of time. So, if you publish a How-To post that’s relevant year round, you can set it up in a queue to get re-promoted on your Twitter account weeks or even months later. It’s super handy for filling out a social posting schedule over long periods of time, with minimal amounts of work! We won’t lie—at $40/month, CoSchedule is a serious investment (we are both lucky enough to have been on the platform for years, and got grandfathered in to older plans that are more affordable). But seeing what it has done to make our <em>press social life easier, we’d say it’s still worth ponying up the cash.
You can actually schedule Instagram posts via CoSchedule, but we subscribe to Planoly so that we can get a clear view of our Instagram profile grid and ensure the flow of our posts is what we want. Planoly has a ton of great tools, including auto-posting (no push notification needed), and the ability to add placeholder content to your feed to help you plan weeks in advance (and see where you have blank spots in your content). For businesses like ours, it also helps us distribute text-based graphics more easily, so we can make sure we’re not inundating followers with those types of posts!
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photography Plan is perfect for bloggers, because it gives you access to the tools you’ll utilize most, with none of the bloat. We find that most bloggers have no need for other creative programs like Illustrator, InDesign, or XD. So why would you pay $600 a year for those? With the Photography Plan, you can pay $9.99/month and get access to Lightroom, Photoshop, and 20 GB of cloud storage. It’s an easy and affordable way to get access to the best editing tools for your blog—and long term, it’s a great idea to know how to use these programs, if your plan is to grow your site into a business.
An extra one: Unsplash! because it is free!
Because it’s free, so why not?! In case you hadn’t noticed, we rely on on Unsplash all the time for stock photography on our demo sites, Instagram and newsletters. It’s grown a lot in the last few years, and is easily our favorite source for completely free, use-it-however-you-want photos. Their search tool is pretty good, so it’s easy to isolate images that work with the content you’re creating. We always recommend typing in obscure keywords too—you never know what you’ll uncover (words like “texture,” “peaceful,” and “pink” can yield great results, depending on the mood you’re going for!). One little known fact about Unsplash is that you can create a free account and build collections of photographs. So if you have a specific column on your blog that always seems to be short an image, create a collection and begin collecting photos for it! The next time you write a post for that column, you’ll have a ready made stock library tailored specifically to your brand aesthetic.
Be sure to check out each of our Link Up participants’ blogs, to read what their must-haves under $50 are: