One of the questions I've received the most over the years is how to get started with blogging. I've shared a few things here and there, but one of the things I've never talked about is what tools I use on a regular basis. It's so important when you're doing this as your job to invest in the right tools that will make your job easier and make your blog as professional as possible.
So here are my top 10 essential blogging tools.
1. A good computer. Since I do practically everything on my computer, it's important that I have a trusted computer that has enough storage, good color, a long battery life, and is easy to tote around since I'm often bringing it in the car or on trips with me. The Dell XPS 13 is a recent addition to our computer family (bringing us to four computers total) and my husband and I both love it (he was so excited to finally have a PC in the house again after years of only Mac's). It has a Intel 6th generation core i7 processor so it runs super fast, it has up to an 18 hour battery life (which is basically the best thing ever), and since it has the infinity edge, the computer itself is much smaller than my other 13" laptop, making it significantly lighter.
2. Photoshop. I use Photoshop for everything from photo edits to collages to adding text to my photos to drawing my sewing tutorial illustrations. I have plenty of blogger friends who use Illustrator and Bridge and other programs, but Photoshop is the only program I use and although it's pricey, I use it every single day, it does everything I need it to do, and I couldn't live without it.
3. A nice camera. I hire professional photographers for almost all the photography on my blog now, but in the beginning it was just me and my tripod (I blogged about that here). And even now with my photographers, I shoot some things on my own and it's important to keep your photo quality consistent whether you're getting them professionally shot or doing it on your own. I have the Nikon D7000 camera base, and almost exclusively use my 50mm f/1.4 lens.
4. Wi-Fi Card. This is a recent purchase, but now I don't know how I've lived without it for so long. It's a camera card that connects to your phone so you can take a picture on your DSLR and then get it directly to your iphone and share.
5. Phone. This is kind of a given, but I use my phone for work almost more than my computer. So obviously it had to make the list -- I can't live without it.
6. Portable phone charger. This is just about as important as my phone. You don't need anything super fancy...I got mine at a blogging event a couple of years ago and it's been great. Just find something small enough to throw in your purse, like this one, so you can re-charge on the go.
7. Notebook. I'm a total list person and they're the only way I can get anything done. I used to write things on random piece of paper, or make lists on my phone, but I've found over the last few years that having a notebook dedicated to just lists is super helpful for me. I like spiral bound ones so they lay flat when they're open. Every single night I re-write my list for the next day -- and I include everything that needs to be done, not just blogging things. Laundry, dishes, errands, school forms...it's all on there, and crossing each item off during the day is way more satisfying than I'd care to admit.
8. Calendar. A few years ago when I began to work more often with brands for my blog, keeping a calendar was an absolute essential for me. I have a wall calendar that is intended for keeping track of my posts, but really I survive off of my iCloud calendar. Since everything is on the cloud, I can access it from any of my computers (both Mac and my new Dell PC), and it syncs to my phone. I have all of my blog posts set to one color, and I schedule them for the whole day so they automatically send notifications the day before (and they show up highlighted on the calendar so they're easier to see). I put everything in this calendar -- doctor's appointments, reminders, church events, and of course all of my blog posts, meetings, phone calls, events, etc. I could not survive without this calendar.
9. iPhone clamp for tripod. On my instagram, I share daily photos of my outfits. Although I have friends and my husband take them for me most of the time, I occasionally have to set up my tripod and take them myself. This phone clamp holds your phone on the tripod so it's easy to set up the timer and shoot a few pictures. Even if you won't be taking outfit photos for your blog, it's a good tool to have for when you need a picture and no one is around.
10. Wacom tablet. This is obviously not a tool that everyone needs, but it's an absolute essential for me. I do all of my illustrating on this tablet, and after two years, I still love it just as much as the first day. It's so user friendly and I've never had any problems with it. I've had some questions from readers about it over the years, even asking if I'd do a tutorial on how to use it, so if that's something you're interested in, let me know in the comments!
created in partnership with Dell