Hello everyone! If you haven’t heard, I have a new weekly blog series called “Level Up” where, every Sunday, I’d touch on a way to take your blog and/or business to the next level. You can check out all the other posts in the series here! Now, as you level up in the blogging/business world, you’ll find there are some apps, websites, tools that you keep coming back to. For me, there’s quite a few, and, thankfully, they’re all free (though you can upgrade to a paid, premium version). Here’s my master list of tools….
As an avid reader and collector of anything books, I have a lot of them ALHLA which is great for me (not great for my TBR) but a lot to keep track of, especially since I have a lot of half-bought series and it’s hard to remember which books I have. Thankfully, My Library lets me scan the barcodes on my books and add them to a massive list of what my personal library is. It lets me add notes, organize them by author or title, and it’s absolutely wonderful! Plus, if the ISBN number is different for different editions or versions of books, you can add them to your library anyways!
The only possible disadvantage, though, is that you can’t add your ARCs because there’s no way to scan them unless you want to manually include them yourself with a note that it’s an ARC. TBH tho, the app is amazing anyway and it’s saved me sooooo many times from almost buying repeats!
As someone on-the-go a lot and who doesn’t a ton of books to take with me to my apartment, having the Kindle app on my phone and being able to use Overdrive is amazinggggg I used to bring a ton of books to my apartment and then would find my place a mess because of the number of books I brought. Now, though, if I really need to, I can enter my library card number onto Overdrive, check out the e-book version of any finished copy I desperately want to read and BAM! it’s sent to my kindle app, and now I can read on my phone! It’s greattttt plus, it’s getting easier on my eyes as now I can adjust the word size so I don’t strain my eyes! Not to mention, whenever I find a quote or scene I might make an art piece of later, I can just highlight it and/or screenshot it and be on my way! Much easier than fumbling for my phone, trying to take a picture of the page, and then ending up staying on my phone for an hour scrolling through Twitter!
Sometimes, ideas hit you at the weirdest and most inconvenient times like in the middle of the night or while I’m walking. Instead of having to think really hard to remember it in the morning or when I get to my destination and can then write things down, I can just whip out my phone and quickly write the idea so I don’t forget it!
…..sometimes, though, writing the words can be too hard, whether because of mental blocks or because physically you can’t for whatever reason. Thankfully, the voice recorder and the voice-to-text option is there and has helped me more times than I count. Now, when my hands hurt and I can barely time, or when I know what I want to say but can’t manage to write it down, I can just record my thoughts-dump on my phone or on Google Docs and have something written down!
As an artist who likes to physically sketch out ideas with a pencil then move to digital, Camscanner is a blessing! Trying to scan things on my printer is a longgggg process and, honestly, the reason I didn’t put up drawings in my shops for a while. But then I found out about Camscanner, which is a pretty high-quality scanner on my phone that lets me take a picture of my drawing no matter what paper it’s on, adjust the picture so it’s straightened and the background is white and the lines are black (much easier to paint over later), and then email it to myself as an image or pdf. It’s soooooooo easy to use and, though I forget who told me about it, I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart and the tops of my feet!
As much as I love editing and correcting people’s written mistakes, I can mess up my spelling and grammar quite often. Thankfully, though, Grammarly is a tool that you can add for free to Google Chrome, Google Drive, even Microsoft Word, and they’ll pick up any spelling or grammar mistakes you make. Plus, if you click on a word and highlight it, you can get a bunch of synonyms which is very helpful after I’ve used “business” about ten times in one paragraph lol. If you get the premium version, it can also specifically help you with your sentence structure, but, even with the free version, you can find out, in general, how many sentence structure-related mistakes you’ve made and you can go from there. Overall, it’s been a lifesaver and I use it for everything now!
If Grammarly was one half to ultimate word domination, the Hemingway App (which is actually a website lol) would be the other half. You can type/paste your document onto the website and it will tell you the reading level of your writing, what specific sentence structure mistakes you’ve made, and, offer basic suggestions on how to fix them! It’s pretty awesome and, like I said, when using it with Grammarly, I feel like I rule the Word World lol
Quite possibly one of the best things known to this universe, Google Drive is amazingggggg it’s basically Microsoft Word online which helps me when I can’t get to my computer. But, it’s even better sometimes because you can share documents, powerpoints, folders, excel spreadsheets etc with as many people as you like or with only some specific people! There’s so much more awesomeness about it that I don’t even know how to describe because omggggg it’s so nice! And it’s allllll free!
Are your links too long? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie ’em in a knot? Can you tie ’em in a bow?….ok I’ll stop now lol. Anyways, links to websites tend to be long. I mean, no matter how I shorten up, they just end up really long and just not fun to try and copy & paste when I tweet em out. So, instead, I use bit.ly which shortens them so they look much nicer while still able to take you to whatever post I’m sharing! It’s completely free too (all of these are lol but still) and every time I use it, it astounds me because how can anyone let something so valuable as making links look nice be for free?! Don’t tell the company I said that though lol
Oh Canva, how I love you so absolutely much! I make 99.9% of my graphic designs on Canva for my shops and pretty much all my blog post images (that aren’t book covers or blog tour banners) are made on Canva! There’s so many free templates, fonts and graphics that it’s hard not to love em! You could make millions of graphics on the site before even thinking of needing to pay for a template or a graphic and, even when you do, it’s $1!!!!!!!! ONE DOLLAR! That’s ridiculous and absolutely amazing! Plus, it’s soooooo easy to use! So much easier than Photoshop that’s for sure lol Regardless of what level design you’re at (even if you’re like -100 and don’t know how to art), Canva is easy to use and has a bunch of tutorials to help!
Have you ever wanted to tweet something ahead of time aka schedule it for later? Well, now you can, for free, and veryyyy easily! Tweetdeck connects with your Twitter (you only need to log in with your Twitter account!), write out the tweet you want, pick a day and time, and bam! you can schedule it out! Plus, if you’re ever a part of Twitter chats and want a way to just follow the host accounts or the twitter chat hashtag, you can do that too on Tweetdeck! You can add columns to your Tweetdeck dashboard and follow specific hashtags, accounts and more without seeing anything else between!
The only disadvantage is, when scheduling, you can only schedule one tweet out at a time, instead of being able to automatically pick multiple dates/times for one tweet. But, if you’re just tweeting the occasional promo for your blog, Tweetdeck does the job prettttyyyy well!
Aaaand those are the free apps, websites and tools I use! They’re all reallllly awesome and, without so many of them, I’d be totally failing at blogging/business. I mean, at least with Canva I wouldn’t have most of my shop designs! Anyways, with that, congrats we Leveled Up! Now, what apps or tools do you use? Are there any I mentioned that you use too? Let me know in the comments below!
And, if you have any questions now or at any point in the Level Up series or if there’s something you generally or specifically want me to talk about, feel free to comment below, tweet me @AvidReaderBlog, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Thanks, have a great day/night, and tata for now!