My Blogging + Vlogging Tools
Let me just start of by saying that I’m super excited for today’s post. I love getting to hear a little bit about the stuff that goes on behind the scenes of blogs and YouTube channels. I love hearing what tools and materials creatives use in their work and since I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to how I run and manage my blog and brand as a whole, I thought I’d give you a little behind the scenes of how I do things.
I’ve been blogging for about the past two and a half years. I mostly started blogging to document my adventures during the Disney College Program and have just decided to stick to it. Choosing a platform for your site is pretty important because you want to choose something that’s going to be easy to use. I’ve tried Wordpress, Squarespace, and Blogger and out of all the platforms Blogger is by far my favorite for a few reasons.
It’s free. When people start a blog it’s usually because they want to start it as a hobby so they want everything as cheap as possible. Blogger gives you all your basics for free.
If you want to upgrade your site, it’s simple and it’s inexpensive. I run my entire blog for $15 a year. I paid a one time fee of $5 for my template on Etsy which is mobile compatible (which I highly recommend you get a template that’s mobile compatible) so my readers can view it on their phone. While I love the way my site looks on a laptop, the sad truth is that most people read everything on their phones, so it’s important to make it as simple as possible for them. I paid $10 for a custom domain. I pay $5 for a custom e-mail address (this is an extra, personal preference - you don’t have to do this) so that brands and business have a professional e-mail to contact me at. Running a nice, clean, blog doesn’t have to break the bank.
It’s super easy to use once you get the hang of it. When I first started with Blogger, I had such a hard time setting up my templates because I didn’t understand coding. I would spend an entire day getting frustrated and give up and try again and give up and try again… But eventually I figured it out! And most templates now give you step-by-step instructions for easier set ups. As far as writing posts and adding photos goes, it’s super simple.
I’ve had a previous website with Squarespace and it is also easy to use but I found the price tag for the site a little too much. A simple plan can cost you up to $20 a month. If you can manage it, I do recommend Squarespace but if you’re looking for something that’s cost effective, Blogger is the way to go.
When I began blogging I used my trusty old Dell laptop and it worked just fine. However, as I started pursing creative endeavors, I found myself getting frustrated with my laptop. I found sharing files to be incredibly tedious and time consuming. I’d have to upload a files like photos to my Dropbox on my computer, download it on my phone, edit on my phone, upload it back to my Dropbox and then download it on my laptop again. It took up a lot of space and time and I was pretty much over it.I had been entertaining the idea of getting a MacBook for a while but found the price tag to be incredibly intimidating. I’d researched refurbished MacBooks online with a much less intimidating price tag but, in my experience, when it comes to tech I would prefer to buy new.
So, I eventually made the plunge and purchased the MacBook Air and it has been such a lifesaver. One the main selling points for me was the ability to airdrop files between Apple products. It may seem silly but being able to share files from my iPad Pro, my iPhone and my Mac have almost made purchasing the laptop worth it. Though the amount of storage on the MacBook Air is almost nonexistent, I find an external hard drive super handy. Not only do I now have a whole 1TB of space to work with, but I keep my files safe. The hard drive was only 80 which still made this investment cheaper than investing in a MacBook Pro.
Do you need a MacBook? No, probably not. But they do make things incredibly easy for creatives.
Next, let’s talk cameras. The DSLR I chose to invest in was a Nikon D3400 and I’ve been in love with it ever since I got it. I use it with a Nikkor 50mm for portrait and product shots since it allows so much light in and gives such beautiful, crisp photos. Edwin also helps take a lot of my photos and he uses a Nikon d5600 with a Sigma 2.8 lens.
I usually supplement that camera with my Sony a5100 which I use mainly for vlogging. This is singlehandedly one of the best Christmas presents ever. It’s such an easy camera to use and it’s so compact that I usually bring that one with me more often than my Nikon. When I vlog, I love using my Manfrotto mini tripod since it helps keep the footage smooth and seamless. When I first started vlogging, I used my phone and a $10 handheld tri-pod, so don’t feel like you have to have fancy cameras to start.
With all those photos and footage comes a lot of editing. When I first started editing videos, I used the windows movie maker application on my Dell but found myself running into major problems if I wanted to do extensive editing. If you’re putting together simple videos it works just fine but there comes a point when you need a software that does more. I decided to invest in Adobe Premier and once I learned my way around that I used it to edit everything.
Nowadays, I just use iMovie. This is partly the other reason I wanted a Mac. I was able to cut the cost of my Adobe plan by almost 75%. I used to pay the $50 for the full Adobe Suite but once my graphic design work died down, I didn’t have use for the entire plan. I now have the simple photography plan which is $10 a month and includes Photoshop and Lightroom which I’m hoping to master and start using that to edit my photos.
Lastly, I cannot recommend the adobe mobile apps enough. Spark and Lightroom Mobile have been LIFESAVERS for me and the best part is they’re completely free with an Adobe ID.
I don’t why but I’ve always been obsessed with stationary and planning and keeping things organized. I love using planners but always find myself constantly buying new planners since I can never commit to any particular style. It wasn’t until I started bullet journaling that I really got into my stride. Having the ability to customize my planner just makes it fun and keeps me a lot more engaged with it.
My planner helps keep me on track with scheduling videos, knowing when to film, when to write posts, when to edit them, and when they need to go live. I’m the kind of person that needs to write everything down in order to remember it because boy oh boy am I forgetful. I keep one document on my computer to write down major blog post and video ideas but I always have a notebook on me to go into detail and hash out any general ideas.
That’s it! I know tech talk can be super boring for people but I love getting to know more about the tools people use to run their creative endeavors. I’ve finally created a set up that works for me and found tools that I love. I hope this helps out any other creatives and I really do hope you guys share with me any of your favorite tools.
The Honest Pisces