9 Free Digital Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed
Explore the entire BlogHer VOTY 100 digital issue.
In the age of the endless scroll, creating consistently eye-catching and quality content is the name of the game. It can be tempting to drop serious cash on monthly subscriptions to a hundred different platforms; from photo editing apps to design tools to social scheduling and beyond.
But those subscriptions will start to add up quickly, and if you’re also spending money on your phone and camera equipment, ads, or even legal counsel, you may find yourself well on your way to breaking the bank before you’ve even established a following.
We see you, creators. You deserve the ability to create eye-catching, top-tier content without blowing through your savings. That’s why we’ve put together a list of must-have, free digital tools for build your social media empire or bustling business! Whether you’re looking to free up some of your precious time with a scheduling platform or in need of turn-key templates for gorgeous IG stories, there’s something for everyone on this list.
For Nailing the First Impression
A link in bio page is great but Milkshake kicks the concept up about twelve notches by being a one-stop, adorable shop for nailing your first impression as a creator. Milkshake allows you to build a mini-website with photos, a blurb about you and your business or brand, relevant stats, and contact information – really, whatever you like. Consider it a business card that lives in your bio. The best part? Their custom templates are incredibly easy to use. You could build yourself a professional-looking mini-site that’s entirely your own in under an hour!
As someone who spends a majority of their day writing copy for social posts and pouring over emails, I cannot recommend Grammarly enough. The free spell and grammar check app is available as both a browser page and a Chrome plug-in. Not only does it let you know when you’ve made an error, but it also offers suggestions for more concise ways to say the same thing. Whether you’re emailing a new potential client or getting ready to send out an e-blast to your followers, running your copy through Grammarly is always a good idea.
For Your Design Needs
Much like Milkshake, Canva’s easy-to-use templates can make anyone’s website or social platforms look like they have a team of professional designers behind them. From gorgeous Instagram feed templates to ready-to-impress slideshow starters, Canva is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to build their brand.
Adobe Creative Cloud Express
Adobe Spark is another great, free option for creatives looking to give their posts, newsletters, websites, or even business fliers a professional touch. While Adobe Spark isn’t as well known as Adobe’s other design tools, like Photoshop or Illustrator, it may be much easier for beginners to get acquainted with than its counterparts. You can download it to your phone (Adobe Spark Post) or use it in your browser – whatever floats your boat!
For Fire Filters
You may remember VSCO from the brief Internet sensation of “VSCO Girls”, referring to tweens and teens armed with scrunchies and Hydroflasks using the photo editing app to fit a very specific, beachy aesthetic. Scrunchies or not, VSCO is a fabulous and easy-to-use tool that can take a simple iPhone photo and turn it into something seriously beautiful. There are plenty of free, in-app filters to choose from, or you can go rogue and create your own (and save it to use again!)
Pixlr allows you to edit photos in your browser for free. The platform is intuitive to use, and the filters and editing tools are next level – perfect for when uploading pics from your camera to your phone is too much of a hassle, simply pop open your browser and get to work!
For Staying Organized
C’mon, it’s right there in the name! Todoist is an incredible resource for solo creators and teams alike to stay on top of tasks and make sure objectives are being met.
If you’re like me, you’re no stranger to the “Forgot Password” button. With so many platforms to manage, it can be difficult to remember which password belongs to each one. LastPass remedies that problem easily – it serves as a digital (and extremely safe) locker for all of your passwords – so you never have to wonder and waste your precious time retrieving or changing your PW again!
PSA – if you’re still using the same password for all of your platforms… I highly recommend changing that habit. You work hard, but hackers work harder!
If you’re constantly scrambling to post in your top engagement window or find yourself bogged down with the other thousands of tasks on your to-do list (or Todoist list), Tailwind is about to be your new best friend. The platform allows you to schedule your Instagram and Pinterest posts well in advance, which means you get back that half hour to an hour in your day that you typically devote to posting! Tailwind functions on a tiered pricing system, but the free version gets the job done, I swear.
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