More and more bloggers these days are work-at-home mums, side-hustlers and corporate escapees. It’s become so common to see people everywhere with their heads buried in smartphones (full disclosure: I’m writing this at the beach!) that’s it now unusual to even have a full meal without someone updating their social-media status. Particularly if you’re a food blogger, which depends on you posting new content regularly and being active on social media pretty much all of the time.
It’s also difficult to blog if you’re tied to your computer. Sometimes a great idea for a recipe or article hits you when you’re standing in line at the supermarket. Sometimes you have time to kill while picking up your kids from school or in the waiting room at the Dentist. But rather than this being wasted time, you can use it to your advantage and get on with some necessary blogging tasks to save on work when you get back home.
And if you’ve been delaying starting a food blog, wondering whether you need to have full, professional equipment, like a computer, state-of-the-art DSLR, your own studio and expensive editing software PLUS a full-time VA, then I’m here to tell you, you don’t! You can indeed do it very successfully – as many bloggers do – with just your phone in hand, and completely on your own.
Pin me for later!
There are many different resources out there that are perfect for making a blogger’s life easier, and they can all be downloaded as apps to your smartphone so that you can use them on the go. In fact, other than the cooking, you can do EVERY task you need to, to run a successful food blog.
By the way, there are NO AFFILIATE LINKS on this page – I just think these resources are brilliant!
My Favourite food-blogging apps
for project management – Trello
If you haven’t discovered the wonders of Trello for content organisation yet, then oh boy, are you missing out! Trello is a project-management programme which means it’s an online storage system for lists. If you’re a food blogger, then you’ve probably got tons of pieces of paper dotted around the place with lists of things to do: which recipes to shoot next, ingredient tweaks, recipe ideas and so on. And of course, when you’re out and about, there’s always that moment when you think “I just need that list by the kettle….”.
Trello enables you to compile lists of everything you need to do, and more importantly, as you progress through your tasks, you can drag and drop them into new columns to mark them “completed” or “in development” – or whatever you like! And it’s perfectly accessible on the smartphone app, too. I use Trello to organise my content for this site. I have lists of posts, podcasts and emails I’m brainstorming, and then I move them over to a column entitled “writing”, then “proofreading” then “scheduled” and then “published” as the month goes on. It allows me to see all my planned content in advance and to rejig it as necessary – which is a great help for a site like this that relies on coordinating so many submissions from guest writers.
Watch this space for a mini course on how to use Trello for the recipe process!
for designing graphics – Canva
All of the graphics for this site were designed on Canva (see the pin above?). I use it every day for this site and you should use it regularly to create pins with text to get your recipes on Pinterest, for example.
There are two versions of Canva, the free, and the paid. Of course, Canva would like us all to pay for the full subscription. But you really don’t need to. The only difference between the two that I’ve found so far is that the paid version allows you to segment your work into more folders on the homepage and to download graphics with transparent backgrounds (without the white box around it) – like the kind you need when designing logos to sit on top of pictures.
But here’s the thing. Canva offers a free 30-day trial of its full version, and as long as you cancel a few days before it ends, you don’t get charged a penny. What’s more, if you use the full version for a month and get all your branding, folders and transparent graphics downloaded, then when you downgrade again, Canva doesn’t remove them! So you get all the benefits with none of the cost.
The Canva app is a smaller version of the programme than the desktop one, so it helps if you have graphics set up on the big screen first. But then, when you’re on your phone, you can easily continue editing any of the designs you’ve already made. And, since we’re told that we should maintain brand consistency anyway, it’s easy to set up your templates and then just add new text and pictures on the go.
For tracking your analytics – Fast Analytics
The Google app for iOS, Fast Analytics allows you to view your Google Analytics data from your phone. It’s a condensed version of the full Google Analytics, but that’s what you’ll want on your phone – the ability to just check the basics without doing too much in-depth digging.
Although it’s only available for the iOS devices at the moment, the majority of bloggers who prefer working on their phones tend to have iPhones these days. However, I actually don’t! So I’ll have to wait until they roll this one out for Android.
Available from the App Store (IOS)
For Editing your Pictures – Lightroom Mobile (for ios)
For fans of Adobe Lightroom, the mobile app is a complete Godsend. And for those that don’t like the cost of Lightroom, the basic version of the mobile app is actually FREE! While it is, of course, a smaller version of the programme, you can still make all the basic edits to your photographs, but unless you upgrade to the full version, you do not get the ability to share across devices or the software to edit raw footage. However, I think that if you’re shooting on your phone anyway, then keeping your editing on your phone too will definitely suit you.
Available from the App Store (IOS)
For editing your pictures – Snapseed (for Android)
If you’re an Android fan like me, then Snapseed is a great alternative to Lightroom Mobile mentioned above. The app page on Google Play states that this app does allow you to edit raw footage, but it’s not clear whether you have to pay for that feature or not. It also lets you edit the white balance (vital), enhance and correct spots, overlay filters, add text, and fix perspective (great if you’re shooting freestyle on your phone!).
Available from Google Play (Android)
For writing up your posts – WordPress
How could I do a post on running your blog from your smartphone without mentioning WordPress itself?! The WordPress app is perfect for drafting posts and the best thing about it is that it works offline, so if you’re in an area with poor phone signal, you can type up a recipe and the app will save it, and then upload it automatically to your account when you come back into a better service area. This means you can even draft on a plane in flight mode!
Related: How to Write a Recipe
For calculating nutritional content – My fitness pal
I often recommend the MyFitnessPal website to food bloggers who want to include nutritional values in their recipes. The app is an equally valuable find; it tracks all nutrients and even counts calories based on inputs from an index of more than 6 million foods.
For managing your Amazon store – Amazon Seller
Do you sell kitchen products or cookbooks in an Amazon store? Did you know that you could manage your store while away from your desk? This great app allows you to manage sales, orders, and products, just like on the full desktop version, and just as you would expect from big-hitter Amazon.
For making money – Google AdSense and PayPal
If you’ve got a lot of affiliate products on your site or you regularly take payments from customers or clients, then not being able to do it on the go can really slow down your business.
Two of the best ways to keep on top of things are with the Google AdSense app, which allows you to see an overview of your earnings (not YouTube compatible) and the PayPal app which lets you send and receive money securely on your smartphone.
Related: How Food Bloggers Make Money
For following other bloggers – Feedly
Feedly is an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader. If you don’t know what that means, an RSS feed is a notification you can subscribe to that automatically alerts you when your chosen blogs or websites publish new content. It’s a way of keeping up to date with new recipes, articles, and news, without being on an official mailing list or having to manually check all your favourite pages each day.
Most websites publish an RSS feed (this one does – it’s https://foodblogging.info/feed) and Feedly collates them for you in the app so that you can see all your chosen updates in one place, instantly. Just tell it what you want to read and let the app do the rest!
For keeping on top of social media
As I said at the top of this post, being any sort of blogger requires you to be on social media pretty much 24/7. Luckily, it’s never been easier to keep in touch with your following. Of course, there are countless social-media channels these days, but for food blogging, my chosen apps are:
Instagram – snap quick pictures of your finished dishes, behind-the-scenes shots, and recipe setups, and share your news with Instagram Stories.
Facebook – the best way to engage with your audience, using Facebook Live videos and Facebook groups.
Pinterest – not technically a social-media channel, but a search engine. The BEST way to get new readers to your food blog by posting mouth-watering pins featuring your recipes.
Related: Should I be on Social Media?
Some other apps worthy of note
Depending on which direction you take your food blog, you might also need some of the following:
Dropbox – the easiest way to send large files to yourself and others.
Etsy – browse for photography props with the Etsy app.
Soundcloud – catch up on all your favourite podcasts and stream music.
Adobe Fill & Sign – do you need a contract signing for a sponsored post? Adobe Fill & Sign is an easy PDF form filler and you can get signatures sent straight back to you so that business can continue as usual.
MailChimp Mobile app – allows you to send campaigns and manage your contacts from your phone.
Google Calendar – bloggers need to be organised and Google Calendar syncs across all your devices. You can even link up with business partners or your spouse so you always know what everyone is doing.
Skype for Business – if you’ve diversified like me and you like to keep in touch with clients and businesses over Skype then you can easily do it on the go with Skype for Business. What’s more, you can record your conversations so you can listen back later, share them with others or turn them into a podcast – like mine!
Teachable – learning a new skill? Why not use the Teachable app and take a course in your “dead” time (like my new Pinterest for Food Bloggers course which is coming soon!)?
Over to you
Now that you’ve seen how to run your food blog from your smartphone you can make good use of, what was previously, wasted time. Pick a few of your favourite apps from the list and see if you can streamline your food blog, starting today!