Ask the Bloggers: 7 Plugins & Apps to Make Blogging Life EASIER!

ask the bloggers Are you enjoying these fabulous bloggers as much as I am?!?  I have learned a little something each week we’ve done this and cannot thank enough all of these wonderful bloggers for sharing.  And a tremendous thanks to you, Lovely Reader, for the in-depth conversations we’ve been having.  Blogging is all about community to me and this series has proven it even more so in my eyes.

This week the question put to these talented ladies was “Are there any tools or an apps that you use to make your book blogging easier/more efficient?

guiltless reader imageAloi from Guiltless Reading  Blogging-wise, I’m old school: I read, I pop Blogger open and type. I use my trusty iCal for scheduling mainly for guest posts. But when I use social media to extend my blog’s reach, I’m trying to be a little more high tech: I use Hootsuite to schedule Twitter & Facebook posts, and Buffer to schedule tweets for all these fun bookish finds on the web.


words for wormsKatie from Words for Worms I am not a person naturally predisposed to organization. I recently downloaded an editorial calendar plugin, and it has been a game changer! I no longer feel like I’m blogging by the seat of my pants… I feel like I’m blogging by the seat of an organized person’s pants!


MonikaMonika from A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall  Of all the apps I use, Google Drive is probably the one I use the most to make book blogging easier and more efficient, mainly because it’s versatile and I can access it from anywhere. I keep a spreadsheet to keep track of reading, reviews, crossposting (see my post about that here) and I keep a folder called “reading notes” where I jot down anything that comes to mind while reading that I might want to include in the book’s review. The keyboard on my phone has a voice feature (as most probably do) so I can just speak those thoughts out loud, and they’re stored in a document (one doc per title) on Drive for me to make sense of later when I sit down to write the review. So yeah… Google Drive and me? Best buds! :)

And these are a few I’ve come to count on throughout my blogging career:

Comment Reply Notification Plugin for WordPress:  Believe it or not this one plugin for WordPress is the MAIN reason I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and now I can’t imagine blogging anywhere else!  This plugin allows me to respond to a comment on my blog and my response and the original comment is emailed to the commenter.  Love, love, love this feature!

Picmonkey Phenomenal {free} photo editor.  I did pay for the year membership simply because I wanted to use all of the tools and fonts.  This is the easiest, most user-friendly photo editing software I’ve ever used.  I do have photoshop on my computer but it scares me, no ~ it terrifies me!  I keep thinking I’m going to hit a button and my laptop will implode!  So for me, pic monkey it is.

Pandora  Ok, I had to throw this one in!  Blogging can be such a solitary, quiet hobby/job/life but having the television on for noise distracts me to no end, same with the radio ~ I must have music without commercials and without words so I don’t find myself singing along and then typing the words i’m singing {yup, done that before}  So I turn on either the Brahms, Tchaikovsky or Debussy station and plug away quite happily and not distractedly at my computer :-D

Do you currently use any of these tools?  
Have a tool not mentioned that you wouldn’t mind sharing with all of us?  
What about a question for these expert bloggers?  
Have one you’d like answered on the blog?  
If so, email me at

No affiliate links were used in this post.


  • Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    Fantastic tips :D I have to catch up on this series. It’s chock full of goodies! Thanks so much
    Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader recently posted…The Relentless Weekly Wrap-Up 02/16/14My Profile

  • bermudaonion (Kathy)

    I love Google Drive and PicMonkey!
    bermudaonion (Kathy) recently posted…Saturday SnapshotMy Profile

    • Stacy

      It wasn’t til I was putting this post together and Monika mentioned Google Drive that I really realized how much I DO use it and all the things I could use it for even more. It’s definitely a tremendous resource!
      Stacy recently posted…Ask the Bloggers: 7 Plugins & Apps to Make Blogging Life EASIER!My Profile

  • Laurel-Rain Snow

    What fun new things I’m learning from this post. And Monika…I love Picmonkey, too!
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGEMy Profile

  • Julie S.

    I do like using Buffer and the Comment Mailer. The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin is the best plugin we use, worth every penny.

    BTW, I linked this post up to the Spread the Love linky party again this week. Go check out the post, last week’s Ask The Bloggers was the most visited!
    Julie S. recently posted…What are your reading turn offs?My Profile

    • Stacy

      aw Julie you are a sweetheart! Thank you for sharing the love! And oh yeah I forgot about the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin, duh!!! Thank you for reminding me about such a great one specifically made for US!
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Colleen

    great tips -thanks for putting together this post! I too love PicMonkey – although I can lose hours on it if I am not careful. I also use google drive but not to the degree that Monika does – I need to put some of her tips in action.
    Colleen recently posted…Sunday Salon: February 16, 2014My Profile

    • Stacy

      thank YOU Colleen! I love learning from fellow bloggers and hope you’ll join us as an *expert*?!? And I know! Isn’t Monika great ~ she gave me some fabulous ideas for how to use Google Drive even more and make it work for me and my blogging needs. Enjoy your pic monkey monkeying around :-D
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Ashley

    Every WordPress blogger needs Comment Reply Notification and Editorial Calendar! :D
    Ashley recently posted…Don’t Have a Slow Blog! Tips to Speed Things UpMy Profile

    • Stacy

      AND the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin! Can’t believe I forgot to include that one ~ thanks to Julie from Chapter Break for reminding me :-)
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Andi (Estella’s Revenge)

    Awesome! Like Monika, I probably use Google Drive the most. I also find it easy to make a few notes about a potential post in my Blogger account, save the draft, and return to it later.
    Andi (Estella’s Revenge) recently posted…Literary Love: Support from FriendsMy Profile

    • Stacy

      oh yeah that’s a good one as well ~ saving notes in draft form! Easy to do in both Blogger and WordPress blogs. I should utilize that feature a lot more!
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • April @ The Steadfast Reader

    I love the idea of using a voice to text recorder for thoughts. PicMonkey – YES. It’s made all the difference in the prettiness of my posts – even though my blog is rather minimalist.

    I’m also totally sold on Disqus.

    Can I say my Kindle? For books that I’m reading on Kindle it makes all the difference in the world on tracking my thoughts for reviews – since I don’t normally notate what I think while reading, the highlighting quotes really helps to jog my memory.

    Thanks for linking up!
    April @ The Steadfast Reader recently posted…Spread the Love Linky Party 2.0: Week TwoMy Profile

    • Stacy

      I love that your blog is more minimalistic ~ it’s beautiful and refreshing and easy on the eyes! I like commenting using Disqus (seems quite similar to comment luv).

      And definitely! I would have to agree with you regarding the Kindle ~ I’d much rather highlight a book on my Kindle as opposed to a nice new fresh copy of a favorite book ;-)
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Tea Time with Marce

    For me my Kindle is the best. I can highlight and type quick notes for my review and I like to add a favorite quote on the feel of the book. I also use my work outlook calendar for review request dates.
    Tea Time with Marce recently posted…Review – Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan MeyersMy Profile

    • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

      I, too, am obsessed with my Kindle! I can highlight and make notes as I read, which makes writing the review so much easier!

      Two of my other favorite plugins are Yoast SEO and Slimstat. The SEO rates each of my posts on the level of SEO I’m achieving and what I can change to make it more SEO friendly. It’s helped me learn a lot about SEO. I use Slimstat for my analytics and it’s easy to understand for a novice like me.

      I love the sound of Comment Notification – I think Im going to install that one!
      Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves) recently posted…Palace Council by Stephen L. Carter: Mini Book ReviewMy Profile

      • Stacy

        ok you’ve sold me on Yoast SEO! I do NOT understand SEO hardly AT ALL and if there’s a plugin that will help me to make sense of it all then I’m all for that one ~ thanks so much for sharing!

        I’ve never even heard of Slimstat ~ is it better than the google analytics and site meter? I’m going to have to check that one out as well ~ Woohoo! love these tips!
        Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

    • Stacy

      Yeah I love highlighting books in my kindle as well ~ didn’t even think of it as one of the great tools for book blogging! Silly me :-)
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Erin @ Paperbackstash

    Thanks to this article, just found BUFFER and will be trying it out, thank you. Goodreads has been a great help for me with posting reviews there first and then editing from there for reviews on the site. I also use it for a resource for the cover art and quotes to include for reviews on the site. It helps with keeping track of reading challenges and goals for the site, as well as how much I add for yearly stats. Also a little promotion and helps me keep motivated with book related stuff.
    Erin @ Paperbackstash recently posted…Sunday Salon: New Beginnings and ChangesMy Profile

    • Stacy

      fantastic points all around! Have you tried BookLikes yet? I’ve been on it a few times but haven’t jumped the Goodreads ship yet for Booklikes ~ I know some bloggers have due to issues with Amazon and deleted reviews and all but so far I’ve been quite happy with Goodreads. Thanks for the reminder of this tool that keeps many of us on track :-)
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Aloi (guiltlessreading)

    Thanks for having me Stacy! When I was thinking about it, I realized that I use sooo many more things than I initially thought! I can’t do without Goodreads of course — I think I have started taking it for granted (nooo!!). I also love PicMonkey and I use other Rafflecopter and Promosimple for giveaways. Then there’s also Linky and variations of it …
    Aloi (guiltlessreading) recently posted…Silk Armor by Claire SydenhamMy Profile

    • Stacy

      I noticed on your blog the promosimple logo ~ I was not familiar with the site but it seems awfully similar to Rafflecopter except BETTER. Is that how you see it? Do you like it? Any problems with it? I’m thinking of jumping off the Rafflecopter ship and moving on over to promosimple. Very cool how I’m learning all these extra tools that are so fabulous!
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

      • Aloi (guiltlessreading)

        A little too early for me to say anything definitive about Promosimple since it’s my first time using it. So far I’m liking it better than Rafflecopter in terms of the reports, the auto-validation of entries, and it can generate that bar at the top (I used to use Rafflecopter AND Hello Bar to get the same functionality. Hello Bar is very cute but you need to embed that in template code which makes it a little more funky to set up.)

        I looked up the music sites …I can’t seem to get Pandora in Canada!
        Aloi (guiltlessreading) recently posted…Booksssssssshelf ….My Profile

  • Juju at Tales of Whimsy…

    I’m old school like Aloi.
    I do use AOL Reader to follow blogs (it’s SO close to Google Reader) and I love PicMonkey.
    Juju at Tales of Whimsy… recently posted…The Game of Love in The Wedding GameMy Profile

    • Stacy

      oh wow I didn’t even know AOL had a Reader! I’m learning all sorts of cool new resources! Thanks Sweet Juju!
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I love that you listed Pandora! Along those lines, if you ever want background noise but not music, is great, too. :)
    Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Sunday Salon: 5 Seconds of Me at the PianoMy Profile

    • Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

      Oh AND… Love your taste in music. ;)
      Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Sunday Salon: 5 Seconds of Me at the PianoMy Profile

      • Stacy

        *hugs to you sweet Monika!
        I forgot to add to my tips! I only signed up for the free version but so far that’s been fantastic! It uses neuroscience & music to help us focus ~ way cool :-)
        I am off to check out Coffitivity now! thanks for the tip!
        Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Jamie Lapeyrolerie

    Great suggestions! I love Google Drive too! I also like Akismet for spam comments, discus for commenting as well. Another great app to track stats is google analytics! Finally I have WordPress Database Backup, they automatically email you a weekly backup. Great post!
    Jamie Lapeyrolerie recently posted…4 Questions with Grammy & CMA Nominated Dave BarnesMy Profile

    • Stacy

      oh yeah cannot do without Akismet! It’s an absolute necessity! And what I can never figure out is why anyone would want to spam comment on book reviews?!? I don’t get the whole spammy kind of world ~ it’s just senseless to me.
      And what’s that backup you’re using? I searched the plugins for it but there’s several different ones that pop up and not a specific one called WordPress Database Backup. Thanks dear Jamie!
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Sheila (Book JOurney)

    That was fun to read! I too enjoy Picmonkey and use it for my Facebook pics, personal pics, as well as my blog. Question on the wrodpress plugin – is that If it is I would love to know how to do that :)
    Sheila (Book JOurney) recently posted…It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?My Profile

    • Stacy

      i’m on so I guess it’s for the .org ~ I didn’t realize there were different plugins for the 2 wordpress versions ~ you might try searching for it in your plugins tab? it’s specific title is “Comment Reply Notification” ~ let me know if you find it! I love it :-)
      Stacy recently posted…The Stolen OneMy Profile

  • Rebecca @ Love at First Book

    I use almost all of those! All except for Hootsuite! I’m a Tweetdeck fan myself!

    FABULOUS plugins and websites!
    Rebecca @ Love at First Book recently posted…Facebook Tabs Tutorial & Free Digital DownloadsMy Profile

  • tanya

    The Ask the Bloggers series is so great. I’m learning so much! It seems like PicMonkey is the way to go!! I’m also a sworn Hootsuite user.
    tanya recently posted…Local Customs by Audrey ThomasMy Profile

  • Katie @ Words For Worms

    Dreadfully behind the times here, but yay for this post! I need to check out some of these other plugins and do-dads listed in the comments. SO many good tips!
    Katie @ Words For Worms recently posted…Fellowship of the Worms Announcement: The House Girl by Tara ConklinMy Profile

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