June 29, 2012 in Essay
Jules: Gee, Bullish, what do you want to do tonight?
Bullish: The same thing we do every night, Jules – try to take over the world!
One of the things that prompted me to start Sweet Banana Ink was that I kept bumping into folks who didn't have their own blog. They were writing and particiapting in events but had no home base.
When I questioned them as to the why of it, most of them answered that they had no idea how to set up a blog much less get it plugged into the social media frenzy.
So, I thought that I'd share the five technologies that breathed life into the first blog that my sister and I shared. They are 100% free, although each of them offer paid levels, except for Twitter. In two of those applications, I paid for upgrades, and I’ll explain why along the way.
1) = FREE
It literally takes less than five minutes to sign up at . There is a wealth of advice and support at your fingertips and enough templates and widgets to allow you to customize your site to your particular needs.
We chose to add a dot com to our site through at a cost of $17 a year. Our decision to do so was based solely on my obsessive need to secure the name. (insert self-conscious giggle here)
Note: there is a significant difference between and wordpress.org so be sure to research both before making a choice.
2) TWITTER = FREE
TWITTER proved an invaluable resource in getting SWS up to speed.
By following the right people – those pertinent to our particular niche and those knowledgeable in subjects we needed to grasp – we were privy to so much information that it was exhilarating – and a tad overwhelming!
In fact, the next three tools came across my personal twitter feed and they have become shoestring staples!
*Hmm, I believe I feel a ‘Favorite Follow’ post coming on in the near future!
Note: if you take away nothing else from this post, please hold on to this: it’s okay to lurk in twitter at the beginning, but after a week or three, you need to participate. That means tweeting, retweeting and replying. Feeling a little unsure? Check out this awesome intro.
3) BUFFER APP = FREE
Using this sweet little app allows me to tweet right from the page I’m reading. I simply click the application icon on my toolbar and Buffer App puts the page title and shortened URL into the tweet box and with one click, I can choose to Tweet Now or Add To Buffer.
With a free account, you can have up to 14 tweets in the buffer at one time and adjust the buffer schedule.
A second feature that I’m wild about is that I can highlight the exact text I want to appear in the text box, provided it’s within twitter’s 140 characters, and that delights my sometimes overly precise (read that as ‘picky’) writer’s psyche.
4) HOOTSUITE = FREE
Hootsuite allows us to manage all aspects of our project from a single screen, or dashboard.
The ability to post and view incoming feeds from our website, twitter and facebook accounts gives us considerable control and seriously improved our time management.
We chose to use the team feature so that we can both access and manage the dashboard. We both agree it’s well worth the $6 a month fee.
5) EVERNOTE = FREE
This electronic notebook allows me to jot down notes, clip text or entire webpages and even take webcam footage.
I just started using this last week and it’s already more than proved it’s worth.
I appreciate the simplicity of the application and especially enjoy the ability to email a note directly from this application. No cut and paste. No hassle.
It’s everything I want in a notebook: clean and simple – and the priceless bonus is that I have it wherever I go – the office, home or on my droid. Yay!
Well, there you have it. A handy guide to taking over the web on a shoestring budget and a handful of social media tools to get started on building your own home base and web presence. And as always, provided to you free of charge and with a smile – cuz that’s the way we roll over here at Sweet Banana Ink.
So, what’s your take? How do you manage to keep your webdom under control?