My favourite useful tools for creating this website

It has been over nine months since setting up this website. I came at it with limited knowledge of blogging, website setup or content creation in general. As something I do in my spare time I thought it might be helpful to list out the tools I have found most useful so far.

This has been a fairly organic process and therefore there may be changes in the apps, software or services I use over time. It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t currently worry about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or keeping up with ‘trend’ articles to maximise hits on the website.

The Website

Obviously built on WordPress. The setup relies on very few plugins and one of the basic default themes which I really liked. So there isn’t too much to say here than other than WordPress being the king of website management systems and an industry standard. It is however very poor at managing the pipeline for future content.

Generating and creating content

Screenshot of OneNote Windows 10 App

OneNote Windows 10 app

There are a few different tools in this area, but for me OneNote from Microsoft has been brilliant. I was already a keen note taker and using OneNote. It’s a powerful tool for making notes and sketching out ideas. Like all of the choices here, cloud based and available across different devices. Which is a must.

Evernote is something I love and have used since 2010. Therefore this is another viable choice but I migrated away from Evernote a few years ago, simply because it’s a bad value proposition for a single purpose app if you already have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription. Although Evernote has more capable media clipping, nicer online web app and often better integration with other services. OneNote is second to none in freeform writing as Evernote text input is more like using a tradition word processor and quite limited in comparison. Both are great choices though.

Screenshot of Evernote

Evernote web app

If I was collaborating more or needed more powerful text editing I would probably consider Google Docs or Office 365 as well.

Managing the content pipeline

OneNote (or Evernote) are great for turning ideas into content but lack workflow management. In general I’ve hated most To Do tools because the list format used doesn’t give a great holistic view. And therefore for any task management I am currently trialling Trello.

Sceenshot of Trello

Trello web app

Trello is really meant for collaborating with others and managing tasks within larger projects. However it also works well for personal To Do lists and managing due dates etc. Mainly because of its visually appealing Kanban task view. Whether I upgrade to the Gold version will depend on a few factors but the ‘power-up’ features (addons) such as linking to OneDrive, Calendars, Automation amongst others are really appealing.

Again there is a fully featured mobile app, and a native Windows 10 app. However it doesn’t do anything the browser version won’t, and doesn’t allow extensions. Such as…

Spelling & Grammar Checks

Obviously most apps have basic spelling and grammar checking built in but I did try Grammarly. This is a powerful grammar and spell checker service that runs across a few different apps.

It didn’t play nice with WordPress when I used the Chrome Extension. It might be my configuration or technique but Grammarly only seems to work after editing text blocks and therefore missed mistakes. I’m also not enamoured on the idea of the Terms of Service and storage/ownership of everything I write. So I am still searching for something I am entirely happy with.

Other future tools I need to look into

Notion – It aims to offer note taking, to do list and task management which makes it extremely intriguing and a possible all-in-one replacement for OneNote and Trello in the future. Like most of the services it operates on a free and premium model so I will check out at some point. Also a very new app on the scene.

Canva – currently my main logo is something I created over 20 years ago (and it shows!). Therefore I need to look rebranding at some point and this will be something I check out.

And that’s it for now

You often see these ‘best tools’ articles that can exist to maximise search results or stealth sell something. However this is a genuine look at the tools I have used so far to help build and maintain my website. These are a relatively effective combination in my view and hopefully my experience or thoughts may help others starting out too.

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