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The Founding Fathers may never have considered digital independence, but you can. Technology’s marching toward smaller, non-upgradable devices and oodles of free cloud storage threatens to chain you to specific services or platforms. Fight back with our tips for going DIY on computer building and maintenance, keeping control of your own data, moving to open-source software, and protecting your online privacy.Build your own PC
Even if a gaming PC wasn’t what you had in mind, Marco Chiappetta’s features on building $1000 Intel– or AMD-based rigs from scratch will help you learn the DIY ropes. His $560 home-built “Steam Machine” PC shows you what you can do at the other end of the budget spectrum.
Of course, since this is the PC we’re talking about, you’re not limited to the examples we talk about here. Thanks to the wide variety of PC components available, you can build to just about any budget.
You can fudge a bit on assembling IKEA furniture, but not a PC. Brad Chacos shows you some common PC-building mistakes and how you can avoid them. Spoiler: Make sure all your components will play nicely with one another. You’ll thank yourself later.
Even your old PC can be revived. A new hard drive, extra RAM, or thorough cleaning can extend the life of your machine, and upgrading isn’t as hard as you think.
If you use a laptop, your upgrade options may surprise you. Extra memory or a new hard drive can seriously boost your old laptop’s performance.Keep it running smoothly
Keep your hand-built PC in tip-top shape to avoid costly tech support down the road. Start with these seven simple tips to extend your PC’s lifespan, which covers the basics on defragmenting your hard drive and protecting against malware, among other things.
Clean out your PC regularly.
Next, learn how you can complete common Windows maintenance tasks on the cheap: Your PC—and pocketbook—will thank you. Alex Cocilova will show you how to clear out those dust bunnies and get those crumbs out of your keyboard.
Since stuff happens, make sure you back up your files. There may even be hope for a seemingly dead PC. Believe it or not, Linux can help save a PC in distress.
Your maintenance need not be tedious, either. You can automate many of these tasks to give yourself more time to enjoy your computer.Build your own cloud storage
We love cloud storage services like Dropbox and Box as much as anyone, but all of them require you to trust a third party with your data. Luckily, there are ways to enjoy the file-sharing benefits of the cloud without the worries.
The Connected Data Transporter.
Take a look at the Connected Data Transporter: It’s a network-attached storage (NAS) device that lives in your home and lets you sync files between all your computers. Or try BitTorrent Sync, which uses the magic of peer-to-peer file sharing to sync files across computers without storing them somewhere in the cloud.
Have an old PC sitting in the closet? With a few modifications, you can turn it into a home server on the cheap and use to to store just about anything—from your media library to Word documents.Load up on free software
If Windows isn’t your thing and you don’t want to switch to a Mac, give Linux a try. Ian Paul steps you through three Linux variants that are worth checking out. (Hint: It isn’t as hard as you might think.) And once you feel more comfortable with Linux, check out these tools for tweaking the OS so it works better for you.
Say hello to Linux.
Of course, there’s plenty of free software—open-source or otherwise—available for Windows. These 22 free programs are absolute must-haves for any PC user: They’ll help keep your PC more secure, make it easier to use, and ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible.Take control of your online privacy
Online privacy is more important than you might think, and it’s easier than you think to maintain it. These three essential privacy tips will help keep cybercriminals from getting at your personal data, and none of them require any special technical know-how. While you’re at it, keep legitimate businesses like Google and Facebook from learning more about you than you’d like.
But if online privacy isn’t that big a deal to you, hey, who are we to judge? Alex Wawro will show you how you can sacrifice your online privacy for fun and/or profit.Browse anonymously
If you really want to hide your tracks, you can do that too, and there are plenty of good reasons for wanting complete online anonymity. Covering your tracks isn’t that difficult: You just need the right tools, and Alex Castle will guide you to them. Anonymity tools have other perks, too—they can help you get around content filters and restrictions.
Freedom from tech support. Freedom from pricey upgrade fees.Learning how to manage your own computing life may be a little more work, but the payoff ias definitely worth it.
You're reading Digital Independence Day: Your Guide To Diy, Open
How To Increase Your Digital Wallet Security
When you initiate a transaction using your digital wallet, the app or website accesses your bank account details to pay up to the vendor or to whomever the transaction is initiated. Digital wallets have made our lives super simple and comfortable as we can, for instance, pay vendors and people anywhere in the world. We can even pay bills, activate services, do shopping, and so on.Best Digital Wallet Security Practices – Download Digital Wallet App Only From Trusted Names – Never Share PIN/ Password
You should, at no cost, share the password of your digital wallet account or the PIN required to process a payment. The same goes for OTP as well. Make sure that whenever you make a payment and receive an OTP, no one is looking over your shoulders.
Also Read: How to Password Protect a Folder in Windows 10?– Use Complex Passwords On Your Digital Wallets
Hackers feast on weak passwords and therefore strong passwords can up your digital password security game. Having said that, if you use multiple digital wallets or internet banking apps, it might just not be possible for you to maintain strong passwords across the board. That’s where you can use a password manager.
For instance, TweakPass is one of the best passwords out there that can be used both on a computer as well as on a smartphone in the form of an app. With TweakPass, you can generate strong passwords every single time. Moreover, you can also store all your passwords, account details, notes, and other sensitive information in a secured vault.TweakPass Features At A Glance
Strong password generator for generating unique passwords
Secure all credentials in a single vault operable only by a master password
AES encrypted vault
Fingerprint unlocking on compatible devices
Variety of templates for storing notes – e.g. bank account, Credit Card, etc
Form autofill functionality – With this you can autofill credentials in a form
Read Full Review of Tweakpass– Use Multi-Factor or Fingerprint Authentication or Both
Multifactor authentication and biometrics have become an unsaid norm these days as far as digital wallet security is concerned.
Most digital wallets these days come with options to activate multi-factor authentication as well as biometrics on your account. Both are powerful ways to ward off snooping eyes. They may even protect you if your device that has the digital wallet falls into wrong hands because with multifactor authentication the person who has your digital wallet will need a second approval to approve the transaction and biometrics would require your fingerprints or eyes to approve the transaction or login into the account.– Avoid Using Public Wi-Fi for Conducting Transactions
Sipping a coffee at a cafe’ and then using their Wi-Fi to pay up might sound comforting but it could be a different picture for your digital wallet. Hackers are known to execute several attacks and they can easily trick you into giving your crucial credentials. So, the best bet is to either not use Public Wi-Fi for digital wallet transactions or use a VPN if the transaction is unavoidable.– Keep An Eye On Your Account Associated With Digital Wallet
In case you have linked your bank accounts to your digital wallet, make sure that you monitor your account after you conduct a transaction. You can do this by checking your email or texts where you would receive the payment information. Additionally, always avoid autosaving credentials such as debit/ credit card details, bank account numbers, or any other financial detail. In an event of a breach, this step would help save your digital wallet and even connected bank accounts.Wrapping Up:
Digital wallets are the present and the future. Take it this way just as careful and vigilant you are with your cash and your physical wallet, you should be the same with your digital wallet. If you liked what you read do give this blog a big thumbs up. For more such information, keep reading Tweak Library. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flipboard.
About the author
At the end of each workday or gaming session, I’ve taken to pulling off my headphones and tossing them haphazardly on my desk. It’s easy, but it’s a mess. I stack other things over them. They knock over my neat piles of paper. (No, not clutter. Piles.) The cord gets tangled. Chaos reigns.
I needed to make a change.
Warning: DIY projects can be dangerous, even for the most experienced makers. Before proceeding with this or any other project on our site, ensure you have all necessary safety gear and know how to use it properly. At minimum, that may include safety glasses, a face mask, and/or ear protection. If you’re using power tools, you must know how to use them safely and correctly. If you do not, or are otherwise uncomfortable with anything described here, don’t attempt this project.Stats
Time: 2 to 4 hours
Material cost: $10 to $30
Difficulty: easyMaterials Instructions
The base can be as long as you want, provided that it is at least as long as the vertical stand extends forward. I cut mine out as a 5.5-inch square.
2. Draw the basic shape of your vertical stand. There aren’t many rules to this. Numerous shapes work, as long as they are vertically stable and have a wide enough area on top to hold your headphones. You’ll also need to add a tenon to the bottom, which is an extension that will slide into a slot in the base board to join the two pieces together. This tenon should be the same height as the base is thick. The easiest way to measure this is to place the base board on a flat surface, face down, and stand the vertical piece up next to it. Mark a line on the vertical board at the top of the base and use this line as the “floor” of your design—everything below it will be inset into the base board.
For purely aesthetic reasons, I wanted my stand to lean forward slightly. To create the angle, I measured in 1 inch along the top right edge of the board and made a mark. Then I drew a line with a straight edge that connected that mark to the bottom right corner of the board. This would be the back of my stand. From there, I made a matching line 2 inches to the left to mark the front of the stand.
Note: If you have the knowledge, you can draw your design in a program like SketchUp or Adobe Illustrator, print it out, and glue it to your board to cut it out.
3. Add flair and curves to your design. With the basic shape drawn, it’s time to add some flair. For me, that meant turning my straight lines and sharp angles into curves, but let your imagination run wild.
If you’re feeling curves as well, there are a few ways to make them. The easiest, but least reliable way is to just freehand them. I only freehand smaller curves or ones that don’t follow a uniform arc. The second way is to find a circular object in your shop about the size you need, plop it onto your board, and trace it. You can also use a flexible ruler or piece of wood and some clamps or nails to trace an arc, which is how I typically do it. I’m also intrigued by the idea of making an arc drawing jig.
[Related: The surprising woodworking tools you already have around the house]
Take your time, and don’t be afraid to experiment. I drew and erased several designs before I found one I was mostly happy with. It is decidedly more duck-like than I originally wanted, but after I cut it out, it grew on me.
4. Cut out the vertical stand. The easiest way to cut out an odd shape like this is with a band saw. If you don’t have one, you can use a jigsaw, as long as you carefully clamp the wood—your workpiece—down. If you don’t have a jigsaw, you can do the job with a coping saw, but in the time it’ll take you to do that, you could’ve probably driven to the store to buy a jigsaw.
5. Cut a slot in the base board to hold the stand. This slot should be the same width as the tenon on the stand. To measure it, position the stand where you want it on the edge of the base and trace the outline of the tenon. This will give you the size of the slot without any fancy measuring.
If you’re careful and precise, you can cut this slot out with a jigsaw or bandsaw. My preferred method, however, is with my table saw and crosscut sled. Raise the height of the blade to the length of the slot. Position the board vertically with one large face flat against the fence, and the thin slot edge facing down on the base of the sled. Cut out the slot using multiple passes, moving the board left or right one blade’s width at a time in between cuts—DO NOT try to move it while it’s touching the blade.
No matter which method you use, err on the side of making the slot too small. You can always trim more off with your saw, a chisel, or sandpaper, but it’s far more work to fix a loose joint, if you can fix it at all. Test-fit the stand regularly. You’ll have the perfect fit when the vertical board stays in place with only the friction of the joint, no glue needed, though we will glue it eventually.
6. Sand, sand, and sand some more. Once all your pieces are cut, it’s time to make them silky smooth. Using an orbital sander, hit your pieces with 120-, 150-, 180-, and finally 220-grit sandpaper. The only areas you shouldn’t sand are the inside of the slot and the tenon itself. Sanding these can ruin the fit.
7. Assemble the stand. Once the pieces are smooth, spread wood glue onto the tenon and inside the slot. Slide the tenon on the vertical stand into the slot on the base, and clamp it in place as best as you can. You’ll want to really make sure your clamps pull the tenon forward and push it down.
8. Add the finish of your choice. Depending on the type of wood you used, you might want to use a stain like red mahogany, which was my choice, or just apply an oil-based finish. Test different finishes on your scraps to see which one you like best. Apply it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once your stain or oil is dry, apply one or more coats of polyurethane for protection, again according to the manufacturer’s instructions. I like to use spray-on polyurethane, but if you’re more comfortable with a brush or rag, regular polyurethane works just as well.
It may not look like much, but this little partial box will be a cozy home for a hidden USB charging port. Jean Levasseur
The steps above will get you a sturdy, basic headphones stand, but there are plenty of ways to work in useful elements that will make your day-to-day desk life much easier. Ideally you’d pencil them into your design from the outset, but you can try to add them later, or build an entirely new stand to keep practicing your skills (and using up scrap wood).A USB charging hub
The box itself was just three pieces of scrap wood cut to the same height as the charging port, which forms the fourth side of the box. With those pieces cut, I glued them to the bottom of the stand and screwed the charging port into place. I chose to put it on the back of the stand so I didn’t have to look at it, but it can go on any side.
[Related: Build your own desk with custom features like USB ports and biometrics]
Finally, I glued the entire unit onto another, larger base board—5.5 inches wide by 11 inches long—and drilled a hole in the bottom of that board, inside the charger box, to slip the power cord through. To give the cord room below the stand, I added rubber feet.A phone holder
Since I wanted to be able to charge my phone from this stand, I also added a phone holder. To do so, I modified the dimensions of the base board to be long enough that a phone could stand up in front of either the headphones or the box. If you want a phone holder but not a charging port, the phone will stand up in front of the headphones.
I cut two narrow strips of wood an inch or so shorter than my base board was wide, one a half-inch tall and one about a quarter-inch. I glued these strips parallel to one another, about an eighth of an inch farther apart than my phone was thick, and clamped them in place until the glue dried. Now I can rest my phone, in landscape orientation, in the gap between them, and it stays upright at a slight angle.A pencil holder
This last piece was just for fun. I had some scraps left over, so I used those as pencil holders for either side of the charging box. My box is about 1.5 inches narrower than the stand’s base board, so there’s a ¾-inch gap on either side. I cut two pieces of scrap wood to that same ¾ inches wide and tall, and then cut two 4-inch long strips. I glued these to each side, then drilled three ⅜-inch holes into each one, about an inch deep. This is the perfect size to hold a pencil or regular ballpoint pen.Make it your own
What I love about this stand design is how simple it is, yet how versatile. I’m sure there are 100 other modifications you can make to meet your specific needs. Wireless chargers, LED lights, mouse and controller holders, key rings, drawers, and even a clock are all features I could see adding relatively easily. Go forth and be creative. I know I’ll make more of these, with all new features to control my personal brand of desk chaos.
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DIY bottle brush trees are perfect for a retro Christmas look. They’re so easy to make and it’s possible to make a whole forest of bottle brush trees for your mantle!
They have such a vintage charm to them and look great with DIY Christmas decor, like this tinsel wreath or retro tree topper.
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I’ve been making these colorful bottle brush trees for years.
They’re even cute enough to leave up in January for non-holiday specific winter decor. (You might also like this fun pom pom wreath for winter.)DIY Bottle Brush Trees Supplies Needed
*Bottle brush trees need to be made of sisal for the best results. Bleach doesn’t work on other brush types. Plastic and metal will not bleach at all.
The teal dye turned out pretty green. Next time I’ll try a lighter aqua color.**Dye Alternatives for Coloring Bottle Brush Trees
In the past, I’ve had success using a few different things to dye trees. The color saturation varies, but these choices allow you a wider variety of colors.
Watered down acrylic paint
Watered down chalk paint
Kool-aidCan You Paint Bottle Brush Trees?
Yes, you use watered-down paint to dye bottle brush trees. I’ve used the same technique of soaking the bleached trees in the paint mixture.Can You Spray Paint Bottle Brush Trees?
Yes, it’s possible to spray paint bottle brush trees as well. I’ve always avoided it because it’s typically too cold to spray paint where I lived. (Spray paint doesn’t work well under 50 degrees.)
For best results, apply thin coats to bleached trees that are dry.Bleaching the Bottle Brush Trees
You can use straight bleach for faster results. Just stand nearby and don’t leave them submerged for too long.
I’ve also noticed that a new batch of bleach and water works better than an older one that you’ve been using.
If you’re not getting the white trees you want, dump the solution and try a new batch with more bleach.
Fill a container with bleach and water.
Submerge the trees.
Remove the trees when they turn white.
Rinse the bleach from the trees.
Bigger trees will need to be turned to get full coverage.How to Dye Bottle Brush Trees
The dye can stain surfaces, so work in an area that doesn’t matter or is easy to clean.
Fill containers with hot water.
Add a few tablespoons of dye. Dilute the mixture for a pastel color or use more dye for a saturated color.
If you’re using powder dye, mix the solution.
Place the tree in the dye solution. For a pastel tree, only leave it in for a few seconds. For brighter trees, let them sit longer.
Remove the trees and let them dry on paper towels.Getting a Dip Dye Effect when Dyeing Bottle Brush Trees
Dip the top of the tree into the dye solution for a few seconds.
Remove the tree and dip it in the dye, right side up.
Hold it in for a few seconds before pulling it up and letting the bottom sit for another few seconds.
Let dry on paper towels.How to Comb Your Bottle Brush Trees
Sometimes bleaching and dyeing bottle brush trees leave them looking a little worse than wear. Some of mine were clumpy.
Luckily it’s pretty easy to fix.
It’s easier to fix the trees while they’re still wet. Hot water makes the bristles soft and easy to manipulate.
Straighten the tree as needed by bending the main wire stem.
Use a paintbrush comb to comb the bristles.
Try to remove any snow clumps.
Comb until it’s fluffier.
Let it dry and comb it some more if needed.Making Wood Bases
I hate the look of the plastic bases, so I decided to give them an upgrade with wooden blocks.
The trees I bought also had fake snow clumps in them that turned into a gooey mess when wet.
Remove the plastic bases from the bottom of the tree. Twisting slightly makes it easy to remove them.
Drill holes into wooden blocks. They can be painted or stained as desired. You can even use wood slices for a natural look!
It might be necessary to remove old glue or even trim unsightly bristles before gluing the trees to the wooden blocks.
You’ll need a slightly bigger hole for the bigger trees.
Apply hot glue before you shove the wire into the hole.Storing Bottle Brush Trees
There’s nothing sadder than a crushed bottle brush tree, so take care when you store them.
I normally store mine in a plastic bag. They provide cushions for each other.
A box is another good solution.
Don’t place anything heavy on them.
Store them in a temperate controlled environment.
I haven’t had any yellow over time, but I’ve ruined other Christmas decor by storing it in a hot attic, so now I’m trying to be more careful.
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Emy is a vintage obsessed mama of 2 DIYer who loves sharing affordable solutions for common home problems. You don’t need a giant budget to create a lovely home. Read more…
Find out how to build an effective social media content creation process and learn about the tools that will make creating content easier.
Social media content creation is the basis of every social media strategy. Without content, there is nothing to post, like, share, or analyze — and it’s impossible to promote products or services online.
Creating content for social media can be anything from writing a catchy caption all the way through to designing a major integrated social campaign with a large team and multiple influencers.
For either of these options, or anything in between, you need a content marketing strategy to develop great content effectively, and content creation tools to do so efficiently. We’ll guide you through all of that in this post.
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Start free 30-day trialWhat is content creation?
Content creation is the process of creating content. But what does this mean, exactly?
Just about anything can be content, from blog posts to TikToks to whitepapers and even books. Basically, content is anything that provides information or entertainment. For marketers and brands, content creation is an important way to build and maintain relationships with potential customers.
Let’s look at all the potential elements that can be involved in turning your ideas into content for social media specifically.What is social media content creation?
Social media content creation isis the process of creating written content, photography, graphics, and videos for different social media platforms.
Social media content has to fit within prescribed limits for character counts, image sizes, and video lengths. You have to cram a lot of value into a very small space.
It’s also important to note that social media content creation is much more interactive than other forms of content creation. You don’t create content in a bubble. Whether you’re highlighting user-generated content, creating a TikTik Stitch, or using trending audio to guide your content ideas, you’re part of a larger ecosystem.
Here are some of the elements involved in social media content creation. (We’ll dive deeper into how all of these roles work together to form your social media content strategy in the next section.)
Research: Checking on the latest social media trends and using social listening and social media analytics to get a sense of what kind of content your social audience craves.
Writing: Putting words on the screen — from headlines and video overlay text through to copy for longer posts on Facebook or LinkedIn.
Photography/videography: Capturing photos and/or video footage, like product shots or behind-the-scenes tours. This could involve professional equipment, but depending on your needs, it can also be done with a smartphone.
Video editing: Compiling clips into a finished product.
Graphic design: Combining words and graphics into a meme, infographic, highlight cover, or any other visual that you use on social media.
Let’s put those ideas into action!
1. Do your research
Any good process starts with research. Sure, everything is content, but that doesn’t mean you can just post whatever you want on your social channels and call it a day.
Before you start creating content, you need to know what kind of content resonates with your audience, or your potential target audience.
If you already have a solid following on your social channels, you can start with your social media analytics. These will help you understand what’s already working for you, so that you can model this success.
But social changes fast, so you can’t limit your research to your owned accounts. Social listening is a good way to get a sense of what’s happening in your industry, and what people are talking about when they talk about your business on social media.
Finally, keep an eye on trending hashtags, topics, and audio. You won’t necessarily want to jump on every trend that comes along, but you’ll spot some good digital content creation ideas that may help your content achieve greater engagement and wider reach.
2. Set goals
Now that you have a sense of what’s happening in your industry, you can start to set some goals for your social media content. Are you trying to drive people to your blog? Grow your following? Make sales through social commerce? Maybe all of the above?
The kind of content you create will vary based on what you want it to achieve. For instance, your call to action will be quite different for a sales post versus a post designed to build brand awareness and engagement.
It’s a good idea to get specific with your goals using the SMART goal-setting framework. This forces you to think in detail about what you can achieve with your social content, and how you might get to where you want to be.
3. Have a creative brainstorm
Whether you’re a one-person shop or you have a large social team, take some time to get some ideas up on the whiteboard. (It doesn’t matter whether the actual whiteboard is literal or metaphorical, just that you gather all of your ideas in one place).
This is “no bad ideas” time. Everyone on your team has unique experiences with social, both personally and professionally, that will inform their content ideas and expectations. Allowing everyone to share freely brings all of that knowledge into your shared braintrust, where it can morph into high-quality social content campaigns.
4. Assign roles
Remember all those components of social media content creation we mentioned above? If you haven’t already got team members assigned to each of those tasks, the time to do so is now.
It’s also time to set up a solid social media approval process, so everyone understands where their work fits into the overall picture, and how their deadlines impact the rest of the team.
If you are a small business owner, you may not have anyone to assign roles to. Don’t panic! Remember, everything is content. You can definitely start out by creating all of your content on your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated or take up a lot of your time.
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Even large teams don’t have to do everything themselves. This is a good time to think about whether you want to outsource some digital content creation tasks to freelance writers or designers. You should also think about how to source and incorporate user-generated content, and how to include curated content in your social media marketing strategy.
Finally, consider whether you want to work with outside content creators — aka influencers. This could be for a specific campaign, or an ongoing relationship.
5. Build a content calendar
A social media content calendar allows you to plan your content mix across social channels, so you get the most value from your digital content creation efforts.
We’ve created a content calendar template to help you plan how to use content resources across your social accounts. For example, say you want to drive social traffic to a new blog post. You can use your content calendar to plan out when to post the relevant Facebook post, TikTok, and Instagram Reel.
Your content calendar should also include your ongoing content needs. For example, every week Hootsuite shares a roundup of the week’s blog posts on Instagram Stories.
Here’s how to set up your content calendar using our free template.
6. Schedule your content
Once you’ve filled in your content calendar, it’s time to set your content up for publishing. Sure, you could post each post manually at the assigned time, but that’s a huge time-waster that also sets you up to make simple mistakes like typos and broken links.
7. Build your content library
There’s no need to create every piece of social content from scratch. On your busiest days, you’ll thank yourself for having the foresight to create a content library.
Any successful social post can be made into a template for future posts. You can also add approved images to your content library, whether those are created in-house or acquired from a royalty-free resource.
As your content library grows, you’ll have more options for creating new social content without recreating the wheel.
8. Analyze your results
The content creation process ends back where it started. Analyze your results to see what worked and what didn’t, and use your findings to guide your research and planning into what to do next.
Set some new goals and do it all again.
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Hootsuite can level up your social media content creation in several ways.
First, the Hootsuite Composer allows you to create content for multiple social networks all in one location. You can even customize and tweak a single piece of content to publish effectively on different accounts.
Composer also includes an extensive royalty-free media library and powerful image editing tools, so you can start creating content without any in-house photography or design skills.
To use Canva in Hootsuite:
Log in to your Hootsuite account and head to
Select the type of visual you want to create. You can pick a network-optimized size from the drop-down list or start a new custom design.
When you make your selection, a login pop-up window will open. Sign in using your Canva credentials or follow the prompts to start a new Canva account. (In case you were wondering — yes, this feature does work with free Canva accounts!)
Design your image in the Canva editor.
Start your free 30-day trial. You can cancel anytime.
Once your content is ready to go, Hootsuite Publisher allows you to schedule posts to align with your content calendar. It even provides custom recommendations about the best time to post based on your own social analytics.
Hootsuite’s Content Library, collaborative drafts, social listening features, and content curation tools also ease the effort of social media content creation.
Try Hootsuite for free for 30 days
Ok, but what if you find yourself staring at Hootsuite Composer without ideas for engaging posts? We’ve got you covered. You can use one of the 70+ easily customizable social post templates to fill the gaps in your content calendar.
The template library is available to all Hootsuite users and features specific post ideas, from audience Q&As and product reviews, all the way to Y2K throwbacks, contests, and secret hack reveals.
Each template includes:
A sample post (complete with a royalty-free image and a suggested caption) that you can open in Composer to customize and schedule
A bit of context on when you should use the template and what social goals it can help you reach
A list of best practices for customizing the template to make it your own
To use the templates, sign in to your Hootsuite account and follow these steps:
Head to the Inspirations section in the menu on the left side of the screen.
Customize your caption and add relevant hashtags.
Add your own images. You can use the generic picture included in the template, but your audience might find a custom image more engaging.
Publish the post or schedule it for later.
Learn more about using social media post templates in Composer.
Did you know that Hootsuite comes with OwlyWriter AI, a built-in creative AI tool that saves social media pros hours of work?
You can use OwlyWriter to:
Write a new social media caption in a specific tone, based on a prompt
Write a post based on a link (e.g. a blog post or a product page)
Generate post ideas based on a keyword or topic (and then write posts expanding on the idea you like best)
Identify and repurpose your top-performing posts
Create relevant captions for upcoming holidays
To get started with OwlyWriter, sign in to your Hootsuite account and head to the Inspiration section of the dashboard. Then, pick the type of AI magic you want to see in action.
Start your free 30-day trial
OwlyWriter will generate a list of post ideas related to the topic:
And that’s it! OwlyWriter never runs out of ideas, so you can repeat this process until your social media calendar is full — and sit back to watch your engagement grow.
Start your free 30-day trial
Visme is a design tool used to build infographics, animations, videos, charts, social graphics, and other visual content to post on social media.
Visme’s extensive font library and custom color options make it easy to match your brand identity and create a series of cohesive images that embody your brand style.
This is a great social media content creation tool for anyone who podcasts or creates other audio content. You just upload or import audio, and Audiogram creates a social video with automatically generated captions and an animated waveform.
Source: Hootsuite app library
It’s a simple way to make visual posts from audio content.
RiteBoost helps with content creation for social media by auto-generating static images or GIFs from your post text. It also automates some of the more mundane aspects of content creation, like adding hashtags, emojis, and author attribution.
Pictographr is a drag-and-drop design tool with a built-in image library and impressive font collection. It’s useful for graphs and charts, memes, or simply adding visual appeal to any social content.
Source: Hootsuite app library
Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that helps users write clear, mistake-free copy.
Did you know that you can use Grammarly right in your Hootsuite dashboard, even if you don’t have a Grammarly account?
With Grammarly’s real-time suggestions for correctness, clarity, and tone, you can write better social posts faster — and never worry about publishing a typo again. (We’ve all been there.)
To start using Grammarly in your Hootsuite dashboard:
Log in to your Hootsuite account.
Head to the Composer.
Try for free now
Learn more about using Grammarly in Hootsuite.
Social content needs to be crisp, clear, and easy to understand at a glance. The Hemingway App helps with all of the above by analyzing the readability of your content and providing recommendations to make your writing less complex and more concise.
Source: Hemingway App
Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversions, engage the audience, measure results, and more. Try it free today.
Better content in half the time
Boost engagement and save time with a hashtag generator, post templates, Canva, and Grammarly Pro in Hootsuite.
Blogging is increasingly becoming the future dream for many youngsters, thanks to the boom in the website building arena. Content management systems like WordPress offers end to end blogging capabilities helping different range of people to achieve their dream. It also changed the time spent by many people on mere entertainment to sharing thoughts in better ways. Nowadays it is common to see the profile of people quoting blogging as their hobby or part time job. In this article, we will explain how to start your first blog in 5 simple steps with an infographic.Planning Phase
It is very easy to start a blog using one of the free website builder tools like Blogger, Wix, Weebly, chúng tôi etc. But that is not your own blog and anything you start doing it on free basis will not exist for long time. Either you will loose interest over the period of time or you will not be able to cope up with the changing trends. So, the important thing before you think of starting a blog is to understand that continuous blogging needs dedicated budget and investment of time.
Here are some guidelines before you choose blogging as your career or financial choice:
Read and understand the webmaster guidelines from Google and Bing. This is essential to have a good roadmap for your future plan.
If you are planning a single author blog, start learning things on your own before buying any third party services.
Do not buy links or spam other’s site with unrelated links from your site. Also never go for traffic exchange or any type of multilevel marketing to increase the traffic of your site.
Focus on content at least for the first six months to bring decent traffic from search engines before thinking of making money from your blog.
It is a good idea to refer the design concepts followed by your competitors or your favorite sites, but never copy or duplicate the content. Remember how you feel if someone copy your content without permission and never do that mistake.5 Steps to Start Your First Blog
Unlike 9 to 6 salaried employment, blogging has lot of uncertainties beyond your influence. But with the focused approach it will take few years to setup your own brand and collect the followers to build your own community. You need to have patience during this time to harvest the benefits later. Most of the bloggers set wrong expectation and leave the site unattended just in few months. So, we strongly suggest to plan your budget and time for at least two years to create an established blog. Now let’s go to the beginners guide for creating your first blog.Step 1 – Buy a Domain
There are lots of myths in buying a domain, let’s put together some guidelines for buying a domain name:
Choose simple and one word domain name for easy remembering and branding.
Avoid using trademarks of other companies like Google, AdSense, AdWords, Apple, etc. This may end up in the violation of trademarks usage and prevent you to do certain things. For example, if you use the word “Google” in the URL, then you will be rejected when applying for AdSense account.
When you choose non-existing word (like the domain name of this site), it will take long time for Google to recognize the word as a domain name. Essentially this will result in reduced traffic during initial time, but on other side the brand name will start penetrating as a unique name.Step 2 – Buy a Hosting Server
The domain name is merely a name for your site and you need to have storage space to save all content of the site. The hosting server allows you to store all your content and the hosting company charges based on the capacity you need. Generally the service is based on the storage space and the number of times the content is retrieved from the server (bandwidth). There are different types of hosting catering to specific needs. As a beginner, you can start with the lowest plan which is referred as shared hosting plan.
Under shared hosting you will share the resources of the server with multiple other sites. When your site grows in size you may need to move from shared hosting to separate server (this may need many years in general). There are many popular hosting companies like SiteGround and DreamHost offer cheap shared hosting service as low as $3 per month. You can compare the price and specifications to choose the best one suitable for your need.
Bluehost Pricing Plans
Check out the below articles to understand how to create your first blog in various hosting companies:Step 3 – Setup DNS
Now you have a domain name and the hosting server to save all your content. The next step is to connect your domain name to the IP address of the hosting server through Domain Name Server settings. Login to your hosting account and then navigate to the DNS editor. Here you can add the necessary entries to point the domain name to the server’s IP address.Step 4 – Install CMS
Though you have purchased a hosting server space you need a front end building platform to create pages for your site. The platform is generally referred as “Content Management System” and offers various features to create blog posts by adding text content, images, musics, videos and files. WordPress is one of the popular CMS and powers more than 40% of the websites on the internet. WordPress also offers highend blogging features and can be downloaded free from chúng tôi site.
Learn how to install WordPress on Bluehost, SiteGround and manually on any server.
Opening site at this point of time will show dummy pages from the CMS you have installed.Step 5 – Start Building Your Blog
First delete all the dummy content part of the default installation.
Install a free or premium theme to give shape your site’s layout. You can start with free themes like Astra or Kadence and upgrade to premium version if required.
Install basic plugins for security and SEO to add additional features.
Start creating blog posts and publish to make your blog online.
Check out this WordPress starter site checklist on how to prepare your site before publishing for public.
WordPress Admin Panel
WordPress offers Gutenberg block editor with hundreds of drag and drop elements. You can simply insert required blocks and start creating your content the way you like. Avoid using page builder plugins or themes that come with bundled plugins which will impact your site’s page loading speed.Over to You
Each step in the process will directly impact your blogging journey. However, waiting for perfectionism will kill your online dream. You can always learn from the mistakes and start a steady journey after few months of starting your first blog. As mentioned, put lot of effort and allocate budget so that things will go smoothly. Below is the infographic of the complete process of creating your first blog. You can download this image, paste it on a visible place and motivate yourself to kickstart your blogging journey.
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