All Topics, Blogging & Social Media

5 Free Essential Apps For Bloggers

We are the age of The Influencer. Big brands from high street to high end are waking up to our marketing potential. They’ve begun to invest in our social media crazed selves, and why? Bloggers and Influencers make an impact. Our generation (whether its healthy or not) lives with phone in hand. We spend every waking hour scrolling through socials because we’re nosy. Its all well and good to follow but how do you get followed? If you’re committed to establishing your own brand and social media presence then these are the five essential apps you need to download right now.

The beginning of my own blog and ‘content creator’ title followed with a greater understanding of the importance of all things social media. I searched for anything and everything that could possibly help me to improve my content or to better market myself. I cringe at the recollection of my own Instagram page a mere few years ago, a time when I was barely active and posted poorly lit and uninteresting photos! Now, I’m aware of all kinds of Instagram pressures… people work so hard to stick to a theme and us bloggers are doing anything and everything we can to increase our engagement! There’s no doubt that running a blog and successful social media accounts is a full time job, but I guarantee that these time saving, image enhancing apps will make it much easier to manage.


UNUM is perfect for the Instagram obsessed organiser. A planning app which lets you dummy post to your Instagram feed, it allows you to rearrange and play around with image placement. This gives you the ability to find the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement before committing anything to your feed. I love using it to see how new images will look alongside existing content. I also use it to make sure that the image looks good on the feed itself: sometimes I take variations of the same content, uploading them allows me to see which looks best. This app consistently makes my feed look more put together.

Note: The images with the little Instagram logo in the bottom right hand corner are those which have already been uploaded onto my actual Instagram. The others are ones I’m playing around with.

5 Essential Apps
  • Save

*This post previously featured Planaloy. However UNUM doesn’t have limited post uploads per month, so is much less restrictive and for that reason I prefer it. Since switching over I haven’t looked back.

2. Twitly

For many of us, growing Instagram has been an uphill struggle. I for one, find myself having to work much harder to stay relevant, get decent engagement and gain followers. With so many accounts playing the ‘follow to unfollow’ game to increase their numbers, its difficult to trust that new followers will stick around. As a rule I follow back any accounts that I genuinely like. I then check and manage unfollowers every few weeks using the Twitly app. It tattles on both Instagram and Twitter unfollowers so that you can keep an eye on fluctuating follower counts.

3. Lightroom

If you live in the UK and are anything like myself, you’ll agree that the winter months are hellish. There are many reasons I’m of this opinion, but the only relevant one is that its always dark. Great images are arguably THE most important part of online success, but the weather that accompanies the British Winter make light and bright photography next to impossible. That’s where Lightroom comes in. Lightroom is an editing app which not only allows you to control the brightness and highlights, but also the colour… a few small tweaks will completely transform your photo.

5 Essential Apps
  • Save

Before                                  After

4. Canva

Canva is basically graphic design for dummies! It’s my go-to app for creating blog headers, twitter banners, and even my brand logo! Its so easy to use and has so many inspiring fonts and templates. It even looks after the technicalities for you, with templates that are the exact sizing needed for twitter posts, headers, blog graphics… the list goes on. Here’s one I made for my City Guide to Rome. I also love Unfold for Instagram stories.


5 Essential Apps
  • Save

5. Buffer

Hands up those who struggle to keep on top of all of their social media platforms. Keeping your head above water in both the blogging and real world can be tough. My twitter used to really suffer when I was having a busy period, which was so frustrating because we all know what a great platform it is for promoting blog posts! The Buffer app is an absolute life-saver if you’re having this issue, because it remembers for you! All you have to do is set a schedule, queue some tweets, and the rest is taken care of.

I hope you love these apps as much as I do and that they free up some of your time and leave you less frazzled! Let me know if there are any apps that I’ve missed but that are essential to your blogging routine… I’d love to check them out and add them to my own.

Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Sophie

    I haven’t heard of some of these! I’m definitely going to check out Planoly! Thanks for the great post, it’s given me some good sources! x

    January 18, 2018 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply Ivefoundwaldo

    I live in the United States close to NYC, and the winter months also really suck here! I’m so glad you recommended lightroom, so I can brighten up my pictures! Thanks for the helpful post xxx


    January 18, 2018 at 7:06 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m so glad you liked it and I hope you like the app too!x

      January 28, 2018 at 9:47 am
  • Reply hudapervez

    Those are some great apps! I’m going to Lightroom, it sounds very useful! ☺️?

    January 18, 2018 at 7:07 pm
  • Reply RafstheticallyPleasing

    is planoly free?

    January 18, 2018 at 7:46 pm
  • Reply carolannedavies

    Loved this! I’m from the UK too so totally get what you mean about it being hellish taking photos ? is downloading Lightroom right now

    January 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm
  • Reply Babybluerascals

    Thank you so much for this blog, I am just starting out so it is extremely useful:)

    January 20, 2018 at 8:07 am
  • Reply Emma Rollason

    Some great apps here, thanks for sharing.

    Emma X

    January 21, 2018 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Rebecca's Reviews (@RReviews_blog)

    Such a useful post. Never heard of lightroom so think I might download that! Thanks for sharing! Xx.

    Rebecca |

    January 21, 2018 at 6:39 pm
  • Reply sharnahsblog

    Super helpful!! x

    January 21, 2018 at 10:48 pm
  • Reply glowsteady

    I’m a big fan of canva and I totally agree about having some sort of scheduling app! I need to download lightroom desperately x


    January 22, 2018 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Lindsay Murrell

    This post is so helpful! I’m for sure going to download some of them tonight, particularly Planoly! Thanks lovely :)!

    January 22, 2018 at 5:28 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m so glad you liked it lovely, I hope you like them as much as I do!

      January 22, 2018 at 5:32 pm
  • Reply Abbey Louisa Rose (@abbeylouisarose)

    I absolutely adore Buffer, it’s brilliant! Now that I’m on the paid plan, I can schedule a day’s worth of tweets in minutes just by ‘rebuffering’ old ones, which is amazing when you’re in a rush! I’ve heard amazing things about Lightroom but still haven’t downloaded it, that will be this evening’s task!

    Abbey x

    January 22, 2018 at 5:30 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      Oooh I haven’t got the paid version but that sounds like such a cool feature! I hope you like Lightroom!x

      January 22, 2018 at 5:34 pm
  • Reply blacktulipbeauty

    Ooh I’m definitely downloading lightroom now! I’m obsessed with photo editing apps and making my images look as good as possible because I find that’s what draws me in most to a blog/social media account 🙂 Canva is my saviour too, what a brilliant tool!
    Alice Xx

    January 22, 2018 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I hope you love it as much as I do! Its saved some of my pictures!x

      January 22, 2018 at 5:55 pm
  • Reply Eva

    I haven’t heard of quite a few of these! I swear by VSCO, snapseed and facetune for photo editing, and UNUM for planning!

    January 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm
  • Reply Susanne

    This list contains all the useful apps a blogger needs, and buffer has saved my life. I love it!

    January 22, 2018 at 5:52 pm
  • Reply A Cup of Wonderland

    Such an informative post! I need to start using more apps for my blog and I think I will definitely be looking at Canva and Buffer cause I think they be a great starting point for me!

    January 22, 2018 at 5:54 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m so glad you liked it and I hope you love the apps that you try as much as I have!

      January 22, 2018 at 5:58 pm
  • Reply Jessica & James

    I’ve been a big fan of canva recently! I’ve heard so much about lightroom but have never thought to get it as we don’t tend to edit our photos but sometimes it’s a must! Thanks for sharing!

    Jessica & James | /

    January 22, 2018 at 6:01 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      Its so good for light editing if you’ve been forced to take a gloomy photo! I hope you like it if you try it x

      January 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm
  • Reply Everythingmeganx

    I haven’t used half of these apps! I definitely interested in these, thanks for sharing x

    January 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm
  • Reply carlamakemeup

    I really need to lightroom bc it’s so dark in the uk right now my god!

    Carla x

    January 22, 2018 at 6:27 pm
  • Reply Hello Bexa

    So many great suggestions Sophie! ? Canva is one of my favourites! I’m going to check out Lightroom & Follow Free now. Thanks for the ideas! ? xx

    Bexa |

    January 22, 2018 at 6:44 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      Aw thank you! I hope you like the other too as much as I do!x

      January 22, 2018 at 8:58 pm
  • Reply Lisa's Notebook

    I loooove Canva, it’s so user friendly, and I like Buffer too, although I only use the free plan ATM. My current photo editing apps are a combination of Color Story and Snapseed. I’ve not heard of Lightroom but that looks like a godsend, I shall have to check it out, thank you for some great tips! X

    Lisa |

    January 22, 2018 at 9:03 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I only use the free versions of pretty much anything because I’m cheap haha! I hope you love Lightroom!x

      January 22, 2018 at 9:16 pm
  • Reply Siobhan Macdonald

    Lightroom sounds amazing, I definitely have the problem with my pics being too dark, especially with how dull the weather in the UK has been recently. Great post, this is really helpful! xx

    January 22, 2018 at 9:34 pm
  • Reply sakhile writes

    Great apps. I will definitely check out Buffer and Follow Free – the trick of following to unfollow is tiring

    January 22, 2018 at 11:30 pm
  • Reply jennyinneverland

    I’m downloading Light Room immediately! I use VCSO at the moment and I like it but I’d like to experiment with other editing apps xxx

    January 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I used to use VCSO but Lightroom has become my new go to so I hope you love it too!x

      January 23, 2018 at 9:45 pm
  • Reply pearl0fthesea

    Just downloaded some of these!! I’m very very new to blogging so your post has really come in helpful! Great post x

    January 28, 2018 at 9:00 am
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! I hope you like the ones you’ve downloaded as much as I do!x

      January 28, 2018 at 9:27 am
  • Reply anniens

    This was very useful blog post. Thanks for sharing it <33

    January 28, 2018 at 9:06 am
  • Reply Mal

    Thank you for sharing these apps!
    Will definitely use Lightroom & Planoly!

    January 28, 2018 at 9:19 am
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      No problem, I hope you find them as useful as I have!

      January 28, 2018 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Soffy

    I’m a new blogger so this was definitely very useful for me! Thanks for sharing x

    Soffy //

    January 28, 2018 at 9:22 am
  • Reply Creative Nails

    I hadn’t heard of some of these apps – will definitely be checking them out! I hate the whole follow/unfollow thing – I don’t understand why people go through the effort of it when people can find out you’ve unfollowed?! It’s such a waste of time!


    January 28, 2018 at 10:49 am
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I hope you like them! Me too, its such a waste of everyones time! x

      January 28, 2018 at 11:10 am
  • Reply Ms Via

    You shared some really important things. I have been blogging for the past 8-9 months and I never use any apps. I do everything manually and always wait for the time of the day to take pictures when the brightness is perfect. It has become my full time job. I still need to learn a lot. thanks for sharing these great tips. 🙂

    January 28, 2018 at 11:13 am
  • Reply Happy Mentality

    Just downloaded Lightroom yesterday and I love it already!

    January 28, 2018 at 3:49 pm
  • Reply bbbryony

    I hadn’t heard of panoly and lightroom before this, i’m about to go and download them, thank you x

    January 29, 2018 at 8:31 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      They’re absolute life savers, I hope you like them as much as I do!x

      January 29, 2018 at 8:40 pm
  • Reply Annie

    Lightroom and Canva are my go-to photo editing apps! I love using them both! I haven’t heard of Planoly but it sounds like a very useful app! This is a great list! Thanks for sharing!

    January 29, 2018 at 8:36 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      They’re so good aren’t they! So glad you liked it lovely x

      January 29, 2018 at 8:41 pm
  • Reply Jade Marie

    I don’t know what I’d do without Canva and Buffer! They make blogging so much easier!x


    January 29, 2018 at 8:44 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m the same, they save me soo much time and effort!x

      January 29, 2018 at 8:45 pm
  • Reply Madi Dearson

    Thanks for this post it so helpful – I’m going to check out the lightning room one. I LOVE canava, it’s so helpful. Going to check your other posts and tips now:)

    January 29, 2018 at 8:58 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      I’m so glad you found it helpful and I hope you like Lightroom as much as I do! x

      January 29, 2018 at 9:11 pm
  • Reply M A R T A (@martalarisssa)

    great recommendations! I too have all of these!

    January 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      Thanks lovely, they’re such good apps aren’t they!

      January 29, 2018 at 9:15 pm
  • Reply 5 Essential Apps for bloggers (reblog) - Bailey Street Design

    […] via 5 Essential Apps For Bloggers! — Sophie Hearts […]

    February 5, 2018 at 4:28 am
  • Reply Leslie Lidot

    Can I substitute the Lightroom with my VSCO presets? I love using VSCO with all of my filters from social media up to my blog.

    February 14, 2018 at 5:59 am
  • Reply therealhousewifeofzante

    I am a brand new blogger and this was so helpful! Thank you so much loved this post. X

    April 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply ???? (@RachaelSlade_)

    I haven’t heard of most of these apps but I will definitely give some of them a try, especially Planoly.

    Rachael x

    May 3, 2018 at 10:35 pm
  • Reply A Bloggers Best Friends | Photo Props & Wish List – Sophie Hearts

    […] My favourite for dramatic effects and toning yellows to bright whites is Lightroom, but check out this post if you want to know which other apps I […]

    June 21, 2018 at 5:03 pm
  • Reply VikiiT

    Thank you for this post!! Ive been looking for apps just like these and especially for the new blogger that I am!

    June 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm
    • Reply sophieheartsnet

      You’re welcome, I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      June 27, 2018 at 9:40 pm
  • Reply Naomi

    I’ve seen so many bloggers rave about Planoly, so I might actually have to have a go – anything that makes Instagram easier. It’s just so difficult to keep on top of!
    I’m about to check out Twitly too, I’ve been looking for something that keeps track of Insta unfollowers, not just Twitter.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    Naomi xo

    September 30, 2018 at 10:19 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I loved it but am now using UNUM which doesn’t limit you quite as much! I hope you find them helpful x

      October 1, 2018 at 10:11 am
  • Reply hanmwill

    Need to invest some time in Lightroom as I currently suuuuck at using it, haha! But just downloaded Planoly which will definitely help with my struggling Instagram game! And Twitly to combat this stupid follow/unfollow game! Super helpful post, thank you!

    December 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      I find it absolutely essential- especially at this time of year when theres not a lot of light! I’m so glad you found this helpful! x

      December 12, 2018 at 7:01 pm
  • Reply Kayla Jayne

    I use Canva and Buffer but how have I not heard of Planoly?! I need to get on this, I’ve never really had a ‘theme’ to my Instagram but hopefully this will help!


    December 30, 2018 at 8:46 pm
    • Reply sophhearts

      Instagram planning apps have completely changed the game for me and really helped to improve my content this year- I really should update this post, but I prefer to use UNUM now instead of Planoly as it allows you more uploads per month! I hope you find them helpful regardless x

      December 30, 2018 at 10:28 pm
  • Reply Abi

    Oooo I’d never heard of Twitly before! Downloading as I’m writing this comment to have a looksie… thank you for writing this it’s been SUPER helpful!!

    January 15, 2019 at 8:44 am
    • Reply sophhearts

      I’m so glad you’ve found it helpful! x

      January 15, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Share via
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap