Top 10 Tools All Bloggers Need To Know About
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Top 10 Tools All Bloggers Need To Know About

Walk-through of the best tools to add to your blogging arsenal to be more productive & make your life a lot easier.
3.0 (1 rating)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
27 students enrolled
Created by Will Tang
Last updated 12/2014
English [Auto]
Current price: $20.99 Original price: $29.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Implement these tools into their every day blogging workflow
  • Be more efficient at spending their time blogging by leveraging these tools
  • Be able to set up and start using these blogging tools right away
  • No prerequisites are required for this course other than to have your own blog

How many times have you felt bogged down by the tedious tasks of blogging? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by social media platforms like Twitter? Ever wonder what tools pro bloggers are using?

I’m the blogger behind Going Awesome Places and Travel Blog Breakthrough. In the pursuit of making my life easier as a blogger and being relentless about testing and trying different tools, I've come up with my list of top 10 tools that I wish I knew about when I first started. Just like Travel Blog Breakthrough's mission to help other bloggers shave the learning curve by learning from my own successes and failures, this course is meant to present these tools in a detailed and action driven course designed to get you up and running in no time!

Each of these tools has been instrumental in saving me a ton of time and making me a better blogger so that I can focus on the thing that we should all be focusing on - writing great content. You'll learn how these tools will do the same for your blogging.

  • Better manage the social media madness
  • Create beautiful collages
  • Design graphics to entice readers to your blog
  • Provide proof points on your social reach
  • Automate those tedious tasks to free up your time
  • Manage your blog posts like a legit editor

The course is designed to be easy to digest and follow step by step. Each section is broken down into each of the 10 tools and each of these is composed of 3 lectures

  1. Introduction to the tool and why it's great
  2. Getting set up and up and running
  3. A real life example of a blogger using the tool

I am confident that after taking the course you'll be a much better blogger and you'll be doing less head banging on the wall.

Thanks and keep blogging!

Who this course is for:
  • Bloggers of all areas are welcome
  • This course is meant for bloggers that have been blogging for at least a couple months
  • This course is geared mostly towards those using WordPress but by no means is specific to WordPress
  • No coding or advanced technical skills required for any of the tools
Course content
Expand all 37 lectures 05:23:06
+ Introduction to the Course
4 lectures 04:02

Hey everyone! My name is Will and I will be your lecturer for this course.

To start things off, I thought this would be a great chance to introduce myself and how I got started. Blogging started in 2012 for me when I quit my job in consulting and went on a jaunt around Asia. Going Awesome Places is where all the travel blogging happens. In 2014, I ventured off into education and started an series called Travel Blogger's Toolkit which eventually led to me starting a new site, Travel Blog Breakthrough. I found that I really enjoyed helping other bloggers succeed and so this was a natural fit.

The goal of this course is to introduce the 10 tools that have been a big game changer for my blog and I want to be able to show you how easy they are to use and implement to save you both time, money and your sanity.

So come along for the ride and over the next little while, enjoy the course from the comfort of wherever you are and get your learn on!

Preview 02:23

A quick overview of what you'll be able to learn from this course and how these tools will empower you to be a 10x better blogger than ever before.

The 10 tools are:

  • Hootsuite
  • Tweetreach
  • JustUnfollow
  • Tweepi
  • CoSchedule
  • Piktochart
  • Canva
  • Picasa
Preview 00:42

The course is broken down by sessions and each session represents a tool.

Each tool itself is further split into 3 lectures:

  1. An introduction to the tool and why it's worthy for a blogger to use
  2. Steps needed to get set up with the tool
  3. A real life demo of a blogger leveraging the tool
Preview 00:44

Learn from a list of resources outside of this course that will provide you with even more assistance to unleash the growth of your blog.

Companion blogging resources
+ Tool #1 - Manage your social streams and schedule your messages
3 lectures 36:44

In this lecture, we'll be going through what Hootsuite is and what it's best suited to do especially if you're sticking with the free tier.

What is Hootsuite?

  • Hootsuite is a social media management tool
  • Helps manage social feeds through "streams" and to be able to interact effectively
  • Can easily connect with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Foursquare. Can also connect with Instagram with one extra step.
  • Social media scheduler


  • Free tier available (limited to 3 social profiles and does not tweet out images as real images)
  • Pro plan is $9.99 a month (more social profiles, can use custom shorteners, tweets images as images, supports team members)

Why is Hootsuite awesome?

  • Free tier is very usable
  • Streams are easy to set up and one tool that's great to view all of your social media activity in one spot (though you'll learn in sessions below that there are better tools out there)
  • Scheduler is incredibly easy to use
Preview 08:34

See how easy it is to get set up with Hootsuite and what you need to do to get started.


  • Free tier available (limited to 3 social profiles and does not tweet out images as real images)
  • Pro plan is $9.99 a month (more social profiles, can use custom shorteners, tweets images as images, supports team members)

Set up process

  • Extremely easy sign up process
  • Will need to link to each social media profile (quick authorization of each)
  • Start creating your first tab and then adding steams
  • Linking with Instagram via apps

Settings to be aware of

  • Pinning and favoriting social accounts
Getting set up with the tool

See how Hootsuite is used in real life with with examples and tips.

I actually don't use Hootsuite as a full suite to manage all of my social media. Facebook I will typically prefer to have a tab open for Facebook as its features are more thorough there. Instagram is better managed on mobile. Twitter is better managed through Tweetdeck which you'll learn about in a later session.

How I use Hootsuite today is more for tweet scheduling that don't require images. This is particularly useful for Facebook sharing threads (see Additional Resources lecture to read about what Facebook groups to join if you're a travel blogger).


  • Ability to add multiple streams for all the social accounts you have access to
  • Be able to quickly interact with other users and reply/respond/comment/retweet
  • Quickly create messages in the top bar
  • Auto scheduler where Hootsuite picks intelligent time to space out messages

Additional settings

  • Set up auto scheduler to specify which days of the week to use and how many posts to schedule per day

Tips & tricks

  • Hack the Publisher -> Past Scheduled to be able to schedule posts via the calendar (Pro plan feature)
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #2 - Calculate your Twitter reach on campaigns
3 lectures 22:12

Learn about what TweetReach is and why you might be interested in using it for your blogging.

What is TweetReach?

  • TweetReach helps measure how far your tweets travel
  • Captures metrics like reach, impressions, contributors, and timeline
  • Can report on specific URL, hashtag, user or phrase
  • Creates snapshots


  • Free snapshots available (limited to the last 50 tweets only)
  • Full snapshots (for all tweets) can be purchase for $20
  • Pro membership starts at $99/month but is only useful for people that require ongoing tracking of tweets.

Why is TweetReach fab?

  • Free tier is usable with the understanding that you only get the last 50 tweets
  • Great reporting to provide clients after a campaign
  • PDFs produced by TweetReach are incredibly clean
Introduction to the tool and why it's fab

See how easy it is to get up and running with TweetReach.

Set up process

  • The only set up required is the authorization the linking of TweetReach to your Twitter account
  • You don't have to sign up if you don't want to
  • Advantage of creating an account is to simply have your reports saved and retrievable in the future
Getting set up with the tool

See a real example of how I use TweetReach to gather analytics on how well a campaign performed.

The best example where you'll want to use TweetReach is when you're running a campaign with a brand that involve Twitter. In the example here, I was running a contest for a company and had tweets go out to promote it and using TweetReach I'm able to demonstrate to the client just how far the message was spread out.

Being aware of the 50 tweet limit, I basically captured a report every couple of days and sent the whole collection to client. You could also just sent out the report that had the greatest reach, demonstrating your max reach.

Another perfect example is if you're hosting a Twitter party that has a specific hashtag. TweetReach is a great report that contains metrics that demonstrate how effective your event was.


  • Searching Twitter for a particular URL and how many times it was mentioned and far it reached
  • Output of a very clean PDF that can be sent as-is

Things to be aware of

  • Even if you use a shortener, entering the full URL on TweetReach will be able to recognized the shortened links as well
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #3 - Converting Twitter Followers to Facebook Page Likes + Instagram Growth
3 lectures 30:16

Learn about this Twitter management tool that you can expose to gain the all-elusive Facebook page like.

What is JustUnfollow?

  • JustUnfollow is a tool to help manage your Twitter/Instagram followers and following
  • Makes it easy to determine who you should follow and who you should unfollow
  • Has an auto direct message feature for Twitter when you get new followers


  • Free tier available but limited to 25 follows and 25 unfollows per 24 hours. Limited blacklist/whitelist as well
  • Pro plans start at $9.99 a month and go up based on needs
  • Earth Plan - $19.99/month takes off the @JustUnfollow hashtag from the auto DM's

Why is JustUnfollow killer?

  • Managing your Twitter/Instagram following/followers is painful
  • Copy followers is very helpful
  • Despite it all, Auto DM's are effective in converting new followers into Facebook page likes
Introducing the tool and why it's killer

Get an inside look at the set up process for the tool and things to keep in mind when getting started.

Set up process

  • Sign up is tied to either authorization to Instagram or Twitter accounts
  • If you start with your Twitter account, you can add on the Instagram account afterwards

Settings to be aware of

  • Make sure you uncheck "Tweet my unfollower and follower stats"
  • Useful to receive weekly stat emails
Getting set up with the tool

Learn how most bloggers are leveraging a tool like JustUnfollow despite the rise of better tools.

Although JustUnfollow has some great tools for Twitter following, you'll learn in a later session that Tweepi is just a superior tool. As a result, I only use JustUnfollow for it's Auto-DM feature (contemplating turning off sometime in the future) and for Instagram management.

I try to use this tool every few days but don't keep a consistent schedule.


  • Auto DM and ability to set multiple messages
  • Leveraging Copy Followers feature to find new Instagram users to follow
  • Unfollow Non Followers on Instagram

Tips & tricks

  • Only use JustUnfollow for the Twitter features. The 24 hour limits that come with the free tier make it un-useable
  • Note that you have to be careful what links you put in the Auto-DM message. Facebook links are safe but others need to be tested as Twitter may recognize it as spam.
  • What most people don't know is that the limits imposed on Twitter following and unfollowing does not apply to Instagram so you can go as crazy as you want with it until you hit Instagram's own hourly limits
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #4 - Grow your Twitter following like crazy
3 lectures 35:27

Growing your Twitter following from the ground is tough but with this tool learn how you can build it up in a matter of months.

What is Tweepi?

  • Tweepi is a Twitter management tool
  • Similar to JustUnfollow without the restrictions
  • This is an incredible tool to help grow your Twitter following rapidly


  • Free tier available but limits your access to free features (all the useful ones are available)
  • Silver premium plan is $7.49 a month (cheaper when pre-paying for the full year)
  • Platinum premium plan is $14.99 a month (cheaper when pre-paying for the full year)
  • The big advantage of the premium plans is that sorting is not done within the page but for all the results and you can see more results in each page which can make it even more efficient to go through a ton of Twitter users. Premium features also include the ability to not follow users that you have unfollowed in the past.
  • The premium plan also has some additional following/unfollowing features

Why is Tweepi epic?

  • Tweepi is designed in a way that you can rapid fire through tons of users incredibly fast
  • At the same time, Tweepi allows you to really focus in on specific users that your'e looking to target
  • By leveraging an aggressive following plan, you can grow your Twitter following very quickly
Introducing the tool and why it's truly epic

Learn how getting set up with Tweepi is a cinch.

Set up process

  • To start off with the free tier, you'll need to go to the plan page and look at the very bottom for the hidden link
  • Sign up is tied to your Twitter account
  • You will need to authorize the use of Twitter with Tweepi when registering

Settings to be aware of

  • N/A
Getting set up with the tool

See how simple it is to find targeted new followers, who to unfollow and rapid fire through large lists in this real example. In this lecture learn how to build that Twitter following, what to be careful about and what not to do.

One thing you have to realize with Twitter is that there's a natural phenomenon of follow backs. That is to say that if you follow someone, there's a high probability they will follow you back. Exploiting this fact, the main strategy around Tweepi is to aggressively follow people to grow your following. The key of course is to not do this blindly but to do it with an audience that is relevant to your niche and topic.

Consistency is key. I made sure I used to tool at least once a day and as you saw in the introduction to the tool that I was able to grow my following up to 10K within 3 months.


  • When looking at lists you can keep your mouse cursor in one spot and just rapid click away to go through all the users on the page
  • Find relevant users to follow using the "Follow Followers" feature
  • Flush or unfollow users that never follow you back

Best filters to use

  1. A user you are neither following or are following you already
  2. Greater than 100 followers
  3. Has tweeted within the last 7 days

Things to be careful with

  1. You want to give users ample time to follow you back. This means that you don't want to flush out users immediately after you've followed them. Always work from the back pages
  2. When flushing, be careful to safelist users along the way. There will always be some users that you want to continue to follow even though they may never follow you back
  3. When flushing I will typically start working from the the 10th last page
  4. This may not be as intuitive at the beginning but when you sort a page by say # Followers in descending order, it only sorts it for the 40 users on the page. This does not mean that the sorted users you see is for ALL of the resulting users

Tips & tricks

  • By default in the free tier, you're only able to see 20 rows per page. Make sure you increase this to 40 by Tweeting a message about Tweepi. You will have to do this every month
  • Pick users that are higher up in the food chain to you. Popular bloggers were have a ton of relevant followers that will likely follow you back and will be a relevant reader to your blog
  • Think about the conferences in your niche and copy the followers of the event's Twitter handle
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #5 - An editorial calendar tool to manage your posts and social messages
3 lectures 38:42

Managing blogging and social media can often feel like a huge burden. With CoSchedule, the melding of WordPress with social media will truly make your life easier. Learn about the tool here and why you should use it.

What is CoSchedule?

  • CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that acts as an editorial calendar and a platform to be able to schedule your social media messages related to each blog post
  • CoSchedule can also be accessed via the web through the browser
  • Editorial calendar wise, you can see a full month's view of where your posts are going to be published and also the associated social media posts for each one
  • Craft social media messages per blog post and schedule them to go off in relation to when the post will actually be published


  • A free trial is available for 14 days
  • Extension of the trial is available (7 days at a time) for each share you make on a connected social account
  • $10 per month per blog

Why is CoSchedule epic?

  • Life before CoSchedule was a bit sad. Every time a new blog post came out, I had to go into Tweetdeck or Hootsuite and schedule a bunch of messages on Twitter and Facebook. This involved uploading the images again and crafting new messages. Living post to post like this was frustrating and extremely time consuming
  • CoSchedule just makes a lot of sense. When you're creating a blog post, you're in the proper mind set to craft those social media messages so why not incorporate that with your workflow. In the past this wasn't possible because social media was managed separately outside of WordPress but now with it all integrated together, your blogging workflow makes that much more sense.
Introducing the tool and why it'll save you so much time

See what it takes to get set up with CoSchedule.

Set up process

  • Start by signing up for the free trial
  • Create an account with CoSchedule
  • Enter your blog's URL to connect with
  • Install the CoSchedule plugin on your WordPress blog
  • In the settings, start adding all your social profiles by going through the authorization process for each

Settings to be aware of

  • This is the first application I've used that allows you to schedule messages into Facebook groups
  • Link your account if you want to use their shortener
  • Turn on Google UTM tracking if that's something you're looking for. I unfortunately couldn't get it to work because of a problem with Bluehost
Getting set up with the tool

See the real power of CoSchedule with this example from Going Awesome Places travel blog.

CoSchedule has honestly made my blogging process much more steamlined with social media. With the tool, I can literally have a "set it and forget it" type of mentality after I schedule a new post. It's the only paid tool in this course and the reason is because it's completely worth it.


  • Ability to craft social messages as part of your blog writing process
  • Ability to dynamically move blog posts in a calendar view and social messages will move accordingly since each message is scheduled in relation to the publish date/time
  • Can see your blog in an editorial calendar format
  • Great suggestions for post times (day of, day after, week after and month after)
  • Can schedule posts to Facebook groups
  • CoSchedule provides interesting share stats for each post
  • Don't forget that you can manage your calendar from CoSchedule's web app as well

Tips & tricks

  • With Google+, you can actually do basic formatting by using symbols. For example, encapsulate text with * to make the text bold
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #6 - The ultimate Twitter management tool
3 lectures 36:35

Learn about the one tool you should be using if you're at all on Twitter.

What is Tweetdeck?

  • Tweetdeck is a Twitter social management tool
  • The tool is meant to help you make sense of all the noise happening in Twitter and for you to be able to focus in on the things that you care about and to engage with the people you care about
  • Exists in many forms - app for Windows/Mac, web app, and Chrome extension


  • Completely free

Why is Tweetdeck epic?

  • It's simple an easy to use
  • Better than Hootsuite for managing Twitter because it's less clunky, can be installed directly on your computer as an app, requires less clicks to take certain action and schedules image tweets properly
  • Live updating of streams make it a great tool for Twitter chats
Introducing the tool and why you'll want to have more Twitter parties afterwards

Watch this lecture for a walkthrough of how to get up and running with Tweetdeck.

Set up process

  • All you need to do is authorize Tweetdeck to connect with your Twitter account
  • If you want to connect more than one Twitter account to Tweetdeck, you can do so in the settings

Settings to be aware of

  • N/A
Getting set up with the tool

See a real life demo of a blogger using Tweetdeck to interact with fans, schedule tweets and participate in Twitter

Tweetdeck is pretty much THE best Twitter management/feed tool out there. The problem you'll find with Twitter is that using the native app is very hard because as you add more followers, you'll naturally end up with a lot of users that you don't particularly care to see updates from. On Twitter, you can't really do much about that because your feed is just a massive blast from every person you follow.

Apps like Tweetdeck help you focus in the things you care about. Being able to create columns (streams in Hootsuite), you can basically decide exactly what you want to see with respect to your Twitter account.


  • Can customize columns to focus on specific people, hashtags, mentions, messages and lists
  • Filters are available for each column to narrow down tweets even further
  • Live updating of tweets which is great for Twitter parties
  • Scheduling tool tweets attached images out as images

Things to be aware of

  • When you have multiple accounts, always remember that your default account is going to be set to do everything (tweets, retweets, replies and DMs). As a result, you have to remember that when you want to use your other account, you have to manually switch it over
  • The scheduler is not as user friendly to use. You have to manually set the dates and times (be careful about when you use AM/PM). No auto scheduler exists

Tips & tricks

  • Lists are incredibly powerful. It may not have been apparent when you created your Twitter account but using a tool like Tweetdeck, you can have columns dedicated to a specific list so you can follow a very specific collection of users that are relevant to you
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #7 - Create infographics like a pro
3 lectures 33:54

Infographics are all the rage right now and a great conversation piece and brilliant for engagement and virality. Get introduced to a tool that makes building infographics simple and easy.

What is Piktochart?

  • Infographic creation tool
  • Web app that doesn't require the installation of software


  • Free tier is available but is limited to 20 image uploads and a small subset of templates
  • Pro account is $29/month or $24/month if paying for a full year up front

Why is Piktochart THE tool to build infographics?

  • You don't need to have a design background to be able to build beautiful infographics
  • Handy set of tools to build an infographic in no time
  • With the help of templates, you can leave the design work mainly to Piktograph. All you have to do after is tinker and customize
  • A ton of visualization options
Introducing the tool and why it's the tool for infographics

Walk through the Piktochart sign up process and a quick set up process.

Set up process

  • Create an account with Piktochart
  • No authorizations required

Settings to be aware of

  • N/A
Getting set up with the tool

See a real demo of what it takes to build an infographic. Learn about the nuances of features available in the tool.

This demo walks you through the partial creation of the media kit I created for Going Awesome Places. See how I started with a template and massaged it to get what I wanted.


  • Many pre-built templates available to use
  • Incredibly flexibility of every element in the infographic
  • Can use keyboard and mouse short cuts (i.e. highlighting a group of objects, CTRL or Command C to copy etc.)
  • Charts and Maps are easily populated by built in spreadsheets to enter in data points
  • Access to a large collection of icons and images

Things to be aware of

  • The interface is easy to use but you'll find that you'll end up spending more time thinking about what your infographic should look like
  • For the data visualization elements such as charts, you cannot use Excel-like formulas in the cells
  • Again remember that as a free member you will only be able to upload 20 images so the only way around this is to add the other images in a photo editing tool

Tips & tricks

  • As a free member, a footer will be added with Piktochart's logo. You can easily remove this by using a tool like Photoshop to crop it out
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #8 - Create graphics to impress on your blog
3 lectures 35:36

Learn about a tool that will make your blog graphics 100 times better overnight.

What is Canva?

  • Web based graphic creation tool that features many pre-designed templates that come in many social media sizes
  • Available on web and the iPad as an app


  • Free except for the use of certain images

How will Canva turn you into a pro graphic designer?

  • There is a large collection of templates that are beautifully designed
  • All you have to do is adjust the text, drop in your own images and you're all done
Introducing the tool and turn into a pro graphic designer

Full walk through of the sign up and set up process with Canva.

Set up process

  • Create an account with Canva
  • E-mail conformation required
  • No additional authorizations required
  • Will go through an on-boarding process
  • Create a public profile (new feature on Canva and not particularly useful unless you're looking to share your designs)

Settings to be aware of

  • N/A
Getting set up with the tool

In this demo, see how simple it is to build beautiful graphics with Canva.

I will be recreating a graphic I recently designed for a blog post. You will be so thankful that you won't need to use Photoshop anymore after this.


  • Canva was designed with social media in mind with pre-set sizes for each medium. Takes the thinking out of figuring out dimensions
  • Easy drag and drop features
  • Lots of great fonts at your disposal
  • Unlimited photo uploads
  • Everything is stored in the cloud so you can retrieve it f rom any computer. All processing is handled away from your computer
  • Large collection of icons and images to use
  • Quick and easy photo filtering and editing on the fly

What I use Canva for

  • Primarily use Canva for the creation of the featured image on my blog which also doubles as the Twitter and Facebook post image
  • Creating vertical Pinterest images
  • Instagram images for posting
  • Cover images

Things to be careful about

  • Note that some icons and images cost $1 each so if you're looking to keep things free, just don't use them

Tips & tricks

  • Ideally create all images through the pre-designed sizes as all the templates are located there. If you create your own design with a custom dimension, you'll only have access to image grid layout options and none of the pretty designs
Real life example using the tool
+ Tool #9 - Automate tedious blogging tasks
3 lectures 18:18

There are a lot of tedious tasks in blogging that we wish could just complete themselves. With IFTTT, the possibilities are endless. Learn about how IFTTT works and what makes it powerful.

What is IFTTT?

  • Stands for If This Then That
  • Multi-purpose automation tool based on the concept of "recipes"
  • In essence, each recipe where "This" is what triggers the recipe and "That" is the resulting action
  • Available on the browser as a web app and on the phone as a stand alone app


  • Completely free

How will IFTTT help automate blogging tasks?

  • Certain tedious tasks that you may perform manually can be turned into a "recipe"
  • For example, every time you post a photo on Instagram ("This") then tweet that along with the description to your Twitter account as a proper image instead of a text link ("That")
Introducing the tool and why its a great automation tool

Go through the sign up and set up process for IFTTT.

Set up process

  • Create an account with IFTTT
  • Browse through the recipes that interest you (recommended to go through the "All Time" recipes)
  • Using a specific recipe will ask you to activate each of the channel it leverages (typically an authorization process)

Settings to be aware of

  • N/A
Getting set up with the tool

Learn which recipes work well for bloggers and see a demo of how to set one up in IFTTT.


  • Setting up automation processes to alleviate manual work
  • IFTTT can connect to quite a few different channels
  • Applies to things outside of blogging as well (i.e. getting a notification when it's going to rain the next day)

My recipes

  • Organize iPhone screenshots in an iOS Photo album
  • Rain tomorrow? Get an iOS Notification
  • Backup my contacts to a Google Spreadsheet
  • Post your Instagram pictures as native Twitter pictures
  • RSS > Twitter

Tips & tricks

  • You can always turn on and off recipes as you please
  • IFTTT keeps a log of all the actions that a recipe takes and when
  • Having the app installed on your phone is nice because it will give you a notification when a recipe is activated. The mobile app is also convenient to be able to turn on/off a recipe
  • I've tried to set up IFTTT to auto-DM/auto-tweet but unfortunately it won't work based on certain Twitter's Terms of Service that IFTTT is strict about upholding
Real life example using the tool