Storytailor Review | Did the Makers of BlogStomp Create the Ultimate Blogging Tool?
When photographers take that initial leap into photography as a profession (or a more serious side hustle), blogging should rank high on their list of to-do’s. Blogs have long proven to be one of the most effective tools photographers can use to build a presence online. Honestly, though, they can be a pain to maintain. A well-designed and consistently updated blog may help photographers gain credibility, use targeted SEO to grow a following, and make clients and vendors happy with easily shareable posts, but they also typically require a significant investment of time and effort, both for learning to use the software and posting regularly. For this reason, a good number of photographers don’t dedicate adequate time to blogging. That is where Storytailor from StompSoftware (the makers of BlogStomp) comes in.
Since 2009, StompSoftware has provided affordable, easy-to-use software for both Mac and Windows users. With their latest blogging app, Storytailor, the StompSoftware team has released what might arguably qualify as the ultimate blogging tool. This holds especially true for photographers. Storytailor’s intuitive design and powerful tools help lighten the load for running an effective photography blog with minimal time and effort, and it works well with Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, and others. In the following review, we’ll weigh in on Storytailor’s features and consider how they might help improve your blogging workflow.
When you open Storytailor, the first thing you’ll notice is the app’s simple, straightforward design. You can easily navigate the clutter-free interface and locate the features you need to craft your post at every stage of your workflow. Storytailor maintains this elegant design aesthetic throughout, whether you’re populating the blog with content or putting together a collage to share on Pinterest. It may sound cliche to say there’s truth in the idea that “less is more,” but this app supports such claims with concrete evidence.
Don’t mistake the minimalist approach to the app’s interface for a lack of power, however, as you’ll learn below.
Part of what makes this app so easy to use is the amount of automation going on behind the scenes. The app’s auto-arrange blog post builder has been designed to do the majority of the work for you in terms of setting up and laying out the blog. All you have to do is load your photos, fine-tune the design (using margin sliders, image cropping, inserting logos/watermarks, etc.), add your copy, and publish.
Let’s take a closer look at the process to further explore each feature.
Adding and Organizing Photos & GIFs
Photographers will appreciate Storytailor’s emphasis on leading with imagery to build a blog post. Right from the start, after you select the “Blog” or “Collage” option, you’ll notice a conspicuous drag & drop area that makes it easy to import your photos and begin the blog-building process. Storytailor gives you three other ways to add photos to your post, but you really need look no further than the drag & drop option on the opening screen.
After adding your images, the “auto arrange” function automatically begins organizing the images (pairing portrait-orient photos side-by-side, for example). Once your images have finished loading, you can rearrange them in the Image Browser or the main blog column. Simply drag and drop the photos to where you want them. In addition, you can right click on the images in the Image Browser to sort them by file name, capture date, or creation date. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, you can use the margin slider in the upper righthand corner to control the size of the margins between the photos. Sometimes, it’s the finer details like this that make all the difference.
Another cool feature that Storytailor recently added gives you the ability to include GIFs in your blog post. This provides a great opportunity to highlight a sequence of images that can add to the overall storytelling, such as a twirl on the dance floor, a bouquet toss, or perhaps a candid interaction between newlyweds.
Storytailor makes it easy to add custom web fonts and insert text copy to your blog post as well. To start, simply click on the text icons throughout the post to set up your intro at the top, insert blurbs between photos, and then link to venues and other vendors, if applicable (linking out to other sites is one of the ways to boost your SEO score). You can then use Storytailor’s selection of fonts or add any hosted font from services like Google or Adobe to finalize the look of your post.
The overall design automation and quick select options for organizing the images and other features helps provide a stress free experience.
[Related Reading: Blogging for Photographers – 5 Things You Need for a Successful Blog]
Optimizing SEO for your blog is one of the most important things you can do to get your blog seen. Between keywords, file names, title and image tags, and so on, there’s a lot to keep track of. You can purchase separate plug-ins to help do this, but Storytailor packs plenty of SEO tools right into the app.
SEO Tools and Grading Structure
Using Storytailor’s SEO tools, you can easily add keywords and customize file names, title tags, and alt tags for images. You can also load preselected keywords that will automatically be added to all of the photos in your post. From there, you have the option to add additional keywords to individual images.
The Grading Structure allows you to check the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in real time with a graded score (think A through F) for things like the title, word count, and other items like those listed above. If you’ve ever used the Yoast plug-in, you’ll already be familiar with the concept. Squarespace or Wix users who don’t have access to the Yoast SEO WordPress plug-in will find that much more value in these tools. Even if you use WordPress, you won’t need to worry about getting the Yoast plug-in. The Grading Structure in Storytailor takes the guesswork out of knowing whether or not you’re hitting the major SEO metrics.
If you’re newer to SEO or you just want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to maximize SEO for your post, check out this helpful article, “Our SEO Philosophy,” on Storytailor’s website.
Publishing your blog post with Storytailor takes no time at all and it really couldn’t be easier. To illustrate, here’s a quick overview of the steps involved:
- Finalize the written content and photo layout
- Click “Publish” in the lower right corner
- Select your blog platform (Squarespace, WordPress, Wix, Other)
- The app will publish the post on your site as a draft (you’ll need to provide log-in details for your platform) or provide an html code you can paste into the backend of your blog site.
Storytailor adopts CSS style from the blog, which allows font type and color matching to happen automatically for most users. After you publish the post, the next phase of Storytailor’s effectiveness kicks in when the SEO you’ve set up works to bring more traffic to your page.
Website/Blog Format vs. Publishing
Websites and blogs come in a wide variety of formats and hosting plans. As a result, there are occasions in which users might experience publishing issues due to obscure/conflicting code in their websites, or because of stringent hosting restrictions. A handful of users from Storytailor’s beta test group of 2500 reported experiencing some issues when publishing for these reasons. I have not experienced any such issues, but it’s worth mentioning. I imagine that outside of any unconventional website setup you may be running, the features in Storytailor should work as expected.
In addition to all the amazing features in the Blog tab, Storytailor has also included a Collage Builder and a Batch Exporter for jpeg exports, producing web-ready files for targeted sharing. You’ll recognize this feature if you’ve used BlogStomp in the past, and you’ll appreciate it more than you know if you’re new to this entire process.
Collage Builder and Batch Exporter
For photography-based bloggers, these features alone are more than worth the price of admission. Seriously. If you only ever used the Collage Builder and integrated it into your current blogging workflow (or to share images on Pinterest), you’d still be amazed at how much more efficient your blogging workflow would become.
The Collage Builder has greatly simplified the whole process of creating and adding custom layouts to our blog posts for Lin & Jirsa Photography. Since we discovered its effectiveness, we’ve used it constantly. The Collage Builder works similarly to how you arrange and customize the photo layouts with the automated Blog Builder, but here you can also export your collage as a web-ready file, which is great for Pinterest. Simply add a web url to images so that when they’re shared on Pinterest, potential clients can more easily find your contact info.
Security Software Limitations
Although I have not personally experienced this issue with the app, it’s worth noting that Storytailor has reported a few instances of users running into certain security software limitations in the Collage and Batch Exporter modules when creating new jpeg files on their computer. When this happens, you just need to “allow” or “whitelist” Storytailor in your security software. Once this task is complete, you will be able to export your jpeg files. Chances are, however, that Storytailor will work as intended without any such hassle.
For both Mac and Windows users looking to get the most out of the app, Storytailor has put together a collection of helpful blog posts and videos that outline each of the app’s features in more detail. If you have questions about the app not answered in the FAQs or blog posts, contact their team via email. I can say from experience that they’re quick to respond.
Storytailor offers a very simple pricing structure with two basic payment options. Find the rates below:
- $7/mth (paid annually)
- $10/mth (paid monthly)
- Both options include unlimited blog posts
Additionally, you can get a free 14-day trial to test-drive the software before you commit to making a purchase.
I hope that you found this review of the Storytailor app helpful. After having used other means of building blogs, it’s easy to appreciate Storytailor’s user-friendly interface, automations, and tools. Together, they help simplify the blogging process and actually make it fun to do. For years, the StompSoftware team has continued to innovate and develop better tools for bloggers, and Storytailor reflects that continued commitment. Issues with the software are few and far between, and ongoing updates will only continue to make a great tool even greater. At the end of the day, worthwhile blogging tools should allow you to spend more time shooting and less time blogging. That’s what Storytailor does, and well.