Blogging can be a challenge for most of us – whether it is because life gets in the way of our blogging time, or it is a challenge to find great ideas. We’ve rounded up the top 10 essential blogging tools by reading dozens of blogs and keeping an eye on trends.
This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have suggestions, let us know in the comments!
The Top 10 Essential Blogging Tools
1. ScribeFire is considered by most bloggers, including the Firefox king, Mitch, to be the BEST option for posting to your blog(s) via Firefox’s interface. This add-on (extension) is clean and easy to set up. Chose to have ScribeFire open within the browser window or in a separate popup. It’s other settings are all up to you, though the default settings work for most of us.
2. I’ve talked about YaddaByteSubText, a fantastic (and free) text replacement software before. Even almost a year after I started using this program, I have found more and more ways to use this program to save keystrokes and ultimately, time!
3. Evernote is an online/offline note taking tool that runs off of your computer or cell phone. For bloggers, Evernote can be an easy way to clip and save post ideas for future use, save the text of pages you want to read later, or even composing blog posts that can be accessible online AND offline! The buzz behind Evernote keeps getting louder because new features are added frequently and the basic service is free.
4. Google Alerts are a pretty surefire way to get blogging ideas and keep up with online trends. You can receive updates on your search terms via email or RSS. It is easy to set up and automated to send updates as they happen or once a day on your search terms.
5. My favorite Google product, Google Reader, has been instrumental in keeping me up to date on what is going on around the blogosphere and around the web. Did you know that you can convert HTML sites into RSS feeds, too?
6. Use Gmail to bookmark links you want to come back to later, or email information to yourself or your blog’s collaborators. Just drag and drop the GmailThis bookmarklet to your links toolbar in your Firefox browser. The Gmail window will open in a popup. Read more about how to Use Google at School, Work or Blogging in this older post, “Google to School” or get the directions on how to use the GmailThis bookmarklet to do even more.
7. Amazon Associates is a great way to make money with your blog. The program includes tools and widgets to make sure you can advertise products and promotions easily on your site, even if you don’t know a lot of HTML. While the site now has a cool toolbar on every Amazon.com page to help you create Amazon Associates links, I found a great bookmarklet that does the same work. It’s much faster and works with the new Amazon Associates.
8. Keep a notebook and pen handy for those times when you are away from your computer but come up with a great idea for a blog post or design. Draw out your ideas, or even write outlines. Getting away from our computers sometimes IS good, and there’s nothing wrong with balling up some paper and throwing it into a trash can every now and again!
9. Social networking is another essential blogging tool. Run your ideas by your fellow tweeps on Twitter or search articles on Digg for inspiration. Get to know your fellow bloggers, especially those who blog about the same types of things you blog about. Ask about guest blogging on their site, and vice versa.
10. Get a mouse! Using a laptop is fun, especially when you can take your blogging to the park or sneak and blog at work, but blogging on a laptop is a million times better when you have a mouse. There are tons of mice out there, so look around and find a mouse that works for you. Your fingers and your patience will thank you!
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