Top 10 Essential Blogging Tools

Geek GirlBlogging 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.

ScribeFire in Action

ScribeFire in Action

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!

YadabyteSubText Interface

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.

Evernote Online Interface

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.

Google Alert Management

Google Alert Management

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?

Google Reader Interface
Google Reader Interface

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.

Gmail Themes Settings
Gmail Themes Settings

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 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.

Amazon Associates Widgets

Amazon Associates Widgets

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!

writing credit: moirabot

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!

Imperial Trooper credit: t3mujin

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  1. This is a great list, I’m using about half of them. I’ve tried to get into ScribeFox but for some reason I can’t. I really want to though.

  2. Do you use Windows Live Writer, instead?

  3. That is a great list! I would add in a few more things:

    – A document viewer like the one docstoc offers (free) – this allows people to view documents on your site without ever leaving your blog. Any document you put into this player is also indexed by Google, driving even more traffic back to your site. Upload the document to docstoc and then use the embed line to grab the code and put it on your site. Did I mention it was free?

    – A blog roll of your favorite blogs. Provide ways for your readers to learn more from the people you follow.

    – Add RSS to your blog – this will help drive traffic and keep people coming back to your site

    Hope this helps!

  4. @ Serena: Do you suggest Feedburner, too? I absolutely love the power it adds to my RSS feeds.

    :-) Thanks for commenting and come back soon!

  5. Ellie no I don’t, I just go to my WordPress dashboard every time I want to blog. So far I don’t mind it but probably would be more convenient with a blogging tool.

  6. Scribefire rocks, and thanks for the tip on Google Alerts. I had read about it before, and then forgot about it, but thanks to you I was reminded of it again. Great idea for getting blog idea material.