Blogging is one of those things a lot of people enjoy – some do it daily, some weekly, and some whenever they want. There isn’t a single right way to go about it either.
It’s all about what your goals are.
With that said, I’m occasionally asked about tools for bloggers. More specifically, I’m asked something like:
If I wanted to blog regularly, what tools should I use?
And though I generally write about development on this blog, I thought it might be worth writing a short post for the tools I recommend for all bloggers.
Tools For Bloggers
Though it should go without saying, this entire list is platform agnostic. Sure, I think WordPress is a solid foundation for your blog, but I’m a bit biased.
Of course there are other services available (and I’m not hating on them at all – in fact, they may be better suited for what you need!).
Before you actually sit down to write and draft a blog post, it’s worth having a place to capture your ideas. This can be something as simple as a notebook or post-it note or it can be something more technical like an app on your phone.
Whatever the case, I always recommend people try to capture the idea of what they want to cover in their blog post in a sentence or two, have it stored, and then use that as the foundation for their blog.
For what it’s worth, I use Evernote. Here’s the funny thing: I used to despise the application. Now, it’s part of my daily workflow for many things.
If a blog post goes on for too long or it even just appears to be too wordy (which is weird given the idea of a blog is to write, right?), then people may bounce from the post.
To help breakup content, it’s often recommended we use images. The thing about using images we find online is we may end up infringing on other people’s copyright.
So it’s always helpful to have a resource available that makes images available that are free and legal to use. Unsplash is an example of one such site.
There are others you can easily find, but this is one I use more than most.
When we’re in school – at least in the United States – there’s a way in which we’re taught to write essays and formal papers. Then, depending on your professor, when you get to college you have to unlearn all of it and learn yet-another-way to structure a paper.
Or you may just be told a professor “graciously didn’t take off points for verbal diarrhea” (true story!).
Then you get out of school and realize people don’t want to read a long-winded article about any-given-topic (though that might be what you think I’m doing right now :).
Anyway, in order to develop a certain style of writing it helps to find your voice and it helps to find it in such a way you’re communicating succinctly it helps to write in an app that also serves as a type of editor.
And that’s what Hemingway does. In short, you write in the editor and it highlights problems with your writing and lets you know when it’s in a proper state.
I don’t always use this, but I did for a significant amount of time. I still return to it from time-to-time, but if you use it for, say, one month as a way to draft all of your posts, then you end up learning how it works and you end up developing habits around its editing.
More To Come (Add Your Own!)
For many, this is a very general list and may not even be particularly valuable. But remember, this post is geared towards those who are just looking to get started in writing.
Furthermore, this is also meant to be a point of reference to which I can point whenever I am asked about my recommendations.
There are other advanced platforms, plugins, tools, and strategies I’d recommend, but they are beyond the scope of this post.
Next year, I’m thinking about setting up something to work with those who are interested in getting into daily – or maybe just regular – blogging. Part of that would include advanced tools, habits, etc.
But I digress. For now.
Add Your Own!
For now, though, I’m interested in what you’d add to a casual list of tools for bloggers in addition to what’s above.
Even if you’re just the occasional blogger, what would you recommend and why?