Time is short and there’s lots of interesting things to blog about these days, so why make it harder on yourself than you have to? I’m all about taking the easy way, but unfortunately as I’ve been learning, TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch), and to learn the easy things, I’ve had to work through the hard ones. What I’m about to discuss are the essential.
Fear not, gentle reader, in this missive, I’ll skip the hard and reveal only the easy…at least, they were easy for me. Your mileage may vary.
At minimum, your bloghost should offer you this most-excellent blogging platform. It’s the most popular for all the right reasons; easy, flexible, robust, supported, and has a huge developer base. It’s also free.
Every good blog deserves to be viewed through a good browser. Firefox wins my vote for the same reasons that WordPress does; easy, flexible, robust, supported, and has a huge developer base. It’s also free.
WordPress and Firefox both support plugins — 3rd party additions that extend the functionality of the software…which is important because that’s where I’m going next.
A plugin for Firefox, ScribeFire grew out of the Performancing blog-writing tool. Quite simply, ScribeFire allows you to edit your blog while you’re surfing, dragging and dropping items directly from your source webpages, newsfeeds or whatever. It connects directly to most popular blogging software and seamlessly posts your post.
2) WordPress plugins
There’s too many to cover them all but I’ll briefly list the ones that make blog administration simple:
- Akismet and Spam Karma 2 — both comment spam management tools. Essential unless you have a lot of time to delete comments that have nothing to do with your writing, and everything to do with Viagra.
- WordPress Database Backup — essential, should your bloghost have issues. It’s saved my butt occasionally 🙂
- WordPress Mobile Edition — Converts your blog to be read by roadwarriors with PDA and cellphone browsers
Finally, the Big Kahuna. The one essential thing that really makes blogging fun and easy.
1) Google Anything
Yep, pretty much anything by Google can be considered essential for fun and easy blogging.
- Google Reader is the essential feed-reading and management tool.
- Google’s Gmail is fast, simple, and with almost 3GB of space, huge.
- Google Analytics — ah yes, this is the one tool that really brings it all together. How do you know if your audience is engaged, what they’re reading and when they’re visiting? Google Analytics measures that, and presents it in simple, friendly reports that have an astonishing amount of detail.
- Google News — stay on top of the news with live rss alerts.
And there you have it. My five essential tools (ok, more actually) that really make blogging a fun activity. Imagine what blogging would be like if we didn’t have these gems.
Got a few of your own? Add to the conversation by posting them in the comments!