There are a plethora of blogging tools available. Some are good, some are bad. These are the tools that I used for my blog.
It kind of goes without saying that you need a blogging platform to run a blog. I have always used WordPress, and love it. I started on a self-hosted WordPress installation, and switched over to a WordPress.com (with custom domain mapping) for the ease of hosting. With the WordPress.com account, I don’t have to worry about any technical issues, I can just focus on blogging.
WordPress is incredibly easy to use, and I have used it on multiple websites that I have built or managed. From blogs to Content Management Systems, I wouldn’t go with anything else.
Images help bring blogs to life, and when you don’t have the image that you want, stock images are the way to go. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on my blog, so free stock images are what I want. I haven’t found a site with the amount of quality free stock images that sxc.hu has. I can generally find something similar to what I’m looking for, and sometimes an image that sparks an alternative idea. They also have images from a sister paid site, so if you can’t find a free image and don’t mind paying (only about a dollar or so per image) then you can search their sister site as well.
There are two sites that I regularly use for blog post inspiration. The Daily Post, which is WordPress’ challenge to bloggers to write a post every day of the year, is my first point of call. When I don’t like their daily suggestion (or I can’t think of anything to write for it), I head over to Plinky, which is run by Automattic – one of the companies behind WordPress – which also provides a daily topic for blogs.
There are also a couple of blogs that I read that sometimes provide inspiration for posts. ProBlogger is a blog all about blogging, and how to earn money off it. I’m not really in this for the money, and don’t have any plans to try to make it for the money, however it still provides some really good tips for anyone who is blogging. Smashing Magazine is a site all about design – website design, graphic design, print design, it’s all there. It’s a great site, and I look there often for inspiration. Finally zenhabits, which is a blog that looks at ways of simplifying life. I’ve read this for a number of years, and while I don’t implement everything that he writes on, I know that Leo has many good ideas, and I’ll keep reading them just to hear those ideas.
Speaking of which, I couldn’t follow these blogs without some form of RSS reader. My reader of choice is Google Reader, which I have used for a number of years. It is easy to use, online, and available as an app for my phone, which means I can catch up on the feeds on my way into work. There are plenty of other readers out there, but this is the one that has worked for me.
I generally write my posts online, using either the WordPress backend, or the WordPress app on my phone. However, I have in the past used Windows Live Writer, which is an app that can connect in with your blog and allow you to write offline. One of the main benefits of using a program like this is that it allows you to see what your post will look like on your website – it downloads your themes styles, and emulates them to give you a WYSIWYG editor. Again, I haven’t used this in a while, but when I used it I felt that it was a very strong program that was made very well, and I haven’t seen many bad reviews of it.
Do you blog? What are your favourite tools and resources? Let me know, so that I might be able to use them as well.