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My Blogging Toolbox

I’ve had a few people ask me about how I setup my blog. I thought I would use the question as an opportunity to write an entry to share some technologies and tools I have tripped upon during my blogging adventure.

Read on..

Blogging Software

WordPress – I’ve tried some other tools like Posterous, Blogger.com, and Typepad. By far, WordPress is the best for me. They have a very sophisticated free hosted version available at www.wordpress.com. You can pay extra for some of the upgrades; however, I have yet to find that need. If you are a more sophisticated user, have your site hosted on another server, you can also download WordPress. My recommendation is to start with the hosted version, then go from there as you better define your needs.

Offline Blogging Software

Windows Live Writer – I often write offline or over the weekend, then spread out the publishing of my posts throughout the following week. Having a blog editor running on my local machine is extremely helpful as I write or “tweak” my ideas and postings. Any good offline blog editor can link to your blog account in order to publish new content, edit existing content, as well as upload everything (e.g., images, hyperlink, tags, categories, etc.) related to your postings within a few clicks of the mouse. My first thought was to use Microsoft Word, then cut and paste the content into the blogging software, then add hyperlinks, tags, categories, etc.. It was inefficient, but more importantly due to Microsoft adding hidden html tags, the formatting does not transfer well. I checked-out Blogjet but found the functionality a little weak. I quickly gravitated to Windows Live Writer and like the functionality and how it works with WordPress. If you are a Mac user, Ecto seems to get good reviews.

Multimedia

I like to add pictures to my postings to give the site a “magazine-type” of edge. I also like the professional touch of adding multi-media to enhance the posting. 26 Places to Find Free Multimedia for Your Blog is a nice posting highlighting various places to pick these nuggets of multimedia up.

Amazon Affiliate Program – This a great program offered by amazon.com that can really add a fantastic and professional dynamic to your blog. The Amazon Affiliate program allows you to advertise products on your website, which people follow the links to amazon.com, which you will earn money when they buy. Besides earning a little beer money, the reason this is cool is you have the ability to create a bookstore of products relevant to your site. It adds personalization. NorthxEast wrote a great article called, “9 Blog Ideas to Help you Profit with Amazon.”

Promoting Your Site

  • Twitter & Facebook are both great tools to help promote the content on your site and drive some additional traffic. I use both mediums to stay connected with friends and colleagues. Most of my posts may not directly point them to my blog, but some do – especially ones I think people may want to read. Both are free and easy to setup.
  • Feedburner – allows people to subscribe to your blog posts by email. Feedburner is run through Google. You just set-up a Feedburner account, then place the html (they provide to you) on your site.

Blog Sites for Bloggers and other resources

  • www.problogger.net – This is a Blog that helps bloggers to add income streams to their blogs. While I blog because it’s an interest of mine (rather than to make money), they do have some great articles to help you get started in your blogging adventure.
  • www.northxeast.com – more articles about blogging
  • Creative Commons – Obviously if you’ve come this far, you might be serious about blogging more. With all of your hard work, you’ll want to protect yourself by copywriting your work or at least using a Creative Commons license. I reference the Creative Commons License on the bottom of my site along with link for others to view. Feel free to use the Creative Commons link to do the same on your site.

QUESTION: WHAT TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGIES DO YOU USE TO ENHANCE YOUR READERS’ EXPERIENCE?

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