Blogging has replaced baseball as the American past-time. The world of the web log now provides a home for everyone from casual bloggers who like talking about their cats to professional bloggers who are making six figures. Regardless of the level of blogging obsession you suffer from, there are some tools that can make the entire process easier and more fun, and which can lead to better posts. Here are five of our favorites.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Atom RSS system, the basic story goes like this. While people can see your entire blog in all of its majesty, feed programs (such as those associated with advertisements) and blog databases (such as those used with blog sharing and following) have trouble digesting the information. Your RSS feed creates a more palatable version of your blog for the robots.
FeedBurner takes your default RSS feed and makes it cleaner, more attractive, and easier to work with. The ability to ping sites, structure your feed, and share your blog all become easier with this tool.
It’s easy to get inspired by great web links. Delicious is a tool that lets you see the most popular social bookmarks, and store your own bookmarks in a personal account. This means that it’s easier to access those links from alternative locations, giving you more freedom to “look now, write later.” Plus, the resource makes spreading links to your own blog on social networks much more simple.
This cloud storage utility allows you to automatically synchronize your files between computers. This means that images, documents, PDFs, references, or other items that you want to use can easily be accessed from any workstation you want to use. You can even use the Dropbox mobile application to take snapshots or videos with your mobile phone which can automatically be accessed from any of your linked computers. For many who are inspired by the visuals of their everyday life, that means skipping a major step.
You may not get heavily involved in the design of your blog, and if you do, you may want to stick to the built-in designer. However, for the more ambitious bloggers who have yet to study HTML and CSS, CoffeeCup provides an excellent free resource. This HTML editor allows you to make edits to your blog’s design without paying anything, learning too much advanced coding, or risking the utter destruction of your blog.
All of those images that you found with a Google image search and are posting on your blog — yeah, that’s illegal. The “implied intellectual property laws” of the Internet mean that you’re violating copyright by using those without permission. Additionally, most of them are low quality and look terrible.
The solution for missing blog assets? Stock.xchng. This Hungarian website features countless stock images that are free to use and easy to track down. Plus, they look great.
There are dozens and dozens of other great blogging tools, whether it be for cloud storage and easy access, or to find elements and assets for your posts, but all of the ones listed above are particularly fantastic. Beyond being highly useful, every item mentioned above is completely free of charge.