Blogging can be like heavy weight lifting particularly if you like your posts to be highly researched, formatted and user friendly. From a few minutes , it can take up to few hours and more to put up a blog post. There are some great tools which can cut down this time to more than 50% if used properly. I am giving herebelow a list of 14 such tools ,which are a great help to any blogger.
1.Windows Live Writer : This is my favourite tool and perhaps one of the best tools currently available to help a blogger blog right from his desktop.It has got some great features like image editing, facility to create photo albums, tables etc. You can literally do anything and much more than what you do online on your blog editor (wordpress,blogger etc).Since the post template is also copied on to your desktop, the formatting etc that is done is retained on the final post.The best part is that all your posts are backed up on the system and you can edit them right from here.There are a host of plugins for Live Writer available which you can download and further add to the functionality of the software.Just download this software and save to your desktop.Configure your blog with the user name and password and you are ready to go. For WordPress blogs, you may have to once “Enable the WordPress, Movable Type, MetaWeblog and Blogger XML-RPC publishing protocols” from the Writing section of your blog.This software can improve blogging productivity by 30-40%. See some images from the software below :
2.Global Translator : This is a great plugin for wordpress bloggers. What it does is that it allows your blog posts to be converted in a number of languages( 34 currently). Though you can also use Google,Bablefish and other translators , the difference with this plugin is that it converts your URLs by and stores the converted data .Thus the URL on your blog when converted to Italian would look like yourblogname.com/it/your_post_title . This content is picked up by Search Engines as fresh content and enables you to get some traffic from people searching in native languages. So, literally you can multiply your content upto 34 times !..As of now, there is no information on whether Google disapproves of this plugin, but I hope it does not in the future also as great new content is being created in native languages.
3.Web2PDF: Do you write great posts which you think can be of use to your readers as a PDF file to be referred to offline? If yes, this service allows you to add a small code snippet to your posts so that anyone can click and download the post as a PDF.The service is free and there is no limit to the downloads, but it does take some time to download the file.Many bloggers though may not be comfortable with the idea that there posts can be easily downloaded and there will be a fear of losing traffic also. However, one golden rule always helps- “If your readers benefit from your blog, so will you”. See how it works
4.Blogdesk : Blogdesk is another desktop publishing tool which is Free and optimized for blog systems – WordPress, Blogger, Drupal,Serendipity and Express Engine. Using this tool also cuts down your blogging time and enables you to focus on your content.
5.Outbrain : Its always nice to know what the readers think about your post and the best way to know that is from comments and from incoming links. However, not every reader has time to comment or link to your post. But if you provide them a widget to rate your post, they can do so easily in a click. This plugin for WordPress easily allows readers to click and vote their liking. The plugin can be simply searched from the control panel in WordPress 2.7.1 and added with a click.However, the plugin also displays related links from other sites below the rating stars . This may be treated as a value addition by some bloggers and a diversion of traffic by others. Its your take..
6.Google Friend Connect : This is a great scoial networking tool from Google and it is being used by all kinds of sites including blogs. What it does in a simple way is that it allows you to create a community around your blog. In a few simple steps, you can get the code for the various widgets provided by them and which can be added to a new widget (Text) on your blog . The visitors come and can login with their Google, Yahoo, Aim and Open ID and they become a member on your site. Besides, you can also select various social gadgets widgets like Game widget, Wall Gadget (for comments) or even create your own custom widget to be put up at the blog. This service of Google is getting viral and giving tough competition to MyBloglog . Besides helping you know more about your blog followers, it will help you to get traffic from visitors on other sites as they see the link on the profiles. I feel that by next year , it will one of the most used gadget on millions of sites around the world.
7.PostRank Widget: It is another useful widget for bloggers where with the addition of simple code in your widget box. This widget shows the ranking of your posts with the highest viewed post being given 10 points and other posts given relative points. It gives a very clear idea to the visitors that what is popular on this blog and how much relatively speaking. Humans by nature like sorted information and this tool helps do it on blogs. The widget is unobtrusive as it displays a small logo of Post Rank at top right and does not interfere with the design of your blog.
8.Technology Search: If you are a technology blogger, this might be useful for you. This search engine (powered by Google) enables me to do exactly that. It searches all the Top Technology Blogs(more than 100) and Top Technology Forums , New sites etc . So if I want to know what have top bloggers written on – say – ‘Video Editing’ , I just make a search and click on the category ‘Top Tech Blogs’ and immediately I can see the posts regarding ‘Video Editing’. However, some posts might be as old as 2004 and may not be relevant today. So I just use the time drop down bar and see what they have written in the last 6 months or last one month or even last week and so on. And for finding what people have discussed in reputed forums, I just click on the ‘Top Tech Forums’ category and get the posts. This tool helps me a lot in finding the right and authentic information on tech topics quickly .
9.Social Marker & Only Wire:You have created great post and you want the world to know about it.There are some good services which can be used to submit your posts to multiple social bookmarking sites. Social Marker and Only Wire are among the good ones. Create an account on Social Marker or Only Wire and you can submit your posts to over 160 bookmarking sites. Both provide a submission bookmarklet which rests in the bookmarks folder. However, there is word of caution. Submit only selected content from your site as it might be considered as spamming by these sites. Also, submit posts to only few bookmarking sites –about 8-10 as search engines may not like seeing links coming to your blog from so many bookmarking sites.
10.Scribefire: With over 1.5 million downloads, this add-on is a must for Firefox lovers who blog. Compatible with a wide variety of blogging services, this add on enables you to blog on the fly. Select any text on a webpage and and right click to make a new post with that text(formatting retained) , drag and drop images from the page into the post, save drafts,share posts on social sites,upload files via FTP and more.. It even allows you to manage published posts . It is one of most used firefox addon.Below, I have just highlighted on some text on Scribefire site ,right clicked and and started a blog post:
11.Ping.fm : Though more applicable for micro blogging, it is a lovely tool to enable post and update all your blogs and social networks at once.You can select from over 30 blogging/micro-blogging networks and just with a single message, you can update all your networks or a select group out of the these.These messages can be sent from their web editor ,emails, instant messengers,mobile phones etc. The links are converted to a short URL like ping.fm/a12cd . No formatting options are available and hence it is suitable for bloggers who like to blog short,sweet,fast and on the move.
12.Auto Copy : We bloggers , at many times, need to copy text from various webpages and use that in the post. The process involves using SELECTING THE TEXT, Pressing CONTROL C and then CONTROL V . Sometimes it does not go on correctly and we have to the whole thing again. Auto copy is a firefox extension which copies any text as soon as you highlight it and you can paste it anywhere. Though it does not sound as giving too much value, once you use it , it will be difficult to work without it !
13.Copy Link and Text : One of the most irritating activities is to copy a link and its text . Eg if you have to copy this text along with the link, you will have to first right click and Copy Link Location, Paste it and then come back to Copy the Text and then again paste it properly. However, with this firefox extension, you can easily copy both the link as well as the text in one go.This again saves a lot of time.Via Lifehacker
14.Yahoo Media Player: If you have often post Mp3 links in your posts, then use put the small code provided by Yahoo Media Player and it will auto detect the links and create an embedded player which is unobtrusive and expands when clicked only.
In your comments do mention about your favourite blogging tools and also the ones that you might be already using from the above list.