(photo of me thinking “wow, this is a really stupid self photo, how do bloggers do it?”)
I wrote this response pre Sandy and other horrible storm devastations that have happened in the last little while. I want to be clear that if you make your living through your blog you should probably have some sort of offline set up or secondary source of monetization. However, I think that if you are a hobby blogger you should really focus on what matters the most in life and that might not be blogging every day in the middle of chaos. I wanted to put this up top in case people think I’m being insensitive to the victims of the latest natural disaster, especially those who are bloggers. I care deeply about it all but for me it would be a time to regroup and help those in my community rather than blog. Others might find it therapeutic to blog and to let others know what is going on “on the inside”.
This is my opinion piece that is purely stating that I think you don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles to be a great blogger. You need content, a writing system and a way to get it out to people.
So I was on the internet, because that’s my job and I was reading some blogs. Problogger Blog Tips is generally a good read so I keep it in my rss feed. This article on The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Bloggers was a neat read but I wanted to bring up habit 3: not using an offline blogging tool.
These days, I’m all about offline blogging tools. One particular tool, actually. It’s called Windows Live Writer. What’s great about it is that it allows you to create an optimized blog post offline, and then send it to any WordPress blog you want.
Let’s face it: you won’t have internet access at all times. Maybe you’re staying in a cheap hotel, or visiting your family over the weekend, or some other scenario. If you want to be effective, you have to have a way of creating a post even if you’re offline.
I know that the standard way of doing this is through Microsoft Word or some other text processor, but they are not very good at providing WordPress-ready formatting. Windows Live Writer is great in this regard—give it a go.
I don’t use an offline blogging tool. Nor do I have a pc and I wouldn’t consider one because of 1 program (okay 2, I could really use the Bing Adcenter desktop tool but that’s for work). I could get around it by running a virtual machine or other ways but why?
First of all, I understand that not every blogger has the background I do. I could write my blog in raw php if I felt like it and was really bored (and brushed up a bit). I was a developer for eons. Pre all the fancy pants stuff. Plus, I’ve been a blogger for over 15 years, so I have that on my side. I doubt I would get derailed if I had to write a post and insert “html code” in it and save it in a text file.
So off the point, sorry. I wouldn’t do that anyway. Why? First of all, I can’t remember the last time I blogged about something truly time sensitive and important and didn’t have an internet connection. Truly. I have this thing called a smart phone. Bloggers new best friend. I don’t use special blogging software because I’ve laid out my blog pretty minimalistic. I use the wordpress interface and there is a wordpress app for my phone (and ipad too I think, I rarely blog from my ipad since I usually use Lightroom for my images if they aren’t taken on my phone). And when I don’t want to use my phone to post (which I do a lot to be honest) I can tether my phone and use it as an internet connection to upload.
But the main point is that a lot of bloggers aren’t posting about things that 1. can’t wait or 2. are outside of a connectivity zone. Shit, you can get wifi on planes and McDonalds. I post every single day. I’ve never had a problem finding a connection or having cell service. I’m sure that there are say travel bloggers out there who really benefit from this type of system. I guess the same with those 3 a day bloggers who have to document every single bowl of oatmeal they have ever eaten. But the average blogger isn’t going to be affected by this as much.
However, this type of system might work for you if you have more complicated templates, and if it helps you write amazing posts, go for it. I hear it is pretty cool honestly, but I don’t see the benefits for my personal blog. If you manage more than 1 blog I hear it can shuffle all those accounts which is neat. There’s always a plus and minus to everything, just putting my view out there for maybe newer bloggers who feel they have to buy into the “shiny technology” to be a good blogger. It might make you more efficient after the learning curve but it won’t make you better 😉
Don’t focus on real-time blogging 100% of the time. Keep a hefty drafts folder with ideas and finished posts that you can schedule when you are sick, tired, or sick and tired. Those ideas that come to you at random times can be a golden blog post even if you don’t write it all and publish it that moment. Did you take a brilliant photo but don’t have much to say about it? Save it for a rainy day when it might inspire you to finish off that post. I find it more inefficient to not be prepared than to have to do a post while you are on the beach in Hawaii. Don’t worry, nobody is going to be less jealous because your photo of your toes in the sand in January is posted a little late. Just be consistent.