Tools of the Trade
About a month ago, Daren (aka Problogger) published a post called 14 Essential Mac OS X Applications for Bloggers. As a big fan of Mac’s and of course a blogger, I found his post incredibly useful. I’ve been using ImageWell, one of the applications he mentioned, for my blogging and can’t tell you how helpful it’s been. In the spirit of paying it forward, I figured I’d list out the different applications and tools I use on a daily basis that make my blogging life just a little bit easier. I’m going to cruise through them fairly quickly but as always if have more questions, I’ll attempt to answer them in the comments below.
This is single handedly the most useful blogging tool I’ve come across since launching this site. I’m sure other programs such as Photoshop etc can do all the same things but ImageWell is about as simple to use as you can get. Simple things like adding a drop shadow to an image often gives your blog a much more polished and professional feel to it and give the impression that you’ve spent time creating the image. With ImageWell, it’s as simple as clicking one box and presto change-o you’ve got a sleek looking image.
Social Alerter is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a site that alerts you when a submission from your site (or any other site you’re tracking) is doing well on social sites such as Digg.com. The site is fairly new but I’ve already found it to be incredibly helpful. Basically you set up the alerts that you want, and then forget about it. The site will email you a message when a submission hits 20 diggs which should give you plenty of time to prepare your site for a possible flood of traffic and will also give you the opportunity to help the story along as well.
I just recently decided to give Twitter a try and I can tell you that I’m already hooked. It’s a great networking tool, allows me to alert readers when I have a special post that deserves extra attention, and can be a great resource for getting questions answered or problems solved. A while back I tweeted about an issue I was having with my laptop’s power cable and within seconds someone replied with links to a site dealing with that specific issue. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Digital Point’s Keyword Rankings
Digital Point is known throughout the online world for their large forums but they also have a bunch of useful tools available as well. The tool I use most is their Keyword Ranking tool. You register, and then input your sites and the list of terms you’d like to track their rankings for in Google. For example, for this blog I track terms like make money blogging (currently 6th) and make money online (currently 30th). You can track rankings for a number of different sites all in one place and the best part is that it keeps historical data as well. If you notice your rankings dropping, you can check out their graphs and find out exactly when you started seeing the changes etc.
One thing I’ve found about blogging is that no two people do everything the same. Whether it’s the way you go about writing your posts, or the way you find your images etc, chances are you use other tools or applications on a regular basis. What are your favorites? Which ones can’t you live without? I’ve shown you mine, so you show me yours.