Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Basic blog tools

Originally posted at Logic is Variable by SAJS
The Web has always been interactive but the blogging phenomenon has accelerated the interactivity. The new software and blogging tools appearing every day are making it easier and attractive for everyone to start a blog.

Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2008 Report reads, “With blogging so firmly entrenched in the mainstream, the story now is about the Active Blogosphere. The trends, stories and behaviors here influence not only the rest of the Blogosphere but mainstream media as well.” It is in this milieu that one can say, everyone should start a blog.”

Let us assume that you also have a blog or two on a platform (software) of your choice. You have also defined your goals, your target audience, and the type of content you will be writing. Your next aim is to pick the right blogging tools that work for you and reach out.

In addition to integration of blogging tools into available free as well as premium blogging software, new blogging tools and services are being released every day to help blog masters add new features to their blogs. It can become quite overwhelming to choose between them all.

How to choose the best from among a number of blog promotion tools and add-ons? That depends on your goals, your expertise, time you have to play around and the platform you are using. Here are a few basic solutions for different situations.

Any serious blogger needs to read a lot of others' blog to know what is going on in ever expanding blogsphere. One of the marvel of technology is that you can have every new post from every blog you want to read delivered direct to you RSS (Really Simple Syndication).Google, Technorati and Bloglines are a good online choices to start feed reading. There are so many others.

Similarly you can make it easier for your readers to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed. "RSS is a protocol, an application of XML (Extensible Markup Language) that provides an open method of syndicating and aggregating Web content. Using RSS files, you can create a data feed that supplies headlines, links, and article summaries from your Web site. Users can have constantly updated content from web sites delivered to them via a news aggregator, a piece of software specifically tailored to receive these types of feeds," reads a Web definition. One of the ways to do this is to go to FeedBurner and burn your own RSS feed their and use the tools they provide to set up automatic subscriber links so that even people who want to use Bloglines, Google Reader, MyYahoo or Pluck can subscribe to. It can be figured out without the buttons but why not have a prominently visible button? Also create an option for people to subscribe by giving email address so that they can receive your blog posts like an email message. FeedBurner offers this service for free.

FeedBurner also offers automatic pinging but in case you want to use separate service for pinging, try PingGoat and Ping O Matic. Most blog software these days ping each post automatically though.

As readers walk from blog to blog they may find interesting sites that they want to point out to own readers. Online bookmark managers allow readers to collect, bookmark and categorize blog pages and all other interesting stuff found on the web. I use but BlinkList does a fine job as well.

Statistics produced by analyzing the access logs for a blog are very useful for the success of blogs in addition to being a big ego booster for the webmaster. Number of hits also determines the click through rate for those who have subscribed to Google AdSense or other similar affiliate programs. Countless technologies make it possible to track statistics in real time to show what other web users may be visiting or better still might be linking to you or posting about your blog. Technorati does this job fine. Similarly mymloglog not only tells where traffic is coming from but also tracks what links on my blog visitors are clicking on.

With almost all blog software you must go online and post using a set of tools provided by the blog software. Many bloggers like to use a desktop application (like w.blogger, Performancing and Qumana) to create and publish their posts as it gives them some extra help and allows them to more easily integrate content and files on their computer. May be these look like they are for more tech savvy folks but no harm in trying and learning in the process.

Many bloggers display automatically changing daily quotes or cartoons on the sidebar of their blog for their own interest or for that of their readers. I am not counting different revenue generating blog affiliates (Google AdSense, Amazon) that turn in content related ads on any blog.

The choice is endless and users can have anything on their blogs from blogchat to blogmap to time, temperature and weather display of any area or a nifty new blogbar ( that allows to search from twelve search engines from single search box that can be put on any site. On one blog, I clicked on the array of symmetrically stacked colorful buttons and found Email Icon Generator, Official Seal Generator. Good thing about blogger community is sharing when anything new is announced. That way it gets moving in blogsphere fast.

Since 2003 when I started blogging, I have been using many blog tools. Fact is that any new announcement used to attract me to try. But over time I have settled for site meter (, analytical tools (Google Analytics), news aggregators and news sourcing tools (Technorati and Blogpulse), polls (, email subscription and newsletter service ( and some other like pingoat, audiobloger, blogrolling, picasa and flickr.

When my daily blogging time starts, I first go to my invisible site meter to find who has been reading me and surfing my blogs. Then I read my feeds and know what has been happening on blogs of my interest since I last went offline book marking items of my interests in the process. I also visit facebook and twitter  to update with friends and fellow bloggers. In the meantime, I plan, write and post my own entries and start pinging. At the end I read the feedback I get, firing of some replies. That is what keeps me going.

What blog tools are you using?

1 comment:

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