In Search For Ultimate Blogging Tools: Writing Simplified Now!

Posted in Blogging, Web Design3 years ago • Written by 3 Comments

Why should you use desktop blogging editors? Well, have you ever lost a post because of your internet connection? Maybe you accidentally closed the browser you were using and all your work just disappeared? Even with autosave options and occasional prompts before closing windows, occasionally content gets lost. For me the only option to avoid this is to use a desktop blogging editor. Using a desktop editor greatly reduces the chance that you will lose your work. However in this article I will showcase everything – not only desktop blogging software, but also online websites, innovative curation/blogging solutions and simplified apps for distraction free writing.

Blogging Like A Pro Series Parts 1-10:

  1. Blogging Like A Pro: Introduction To 10-Part Crash Course
  2. Science Of Writing Process: Getting Ready, Set Up Mood & Avoid Distractions
  3. In Search For Ultimate Blogging Tools: Writing Simplified Now!
  4. How To Find Article Ideas To Write About, Write Sticking Points
  5. Do Your Research: How and where to find content
  6. Blog Post Formatting, make it easy to read and scan, good examples
  7. Power of headlines, Dummy’s guide to copywriting
  8. Add Spice To Post – Get Feedback, Entertain Readers With New Approach
  9. Taking Blogging To The Next Level: Guest Writers & Management & Scheduling, Proofreading
  10. How To Find And Hire The Right People For Your Business
  11. Set Up Your Blog & Make Use Of Fresh Tools To Save Time

Google Docs could be a great online alternative and you don’t have to worry about any loss of content because of its regular autosave feature, but if you want any more advanced features since Google Docs is merely a text editor, then you’ll want to consider other options. The major drawback besides a lack of customization is that you don’t have access to your documents if you don’t have an internet connection. If you want to share documents between several users however then Google Docs is great. See this intro video for more information about how to use it:

Before I start my review and share the experiences I’ve had with these editors. Keep in mind that I am a full-time blogger and looking for the most efficient blogging possible. I crop and create images on my own, if I need to do some code editing I do it manually, I enjoy fast writing and WYSIWYG possibilities to create a finished article as quickly as possible. The articles I write are usually quite long and in depth. If your blog is just going to be a place where you share pictures, quick updates about your life and things you find interesting online, your preferences might look much different than mine. However I tried to be as objective as possible and picked out a few blogging editors to feature here which I think are worth taking a look at. Enjoy!

Blogo (Mac)

Price: $25 ( has 21-day trial)

blogo-desktop-editor-mac.jpg

Easily publish text, images, videos, slideshows and more. With a simple, intuitive interface and support for WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, Typo, Drupal, Joomla, and Expression Engine, Blogo is the best way to maintain your blog and spread the word with Twitter, Ping.fm and other supported services.

I tried to blog through Blogo for a while, there are definitely some pros, but also several cons which made writing not as efficient. It’s easy and fast to set up and get going with, just add your blog address, login, password and you’re set. Recommended customization is image size, just head to the preferences and add max image width and height limit.

Image Editing and uploading – Blogo has a built-in image editor which let’s you crop and resize images so you save yourself the hassle of finding another image editor. If your needs are basic, then this editor will be more than enough.Uploading images is very easy, when you’re finished just click a button to upload images automatically to your server, which is a great time saver in comparison to always doing it manually through your blogs dashboard.

What I liked:

  • Option to enter full screen mode to avoid distractions
  • Easy image, video,audio and quote add an upload
  • Live preview screen to see how post would look like published
  • Handy web browser bookmarklet
  • Intelligent microblogging – you can follow your friends, search on Twitter and share posts with Ping.fm
  • Word and character count
  • If you need to copy and use some text from other sites, there is a good option to Remove Formatting, handy.

What I disliked:

  • Limited advanced customization options
  • For me the screen size for body text was too small, but I had no resizing modification options
  • Blogo assumed I needed my images aligned with text,which would be handy if I would used small images. Since I used pretty big images this auto feature created more problems for me than it was helpful, but maybe that’s just me
  • I didn’t like the default CSS styling Blogo had, but there is no option to change font size, background color and line heights.

Summary

I liked the main window of the Blogo post editor, where all the main features are just a click away. The big downside was the tiny body text field and not being able to customize anything. For the people who want a smart desktop blog editor that does most of the hard work for you, Blogo is a good pick. However if you are picky and really want control over the entire blogging process maybe you need to look for something else.

MarsEdit (Mac)

Price: $39.95 (has 30 day trial)

marsedit-desktop-blogging-editor.jpg

MarsEdit is a really powerful and feature rich editor, which works with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Squarespace, TypePad, Movable Type and dozens more through standard MetaWeblog and AtomPub interfaces. If you use iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom or Flickr libraries, you’ll love MarsEdit, because you’ll be able to insert images into blog post with the click of a button!

If you use any coding editor, then you’ll also enjoy MarsEdit’s integration with BBEdit, SubEthaEdit, TextMate, TextWrangler, and any editor that supports that ODBEditor suite.

While writing a blog post I enjoyed it’s clean layout, though sometimes I missed having some of the one click features you get with a WYSIWYG editor. To keep things minimal and clean MarsEdit put all the formatting options in a dropdown menu. I think it depends on your taste – if you want a very clean interface and do not mind few extra clicks,you’ll enjoy MarsEdit.

Comparing with Blogo MarsEdit has some more text styling customization options – I could change the default font in Rich and HTML editor views and I was able to change background color in HTML view (strangely I couldn’t change the background in the rich editor view which I prefer using). But you can still use WriteRoom there (WriteRoom’s full screen writing environment gets your computer out of the way so that you can focus on your work. The result is a subtle clearing of the mind that helps you write better.)

I found this video showing how to use MarsEdit and some of its great features, check it out:

What I liked:

  • Bookmarklet which allows you to blog whatever page you’ve surfed to in your browser—it sends the page to MarsEdit, which opens a new post window with the title, link, and any selected text.
  • Clean interface
  • Coding editor integration
  • Integration with iPhoto, Aperture and Flickr
  • Spelling and grammar check

What I disliked:

Really I found just one, but big, drawback for me. MarsEdit features are hidden, making article editing a little bit slower than I would want. For example Rich/HTML view switching can be done with a keyboard shortcut or two clicks Post->Edit Rich Text. While this may sound minor, if you’re not good with remembering or using keyboard shortcuts, the time that it takes you to click every time will slowly add up.

Summary

Well, minimalism lovers will love MarsEdit, because it’s extremely clean and still very powerful. If you’re focusing on images you’ll enjoy different software integration and if you’re an information junkie then the bookmarklet will be very handy for you.

However if you want to make your writing process as efficient as possible you’ll need to remember all the shortcuts MarsEdit has and spend some serious time learning how to use it in a more advanced way.

Ecto (Mac)

Price: $19.95

With ecto you can write and manage entries for your weblog(s). You can compose entries offline and use the extra features ecto offers, such as spellcheck, creating links, attachments, and much more. Ecto is a native Mac OS X application, and offers you a more powerful and easier to use editing interface than your blog’s built in control panel.

illumineX __ ecto screenshots - a powerful blog editor for your Mac.jpg

Ecto has been the most customizable of all, though it hasn’t got some of the newest, fancy features the other blog editors might have. Most of the features that Ecto doesn’t have aren’t missed, at least by me. I am looking for an editor which does it’s best to aid just the writing process and nothing else and that’s why I think Ecto is the best one for the job.

Watch this video I found on Youtube to learn more, the author is showing some of the best features in action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYEXGe0z4N0

What I liked:

  • Support for multiple blogs, able to easily switch and browse through them.
  • Able to set custom tags for more personalized and native usage to editor
  • Clean interface with all the main features right in front of you
  • Able to set up fully custom CSS, font, background color to editor you use, if you’re a typography geek like I am, you’ll enjoy full control to customize whatever you like both for Rich and HTML view editors.

What I disliked:

  • When I try to insert image in post I always got a popup window with a lot of image customization options. This started to bother me after a while since I don’t need to style the image. I wasn’t able to get rid of it with a “Remember my choice” checkbox somewhere, because there isn’t one.
  • Slightly outdated design. While I don’t care a lot about design if there is great functionality, Blogo and MarsEdit had much better interface design than Ecto did. The design isn’t bad, but I would like to see a better one
  • Seems to me Ecto hasn’t been updated for a while which might mean that support isn’t really available and you won’t be able to expect any future updates. Just a guess though, but I couldn’t find Ecto on AppStore and their support forum is full of spam.

Summary

There isn’t one ultimate blogging editor for everybody, I just hope after these reviews you’ll have a good insight what’s possible with each one, as for me, Ecto turned out to be the most suitable editor for now, it’s powerful, clean and efficient. In the near future I’d like to see other editors improving with greater customization tools and feature. Everybody has their own expectations and needs from a desktop blog editor and I am sure many of you will be satisfied with one of these picks!

Windows Blogging Editors

Blogjet

Price: $39.95 (has free trial)

BlogJet - blog client for Windows.jpg

The most advanced Windows blog editor and manager. Get the convenience and speed of a native application, and the ability to write posts offline.

When I was previously using Windows, Blogjet was my favorite blogging editor because of it’s clean interface and powerful features. It really has  what any advanced blogger would need. However it’s not free.

See Blogjet’s features in this video. The version that is available is an update of the one in the video. See official tutorial videos on CodingRobots Youtube page.

Some of Blogjet coolest features:

  • Auto replace – If you are tired of writing the same thing over and over again, create an Auto Replace rule for it. For example, when you type Scoble, BlogJet can replace it with a link to Robert’s blog.
  • Integration with Feed Readers – BlogJet integrates with FeedDemon, RSS Bandit, NewsGator and others for you to be able to blog about something in just a few clicks.
  • Flickr and YouTube Support – Your photos on Flickr and videos on YouTube will complement your blog – and now it’s easy to insert them in your posts, as BlogJet supports these services natively.
  • Modern Interface – The easy-to-use graphical user interface in BlogJet looks native on Vista and Windows 7. Maybe not a functional feature, but interface matters and in Blogjet you get a beautiful interface.

Windows Live Writer

Price: Free

Windows Live Writer makes it easy for anyone to write articles like a professional blogger. You can create beautiful blog posts, and see what they’ll look like online before you publish them to your blog. Plus, you can publish your posts to any of your favorite blog service providers.
Windows Live Writer 2011.jpg

This is the best alternative if you are looking for a free and quality editor, for me it still felt a little bit too feature rich and clumsy, but it’s still a very good choice and it will be easy to learn if you’re used to Windows Office products. I didn’t enjoy all the default fancy effects this editor has. You need to spend some time customizing things right from the beginning.

ScribeFire (Web Browser Extension)

Price: Free

Can be used both on Mac and PC since it’s a browser extension.

scribefire-blogging-tool.jpg

ScribeFire is an extension for the Mozilla Firefox Web browser, Google Chrome Web browser, Opera Web Browser, and Apple Safari Web browser that allows you to easily post to all of your blogs.

ScribeFire is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to all of your blogs.

You can post to WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Windows Live Spaces, Tumblr, Posterous, Xanga, LiveJournal, or any other blog that supports the MetaWeblog or MovableType APIs.
As for me, I didn’t find it too useful just because I only have one WordPress blog and  the ScribeFire environment is pretty similar to WP. I see great use for ScribeFire if you have several different blogs and you need one management system for all of them. This extension makes it easy to switch between these blogs and lets you to do everything in a single environment. For example if you have blogs on WordPress,Blogger and Tumblr it may become challenging to write in all of them and be familiar with each of their interfaces. ScribeFire solves this problem and is a good option if you enjoy a web browser type blogging editor. Ah, and did I mention they added support for Zemanta, a plugin for easily adding related links to an article too?

Check this video showing how to use ScribeFire effectively with Zemanta. For me the problem was that the results it returned weren’t always that relevant to the topic, because I needed good images and very similar articles from my own article base. While Zemanta does a good job, I just still prefer doing it manually so I can be assured of better quality. But hey, I am a huge geek, don’t listen to me.

Innovative writing tools and interesting solutions

While I was searching for different blogging clients I also found a lot of different applications and websites which were dedicated to the writing process. There were also curation/blogging tools that assist you greatly while you write, but let’s start one by one.

Qrait

Qrait.jpg

A realtime curation platform designed to fulfill the needs of content curators and reduce information overload for the rest of us.

Well, Qrait isn’t out yet, but I like where it’s going, especially the content suggestion option. Basically I would use it for my drafting process mainly, letting me easily add videos, related tweets and any other information I would like to collect before I actually started writing. I see it as a management system, with it’s pros and cons. Maybe for you it would be handy just to share some content and be able to create it easily.

Curate.Us

Curate.Us allows you to make both visual clips and formatted quotes from web content that you can post on your blog or web site. Clips are screenshots that provide both back links and trackbacks to the original source. Quotes made with Curate.Us extract relevant passages from any web content, format them, and also provide both back links and trackbacks to the original source. Curate.Us also creates short links that are easy to tweet and email.

Go through it’s self-guided tour of features to learn more about this service:

Self-Guided Tour of Features | Curate.Us.jpg

Features I found interesting:

  • Add “clip this story” button to your web site enabling your readers to easily clip and quote your work.
  • Curate.Us analytics, you can track where your content is going and how much traffic is returned to your site.
  • Curate.Us-enable Your Site – Once you have registered for an account on Curate.Us, you can easily Curate.Us-enable your site. Doing so gives your readers the ability to share your content across the web while giving you the ability to see how and where your content is used.
  • You can clip quotes and screenshots with ease now!

Interesting service definitely!

Repost.Us

This service is created by the same people, who created Repost.Us.

Repost.Us - Instant Monetized Syndication.jpg

Repost.Us is a frictionless instant syndication platform where any publisher’s content can be instantly syndicated to another publisher, blogger, or website with a few clicks and no prior business relationship—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Repost.Us automates content syndication, opening up monetized content exchange to the entire web. Repost.Us guarantees the integrity and security of the story being syndicated. Repost.Us is also search-engine friendly. Because search engines only see content on the original publisher’s site, syndicated copies are seen by search engines crawlers as a link back to the original.

Repost.Us supports four monetization models, and publishers can mix and match to find the exact formula that’s best for them. Publishers can choose from two ad-supported models, paid fee syndication with tiered pricing, or free syndication to increase reach.

I am not sure if this new approach will go wide, but I think this is a legal way to farm content and it doesn’t violate with Google as well! See how it works page, to learn more.

SimpleNote

SimpleNote is an easy way to keep notes, lists, ideas, and more. I included it because of the importance of taking notes, jotting down ideas wherever you go and being able to sync them. There is a lot of third party software that allows you to use this application on iPhone, iPad &iPod touch, Mac OS X, Windows, Android, Palm OS and much more. Read all available options here.

Simplenote. An easy way to keep notes, lists, ideas, and more..jpg

Few of SimpleNote coolest features:

  • Sharing and publishing – Keep a shared grocery list with your family or housemates. Or publish some notes from your class or meeting.
  • Use a growing variety of extras – Simplenote is an open platform. People are building lots of cool things you can use to extend your experience.
  • Instantly search your notes – Type whatever you’re looking for, and your list updates instantly. You’ll never misplace an important thought again.

OmmWriter ( PC and Mac)

Remember in the previous article where I wrote how to set the mood? Well, OmmWriter does a lot to help in this process, forget about everything and just write, even some audio is included! Look at their video for better insight:

OmmWriter Dana is a humble attempt to recapture what technology has snatched away from us today: our capacity to concentrate.

OmmWriter is a simple text processor that firmly believes in making writing a pleasure once again, vindicating the close relationship between writer and paper. The more intimate the relation, the smoother the flow of inspiration.

If you are a scriptwriter, blogger, journalist, copywriter, poet or just someone who enjoys writing, welcome back to concentrating.

TRY THE NEW VERSION FOR MAC - Ommwriter.jpg

ByWord ($4.99) Mac

If you’re Mac user however my favorite simple writing editor is ByWord with its beautiful default CSS styling, super sleek interface and handy full screen mode. It’s not free however, but for me it was worth the price.

ByWord will be handy if you’re writing a book or a lot of plain text, for bloggers who need to add a lot of links, images and video – you won’t be able to do any of this with ByWord. This software is kind of like what the iPad is to the Amazon Kindle in regards to books – you can read books on the iPad, but you’ll have a much better experience using the Kindle just because you’re not able to do anything…just read.

As for Byword – just write, no fancy options to distract you.
App Store.jpg

One more site to check out if you own a  Mac, iPad or iPhone is HogbaySoftware.

They have several great apps for the writing process and keeping you organized:

  • PlainText – Dropbox text editing for iPad & iPhone
  • TaskPaper – Simple to-do lists for Mac & iPhone.
  • WriteRoom – Distraction free writing for Mac & iPhone.
  • QuickCursor – Your text editor anywhere for Mac.
  • SimpleText – Your text synced online for Mac, iPhone, & Web.

Writer For iPad ($0.99)

Have an iPad and want to enjoy a great writing experience? No problem, check this advanced software for Information Architects.

The key to good writing is not that magical glass of Bordeaux, the right kind of tobacco or that groovy background music. The key is focus. What you need to write well is a setting that allows you to fully concentrate on your text and nothing but your text. Many professional writers use SimpleText or Textedit because these are the only writing programs that are totally distraction free. But text editors are not perfect. That’s what Writer is for.

Conclusion

What about you? Which blogging editor do you prefer to use? Maybe you’re using a blogging editor I didn’t showcase here but you feel it’s better than the ones I included? I am open to any suggestions, though I really went through a lot of editors to save time for you and show the best players on the market!

What do you think about some of the simple blogging editors and some of the more innovative solutions showcased here?

192 Written ArticlesWebsiteGoogle+

Dainis is 25 years young man, who struggled for 3 years while studying in design academy and working for local design agency, because of ignorant teachers and agency boss. He couldn't believe this is all life could offer to him! And then he discovered true Internet possibilities, he was lucky to find his passion early in life and take advantage of this beautiful Information (Internet) Age! Now he is committed to help others succeed, to help others take charge of their life and follow their passion! His goal is to open Your eyes and help unveil Your true potential!

3 Comments
  • Nicolas

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 18:25

    1

    Hi. thanks for the review.
    I’d prove some desktop apps but I didn’t find any who allows to use wordpress custom fields. Do anyone know if any of this apps can do it?

    0
  • Tia Marie

    Friday, June 17th, 2011 22:06

    2

    Thanks for the write up here! I’m the Community Manager over for Curate.Us and Repost.Us, if you or your readers have any questions about the services or the WordPress plugins for either service let me know!

    0
  • Dainis Graveris

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 04:40

    3

    nice tool! thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Dainis Graveris

    Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 04:40

    3

    nice tool! thanks for sharing!

    0
  • Tia Marie

    Friday, June 17th, 2011 22:06

    2

    Thanks for the write up here! I’m the Community Manager over for Curate.Us and Repost.Us, if you or your readers have any questions about the services or the WordPress plugins for either service let me know!

    0
  • Nicolas

    Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 18:25

    1

    Hi. thanks for the review.
    I’d prove some desktop apps but I didn’t find any who allows to use wordpress custom fields. Do anyone know if any of this apps can do it?

    0

Comments are closed.

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