One of the greatest things about blogging (or writing) for a living is the freedom to work anywhere and at anytime. Unfortunately, many bloggers and writers don’t take full advantage of this opportunity because they don’t have the right tools to manage their blogs effectively without being tethered to a computer and, to a lesser extent, their office. Here are seven apps (and a Google Chrome extension) that can help you break those bonds and give you more working options:
(Note: I am primarily an iPad user, therefore these apps are Apple centric. Some are available for iPhones/iPods/iPad Mini, Droids and other mobile devices, but I cannot vouch for how well they work or whether they have the same capabilities as the iPad apps.)
WordPress is the most widely used blogging platform around. It goes without saying that if you have a WordPress blog (or work for a company who uses one) the native WordPress app is a must have if only because it is likely to work under most if not all circumstances (something you can’t always be sure of with third party apps).
The biggest reason to have and use the WordPress app is that it gives you access to your full dashboard. This means you can do a few things through the WordPress app that you can’t do through other apps, like changing the author of a post, adding categories, installing updates and plug-ins (self-hosted sites) and inviting/authorizing new users/authors/editors on your blog. Having access to your full Dashboard, especially for self-hosted sites makes a huge difference when you’re trying to resolve problems or just manage your site while away from the office.
Tumblr, at least among professional bloggers, lies somewhere between Twitter and Facebook. That’s because it’s almost more of a social network than it is a blogging platform. Tumblr particularly popular among younger audiences and is a treasure trove of highly visual blogging, which is why your really can’t ignore it, especially since it’s been snatched up by Yahoo! Again, start with the native Tumblr app, because it works under most circumstances.
In fact, the Tumblr app from tumblr may be all you need if you only have one master account on the platform. This app does pretty much everything you can do from the web site though admittedly in a slightly different way that can be frustrating. One huge advantage the app has over the website is that it’s very easy to save images which tumblr is known for.
“Back up your work” should be every writer’s mantra and that’s why Dropbox is another must-have app for bloggers. Once you have a Dropbox account you can sync content from anywhere to anywhere, a huge advantage when working across various devices.
Blogsy is one of the apps for writing blog posts on an iPad. Creating multimedia posts that incorporate video, images and even audio is extremely easy and intuitive using Blogsy. You can add video content from YouTube or Vimeo, images from Flicker. Picasa, Instagram, Facebook or your iPad image library and audio from Soundcloud to your blog posts and Pages just by dragging and dropping.
Best of all, Blogsy supports a variety of popular blogging platforms including WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, SquareSpace, TypePad, Movable Type and more. You can also access your blogs using multiple master accounts on the same blogging platform. In other words, you can easily manage your entire blogging empire and client blogs from this one app…as long as all you are doing is posting content. Blogsy really isn’t intended to manage a website however you do have much more control over content than in other apps. Blogsy lets you assign categories and tags, select featured images, make posts sticky and much much more. If you’re looking for a flexible place to create brilliant mulitmedia content, Blogsy is it.
Postr is the answer to the prayers of a lot of bloggers simply because it lets you log into more than one tumblr master account at a time. Unlike other apps that let you post to blogs associated with different master accounts on tumblr, Postr also lets you browse the Tumblr Dashboard of each of those accounts.
BlogPad Pro is a wonderful app for anyone blogging on WordPress.com because it give you access to your Reader and to Freshly Pressed content. It also makes it easy to reblog content from other blogs to your own. Of course, the WordPress app offers this as well, but BlogPad Pro seems to reblog things faster and with fewer crashes.
The HootSuite app isn’t a blogging app. You can’t post to your WordPress blog from it the way you can from the desktop version. It’s a great app for bloggers because it does something none of the other apps we’ve mentioned does: it lest you plan your promotional efforts. You can schedule tweets and Facebook updates across multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages from the Hootsuite app. You can also live tweet or update you Facebook status.
WordPress Browser Extension
Available only for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, the WordPress browser extension is a vital tool for anyone blogging on WordPress.com. Following other blogs and reblogging content is an excellent way to increase traffic on your blog and provide more quality content. Unfortunately, while WordPress might currently be the most popular blogging platform it is not the only blogging platform and even if a site does use WordPress if it is self-hosted it you have to subscribe to email alerts or the site’s RSS feed making it easy to miss things not to mention cluttering up your inbox. The WordPress browser extension allows you to follow any blog or website, regardless of whether it’s on WordPress.com or even if it is a WordPress powered site.
The WordPress browser extension also keeps you up to date on what’s happening on your WordPress.com blog. You receive notifications, are able to approve comments and can reply to comments all through the extension and without visiting WordPress.com. It’s a huge time saver when you’re on your desktop.
There you have it, seven apps and one extension that can make it easier for you to live the blogger’s dream of working anywhere. Unfortunately, none of these apps is perfect so you’ll have to do a little juggling to find out the best way to accomplish what you need to do. That said, having to spend a little more time working by the pool or from the ski lodge is not always a bad thing. At least you’re out of the office, even if you only make it as far as the patio, local coffee shop or library.