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Where Africa and Technology Collide!

My Top 10 Web Tools for Bloggers

Here are my top tools online. I use a number of these web applications on a daily basis, and I wanted to make sure others were aware of them too. They share one common feature, that they execute on their purpose extraordinarily well. You might not need some of these tools, depending upon what service you use and how you handle your blog.

White African's Top 10 Blogging Applications

FirefoxIf you happen to be one of those individuals who hasn’t started using Firefox yet, please go give it a try right away. I personally haven’t used Internet Explorer for almost two years now (unless I’m forced to). It really is that much better. Enjoy tabbed browsing, better compatibility with most web sites, and a host of extensions.

DeliciousDel.icio.us allows you to save bookmarks to the web instead of to your particular computer. It has a social component as well, where you can invite others to see your bookmarked websites and see what they have found interesting and useful as well. No longer will you be tied to a specific computer – your bookmarks are wherever you are.

BlogbeatMost people use some type of software to track their user statistics for their blog, in my case it’s Blogbeat. A lot use either Google Analytics or Sitemeter, both of which are free and useful tools. I’ve found that the visual representations in Blogbeat are better for my type of quick study. I want a snapshot of what’s going on and it does that in a simple, visually appealing way.

Instant Domain SearchIf you’re looking to find out if a domain is still available for purchase, who owns a domain, and a link directly to the top domain registrars, Internet Domain Search is the place you need to go. It’s simple, it’s executed brilliantly, and I use it almost daily. Here is a past write-up on IDS.

WordpressOf course, this blog is built using the WordPress blog engine. I’ve found it to be the simplest to set up and it has the most amount of support from the community. There are literally hundreds of WordPress plugins. There are great number of very high quality themes as well, of which my favorites are K2. (Don’t confuse this with WordPress.com, which is a hosted solution, WordPress.org is the one you want and you can load that up onto your own web host for complete control.)

Zookoda - Blog email managementOne of the best ways to increase and maintain your blog readership is by creating a way for readers to be emailed your blog on a regular basis. On White African, I use Zookoda. There are other services like Feedburner where you can do this, but I’ve found that the extra control over the details and the way the email looks are worth using Zookoda instead. I have to say that I love this free service. I took an hour to do the setup for my blog, but once that was done I just forget about it. It’s been a great thing and I highly suggest you use it or something similar.

SnipshotSnipshot is a web-based image and picture editing tool. If there is a picture on the web that you would like to resize, or something on your own computer that you want to clip, you can do it on Snipshot instead of booting up some client-based image editor. This is particularly useful when you’re on the road, or on someone elses computer and you don’t have access to your normal image editors. It’s another great tool made by the same guys behind Instant Domain Search (above).

FlickrFlickr is a popular image hosting site that doubles as a social network. You can upload images for free to your account, and then link those back to your blog as needed. Easy integration with your blog is part of the package too, so give that feature a try as well. Flickr makes it easy to decide which images are “private” and which are “public” too, so you’re in complete control. Of course, you can also order prints off of it as well.

TechnoratiTechnorati is a blog search engine. Instead of getting the static results for a search, like you do in Google, you can find up-to-date reviews and thoughts on current issues by bloggers worldwide. A good way to increase traffic to your blog is to register with Technorati and then start tagging your blog posts for easier filtering by their engine. You should also ping them whenever a new blog is posted. One of the fun parts of Technorati is entering in your blog’s web address to see who is linking to you and what rank it is (if you care).

DreamhostThere are many, many web hosts around the world. I’ve used a couple of them, and then finally stumbled upon Dreamhost. Thank God that I did! For as little as $8/month you get a gigantic amount of space and massive amounts of bandwidth. I’ve been using them for over a year now, and don’t regret the decision at all. A down-to-earth and very responsive team – If you need a web host in the States, seriously think about Dreamhost. (disclosure notice: I do get a referral fee from the link if you choose to go with them.)

I hope these links and explanations of web applications that I find useful, are helpful to you as well. Shoot me an email or comment below if you have any questions about them.

If you’re wondering how to create a “Digg” button on your blog, go to Alex Bosworth’s excellent Digg button creator.

16 Comments

  1. Excellent tools!

    The one I will probably look more into is blogbeat, sometimes google analytics just don’t give you enought info. πŸ™‚

  2. Dugg!

    I agree with WordPress(org) and K2, which I have recently installed. Both of these making blogging a heck of a lot easier.

    If I could add one more to that list it would have to be Browsrcamp the tool that lets you see how your site appears in Safari. Especially when dealing with unstable sidebars.

    Thanks for doing this list.

  3. Excellent post as usual, Hash. I was going to do list like this but got lazy, so really pleased you did one. I have to say I didn’t know about Snipshot and Zookoda. Both tools now added to my collection.

    And Browsrcamp is awesome. Just tested my site, which looks fab on Safari.

    I also think as a blogging head, you need to keep up with your favourite blog sites and I recommend Bloglines to manage the feed from those sites.

  4. Browsrcamp looks good too, thanks for the link Mama Junkyard.

  5. hey hash….do you have a del.icio.us page?

  6. Thanks for the Dreamhost link. I’ve been looking for a cheap Ruby on Rails host for ages.

  7. Hash, excellent post as usual.

    Browsrcamp also works very well. I tried yesterday.

    I would add bloglines, which is essential for blogging heads to monitor their favourite blogs.

    (Hash, posted a comment yesterday and it seems your spam filter might have eaten it up. So will try again)

    Fixed Remi. I apologize for the spam filter, but it has to be done these days. πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks Hash, very valuable.

  9. Great post. Thanks

  10. Ta Hash for the helpful stuff. Sometimes I allow the techno side of the computer to intimidate me!!!

  11. Great list Hash, for videos you could include Vimeo.com (scratch YouTube) which is Flikr for videos… and stats wise Google Adsense is a great.

  12. Yeah, another useful tool for surfers is the delicious playtagger javascript – which, saved as a bookmark, enables a direct playback function to pages with mp3 files and no player. Saves you from downloading the whole file and provides a preview (~listening) function.

  13. see http://www.mylinkpedia.com
    it is a bookmarking site( you can collect and manage your favorite links whith it) …
    all the links added to mylinkpedia
    will searchable and you can find many usefull links added by users there

  14. thanks – seems like blogbeat has now been acquired by feedburner and cannot be used separately – a shame as i dont like feedburner (it never works for me properly)

    Also the Zookoda is great – i recieve a daily newsletter from the Arseblog but he uses something called “PHP List.com” and open source news manager list. But its great receivng blog posts by email though I dont think I would do it myself – couldnt imagine anyone feeling the need:)

  15. Thanks for the tips though you could have done more with the tips.I hope more africans continue to embrace their space in the blogosphere!Remember scramble and partition for africa? how about neo scramble and partion of the blogosphere.

    Courtesy of http://www.siku-moja.blogspot.com

  16. Colle, I didn’t want to make the post even longer by going into too much detail on the tools that I use. The purpose of this post was to let people know about some good things to use online.

    If you have any questions about specific tools, I’m happy to give you more feedback on what I like/don’t like about them.

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