Every now and then the subject comes up – What do I use to blog? Let me give you a quick rundown of my blogging essentials:
WordPress.org - Here’s where it all starts. WordPress.org provides the major framework for this site. Without it I wouldn’t be able to set up a place where I could write and we could all communicate on the articles. WordPress.org is free to download but you need a hosting plan somewhere else in order to get it up and running.
Storm On Demand - This is where I’m currently hosted. What that means is I rent a kind of database/web parking lot space from them. Storm On Demand “hosts” my files and makes it possible for the wordpress site to be seen on the web (that’s my best explanation at the moment). They are part of the company Liquid Web.
If you are looking for hosting that’s less expensive (I’ve changes hosts and plans as my traffic grew) then take a look at BlueHost.
NameCheap - This is where I register my domain name. See, you can’t just call yourself something. You have to register the specific name and then point that name to your web host.
Genesis Theme from Studiopress – WordPress has many “themes” or site frameworks out there to help you design what your site will look like. If WordPress.org is the car engine that runs everything then your theme is the body of the car (hope that makes sense). I recently switched to Genesis – because of its ease of use, its updates, and the body of information out there to customize the site. Genesis is robust on its own but what I especially like are the child themes you can get.
Google – Google is always open for me. I use email, docs, reader (where I read other blogs), calendar, search, analytics, adsense, Google+… Their products are awesome and the price is right (FREE). From research to writing to communication, Google is essential.
Evernote – Evernote lets you take notes and such either online, via your desktop, or on your phone and syncs it all up into one search-able database. I keep all sort of notes in Evernote like articles to read, sites to check out, and a whole slew of article ideas. It is extremely useful and like Google, the price is right (free up to a certain memory usage which I’ve never come near).
Hootsuite – This is a recent discovery for me. Hootsuite allows me to follow my Twitter and Facebook accounts in one place, rather than flip to different pages all the time. It’s been a great way to stay on top of conversation and better share with my readers.
Skype – Most people know Skype for their internet phone service, which is great by the way, but did you know they have a great chat option as well? You can set up a “room” and share it with like-minded people. Best part — free!
Dropbox – I’ve started using this recently since we have a couple of computers in the house and I could be using either. It’s an online storage site, the “cloud” if you will. You can access files you put in your Dropbox folder across a number of computers through their app or from their site. There are even mobile app options. If you use my Dropbox referral link to sign up we both get an additional 500MB of storage space (you start with 2G on the free plan, which I’m using).
Pen and paper – Yeah, I still like to rock it old school and keep notes in a notebook I keep by the computer. It’s a simple spiral that I’ll use to jot down a quick idea or create a framework for an article. My notebook is currently a school notebook from last semester that had a lot of unused pages (keeping it frugal). For a pen I get a little finicky. I need my pen to write smoothly every time and be there when I need it (that almost sounds creepy). What I use is a Fisher Space Pen. It’s real small when closed so I can carry it with me and it really writes when I need it. And the ink lasts a while as well (going on my third semester with it). If you get one make sure to get the clip so it doesn’t roll all over the place!
Those are pretty much the basics. I could include my computer but you could probably guess I used one already (FYI, it’s a Mac).