Look at me.
Now look at my man.
Now back at me. I’m on a plane.
No, seriously — I’m on a plane. Traveling for business, with little time or wi-fi access to put out the thought-provoking posts I know you all come back for, day after day.
But there are a few things that I’ve learned over the years that not only make blogging more efficient — I think it makes me better, too.
1. Have Photos Ready.
I’ve explained how I take, upload and insert pictures into my posts here. But sometimes I don’t have photos that work well for what I’m writing about. I like to use stock photo sites to find good base pictures, then tweak them in my photo editor.
My favorite site for photos is 123rf.com — because you can search by lots of great keywords AND they offer a ton of free images that are perfectly sized for the Web.
I sometimes troll the site and pull down photos that I know I’ll have use for in the future — say, the blank notebook that I used for my Analytics post. I keep them in a folder on my desktop to browse when I’m in need.
Other photo options:
- Flickr Search (look for creative commons then use proper attribution)
- Google Images Search (search by license; same attribution)
2. Use Planning Tools.
I recently started using the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin and it has made me 100% more accountable, efficient and focused. It lets me quickly add post ideas and assign them to a specific day (keeping them as drafts). It’s also a great way to organize guest blog posts, contests, etc.
Other planning tools:
- Evernote/Ubernote (I use Evernote about 10 times a day and sync with the iPhone app)
- Google Calendar (I like that I can share the calendar with others)
3. Pre-Write Posts.
If you are a lifecaster, this may not work so well…but, if like me, you’re more of a topical blogger, the ideas don’t change over the course of 48 hours (usually). So I like to pre-write posts a few days before hitting publish, adding to them as I can. That also helps me be a better blogger, because the extra time allows me to edit, add new information and really refine the work.
4. Embrace Offline Editing/Posting.
At the first Healthy Living Summit, I was astounded at the number of people using Windows Live Writer. I’m a Mac girl, so I was a little jealous…until I found out about all the amazing tools that allow you to write posts from non-Web based platforms.
I’m actually writing this post from MarsEdit (a tip from Mara), a new program that’s getting a lot of attention. I can import media, quickly use HTML tags to format the posts and schedule for posting the next time I’m connected to the Internet. Or, in my case, in seat 27D.
(Sidenote: I love my husband, y’all — but he still hasn’t embraced #4. He writes posts in Word, copies them to his WordPress dashboard, reformats, adds links, etc. Shudder.
- WordPress iPhone app
- BlogBooster iPhone app
- **Yes, I realize that those two apps are not technically offline. But they’re GREAT for doing work when you can’t be near a computer.
5. Edit Once. And Only Once.
Ahhh this one goes against every grammar slammer cell in my body! But editing on the fly can be a total time suck. Rather than worrying about adding links or formatting your writing, just get it all into the post. Then in one fell swoop, go from paragraph 1 to the end, cleaning up mistakes, adding links, formatting, etc. When you’re done with that, read once from top to bottom and you’re good to go.
OK, I know I’ve missed some great tips and tools — so I’m counting on you to share your advice in the comments!