Desk, a Mac Desktop Blogging Editor

I have a serious addiction: Mac apps. As things go, it’s not a serious addiction, of course. However, it’s a nuisance. Just this week, I bought Typed, a Mac Markdown editor. Now there’s Desk, another blogging editor. (Sigh.)

Why, oh why yet another app? A couple of reasons. I like blogging as a break from serious writing — that is,  client projects. It’s my little reward, so I’m always working on a blog post. Also, Desk lets you use Markdown. I adore Markdown. So I couldn’t resist. Obviously I like playing with apps and blogging more than I like doing serious work. :-)

Desk, a desktop blog editor

 It’s not easy to find a GOOD desktop blog editor

WordPress is my blogging platform of choice, so I usually blog in the WordPress editor. However, that can be a royal pain, for various reasons. So, when I saw how many great reviews Desk received, I couldn’t resist.

Over the years, I’ve used many other Mac desktop blog editors. Most handle publishing to a blog reasonably well, except when they don’t. That’s when I give up in disgust and go back to blogging in WordPress.

There’s another reason I like to blog in the WordPress editor: SEO. I use the Yoast plugin, which reminds me of keywords, page titles, and the rest. When you use a desktop editor, you have to go back into WordPress, and add those things afterward. This can be a hassle, if you’ve got five other things to do in the next 60 minutes.

This is a test post for Desk: review to follow

I’m writing this post in Desk, and I’ll complete it once Desk has sent the post to WordPress.

I’ll write a proper review when I’m more familiar with the app, but I like the ability to drag images from the desktop right into a post.

My major quibble after 20 minutes playing with the app? No typewriter scrolling. Desk has a great community already, and someone has asked for that feature, so I added my voice.

Now to hit Publish, and see what happens. :-)

… and we’re live

I’m back in the WordPress editor, adding the meta data.

Desk has done an excellent job; I managed to add a few too many non-breaking spaces, but that’s OK, for a first attempt.

I’m really impressed that the image I dragged into Desk is right where it should be; that will save time.

My verdict on my first Desk post: the app’s fun to use, and it does what it says on the label. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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Create A Blog The Minimalist Way (For Blogging Haters)

Angela Booth Roon blog

My new blog on Roon… I couldn’t resist it…

 

You hate blogging, but you want to create a blog. These days, you can blog anywhere. Quora lets you create a blog, and you can create a faux blog on Google+. Many other sites encourage you to blog with them. But what if you want to create a blog on something you own, rather than on a social network?

While doing some research for a project on Markdown, the so-easy-it’s-a-joy text-to-HTML conversion tool, I came across some simple options for creating your own blog, completely for free, simply and easily.

Not a Markdown aficionado? If you’re not familiar with Markdown, relax. A Markdown document is just a text file with Markdown syntax; saved with either .md or .markdown file extension. It takes a minute or two to learn Markdown syntax, and hey presto – your writing life got a lot easier. As Brett Terpstra says in his two minute explanation, Markdown fits in any workflow.

Let’s look at three ways you can create a blog you love the minimalist’s way.

1. Try Calepin, if you’re a Dropbox user.

Calepin
If you’re a Dropbox user, great choice, Calepin is for you. Read the Calepin page, and you’ll find a link to this example of a Calepin blog.

Jon Mitchell’s written a paean to Calepin in a little tutorial.

2. Got a website already? Dropplets offers free no-hassle blogging.

Dropplets

If you’ve got a website already, Dropplets gives you a simple, no-hassle totally free way to blog. You just upload the contents of the Dropplets ZIP file to your server. Open your new website in a browser, and follow the prompts.

Then you simply create your blog posts in a plain text file, using Markdown, then upload it to your server using the Dropplets uploader.

Here’s a demo of a Dropplets site. Dropplets comes with a free template, and you can buy a premium template from the Dropplets marketplace.

3. Roon: just gorgeous. Easy, and free.

Roon

I hit the Roon website, and couldn’t resist creating a blog. As if I didn’t have enough blogs already. Never mind. My Roon blog will fit into my life somewhere. Here’s my Roon blog.

Roon creates gorgeous blogs, as many as you like, for free. You can buy add-ons like your own domain name, and an analytics package, for a small charge.

Let’s see what Roon looks like in action, in the image below. Here’s the backend of Roon. It’s simple, and gives you lots of space to write, right in your Web browser. Click around the various areas, it takes just a minute and you’ll see how everything works.

Roon backend

Ready to publish? Hit the Publish link on the top right, and you’re done. Here’s my first published post on Roon. Blindingly simple to create. Write, upload an image if you wish, and you’re done.

In the backend, you’ll see your published and draft posts in the left sidebar.

If you want to create a blog, but can’t face the hassle of either creating a blog, spending hours choosing a theme, and then the endless updating, let alone writing blog posts, you need a minimalist option. Choose one of the three options above. (And if you’re already a blogger, be wary of Roon — or you’ll be the proud parent of another blog before you know it.)

, and on Twitter: @angee

Stop the Excuses, and BLOG! (Even if you think you have no time)

blogwords500

You’re not blogging? Why not?

That’s your excuse, you don’t have time? Consider making time. Blogging may just be the most important thing you can do for your business, going forward. There are endless reasons you need a blog.

Consider these stats, from The Next Web:

  • 82% of marketers who blog daily acquired a customer using their blog, as opposed to 57% of marketers who blog monthly which, by itself, is still an impressive result (HubSpot)

  • 59% of B2B marketers rate blogs as the most effective content marketing tactic (CMI)

  • Blogging champions as the #1 method for increasing traffic, with SEO in second place (HubSpot)

  • B2B marketers who use blogs generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not (Inside View)

  • Blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links (Hubspot)

No matter what kind of business you have, blogging is worth the time it takes. Moreover, you don’t need much time to blog. You can blog on the go.

How to blog on the go

I do much of my blogging away from my computer. I’m more creative out of the office than in it. If you get frazzled and distracted, consider that you can blog anywhere.

Use Evernote to blog in your car, at the supermarket, while waiting for your kids…

Evernote lets you blog anywhere. You can set up templates for various kinds of blog posts, or just create notes as you think of them. You can create image and audio notes: I get some of my best ideas while I’m walking Honey, my Jack Russell.

Got a WordPress blog? Use WordPress for iOS

ioswordpress

WordPress has its own app:

WordPress has never been quite so mobile before. Designed for both iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad, WordPress for iOS makes it easy to share photos, write posts, and edit your content while on the go. Download it from the App Store today.

The app is fun to use, and best of all, you can edit and moderate comments, from your phone or iPad.

Other ways to blog on the go

There are endless apps which help you to blog on the go.

These are my favorites, and they’re free.

Google+ app

Use your Google+ stream just as you do in your browser, and add the photos you take directly to events.

* Pinterest app

Clever, because you can pin images you find on the Web, and from your camera too.

* Hootsuite for iOS and Android

All the social media tools you love, on the go.

Blogging needn’t be a chore, and it certainly doesn’t take a lot of time. It can be the best thing you’ll ever do for you business. So stop the excuse — try some of these easy ways to blog anywhere, and everywhere. Have fun. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee