Not Martha

notes from Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blogging

first screen of the Harder Better Faster Stronger Blogging session

Image by Erica Reitman of Design Blahg.

I’m back from the Altitude Design Summit and simultaneously exhausted and energized. I got to meet and hang with amazing people (hello all the amazing people! I miss you!).

Here is a quick list of the resources mentioned in the panel I was invited to speak on called Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger Blogging. I was up there with Susan Brinson of House of Brinson and Erica Reitman of Design Blahg, who put together the fantastic slide show used in our talk. Big thanks Erica.

  • Skitch for screengrabs. Allows you to made edits and draw on top of the image. Jing is another screen capture tool.
  • Outbrain for related posts. Works with many blogging platforms, gives you stats on what posts are getting the most attention.
  • Evernote for organization. Can organize and sort your information from mobile devices as well. Allows you to save text, images, links and audio notes.
  • Pinterest for sourcing and inspiration. Community currated and full of pretty stuff.
  • Squarespace for blogging. Allows for non-coders and coders alike to have lots of control of the look. (Full disclosure, Squarespace sponsored the panels. Fact, the Alt Summit website was created and is hosted on Squarespace.)
  • Google Alerts to let you see what others might be saying about your site. Sends emails periodically or collects the alerts in a feed. You can monitor any search term.
  • Mention Notifier to keep up with Twitter mentions. Sends you an email or text message any time you are mentioned on Twitter, works with any search or hashtag you’d like.
  • Zinio app for reading magazines. Lets you read all your magazines on your iPad or iPhone.
  • Twitter, obviously. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite were the favorites for the many ways you can sort and organize multiple accounts and searches.
  • Photoshop actions for quick image preparation. Setting up your own actions means a photo can be ready for your blog in one click. You can also download actions created by others to get some very pretty looks going on.
  • Instapaper to read things later. Saves a long form article in a very readable format and lets you read it later on computer or iPhone, downloads it so you can read when offline (hello air travel).
  • Flickr for photos. You can store, share and sort your photos, as well as use search with Creative Commons licenses if you need to find something specific. I’ve been using it for years and people still regularly find my blog from a photo they saw shared on Flickr.
  • RSS Reader to keep you organizes. Google Reader is the favorite choice. Use Helvetireader for a minimalist skin and Feedly provides a magazine like layout.

I want to add my own little tip. I never quite got into the habit of using another site like Evernote or Digg to collect the things I come across, instead what I do is to quickly bookmark/favorite/star/like (in a browser/email/Flickr/Twitter and on my phone) those things I find as I’m surfing but don’t have time to blog about them in that moment. And on Fridays I schedule a block of time, usually it only takes half an hour, to revisit and sort through all those items. I clear them out, which makes me feel like I’m tidying up and is a nice way to end a week, and usually I rediscover something I really dig but would have forgotten about. My method may not be as technically awesome as using a service to draw everything together, but I find that it allows me to move quickly through my week and think more carefully about if I want to include something in my blog later on when I’m more focused.

· comments [22] · 01-24-2011 · categories:technology ·

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Seanna Lea // Jan 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Very cool. I’m trying to be more coherent about my blogging, because even though I’ve been blogging for at least 5 years my content is a little slapdash. I have looked at a few of my older posts and it is like a trainwreck for one.

  • 2 Megan S. // Jan 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve recently decided to transition from a strictly ‘hobby blog’ to one that incorporates a bit of everything. The hardest part is indeed trying to organize everything – some stuff is just so random, it’s good to be able to have a place to store it until it makes sense to use it. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas!

  • 3 Jef // Jan 24, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    My wife mentioned your blog to me over dinner tonight (Don’t all bloggers talk about blogging during dinner?!) and I wanted to thank you for the services mentioned her. Outbrain looks like a very good tool, and I like the fact you can choose to donate proceeds to one of the charities.

    Evernote is a life changer. The Android app is like having your own personal search engine wherever you go.


  • 4 megan // Jan 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Jef – Thanks for the Evernote opinion. I often thing of my blog itself as a version of that for myself. I’ll try to see Evernote again and see if it sticks this time. Outbrain is a good resource, and if you happen to use WordPress there are a few plugins that do the same thing.

  • 5 Megs // Jan 25, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Thank you SO much for posting this! I’m fairly new to the blogging world, so this was valuable information to me.

  • 6 Feast on the Cheap // Jan 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    So helpful, thanks for sharing this!

  • 7 Shelley // Jan 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Thanks for this roundup, I’ve bookmarked a few of these that I haven’t heard of. Much appreciated!

  • 8 Kirsten // Jan 27, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Really helpful, thanks so much!

  • 9 Liz/Cool Mom Picks // Jan 27, 2011 at 6:48 am

    Oh thank you for this! I loved your panel but you had so much good info, I knew I had skipped a few.

    After all these recos for Evernote, I’m on it. Especially because delicious seems to be going away (sniff).

  • 10 eilis boyle // Jan 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Thank you so much!! Fantastic roundup.. and essential advice for anybody taking blogging seriously.. x eilis

  • 11 megan // Jan 27, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Liz – I keep hearing about Delicious, it’s a shame, I know lots of people who use it really well to organize links.

  • 12 Brittany @ The Aubergine Notebook // Jan 28, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    thank you for this list!! it will definitely help to have all these great tools compiled in one place. p.s. i’m sad i never got to meet you. fingers crossed for next year!!

  • 13 Christine Fife // Jan 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Looks like I took mad notes at the conference for nothing- thank you so much! This class, for me, was the most helpful. I am going to make a lot of changes. :)
    Thanks again!

  • 14 megan // Jan 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Christine – Thanks so much for saying that! The Alt email today linked to a whole bunch of notes from the summit, great stuff as there were a few panels I had to miss.

    Brittany – Yes, I didn’t bump into a whole lot of people I hoped to. Next year for certain.

  • 15 Tricia // Jan 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I like how you have categorized link posts. You don’t use a scheduled aggregating service for that?

  • 16 megan // Jan 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Tricia – Expound please, what would you like to see?

  • 17 Carolyn // Jan 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    That last tip is great! I find myself leaving multiple tabs open until I get a chance to go back and review them all. But I love the idea of setting aside time once a week to organize!

  • 18 Eadaoin // Jan 30, 2011 at 3:08 am

    From those of us who were not at Alt Summit thank you so much for posting this! I’m loving reading all the Alt summaries dotted across the blogosphere at the moment, it makes me feel like I was there learning too :) Some of these tools look great, I’m a recent convent to Evernote and it’s amazing. I used to email myself links all the time, or jot something down in a notebook or my phone when I had an idea/needed to look something up later – but now I can keep track of everything with this one cool service, it feels much tidier and helps me be more organised :) Ok that was a lot of gushing about Evernote there lol, all I really wanted to say was awesome post, thanks for sharing this with us!

  • 19 laura trevey // Jan 31, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this list of amazing resources to keep us focused and organized!!

  • 20 Tricia // Feb 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Megan,

    I really like your “links: technology,” “links:food” regular posts. I was hoping you found some magically perfect way to have them automatically post from another service. I have not been able to find a way to do that. When you mark something (favorite, bookmark, whatever), do you tag it at that time? Or do you do that while you’re cleaning things out at the end of the week?

  • 21 claire gale // Mar 31, 2011 at 3:23 am

    i’m pretty sure I don’t know what any of that ‘techy’ stuff is, but i’m looking forward to finding out:) thanks so much for an awesome list!

  • 22 kristin // Sep 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Oh! Marsedit for post-writing! It’s hard to explain but it changed my blogging life. So much quicker, easier to add photos, and far less frustrated hair-pulling-outting than blog web interfaces.

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