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September 21st, 2010
5 min read
Most of us have used word processors such as Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages. These things are super easy to use when you compare it to the post interface inside of WordPress.
Don’t get me wrong – they’ve done a great job with the post interface in WordPress. However, there are certain things you can do with a local program that are much harder to pull off inside a web browser.
Did you know that there are programs you can run on your computer to post to your blog? You don’t really HAVE to use the WordPress post interface. In this post, I’ll go through a few of the leading options.
Why Use A Blog Client Over The Web Interface?
There are several reason, really.
- You don’t have to be online to work on blog posts. You can write posts and draft them locally, then draft/publish to your blog whenever you’re online.
- The interface is generally much easier to use.
- Usually you have some really nice formatting options available to you that you won’t have from the web interface.
- You have a local backup of your posts.
- You can manage multiple blogs from the same place.
Convinced yet? OK, onto some of your best options…
Windows Live Writer (Win)
If you run Windows, Windows Live Writer is, by far, your best option. Quite frankly, it even blows away most options on the Mac, too, but unfortunately this is a Windows-only option.
Windows Live Writer works with almost any blogging platform, including WordPress (of course). It offers full WYGIWYG (what you see is what you get), along with the ability to download your theme and make the post look pretty much like it will on the web once you post it. Keep in mind, however, that some themes don’t get picked up quite right so you may need to use the default theme when writing posts.
WLW really shines with how it deals with images. Simply drag images anywhere from your computer onto the editor and it inserts into your post. You can easily resize, crop, add effects – all from within the editor.
Even better – it is FREE from Microsoft. So, if you’re running Windows, you really have no reason not to use this. It is like having MS Word for your blog, only less complicated.
BlogJet looks to be another really nice blog editor for Windows. They offer a stripped-down version for free, but the full version comes at a cost.
It offers pretty much all the features of Windows Live Writer, which of course begs the question, “Why not just use Live Writer since it is free?” And you’d have a point. 🙂 That said, it does offer a few tid-bits that Live Writer doesn’t (such as auto-replace, where you can use shortcuts words to be replaced with longer phrases or links and save time). It is really up to you if those things are important.
BlogDesk looks to be a nice blog editor with the usual features, including WYSIWYG editing, image editing (such as cropping, rotation, etc.), spell-checking, tag generation, etc. You can also grab a PDF from their site to show you how to use it. This one is free, although to be honest – Windows Live Writer is better anyway (and it is also free).
RocketPost looks to be a pretty nice editor with some pretty handy features for saving time. In several ways, it actually outshines Windows Live Writer. IT comes in at $49 for the multi-blog license, however.
Pitched as a journaling application, MacJournal is actually pretty full-featured and has the ability to post to blogs as well. You can also record podcasts and videos from inside the app and attach them to your blog posts. In my opinion, this option is probably best for personal bloggers who use their blogs more as journals than anything else. You’ve got a fully secure journal inside the program, but you can choose to publish some or all of them to your blog.
I have no idea why Mac blog editors have had such a problem with WYSIWYG editing. Windows options have had it for years, and Mac excels at so many things. However, WYSIWYG blog posting from the Mac has been a problem for awhile, and MyBlogEdit is no exception. This looks to be a nice editor, except for the fact that you have to write your post in HTML. Only in such an environment would “syntax highlighting” be considered a cool feature. But, hey, if you’re the geeky type, knock yourself out. It looks like a nice editor aside from being in the stone age.
Ecto is a nice editor and, unlike the last one, has WYSIWYG editing. It supports multiple blogs, local editing, image manipulation, etc. It also has the ability to integrate with common RSS readers, making it easier to repost things from around the web. Their website sure does suck, though.
MarsEdit is currently my personal favorite for the Mac, and what I’m currently using to type this very post. As of version 3, it now has rich text editing (aka WYSIWYG). It isn’t as pretty as Live Writer, though. The formatting options are in a dropdown menu rather than a nice toolbar. That being said, MarsEdit is a powerful editor, supporting local editing, image and media insertion, etc.
At this time, I think Microsoft’s Windows Live Writer is the best blog client for Windows, and MarsEdit is the best one on the Mac.
Unfortunately, the selection of decent editors on the Mac is lagging behind that of Windows. Features like WYSIWYG editing seem to be hard to come by on the Mac. Perhaps it is due to some infrastructure thing that I’m not aware of which makes it more difficult to do. If you’re more of an advanced Mac user, you could run something like VMware Fusion, thereby allowing you to run Live Writer on the Mac.
Either way, I do recommend you explore using a blog editor if you’re not already. It makes writing for your blog a more streamlined experience. Most bloggers deal with lack of time, so why not do what you can to shave some hassle off the experience, right? 🙂