My Current Blogging Tools

Warning: this post will likely only be relevant to you if you are a blogger or are thinking about starting a blog.

I’ve been blogging on and off for almost three years. Periodically, I am asked about how to start a blog. I have posted on that topic previously, so I won’t repeat myself here.

typewriter keys that spell "blog"

However, I also get asked about the specific tools I use. Since I started blogging, I have used several. But for the last six month or so months, I have settled into a grove with the following four:

  1. TypePad — This is the blogging service that I use. It is the service I started with three years ago. I have never changed. From time to time, I have looked at others, but I have not found anything else that does such a good job combining ease-of-use with customizability. There’s virtually nothing I can’t do. Initially, I used one of the predefined themes. But, after a while, I created my own. I really like the flexibility and the way the service has grown with me.
  2. ecto — This is my blogging client. And, yes, the product is spelled in all lowercase letters. It is bascially a word processor for blogging. It allows me to blog offline. (To blog with TypePad, you have to be online.) For example, I am writing this post on the airplane. When I land and connect to the Internet, I will “publish” this post with one click. ecto also interfaces seamlessly with TypePad and a whole bunch of other services. One of my favorite things about this tool is that I can edit in WYSIWYG mode or HTML code. It gives me a lot of control. My only complaint is that it doesn’t have a “smart quotes” feature. As a result, I have to enter true open and close quote marks manually. I am hoping this will be added to version 3.0 when it is released.
  3. iStockPhoto — I get the photos I use in my posts from this single service. It’s a snap to use. I simply go to the site and search for words related to my topic. Usually, this yields hundreds of photos to choose from. I pay $1.00 per image and can download them on the spot. I generally use the smallest photo size available, which is roughly 440 pixels wide. I also use this service for my Keynote (or occasionally PowerPoint) presentations. However, I have to use a bigger size photo, so the resolution is sufficient. As more and more images are added, this service just increases in its value to me. I have never found a reason to go any where else.
  4. ImageWell — I always have to resize my images. To conform to the design of my blog, I need an image that is exactly 360 pixels wide. In the past, I used to load Adobe Photoshop to scale the image to the size I needed. This was overkill. It was like chartering a Boeing 747 to fly to a city a hundred miles a way. What I needed was something small and fast. It really only needed to do one thing well: scale my images to a predetermined size. Enter ImageWell. I first read about it (I think) on Guy Kawasaki’s blog. It was perfect. It loads fast, scales the image to the proper size, sends the image to the appropriate folder, then gets out of the way.

Occasionally, I use other tools as well. I have used OmniGraffle to create diagrams and OmniOutliner to outline more complex posts before I begin writing. But ninety-five percent of the time, I get by on just these four tools.

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  • http://hornes.org/mark/ Mark

    I’m just curious: is there any special reason that you *don’t* use iphoto to do your resizing?

    Thanks.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Mark,

    Mainly just size and ease-of-use. iPhoto is a 553.6 MB file. ImageWell is 2.2 MB. It loads in a fraction of a second. I drag the photo from Finder to ImageWell and click on button. I’m done. That same operation in iPhoto would take many more steps.

    Thanks,

    Mike

  • http://www.texlex.typepad.com Lexie

    Your blog is one of the two reasons I chose Typepad two years ago when I started blogging.I figured if it was good enough for you, then it would work for me. Glad to hear you looked at others and still stuck w/Typepad. I’ll have to check out ecto.

    The content on your blog is informative and challenging. A few posts (the weekly and monthly review) are print worthy, i.e., I need to print them in order to fully utlize and digest them.

    Blog on! :)

  • Clay

    We’re getting ready to lauch six blogs next week for our ministry. I looked at TypePad, but ended up with WordPress (someone else is doing the install and initial design). I know TypePad is good, but do you (or, does anyone) have any opinions about WordPress as a blogging app? Is there anything I should know before I take the plunge?

    I’ll be using ecto and ImageWell per your recommendations. You didn’t mention it, but I’ll also use Snap after seeing it work here. Very cool. From Where I Sit is a “blog-role model” for us newbies.

    As the (ahem) “CEO” of a very small non-profit ministry (let’s just say less than 10 employees), you have become one of a few trusted advisors for me. Thank you for taking time out from your (real) CEO duties to share what you’ve learned.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Clay,

    This is awesome. I think WordPress is fine. As I understand it, it’s basically a version of TypePad that you can run on your own dedicated server.

    Thanks also for your kind words.

    Mike

  • http://www.alysaandmitch.com/ Mitch Cohen

    If posting through Ecto, Ecto will do the image resizing for you. It’s image tools are quite decent – generating either embedded images (full size for your blog) or thumbnails to click on. Just add the image, double-click the image, and you’ll see lots of options. Size, embed/thumbnail, jpeg quality, saved presets, etc. Good stuff.

  • http://daveanthold.typepad.com/elevate Dave Anthold

    Michael,

    Thanks for the great blogging tools. I have recently started my blog, now blogs, on Typepad and loving it. I love your blog, especially the insights on different management perspectives.

    I checked out Ecto and downloaded the trial version and will try it out since I will traveling more this week and I am going to check out ImageWell since it takes awhile to load up Photoshop. I already use iStockphoto and love it.

    Thanks for your insights into the blogging world and I love your template and quotes as well as your reading list.

    Keep it up. Thanks.

  • http://nikond60.blog.ru Heamsmona

    ммм. интересно !

  • http://chalng.livejournal.com/ Heamsmona

    mm.. interesting..

  • http://krakit.livejournal.com/ expomnoxy

    emm.. luv it.

  • Pingback: Inside My Blogging Toolbox | Michael Hyatt()

  • http://twitter.com/DaveAnthold @DaveAnthold

    Any thoughts to updating this post since you are using WordPress? Are all the other tools the same?

  • http://justincarper.com/ Justin Carper

    Wow, I feel like I went back in time.