45. Set up your blogging/writing tools right
So depending on how you go about starting a blog and creating your content, you might find certain tools very helpful in your day to day.
Whether it’s a standing desk, a new keyboard, or a cool web app, tools make your blogging life a lot easier.
Let’s just go through this shortlist one by one:
I. Please, get yourself a good keyboard
Hold on! Please don’t skip reading this one! It’s important.
A keyboard is perhaps the most underrated piece of equipment that we interact with on a regular basis. Most of our interaction with a computer happens via a keyboard, right?
Yet, we rarely switch keyboards, and don’t usually track what’s been going on in the keyboard market. We just get whatever’s available or whatever our computer came with. But that’s a mistake.
Keyboards are vastly different, and there isn’t one keyboard to rule them all. This all comes down to your personal preference, your skill as a typist, and your general comfort depending on your position. That’s why you need to experiment with different setups to find the one that’s a perfect fit.
Some keyboards have low travel keys, others high travel. There are mechanical keyboards. There are membrane keys. There’s whatever MacBooks have these days. Etc. But the fact to the matter is that you never know which of them is going to be better for you until you try them first hand.
So go to your local store and experiment. Just hang around, fire up a notepad tool, start typing, see how it feels. Getting the right keyboard can transform you into a master typist overnight – at least what it did for me.
II. Try out blogging apps
Doing your work all within WordPress’ interface is all fine, especially in the distraction free mode.
But when starting a blog, you might find yourself even more productive in some dedicated blogging apps.
For instance, my two favorite ones are iA Writer and Bear.
- iA Writer is probably the best writing app for Mac (albeit just my opinion).
- Bear is a nicely designed note-taking app for Mac that also doubles as a great text editor. And has a better integration with the MacBook Pro touch bar than iA does.
Both apps support markdown, which is a much quicker way to write anything.
Apart from that, if you have more devices, you can synchronize your content across all of them.
Some other options:
- WordPress desktop app – Calypso. This one is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It also gives you access to some other parts of the wp-admin.
- Ulysses for Mac. Rather expensive writing app, but it has a lot of die-hard fans that absolutely love it.
- Google Docs. This one sounds obvious, but with the newest tools, you can now integrate a Google doc with your WordPress site directly, which means that you can basically export any doc straight to your blog.
III. Experiment with helper apps
Here’s a quick run-down through apps that make my work a lot quicker:
- Lightshot – the ultimate screenshot tool.
- Alfred – Mac productivity app, think of it as Spotlight search on steroids.
- aText – text expander app for Mac. “aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.” For example, I tend to use the word “WordPress” a lot, so instead of having to write it by hand every single time, I’ve set a macro that allows me to just write
WPP, and aText will right away expand it to
WordPress. I have loads of other ones like this set up (for common typos I make, complicated words, etc.).
- Notion – great tool for organizing your work such as article outlines, ideas, or anything else.
- Password managers – these help you keep track of usernames/passwords for all the other stuff.
- BetterTouchTool – your Mac touchpad and touch bar on steroids. I use it for custom gestures, and also to get these shortcut icons (among other things):