Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Found a New Toy

I found a new toy for blogging. I was looking for another piece of software when I saw Windows Live Writer. This tool is designed for editing blog posts offline and then posting them to your blog. I have only tried it with Blogger, so I don’t know how well it works with other blogs, but I’m impressed. I believe it was Michael Hyatt who recommended BlogJet. I tried it and I wasn’t impressed enough to stop writing my posts in Word and then copying the text to my blog. The main problem I had with BlogJet was that 90% of the time it wouldn’t post to the blog and I had to copy the text anyway. So far, Windows Live Writer hasn’t failed on me and I have posted to my blog several times.

Windows Liver Writer also has some features that BlogJet didn’t seem to have. It pulls the template from the blog so that you can see approximately what the text will look like when you post. It handles multiple blogs. It is extensible. Is there a feature you would like to have that just isn’t there? You can write a plug-in that will provide it, or maybe there is one already out there that someone else has already written. For example, there is a plug-in that will automatically send a Tweet to Twitter when you make a plug post, though I haven’t yet figured out how that works. You can have it count words as you type, by setting one of the options. So, I know I’ve passed the 250 word mark.

But the feature I really like is the feature that created those two links in the first paragraph. The Auto Linking feature allows you to define terms that it will automatically encapsulate in anchor tags. This means that you don’t have to remember to link key phrases, such as my website or protagonist, to other pages. You have to do the work of selecting the terms and setting the link, but once you do that, you will automatically get links going to other blog posts or web pages, helping to push your web traffic up. Now I can just type the names of any of my books—Church Website Design, Searching for Mom, How to Become a Bible Character, or For the Love of a Devil—and I get automatic links to the product page.

Windows Live Writer is a Microsoft product and right now it is a free download. If you blog, this is one tool that is worth looking at.

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