Helpful applications for blogging

Everybody who blogs picks up tips or applications which they find helpful.

What applications do you find useful in blogging?

I give a list below of some that I use and recommend. Give me some feedback on these or others you use.

File and website management

Personal Brain (see Using your brain) is a non-hierarchical system of storing links to web pages, email, documents and other files, as well as applications. It’s the first thing I go to when a boot-up in the morning. I am continually using it to bookmark useful blogs and websites, and to provide easily accessible links to spreadsheets, documents and applications I use. In many ways it has replaced windows explorer for me

Google’s iGoogle is useful for collecting together all those often used web sites (e.g. Wikipedia, library, banking) feeds, news, searches (constantly updated), etc. It’s like a home page. I particularly like the ability to have continuously updated links.

Feed reader

I prefer Google Reader and use as my defualt feed reader for blog sites and web pages. I also use it for my podcast feeds (in preference to itunes and podcaster) as it has the advantage of locating all feeds in one place. Reader also enables me to set up feeds to Google searches on selected subjects and include them in widgets. These can be placed in my iGoogle page and on web pages and blog sites. (See for example my In the news and Evolution News widgets).

A useful recent addition to Google reader is the “show details” function which shows the number of subscriptions (only those through Google Reade) to specific sites. It’s interesting to get some idea of the popularity of blogs via their Google Reader subscriptions.


I normally use Copernic Agent Professional which aggregates results for 15 search engines (including Google) in normal web searches and can be used for a wide range of different types of searches (patents, software, images, newsgroups, science publications, etc.). However, I find Google Images useful very rapid location of images for adding to posts and Google Scholar useful for locating information from more authoritative scientific publications. These are easily accessed from icons in the browser toolbars.

Google Alerts is also handy and it can provide update feeds of searches for inclusion in Google reader and iGoogle.

Firefox extensions

I prefer the Firefox browser and use a number of extensions. The most useful to me is CoLT which makes it easy to copy either a hyperlink’s text or both the link and the link’s text (in a format you specify). Two handy context-menu items make this possible, and don’t add clutter; the items are only visible when right-clicking a link!

Commentful is a service that watches comments/follow-ups on Blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr galleries, and many other types of content. When ever there is an update, i.e a new follow-up, Commentful notifies you instantly. I can also get Commentful updates as a feed and access them from Google reader.

See also:
Blogging Resources and Sources to Help You Blog
Awesome Lists of Firefox Must-Have Extensions Lists
Power Blogging: Web Browser Blogging Tips

Similar Articles:
Using your brain

6 responses to “Helpful applications for blogging

  1. Oh, I use a website called OpenParachute where I just rip off all his content. Arf arf.

    But seriously; all I really use are the Google analytics, XML sitemaps and Akismet spam plugins.

    I’m a pretty lazy blogger and don’t really research topics properly. (Which is something I always admire about your posts BTW).


  2. I wish I could use applications like Google analytics. Unfortunately being on I am unable to. But I guess using is easier than handling one’s own domain, etc. So that makes me the lazy one.


  3. Thanks for the recommendations, as well as the recommendations to my articles. Great list.


  4. Just curious, is Commentful still working for you? I’ve been trying to use it for the past week and it seems to be dead. Well, I can add feeds to my watchlist but the watchlist never gets updated.

    Thanks for any input you might have.


  5. No it’s not Brian – which pisses me off. It has happened in the past so it may overcome the problems in the future. Bit it’s encouraged me to look elsewhere.

    Currently I am using co.mments ( which seems to work quite well. I get regular email updates and can go to a tracking page. I have also been able to put links to discussions in a widget (“Discussions elsewhere” on the left).

    I also tried coComments but found problems with it.


  6. Thanks for the info, Ken. It’s nice to have confirmation that it’s not just my problem. I’ve been using co.mments for a while now and am happy with the functionality but they have periods when response time just slows to a crawl. I was hoping to find something else more reliable but the options seem limited.

    Thanks again.


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