(Jack Bauer finds time to blog in between saving the U.S. from terrorists)
You’ve started your blog and you’re up and running, but do you have the essential tools necessary to be a blogging pro? Here’s a list of tools I personally use that will improve your blogging experience and productivity. Being well equipped will make you a better blogger, and being a better blogger means gaining the respect and affection among your weird and fuzzy blogging peers and readers.
Adobe Photoshop CS2 – Photoshop is the most powerful graphic editing program on the market. Take the time to learn it, and it’ll make the difference between a crappy MySpace looking blog and one that’s worthy to grace the galleries of Stylegala. Notable: Fireworks
Adobe Dreamweaver – This handy HTML and CSS editor will immensely shorten the time needed to design and edit your blog. The built-in FTP capability is also handy for transferring files to and from your web server.
WordPress – The ultimate open-source blogging platform is about to get better with the release of version 2.1. With hundreds of plug-ins available to expand the capability of WordPress, there’s nothing this beast can’t do.
Notable: Moveable Type, Typepad, Blogger
Akon – Keep your blog easy on the eyes by using this clean and simple theme created by yours truly.
Mint – If you’re serious about increasing your readership, a stats utility is a must. Mint does a great job of keeping track of where visitors are coming from, and what they’re doing while surfing your blog. Great way to really zone in on your target audience and niche.
Notable: Google Analytics, Crazy Egg
Firefox – This award-winning Web browser is fast, secure and fully customizable.
Google Reader – Although I still prefer reading blogs directly, there’s no doubt that a RSS reader helps manage all the news happening around the blogosphere. If you want to stay on top of the game, it’s an essential tool in your blogging arsenal.
Apple MacBook Pro – Although there are thousands of laptops to choose from, there’s only one that you can call king. The MacBook Pro is the fastest Mac laptop ever made, and with a program like Parallel, you’ll be able to run Windows alongside Mac OS X in a secure, isolated virtual machine.
Notable: Sony SZ360
Two Apple 23″ LCD Screens – Adding an extra monitor will give your output a considerable boost â€” 20 percent to 30 percent, according to a survey by Jon Peddie Research. I think it’s more along the lines of a 50 percent boost, but who’s counting.
Notable: 27″ Dell 2707WFP
Canon Powershot 800IS – Canon is the leader when it comes to making compact digital cameras. The 800IS proves this point with optical image-stabilization and 8 megapixels of lovely pixel detail. Built with a nice zoom lens and the ability to go wide at 28mm, the 800IS makes for the perfect blogging camera. Did I also mention it takes high quality movies as well? 640×480 at 30fps.
Notable: Panasonic DMC-FX07
Nikon D200 Digital SLR – If you want professional quality photos for your blog, then pick up a Nikon D200. Don’t skimp on buying quality glass either, because the lens plays an even more important role than the camera body you decide on. I recommend pairing this body with Nikon’s 17-55mm F2.8G lens. This setup is a match made in heaven, and you’ll be shooting jaw dropping photos in no time.
Notable: Nikon D40, Canon EOS 30d
Sony HDR-HC7 – If the movie mode on Canon’s Powershot SD800IS isn’t good enough for you, and you’re looking for something with more detail and the ability to add an external microphone for better sound, the Sony HDR-HC7 is the answer. The video quality from this compact prosumer HD camcorder will knock your socks off.
Notable: Panasonic PV-GS500
Samsung Blackjack – Get smart. A smart phone that is. The Blackjack features everything from a Internet browser to a RSS reader. The phone also doubles nicely as a broadband modem when a wireless hotspot isn’t available.
Notable: Treo 650
Skype – Free and low-cost calls. Easy to set-up and the audio quality isn’t too shabby.
Jawbone – Most Bluetooth headsets can’t discriminate between your yakking and the wind, but Jawbone is different. Not only does the Jawbone virtually eliminate all background noise from your call, but as your background changes it also seamlessly adjusts the speaker output so you can hear your callerâ€™s voice better.
A Few Blogging Resource Bookmarks
Steelcase Think Chair – Since you’ll be sitting on your butt for hours at a time, you’ll need to be comfortable. The Think Chair cradles perfectly to your spine and adjusts itself intuitively.
Notable: Aeron Chair
AMP Energy Drink – The only energy drink that tastes good and doesn’t leave a bad after taste. Great for helping to stay awake during those long nights of blogging.
Carrying it All in Style
What’s in Your Blogging Toolbox?
Please share. The more tools, the better!