What are Your Top 5 Blogging Tools?

If you had to choose 5 blogging tools that were the only ones you could use for the next 12 months what would they be and why?

I’m asking this because I want to put together a short list of recommendations on blog tools for a presentation I’m doing in a couple of weeks time.

By Blog Tools I am speaking pretty broadly and include:

  • Blog Platforms
  • Desktop Publishers
  • Metrics Packages
  • Promotional Tools
  • Content Sourcing Services
  • Design Tools

Basically anything that might help you to blog better (but not advertising networks).

Looking forward to your suggestions.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. 45n5 says:

    1. dual monitors
    2. firefox spellcheck
    3. html kit (for coding blogs/ template manipulation) ;-)
    4. macromedia fireworks (for graphic and photo editing)
    5. my feedreader (sharpreader) for keeping up with conversations

  2. Ian McKenzie says:

    Darren, I’ve got all my blogs running WordPress, I use BlogJet for Windows as my desktop blogging client. I’ve been tied to Sitemeter for years now, though I have recently added 103Bees to my metric mix along with Google Analytics. As for promotional tools, is my resource for self-promotion and I really haven’t tried other methods.

  3. Simone says:

    Subtext to manage my blog
    Window Live Writer to write posts
    Feedburnes, RSS stats and now site stats
    Google analytics to collect stats (more detailed view and better analysis)
    DotNetKicks to promote what I think are my best post

  4. Marcin says:

    Here’s my list of essentials:

    a) Drupal for its flexiblity – it can be used as a blog, a fully-fledged CMS; one installation can drive multiple sites; there are dozens of fabulous modules which add functionality.
    b) Firefox for the number of extremely useful extensions, but specifically the Performancing blog editor.
    c) Nichebot for any keyword reserach tasks – I like the ability to quickly compare results from different sources and it’s pricing model is just right for me
    d) Google Analytics – it’s free and you can’t beat that. It offers a lot of data, including the overlay view. It integrates easily with Drupal
    e) GreatNews as the RSS reader. Yes, a desktop reader :-) I recently switched from Google Reader to GreatNews. You can’t beat its speed. Besides, I like having a local copy of all posts from all feeds for research purposes. I have close to 1000 feeds now and GreatNews immediately returns results for any of my searches. So, for sourcing content, this has been my best productivity boosters recently.
    f) In terms of design, I really enjoy the new kuler color application by Adobe – finally, even I am able to come up with some decent color schemes.
    g) Evernote – my trusted database for all reference materials. Somehow, it really inspires my creativity when I can scroll a tape of all snippets that I collect while browsing the web.
    h) This is my latest hack – I really rediscovered mind-mapping (there are many options). I somehow tend to get content ideas in the least expected moments and then I quickly forget about them if I don’t jot them down immediately. Now I have my mind-mapping software always running in the background. I have several maps – one for each blog. When I have an idea, I immediately place in the map. Then, whenever I have the time to write a post, I just open this map and I lose no time pondering what to write about. I would say it has increased my productivity by a factor of three. BTW, mind-maps can be easily done on paper, no software tools required.

  5. Marcin says:

    One final note – I somehow missed that you mentioned just 5 tools :-) Well, just drop points g and h from the list :-)

  6. Adam says:

    1: WordPress, since I am most familiar with it.
    2) Firefox 2.0+, because of the auto-spell check (I can’t spell some words to save my life) and the Web Developer extension for editing themes and tracking down CSS problems.
    C. A WordPress extension that allows me to put PHP directly into the body of a post.
    IV: XAMPP, or, more precisely, Apache, MySQL, and PHP separately, since I prefer to set them up and deploy them myself… Since I can only have one tool on each line, I’ll take the combined tool, so that I can play with things on a development server, rather than making changes to the live server.
    Five) An RSS reader, to troubleshoot my own feed, and to keep track of the sites (like this one) that give out such great information.

    Everything else, while desirable, is also optional.

  7. I introduce small companies and individuals to the world of blogging and try to get them up and running with the goal of them handling everything once they get on their feet. My clients have responded best to following:

    – WordPress
    – Windows Live Writer
    – Feedburner
    – Google Analytics and 103bees

    All in all, those tools seem to have the shortest learning curve and can help blogging newbies get going as quickly as possible.

  8. WordPress – Couldn’t live without it! It is the giant sea turtle that the magical city that is my blog rides on.

    Flickr – I use creative commons search regularly to find interesting photos.

    Google Reader – I get a lot of ideas and content for linkdumps through my feedreader.

    iTunes – I can’t write without music

    Feedburner – RSS feeds are important!

    I’d be annoyed without them, but I have no real *need* for any metrics package. I’m not at a state where I’m monetizing my blog yet, so I don’t feel they’re too relevant beyond ‘whee look at how interweb popular i am’

  9. Timen says:

    Hey Darren,

    I’ll list five plugins for my WordPress installation that I can’t do without.

    The first is Akismet. in my All Stars is still a small blog, but Akismet has already proven to be one of the best additions, and I can only see it become better as my blog grows (along with the spam). It comes with WordPress, so there is no need to worry about installations and upgrades.

    Next there’s Exec-PHP. This nifty guy lets me run PHP in my posts. This is really handy for when I want to run an include or something along those lines. More at:

    Then there’s Full Text Feed. Darren, I agree with you on the whole full-text feed thing. Full-texts are great for readers, and we’re blogging for our readers (I hope). But I also like having the “keeping reading…” on most of my articles. This one lets me do that. More at:

    Related Posts is next. This guy is really a handy plugin which, as the names says, provides readers with related entries on your blog. I don’t have so much content yet, so sometimes the entries aren’t really related. But I can see this plugin become more accurate and useful as my blog grows. More at:

    Finally there’s Sideblog WordPress Plugin. This nice little plugin lets me run the asides section of my blog. I love it because every aside is a real post, and posts (no matter how short) always attracts more traffic. That said, I’ll naturally only post things in my asides that I find truly relevant/useful, but it definitely is something every blog could try out. More at:

  10. WordPress and Typepad (I use and appreciate both)
    FeedBurner + Sitemeter
    Twango for audio, video & photo inserts

  11. Dragos Roua says:

    Blogging platform: wordpress
    Blogging measurement and promotion: feedburner
    pluses for feed burner:
    +feedflare is a unified platform for pomoting and also opened,
    +recently they started their own networking process by gathering together blogs on different thematics to analyse visitors statistics (much simpler than analytics)
    Vienna (on Mac) as feed reader (I consider the part of being informed very important in the blogging process, you must know what’s going on in your field, at least for not repeating someone, if not for being creative)

    I don’t know if this fits your requirement, but I also follow pretty closely some of the memes on the net that I find interesting (like the last stuff). Not all are ok, most of them are really crap, but some of them are just interesting ways of enlarging your network and vision.


  12. engtech says:

    microsoft word, wordpress

    adobe photoshop, adobe illustrator, infranview, mspaint, photobucket

    google reader, popurls, google search

    music:, itunes, winamp

  13. 1. wordpress
    2. feedburner
    3. microsoft word
    4. photoshop
    5. bloglines

  14. fcodc says:

    Only five? Then I’d have to say…

    WordPress: the core of everything, of course.
    TextMate: everything I write (code, text, etc) comes out of here one way or the other.
    YummyFTP: for accessing my server stuff.
    ImageWell: for editing the images.
    FeedBurner: for the feeds, ’nuff said.

    I have the full list of what apps I use over at the guides section of my blog.

  15. Rory says:

    1. WordPress.

    2. Notepad – Virtual and real world. I’d be lost without a notepad to carry around. I think it is an essential blogging tool. I have my best ideas nowhere near a computer.

    3. Paint.NET for photo manipulation.

    4. FileZilla, surely. I’m not sure whether it counts. Maybe an FTP client was a given…

    5. Audacity. Now that I’ve started to try my hand at audioposts, I’d say this was a top five essential blogging tool for me.

  16. WordPress
    FeedBurner (RSS and stats)
    GIMP (free image editor) (finding images for posts)
    AutoHotkey (hotstrings make markup easy!)

  17. Ralph Dagza says:

    WordPress and Mint

  18. Bill says:

    I don’t use a Desktop Publisher mostly because I do all my blogging directly through WordPress.

    I used SiteMeter almost exclusively until last week. What happened? One of SiteMeter’s servers started experiencing difficulties. Five days later I’m still recording 0 hits and not a single visitor since the problem started. Three days ago they said my data was being recorded but not displayed… that’s all the communication they offered. I’m now 100% about Analytics.

    I don’t use anything really for Content Sourcing or Promotional Tools but I’d be helpless without GIMP (the open source image editor) and NotePad++. I use NotePad++ for all my programming and GIMP for image editing.

    I also find Technorati and Feedburner to be priceless. I mean … who doesn’t use Feedburner?

    I also recommend TechCrunch, Lifehacker, the default WordPress Feeds (available in the WordPress Dashboard) and -surprise- Problogger for must have reads. If you’ve ever got Blogger’s Block there will be something in there that will get you writing again.

  19. Mike Panic says:

    1. WordPress
    2. MS Word
    3. FeedBurner
    4. FireFTP (Firefox FTP extension)
    5. / (stock photo sites) & Photoshop CS2 for manipulations

  20. Sean says:

    1. WordPress
    2. Ecto
    3. Vienna RSS
    4. Dreamweaver
    5. AWStats

  21. Cory OBrien says:

    1. WordPress
    2. Mint
    3. FeedBurner
    4. Apple’s print screen feature
    5. Transmit

  22. Cory OBrien says:

    Forgot this one (and it’s very important):

    6. NetNewsWire

  23. Andy Merrett says:

    Tough call

    1. WordPress
    2. Google Reader
    4. GraphicConverter X
    5. Typinator

    Could probably do a decent enough job with that, presuming that general OS stuff is a given.

  24. Rhea says:

    Bloglines RSS reader
    Google Analytics
    Feedburner subscription thingy

  25. As a budding multimedia-designer student freshly started in the world of blogging, I would have to say that the following have high priority for me

    1. WordPress – Not much to say about that. My preferred at the moment.

    2. Bloglines – Excellent and invaluable for keeping all those feeds in order.

    3. Photoshop – What can I say, I’m a graphics geek.

    4. Php Designer personal edition – For editing anything really.

    5. Moleskine pocket book. – For all those ideas that I get in the strangest of places.

  26. jhay says:

    Here’s the tools I use:

    WordPress of course for the blogging software.
    DarkRoom for writing posts
    Flickr/Photobucket for photo resources
    Google Reader for RSS needs and content sourcing
    Imagecave and zooomr to host images

    there’s a lot more. But I guess I’ll just write a post about them instead. :D

  27. Licorne says:

    1. wordpress – I like running it to the ground to do what I want, which it does. Usually.

    2. Editpad – I find it easy to edit my codes and programming stuff with it.

    3. adobe photoshop – can’t live without it.

    4. google search – a veritable source of (sometimes unusual) information

    5. RSS – couldn’t even be her without it

  28. Michael says:

    Here we go . . .

    1. WordPress (although I do use TypePad for one of my sites)
    2. Ecto
    3. Vienna RSS
    4. Photoshop
    5. And of course, my Mac itself

    I use a few different things on and off, like iPhoto for image storage and iTunes to keep me going. But those are the main ones.

  29. Shawn says:

    * WordPress for life (and my platform)
    * Windows Live Writer for publishing
    * Slimstat for metric (for now)
    * OnlyWire for promotion
    * Google Reader for content sourcing
    * Photoshop CS for design (mostly graphics; no need for HTML/CSS/PHP coding yet)

  30. Dave Starr says:

    1. WordPress
    2. Microsoft Live Writer (_not_ just for My Spaces)
    3. Bloglines
    4. FileZilla (absolutely great for overseas, “iffy” Internet connections
    5. AWStats (free from the webhost). All “plug the code into WordPress” statistics packages, and MyBlogLog, mebo, etc., etc. add delay. use them is you like but remeber they have acost to your readers.

  31. Sebbi says:

    My favorite tools are:
    – WordPress (obviously)
    – Blogdesk (handles posting just fine and supports some basic image manipulation)
    – Photoshop (for the images)
    – UltraEdit (editing templates, everything)
    – Google Reader (primary source of everything interesting)

  32. Kat Jacobs says:

    1. Expression Engine – a crazy powerful and versatile blogging platform.
    2. OmniOutliner – this is where my post ideas form
    3. StatCounter/Mint/Google Analytics
    4. Transmit FTP
    5. Vienna RSS Reader

  33. My five:
    * WordPress
    * Akismet
    * AWStats
    * Google AdWords keyword tool
    * iStockPhoto (+ Fireworks + FTP, but I have those anyway)

    I could keep the site running effectively with just those, but it would hurt to lose some of the other plugins!

  34. Cat Laine says:

    Google Reader

  35. Scott says:

    * Blog Platforms
    * Desktop Publishers
    * Metrics Packages
    BA Stats, Google Analytics, MyBlogLog stats, HitTail
    * Promotional Tools
    Adwords, Ultimate Tag Warrior, Related Posts, Bookmark Me
    * Content Sourcing Services
    * Design Tools
    Firefox Web Dev. plugin, Inkspot, The Gimp

    Other: FileZilla

  36. Scott says:

    Ok I screwed that up. Here’s my list of 5 apps I couldn’t live without..

    1. WordPress
    2. BA Stats
    3. Google Analytics
    4. JetAudio (for music)
    5. Notepad

  37. Armen says:

    In no particular order, but all necessary –
    Windows Live Writer

    And I’ll just throw in the fact that my laptop of course is the most necessary of all.

  38. Teej says:

    platform: WordPress
    blogging client: Ecto
    rss: NewsFire
    browser: Safari
    content automation: AppleScript/Automator

    *If the Flock browser added just one or two more features i’d be able to work 100% from within Flock.

  39. 1.Wordpress
    4.” fiance!

  40. Dave says:

    - WordPress
    – Don’t use desktop publishers
    – Google Analytics all the way, except with all this 103bees talk, I may have to look into that
    – Google Reader
    – Photoshop
    – Win32Pad: a beefed up notepad

  41. darrenh says:

    1.) Quite obviously this marks me as different in this group, but my only current blog uses Blogger. (I want to start more and figure I’ll go with WordPress then).
    2.) Google News
    3.) — for images. SInce discovering this site, almost every post I make has an image of some sort.
    4.) Google analytics.
    5) Vizu — for polls.

  42. Aaron Bailey says:

    1. MovableType (allows me to quickly deploy new blogs without installing another copy of WordPress)
    2. Newsgator/NetNewsWire (feed reading)
    3. Fireworks (image creation)
    4. Google Apps (email)
    5. Mint (metrics)

  43. Without sitting down to think through a top five list, one tool shines as being overwhelmingly useful: Windows Live Writer. Clearly it’s not perfect, but it’s way ahead of any other solution I’ve found. BTW, I use it with WordPress, not Live Spaces or whatever Microsoft blogs are called.

  44. Randy Bryan says:

    Serendipity Blogging Software – easy easy easy
    Feedburner for RSS, tons of great tools
    Feedblitz for Subscriber Email List, integrates well with feedburner

  45. Jeff says:

    1. WordPress. I’ve tried blogger and typepad, and I like WP the best
    2. Simple, one-click buttons for bookmarking and feed subscription
    3. Feedburner. Easy to publish, measure, add social functions, etc. to my feeds.
    4. Bunny’s Technorati Tags. Lets me add technorati tags by typing them in, not by copying and pasting code
    5. Google Reader. Lets me organize all my feeds that supply me with info and topics to blog about.

  46. Binny V A says:

    Platforms – I use both Blogger and WordPress platforms.
    Clients – I prefer to create the content in my HTML Editor(Quanta Plus) and paste it into the Web interface of blogger. For shorter stuff, I use Scribe Fire(Performancing)
    Metrics Packages – Google Analytics and FeedBurner.

  47. Ramen Junkie says:

    Flickr. I love flickr for hosting original images for my blog. I can get some good ross linking going too between reviews and flickr images. I stick with Photobucket for non-original photos but I make an effor to provide my own photos for my blog.

    On a somewhat related note, my camera. I don’t photoblog nessesarily, nor do I push the photos as the main content but I like to use original photos at the top of all my posts. Mostly because original photos are well, original. It’s not something you’re going to have seen before.

  48. ilker says:

    I will make a post about this on my blog.. a lot of people have ask me the tools and hacks I use on my blog =D

  49. ClarkeW says:

    Here are my five favorite tools.

    1. – WordPress
    2. – Macromedia Fireworks
    3. – Itunes
    4. – Feedburner
    5. – Google Analytics

  50. Tom Hanna says:

    5. Google News
    4. Talk Radio (That’s sort of like a one-way internet that comes into your car while you’re driving.)
    3. Books
    2. WordPress
    1. Wine or coffee, depending on mood.


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