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16 Essential PC Applications for Bloggers

This article was written by Ruchir Chawdhry.

PS: Mac users can check out 14 Essential Mac OS X Applications for Bloggers that Darren wrote a while ago.

1. Mozilla Firefoxmozilla-firefox.png

Mozilla Firefox is the king of all browsers. Limitlessly extendable, fast, and lightweight. If you’re still using any other browser (even Google Chrome), then switch to Firefox immediately, it’ll boost your productivity – guaranteed. There are many Firefox plugins, these two posts give the essential ones for bloggers:

2. MemoKeys

Stop wasting time typing the same thing repeatedly. MemoKeys saves you time by letting you call up commonly used text with keystroke combos. This is very handy is you get a lot of email, comment on blogs a lot, or have a default email/comment template.

3. Microsoft Office 2007office-2007-logo.png

All you Microsoft haters might say otherwise, but you need Power Point, Excel, and Word if you want to make it big as a blogger. Office 2007 is easy to use and has beautiful default templates.

If you don’t want to pony up for Office 07 then the open-source OpenOffice is a nice alternative.

4. SnagIt

SnagIt is the best screen-capturing program out there. Using SnagIt, you can take screenshots of menus, windows, specific regions, and more. The more-than-capable editing program that comes with SnagIt is also a godsend for productivity seekers and Photoshop phobics like me.

5. WordWeb

WordWeb is a free powerful dictionary and thesaurus program. It’s mainly an offline dictionary tool with about 150,000 words in its database, although it also allows you to look into online reference sites such as Wikipedia. WordWeb’s a feature rich dictionary & thesaurus tool and a must have for bloggers who write their own content.digsby-logo

6. Digsbydigsby-logo.jpg

Digsby is an all-in-one IM/social networking client. It supports most of the IM protocols out there, like Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, and AIM. It even supports Facebook chat! It features tabbed conversation window, allows you to manage your email, and stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening on your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn accounts. As its makers say: Digsby = IM + Email + Social Networking.

7. Link Popularity Check

Link Popularity Check checks how many links you have according to Google, Yahoo!, MSN and a bunch of others.

8. RoboForm

RoboForm is the tool to have for bloggers. It cuts out the time you spend filling various forms online, it remembers all your passwords, and it even features a random password generator for the security freaks among us. The price? Only $29.95. Use the discount code GOOG1 to get $6 off.

I’ve yet to come across another app that is better or on the same level as RoboForm. If you don’t have it, you don’t value your time.rss-bandit

9. RSS Banditrss-bandit.JPG

RSS Bandit is a desktop RSS reader that syncs directly with Google Reader. The best feature is has is that it allows you to download your feeds (including images) for you to view offline. Very useful for travelers and those who hate web based RSS readers.

10. Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio is the ultimate screen-recording program for PCs. With the latest version, you can create HD quality professional-looking videos. It can produce your videos in many formats such as iPod, Flash, Quick Time, Windows Media, AVI etc.

11. Windows Live Writer

A full-featured desktop blogging application, Writer allows you to add images, videos, maps, tables, and much more. Overall, it’s a much better alternative to your blogging software’s inbuilt editor.

12. AdesClrPicker

This little known color picker has recently gone free. It’s fast to load, easy-to-use, and captures colors in HTML, RGB, C++, VB, and Delphi color codes. You can capture color codes anywhere on the screen. What more could you want?

13. Yahoo! Widgetsyahoo-widgets-gears.png

Yahoo! Widgets adds small widget apps to your desktop. Aside from being glitzy, it can be useful if you choose the right widgets. Here are a few widgets that bloggers should get:

  • Day Planner – Calendar – A very useful to-do and day planning widget that also has a calendar
  • Simple Notepad – Useful for quick note-taking without having Notepad always open
  • My MemoPad – Useful sticky-note widget. I actually use it to display my goals.

14. Twhirl

Of course, how could I forget Twirl? A must-have app for twitterers to twitter their tweets.

15. PeaZip peazip-logo.png

PeaZip is a beautiful but fast archiving utility that supports most of the compression formats out there. It’s recommended for bloggers who download and sample a lot of files. Alternatives are WinRAR and 7Zip.

16. The Journal

Keeping a diary/journaling can help you improve as a blogger. Now, not many of us are so keen on opening a notebook every now and then to write in, so if you’re such a person then The Journal is for you. It supports separate volumes, inserting images, tables and the like, and you can even password-protect your diary.

For more on why you should keep a blog diary, check out Darren’s post:

What Do You Use?

I’m sure that I’m just scratching the surface here. I’d love to hear from other PC using bloggers – what applications are you using?

You can catch Ruchir Chawdhry at TechVivo where he blogs about gadgets, software, online tools, windows tips & tricks etc that you can use to become more productive & better your life. Click here to subscribe to TechVivo.

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.

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Comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    My favorite is windows live writer

  2. Matt says:

    Title of this article should be: “How to Spend Hundreds of Dollars on Software You Could Have for Free if You Used Linux.”

    I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why MS Office is crucial to blogging. Someone please help me out here.

    That reminds me… I need to go write my next blog post in Excel.

  3. soores says:

    Windows Live Writer is absolutely great… check it out if you haven’t… Tried today… Fell in love almost immediately… I think this is the only MS product I love…

  4. Rics says:

    Hello Darren,

    I’m using a lot the Google Docs and Notebook apps. This two excelent softwares gives me all the mobility I need. The best of all: for free!

    They’re really great tools.

  5. Robby G says:

    wow this has got to be one of the most useful posts i’ve ever read. Not to say the others aren’t great, they are, but thank you very much for this. Digsby and Link Pop Check is amazing. Cheers!

  6. Double says:

    As always, very good tips for bloggers.

  7. @ Mike: Well, Office/OpenOffice is a must-have tool because you need word basically if you’re a blogger and powerpoint + camtasia if you’re a video blogger…

    @ mubix: Univeral extractor looks like a cool app. I’ll check it out.

  8. Love 1. Mozilla Firefox, 5. WordWeb and 8. RoboForm , this 3 really powerful but never try 9. RSS Bandit and 15. PeaZip before , will try and see how good this application are, and thank for list out this all great tool as always

  9. Chuck Frey says:

    I use PureText, too. It saves me a lot of time, because I dictate or write blog posts in MS Word, then copy text to the clipboard. In PureText, I’ve assigned the F1 key as the paste plain text key. That saves me from having to clean up a lot of extraneous font crap in WordPress!

  10. Chris Howard says:

    Ruchir, You can’t just say you need Word for blogging and Powerpoint for video blogging. That doesn’t prove nothin!

    I’ve blogged three years without ever using Word. (I am a Mac user but do have and use MS Office for many other things). However, I have used other text editors for writing blogs offline.

    I would 100% say to anyone, you do not need Word for blogging. You just need a handy text editor if you are going to write like that. WordPad in Windows would be sufficient or Text Editor on the Mac and you’re probably spoiled for choice on Linux.

    You can use Word if you’ve got it, but it shouldn’t be on a list of essential blogging applications.

    A blog editting tool, like Ecto, is a much more sensible way to write your posts offline. And much cheaper than MS Office.

    Re Powerpoint: well, I don’t understand who’d make videos using Powerpoint – it doesn’t sound like the right tool for the job, so you kinda need to explain that one more. And even if presentation software is essential to video blogging, then there’s probably lots of cheaper alternatives.

    For those who do make presentation-type movies, again, PowerPoint is not essential. Check the alternatives first.

    Really, if you think these two types of apps are essential, you should have said “3. An office suite” and then listed the options such as OpenOffice, Google Apps, and MS Office if you’ve already got it.

  11. Super! I love the the practicality of the information given. Thank you.

  12. Robin Capper says:

    Wow, I use a lot of those already and agree with most. A couple of alternatives;

    Mindjet MindManager works nicely with Office, in fact most of my office documents are authored in MindManager. BlogJet is similar to Live Writer, it’s not free but worth a look.

    ActiveWords is awesome for text substitution, launching applications, documents and scripting actions like email reply, searching etc. Then have a long free trial (up to 60 days) that’s worth checking out.

  13. Mega Champ says:

    Super collection, although i must say the office 2007 is little buggy, however office 2003 does the job pretty fine.

  14. @ Chris: what I meant is you need an office suite like Office/OpenOffice. Yes, you won’t be using office to blog directly from it. But it’s useful for spell checking your work or making plans for your blog. I’ve already included a blog editing tool in the post: Windows Live Writer.

    And lists like these are subjective. It’s basically what I have in my blogging toolbox. I honestly hate the the other alternatives to Office 07. I have tried them, I tried OpenOffice but it was very unintuitive and downright ugly… I care about how much more productive the software makes me, not about it’s cost…

  15. ITrush says:

    Wow, thank you for the lists.. checking some now.

  16. Aditya says:

    Very Nice Article! I have read about more and more from here. And now I think its time to bookmark this website. I am an owner of a blog. You can visit it at http://anddjournal.blog.co.in/ I would really like you to read my blog and give your comments on my blog. Thanks!

  17. axel g says:

    Irfanview is a great tool. Personally, I use it mostly to reduce the weight of photos +_+

    Great list!

  18. Ganesh says:

    A few applications that I would like to recommend are Filezilla, Notepad ++ and RealPlayer. Filezilla is a must for every blogger who needs a good FTP client. Notepad ++ is much better than the standard Windows Notepad as offers many facilities for bloggers tweaking PHP, HTML or CSS code. And RealPlayer, because it doesn’t hurt to hear some music while working. :-)

  19. PageMaker says:

    @Ruchir: I use Gadwin Printscreen (http://www.gadwin.com/printscreen/) for doing screen captures. I’ve used a trial of Snagit before, but found the editor of limited use, as I prefer to work in GIMP or Photoshop. For those not looking to add yet another graphics editor to their already-groaning HDD, I submit that Gadwin offers all the screencap functionality that Snagit does: screen/area/active window, bmp/gif/tiff/jpeg/png output, mouse capture or not, customizable hotkey & destination, it’s all there.
    And yes, folks, it’s freeware. Let the stampede begin. :) Now, where’s my license? LOL!

  20. Nice List, just that i’m not very comfortable using multiple apps for blogging, i think it give us distraction. I prefer using firefox and firefox only, since i can customized it to certain extend using add on. My favorite :
    - google toolbar (for autofill and PRchecker)
    - scribefire
    - fireftp
    - foxmark (simply put everything in bookmark, u don’t have to worry anymore)

  21. Great post with tons of usefull tools, but you don’t need #4 (Snag it) – You can capture your screen by hitting ctrl + the print screen button, then paste it in your image editing program.

  22. I have been using Roboform for years and it is AWESOME. It is a must have tool for anyone who logs in to multiple sites on a daily basis, or anyone who fills out forms with their personal info. You can do it with a single click of a button and it saves a ton of time.
    Great list!

  23. @ PageMaker: LOL man. That offer wasn’t meant for you ;) And anyways I still think SnagIt rocks hehe :D

  24. Eric Tan says:

    you should ad subscribe t0 twitip.com to learn how to utilize twitter to help you blog =)

  25. Omarra Byrd says:

    I actually love the RoboForm software myself. I use it all of the time and it takes all of the menial everyday tasks that I have to perform on my computer daily and shortens them extremely! What once took me fifteen minutes to complete now takes me only one second because RoboForm does the same task with just one click. In fact I wrote a Report about a lot of RoboForm’s capabilities for use that aren’t even touched on in the User’s Manual for RoboForm. You can get that Report here:

    http://www.theroboformreport.com

    There is also a FREE version of RoboForm that you can download on this web page, just to test the RoboForm software out for yourself! I highly recommend it!

  26. Great post! These applications save me tons of time. I would be lost without them.

  27. Fabulous post, Darren. I love lists, and this one has *already* increased my speed. Pretty important, in light of my subject matter! Thanks!

  28. BugJee says:

    you can also try free open source CamStudio for Capturing screen activity
    http://www.bugjee.com/?p=712

  29. What I am missing on this list is one thing; good free tools for measuting different web properties popularity, rank och numbers.
    Alexa is not even remotely trustworthy. I use Quantcast occassionally. But what else is good for a blogger who needs quick no frills traffic stats?

  30. I must admit to have given up on the Microsoft apps. Guess I am a hater! But I must admit, the Open Office is very cool.

  31. Kevin says:

    list is nice.. i guess there are few more applications missing in the list… twitter desktop client, Gtalk,..etc ???

  32. Harish says:

    I wondered whether there were any useful apps for bloggers.But only now I came to know about them.Thanks for mentioning them.They are must for bloggers

  33. Matt Strum says:

    Hey, just a plug for those wanting to keep a journal using the most advanced methods available. Check out my product, http://www.xtremejournalsystem.com. It started out as a personal project after I tried out all available solutions (including the named solution above) and wanted something better. Try it and I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion I did, there’s nothing better. Please email me your comments and suggestions on how I can improve it so I can serve you better.

  34. Firefox is the king of all browsers?!?

    Well i guess that is in the eye of the beholder. Personally I tolerate it for web design purposes, otherwise i don’t touch it. It’s just so very very SLOW and CLUNKY.

    Personally I use Opera, it does everything I want it too and more, but I’ll admit I am warming alot to googles’ chrome. But that is just imho.

  35. Josten says:

    wow after today firefox will be used more now instead of internet explorer

  36. Silverf0x says:

    hehehe…don’t agree with Microsoft Office 2007.
    Why must using Office 2007 ?
    Or why must using office :D

    not anti office, but I think office need more resources than open office

    Not offense, just personal opinion…and CMIIW

  37. uwak says:

    thanks for nice listing…I am familiar with some tools above…. and I am getting more other useful tools above

  38. Priyan says:

    I think Blog Desk is really worthy to be mentioned here as an alternative to Windows Live Writer. Blog Desk have a very clean and more features than Windows Live Writer when compared.

  39. Hey there! Found this article via Ades Blog. His color picker tool is handy indeed. The rest of your recommended toolkit contains many surprizes I am not au fait with, so I am going exploring now! Thanks for sharing!

  40. For password management Foxmarks, the great bookmark manager of firefox, now will backup all of your passwords as well.

  41. Jacky says:

    @Ruchir I tried Windows Live writer and am pretty excited of its functionality. The only thing I really miss is the possibility to have serveral folders to sort articles that are not publicated jet. Obviously I cannot just right click and create a folder, …

    This is the only reason why I want to go offline with my blog writing, I want to organize my not-jet-public articles, so I can get back to them easily in case I want to make them public.

    Do you have any advice for a program that could do that?

  42. That Foxmarks tip rocks! Thank you Brad!

  43. @ Jacky: You can check out Blog Desk, another offline editor. It might have the functionality…

  44. Jacky says:

    I just tried Blog Desk (was searching for other software yesterday), and it really has this feature, but it is not as comfortable in formating the text (as windows life) e.g. I have to create textblocks to be able to insert headings, which is kind of annyoing … (or do I miss something?)

    Cheers
    Jacky ;)

  45. Infonote says:

    A free alternative to ‘RoboForm’ which I use is ‘InFormEnter’ a Firefox plugin.

  46. Karl says:

    Thanks for these kick ass applications… I already had some, and like Snagit there is a free alternative from same company, which I love more – it’s Jing!

  47. Mike says:

    A well sorted out list – I think most people would have some of them but each one of them is a real healp

  48. analogstuff says:

    Thanks for sharing the information. I never heard of some of the tools you have listed. Will try to use them and will share the feedback on the same.
    Thanks once again Darren.