5 Essential Apps for Writers: Blogging Tools

 

Blogging is the quintessence of digital writing, and as such, it should marry perfectly with the iPad. The trouble is most blogging platforms were designed to be accessed by standard computer operating systems—with a mouse and a keypad or code, not a touch screen.

Thank goodness for blogging apps. They make blogging on an iPad a dreamy process. Here are my 5 favourite iPad apps.

Posts

Posts has this cool way of cataloguing recent posts, allowing the blogger to scroll through a gallery of thumbnails. It’s a strangely satisfying process.  The app offers some attractive formatting options and an easy way to add media to blog posts.  It also allows for the management of comments, a handy feature some other blogging apps don’t include or do well.

The user-interface isn’t quite as intuitive as Blogsy (below). For example, the Done button opens a list of confusing options, and I have yet to figure out what the Submissions button does. I’m sure it will all become second-nature with some more use.

Blogsy

O Blogsy! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1) Intuitive layout.

2) So easy to upload images.

3) Versatile formatting options.

4) Fantastic support. (When I have questions or issues, Lance the creator usually replies to my email on the same day, and he’s so patient with my bumbling explanations.)

5) The cutest icon EVER!

Blogsy recently dropped to second place due to recurring issues with modifying posts (The old “I do my best writing/proofreading after I hit send” problem). I’m confident that once I have time to follow Lance’s instructions on troubleshooting and fixing the issue, Blogsy will probably move back to first place.

WordPress

I am a WordPress-junkie, but I’m not so keen on the WP app. I use the Reader function for the WP blogs I follow, and I manage notifications and check my stats, but that’s where it ends. 

I do not enjoy creating content on the WP app because formatting is limited and irksome. Even moderating and replying to comments is a clunky process. For example, when I  mark a comment as spam, the spam icon doesn’t change to let me know that it worked. I always have to go to the dashboard to double-check.  I’ll keep using it for the good stuff, but not for creating content.

Phraseology

This app got a mention earlier in the series, but I’m adding it here because it has a couple functions that are convenient for bloggers. First, Phraseology really helps writers pay attention to the nuts and bolts of language. You can paste in a post and analyse the use of language. Phraseology generates stats, such as word count, number of sentences, and average words per sentence. It rates readability using a few popular scales like the Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease and the Gunning Fog Index. Writers can use both to target their writing to a particular audience.

Phraseology also breaks the piece down by paragraph or sentence, and it allows you to swap and change the order for better flow. That’s especially handy when you’ve created a bullet list that seems a little out of order. You can check for over-used words, too many adverbs, or spelling mistakes. It’s a good final check to do before posting. 

Grammarly

Okay, it’s not an app but it is a super-useful web tool. It’s also not cheap at $140 per year, but it’s worth it for peace of mind and professionalism. Every time I skip using Grammarly, I regret it–all the sneaky little typos in my posts point their fingers at me accusatorily. 

The main reason I skip it is that its performance on the iPad has been (in my experience) a bit patchy. When that happens, I have to email the piece to my laptop, run it through a check, email it back to my iPad… So, sometimes I just skip it–and know that I’ll regret it when I finally spot the typo. My other proofreading option is to use Phraseology + my thinking cap!

Over to You

Got a favourite blogging app? Share it in the comments!