I love my iPad. I really do. Cannot imagine my life without it. Oh, ok, you got me. Yes, I could imagine my life without it.
It would be devastating.
Not in a someone’s-been-harmed-kind-of-way, more in a boy-you-make-my-life-easier-and-boy-I’d-really-be-stuck-doing-this-blogging-thing-kind-of-way.
See, about 12 months ago, I ditched the laptop (actually it’s still in the house and used by my six-year-old for Reading Eggs) and upgraded to a desktop iMac. I already had the iPhone so it seemed almost natural to jump right in with the whole big Apple family.
A couple of months later, thanks to some lovely award money, I purchased my iPad2 and set about working out how this baby could become my blogging-away-from-home buddy.
Yes, it’s not necessarily as easy to log on to my computer at home and punch out a post, add some photos and schedule to publish but it is possible.
I’ve had a few questions about blogging on iPads recently so thought there maybe more readers out there who would like to know some of tips and tricks I use. I’d also love to hear from others if they do things differently and more easily.
So, here goes.
For starters, your iPad accessories are important when blogging away from home.
My top four iPad accessory essentials:
1. A stand (mine is the Apple magnetic cover that converts to a stand).
2. A keyboard that connects via bluetooth to your iPad (I use my iMac’s keyboard).
3. Apple iPad Camera Connection kit – this enables me to download photos straight from my camera’s SD card into my iPad.
4. A case to protect your whole kit and help it look its best while travelling. That’s important, right?
What apps do you need?
The key to making your iPad work for you and your blog is it get your head around the apps you need to optimise your use of it.
It’s not like switching on a desktop and laptop and accessing everything via your blog’s dashboard, just as you would through your internet browser. You need certain apps to perform certain things. Or to perform certain things more easily.
1. WordPress or BlogPress: instead of logging into your blog’s dashboard via Safari, these apps make it possible to add word content, links and photos. It takes a little bit of getting used to – especially if you’re used to loading images throughout a post – but I find I can get my basic post up and come back later (when on a desktop) and pretty it up. BlogPress works for both Blogger and WordPress blogs. If you have a “native” WordPress or Blogger commenting system, you can also reply to comments from the app. Super easy.
2. Pages: this is Apple’s wordprocessing program and I find it useful to have it on my iPad as I often write drafts of posts while I’m flying for work and don’t have wi-fi access 36,000ft up. Also when I was first using the BlogPress app at a conference with dodgy wi-fi, I lost a whole post as the wi-fi wouldn’t let me save it. Now in that situation, I’m more likely to write it into pages first then copy and paste into the WordPress or Blogger app.
2. Feeddler RSS: This is the app that turns my Google Reader into a bedtime story filled with hundreds of posts from the blogs I follow. Easiest way to follow and comment on other blogs – especially if you organise the blogs you follow into folders in your reader first. (I just upgraded to Feeddler RSS Pro this morning – main reason was to be able to “clip” blog posts to my Evernote or Instapaper app for reading later).
3. Disqus Pro for Disqus: If you’re one of the many who has switched to Disqus for your blog’s commenting system (and I’m seriously thinking of doing it here too … thoughts?) then this app will help you keep up with comment replies while you’re on the go.
1. PicEditor: If I import a photo from my camera to my iPad using the camera connection kit, then it’s going to be too large in size to go in a blog post. This is a great way to re-size to work in your posts.
2. Photo Collage: I use this app sometimes before bringing photos into instagram – you can tell a story with a number of photos within one image. Great for blogging on the go.
Social media apps
1. Echofon: For my phone or iPad, I find this is the best and most useful Twitter app. I can run a couple of accounts (easily switching between the two) and I like how the feed offers up photos and offers up a follower’s Twitter handle as you start to type it. The search function is great when you’re at an event or conference where there is a hashtag for that event.
2. Hootsuite: I know there are people out there who only use Hootsuite for all their Twitter and Facebook stuff. I’m more of a Tweetdeck chick on my iMac but use Hootsuite on my phone or iPad for scheduling Tweets.
3. Facebook: This app has improved out of sight since I first got my iPad. In fact I don’t think there was one back then. It’s still not ideal for working with your blog’s Facebook page, ie uploading a photo with a caption, but it’s getting there.
4. Instagram: This is a phone-specific app that you have to x2 to take to the full screen. Not ideal but I like watching and adding to to the Instagram feed from my iPad. Also, it means that photos you Instagram are saved in your camera roll on your iPad to add to a blog post if you wish.
5. Pinterest: This also isn’t iPad specific – you have to x2 to take to the full screen but you can still have fun looking at the feed from other Pinners you follow. If anyone has any tips on how to “pin” from Safari on your iPad, I’d love to know them. I’m mad for a bit of Pinning action.
Well folks, that’s about the sum of how I work this blogging game when I’m on the road. It took a while to get my head around it but now it’s second nature and I much prefer carting an iPad with me than a laptop … more space for other more important things … like purchases.
If you have an iPad and use it for blogging or work, I’d love to know about your shortcuts. Any apps you can recommend to add to my arsenal?