How to blog like a pro?

Blogging like a pro is the wish of every blogger. If you are a blogger or you want to start blogging you will definitely want to blog like a pro. Zemanta is the service that lets you blog like a pro by helping you find the related images, articles and videos to your posts.

Zemanta provides browser addons for almost all the browsers out there. All you have to do is just install the addon and goto your blog admin panel (I have tested with WordPress 3.0.2 but it works with all blogging platforms). As soon as you will goto the “Add New Post” i.e post editor of your blog you will find a new panel “Content Recommendations” on the right hand side of the editor.

Using Zemanta is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Below are the steps:

Step 1: Start writing your blog post.

Step 2: Zemanta will find the related content and show them to you in the Content Recommendation box.

Step 3: Add the images, videos, links from Zemanta recommendations to your blog by dragging them or click them.

Zemanta Blogging Steps

Here is how it looked while writing this post.

Zemanta Blog Post

Zemanta will not work with the post editor in HTML mode, you will need to switch to Visual editor to be able to use Zemanta.

Zemanta Visual Editor

What methods you use to find the related content to your post? Do you think Zemanta will help boost the blogging experience for bloggers? Write a comment to let us know your views.

Blogging on iPad using Apple Pages

Apple Pages a perfect application for writing blog posts on iPad. As I previously posted about WordPress application for iPad and Blogpress for iPad, both the application had their limitations. None of them were true WYSIWYG editors.

After getting disappointed by WordPress app and Blogpress, I decided to give Apple Pages a try. The applications is a bit costy but I think it’s worth the price.

See the screenshot below to get the idea on how Apple Pages looks like.


Adding images is piece of cake, you can not only just add images but you can resize them, move them and rotate them.

Apple Pages is a complete word processor app, which you can use for editing and creating your documents too. It comes with. Few standard templates which you can use as base for your document.


You can also export your documents to PDF.


Publishing the content you create on Pages is as easy as copying and pasting, or better say it is actually copyingnthe content and pasting into wordpress compose window.

Have your tried Apple Pages on your iPad?

Testing blogpress for iPad

I bough blogpress hoping that it will turn out to be better then free word press aap, but so far it seems to be more worse. Please don’t bother buying blogpress as it crashed after adding the first blog. But if you can ignore the crashes like me, then go for it.

Still trying to figure out how to access the rest of the options for this post like specifying categories, tags and other stuff. I even can’t modify the slug.


Blogpress seems to have wysiwyg editor, but how format the text is still unclear. Let me make this text bold.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

The iPad Expereince

Once again I have not been able to update my blog for quiet a long time. I had been working on few things which kept me busy during those days. Now the reason of writing this post is actually I am test driving the WordPress App for iPad.

Yes, yes I remember that last time I wrote how an iPad is just a big iPhone. But after using iPad my views have been changed. iPad is not just a big iPhone, at least not for me. Writing this blog justifies having an iPad for bloggers, designers, developers, system admins and business people.

iPad Home Screen

I am planning on jailbreaking my iPad later today, so expect blog posts about jailbreaking experience and hoots over the couple of next days. I also have many cool applications to share for almost every possible use that I can think of.

The only thing that is frustrating is the WiFi bug, but Apple has promised to fix that with the next firmware update. The games are amazing and I have already been addicted to Need For Speed, Fast and Furious, Fifa and Iron Man 2.

As I mentioned I am writing this post to actually test WordPress application for iPad, the applications seems a little buggy. Still haven’t tried the WordPress admin stuff, but I am assuming it should work out of the box.

Wordpress application for iPad

Expect couple of other posts this week about how to jailbreak the iPad. Have you tried the iPad? Do you think it is useful for Bloggers?

Disable wordpress post revisions

WordPress being most popular blogging platform has been used by hundreds of thousands of bloggers. As we all know that WordPress is an Open Source software that is in continuous development. With every release numerous new features are added to the platform. Not every new feature is suitable for everyone and this is what is good about WordPress. You can disable most if not all of the functionalities or features that does not suite you.

Post revisions is a feature that was added in WordPress with version 2.6, it is useful for most of the bloggers. But suppose you have thousands of posts and you are hard core fan of WordPress Post Editor so you only use it to edit posts. WordPress saves copy of your posts while you edit them, by default its every 60 seconds. So suppose you create a new post and it took you 15 minutes to write it, there will be 15 revisions of the same post in your WordPress database. By the time you reach 1000 posts the number of revisions will be 15000. Though revisions may be useful for some cases but not for everyone. WordPress saves a revision of every post when ever you will make changes to it while in Drafts or after publishing.

Few drawbacks of Post Revisions are:

  • Wastes space
  • Makes db slower
  • Makes editing slower

I am sure there will be more drawback. But for me it is enough that if I am not using or do not want a feature I can disable it. I am sure you will want to disable it too until there is an absolute need for it.

Lets see how we can disable the post revisions. After installing WordPress open your wp-config.php in your favorite text editor and add the following line:
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', false );

In case if you do not want to disable it but want to limit the number of post revisions you can change false to number of revisions you want to allow, e.g:
define('WP_POST_REVISIONS', 5);

Save the file and you are done.

Do you use post revisions? Do you know any other drawbacks of using post revisions?

A mistake that no blogger should ever do

Its been almost a month since I last posted on my blog. First of all I should sorry all of you out there for not being able to updated the blog specially I want to sorry to those who were expecting me to post more posts specially about wordpress. I had been quite busy with some stuff and hence couldn’t update the blog, and I am really sorry for that. I hope I will be able to keep with the pace of changing technology and post useful stuff as soon as I have any.

If you ask any blogger they will say a blog should be updated once a week except if you are posting about something that does not gets updated that frequently. But my blog was about Programming, WordPress, blogging, Twitter and Facebook which is for sure has changed a lot since I last posted. I have missed a lot of things and wasn’t able to keep myself updated with the latest stuff happening special in the social media scene.

Today when I logged on to Facebook I found out that highlights are gone, now they show up in the news feed. Facebook now have a news feed as well as Live feed, I am still not able to figure out difference between the two. But my understanding is the Live Feed thing shows that FriendFeed team is doing their work and Live feed should have real time feed coming. This is surely some great stuff coming out of Facebook and I will write more about new features and updates from Facebook very soon. I am thinking of writing posts on how to use these new features to enhance your Facebooking and use it effectively. Oh by they way, I also like that new ability of Draging and Dropping of news filters.

Twitter seems to have new features too, specially the list feature which is as per my knowledge currently only available to 5% of users. But the list feature will be available to all users from sometime next month. I hope they provide a sensible way of managing and using lists through their web interface. Also I notice Twitter is going pretty hard on spammers because they get them suspended very soon after they register. I got follow notifications from few spammers and as I manually check everyone who follows me and then follow them back if they are human and share useful stuff not just what they had in lunch. Sharing what one had in lunch is also interesting but only if that person shares other useful stuff too.

Stay tuned for more posts coming this week. I will try to do a post daily but only if I will have some useful stuff to write about.

P.S WordPress has been updated too, it is now 2.8.5. I don’t know when the update was released but I just saw the notification at the top, so gotta update too.

5 simple yet powerful ideas to encourage reader comments or conversation

Are you freaked out that people are visiting your blog but none of them leaving any comments? Are you scratching your head on how to ask those people to leave comments or feedback regarding your post? Here are few tricks to encourage your readers to leave comments or feedback. This post has evolved from a self-note as I am new to blogging, trying to learn and experiment with different things, tricks and strategies everyday.

Ask open ended questions

Asking open ended questions is one of the most worked trick for bloggers. Open ended questions are conversation starters, they encourage your readers to comment on your blog posts. As soon as reader encounters an open ended question they feel like being part of the conversation, you must have also experienced this. So what are open ended questions? Open ended questions are questions that does not have answer in one word or two. Open ended questions are designed to encourage a detailed answer which results in an ongoing conversation.

Write a tutorial

It is not neccessary that all users understand the complete tutorial you write, there might be something they want to be more clarified, or they might have a question related to your tutorial. What ever it be they are going to ask in comments which will possibly start a whole conversation there. The conversation or question can also give you idea about your next post.

Write controversial blog post

Controversial blog posts attract more comments, but before writing a controversial post make sure that you are writing sensibly and have enough information on the topic to back your thoughts or writing. Because if done wrong this can very badly effect your reputation and hence will result in lose of loyal readers.

Respond to comments

Try to respond to every comment, better try to respond in a way that will provoke the reader to further reply to you and hence will result in an ongoing conversation. Responding to comments also give the impression to your reader that you actually care about them and you value their comments or feedback.

DoFollow

This one is no brainer, make your blog do-follow and see even non-readers taking part into conversation on your blog. But keep a close eye and stay alert as it might get you lot of spam, so better be prepared to handle that.

How do you encourage your readers to comment or take part in conversations?

Skribit, let your readers tell you what should you write!

Won’t you write what your readers want to read? Before I tell why I use skribit, I should explain what skribit basically is? Imagine that you want to read something on your favorite blog. Now how do you make request to the author of the blog? Or if the blog is managed by multiple authors how do you request them to write a post on some specific topic. This is where skribit comes in to help. As you might already have noticed the nice little skribit widget in my side bar which says, “What should I write about?”. The most easiest way for the blog readers to request a post on some specific topic, is to write your idea in the widget box and thats it.

As soon as you will start writing, the “Suggest” button will appear below the text box. Write your suggestion and hit the Suggest button, the suggestion will appear at the top of text box. And now other readers can vote for the suggestion as well as write their own. The blog author can link the posts to suggestions on skribit, remove suggestions, though the free account does not have the ability to moderate the suggestions so everything will show up. Skribit is also free for your single blog, but if you want to have it on mulitple blogs, you need to have the pro account which is just for $24.95/year.

Now back to the main question, “Why am I using skribit?”. The answer is simple, I like the idea. As you should have noticed that I have very recently setup this blog and I am still making my way into blogging, and I am a professional system admin too. So, I sometimes really don’t have any thing on mind to write about, or I am being busy tweaking servers or developing web applications that I really forget about skribit. So what is more nicer then your readers reminding you that you have to update your blog. Not only they remind you, but they also suggest you new topics. Or may be you can pickup a topic from old suggestions provided that you have a lot of suggestions.

I am planning to soon upgrade to pro account so I can have skribit on my other blogs too. Let me know in comments what do you feel about the skribit idea? And don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed to stay updated on futures posts about the topic.

P.S: Do not forget to write the suggestion for my next blog post.