I have used both a BlackBerry and an Android for blogging on the go especially during my Post-A-Day Challenge. I found it especially useful to do when I was pressed for time. However, there a couple of limitations I have noticed with the apps which should be noted before you go to try and do it for yourself – assuming you want to make your blog post looks as awesome as it can.
Before I go on, I have to mention that although I have not used the WordPress for iPhone app I have heard that many of the same issues exist and so I assume these tips are just as relevant for you iOS users but can’t confidently tell you one way or the other.
The key thing I have found was to do some planning before you try to blog from your phone. Why? Because it will make your life way easier if you set up certain aspects of the post on a computer beforehand.
There are a couple of reasons for this which will be laid out below.
- Pictures (Inserting): It is way, way easier to insert an image on your computer. Mainly because the WordPress app only likes to put images on the top or on the bottom of your post then you have to move them around manually. As well, you can make sure the picture resizes correctly, and it will, of course, upload quicker. Pop the pictures in your blog, name them, and put fragments of thoughts…or even “blah blah blah” between them to show yourself where to stick your content.
- Pictures Resizing: Chances are the pictures you take on your phone are going to be too big for your blog’s theme. Because of this it will end up looking horrible til you get to a computer and fix it OR feel like figuring out the math and manually resizing it by constraining it with HTML code. The image settings within the WordPress app don’t necessarily reflect your theme’s so your best off taking one of your phone’s camera pictures already on your computer and seeing what the length of it gets resized to when you resize it to the width of your blog’s theme. Now go into your phone’s WordPress app’s settings and set the “custom” image length and width to reflect your findings.
- Links: They’re a pain to add in correctly on your phone I’ve found relative to doing it on your computer. Best thing is to, again, plan it beforehand. As well, the WordPress system on the full web gives you a helpful pop-up box which lets you easily reference previous blog posts by just clicking.
- Tags: While links are a pain to add in, technically, tags aren’t. However, if you want your posts to be able to link back to each other and you plan on using tags you’ve already used for a topic make sure you add them in beforehand. Again, the full WordPress gives you a drop down of all the tags you’ve previously used so everything stays nice and neat whereas the mobile app doesn’t do this. It sounds like nothing but wait til you’ve been blogging for a while and have hundreds of posts and have to remember what the exact tags you previously used were: not fun.
- URL: The URL of your post is an important part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). WordPress online allows you to edit the last bit of your post’s URL whereas the mobile app just takes the title of your post.
- Bullet & Numbered Points (aka ordered and unordered lists): These are just annoying to set up and so I again, recommend setting it up beforehand and then loading the very fragmented, nonsensical (to everyone but you) post on your phone and edit from there filling in all the gaps.
In case you are wondering, yes, I used my own tips to write this post. The words “blah blah” were actually used quite frequently in this post before it was fleshed out on the subway and streetcar where I am now. I guess you can sort of accuse me of breaking one main tip (plan ahead) into a bunch of little ones but from all the bloggers I’ve spoken to, not many have considered this method for blogging on the go and ask me how I’ve managed to do it on numerous occasions and still make the post look as good as if I’d blogged from a computer. Now my secret is out.
Anyone else out there try any similar methods? Anyone know any better methods? Let us all know in the comment section below!
I have been using this app called CardStar on my BlackBerry Torch 9800 for quite a while and I used it on my Bold 9700 and Bold 9000 before it. You can find them on Twitter at @MyCardStar. The point of the app is that it lets you store digital versions of your loyalty, reward and club membership cards right on your smartphone. This lightens your wallet and makes me happy especially as a man who doesn’t want to look like he’s got George Costanza’s wallet.
The app works across platforms and is available for BlackBerry, Android, iPhone/iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Symbian. I have used this app, as I mentioned above, for a long time and while I won’t pretend I use it on a daily basis the great thing about it is that when I need it, it’s there. Read more…
This is something I learned myself when I started blogging regularly and used my phone to blog when I was out and about – like tonight.
There are two options for saving a draft in the WordPress app for BlackBerry or Android and I’m pretty sure any other version of the app. There’s “Phone Draft” (as seen below) and “Draft” (as seen in the second picture).
You may be wondering what the heck is the difference between these two. Read more…
The above is what the screen on my BlackBerry Torch 9800’s WordPress app looks like. Pretty basic interface right?
What my way of doing thing with this basic app is that I will often start the post with a title and pictures and tags and then, usually on the subway, I will load up the post that doesn’t have words and fill in my thoughts.
That’s my tip for all you bloggers using the WordPress apps be it BlackBerry, Android, or iOS. The apps themselves aren’t great especially for embedding pictures and posting around them. The apps also do a bad job of setting up your title for SEO purposes and using the full version to do a quick setup makes things end up looking so much nicer.
I love the BlackBerry PlayBook I won in the #PlayBookCHI contest. I love using it to read my Google Reader RSS feeds; watch TV, movies, and other media in HD; and browse the web. I love how it is small enough to fit inside most winter coat pockets and barely weighs much when I throw it in a messenger bag yet it is still big enough to have a screen on which I can fully enjoy watching media. However, there is one big problem that I find as a user of the PlayBook – the app ecosystem. The PlayBook app ecosystem – or number of apps available for the PlayBook – is still quite low.
According to a CrackBerry forum discussion here there were 2,653 PlayBook apps available in the BlackBerry App World catalog as of June 22, 2011. While that number DOES keep growing every day, in order for RIM (Research In Motion) to really make their offering attractive to consumers they have to step up their game in pushing the creation and release of apps for the PlayBook. Read more…
After getting a question from a friend in regard to their BlackBerry – specifically the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application – I have decided it is time for a new Cell Phone Etiquette post. (You can find the previous ones here and here.)
My friend, Robin (name changed), messaged me via BBM the other day and told me that a friend, we will call him Barney, of the sibling who she had inherited her BlackBerry from had added her to their BBM list. What Robin wanted to know was whether or not it was rude to delete Barney from her list now that they had established that the phone was no longer her brother’s. I responded that in my humble opinion she should wait a day and then delete Barney so he will be less likely to notice when her name disappears from his list avoiding a possibly awkward conversation. I suppose beyond what I said what is important would also be how well Robin and Barney actually know each other in the real world and whether or not it would be at all an insult.
But as I write this post about BlackBerrys and BBM I also think about one other point of etiquette which I am unsure about and would love to hear my readers’ opinions. Is it OK to give out your friend/acquaintance’s PIN to a mutual friend/acquaintance without first asking your friend? (If you don’t know how BBM works with PINs see below) One friend of mine’s opinion was that it doesn’t matter as you can just delete the person from your list if you don’t want them to have you on their list anymore or just ignore/refuse the friend request in the first place. I accepted the opinion at the time because I was new to the world of BBM but I have come to the conclusion, personally, that it is not alright and is a breach of the other person’s privacy and bad etiquette. The same way I do not like giving out other people’s phone numbers or personal email addresses without the owner’s express permission I don’t think it is OK to give out their PIN without their permission. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Every Blackberry device has its own unique PIN and a BlackBerry user can use a PIN to send a direct message to another BlackBerry anywhere in the world at no cost. As well, every Blackberry has a program called BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) which is an Instant Messaging (IM) program which uses PINs to differentiate between people. As BBM is an IM program, like any IM program you build a buddy list and can choose to block or ignore requests for people to add you to their buddy list.