As someone who maintains a blog updated on a daily basis, I need to be on top of my game wherever I am. I have a full-time day job and a life (of sorts) in the real world. This means I do not always find the time to sit at my desk for the long hours needed to keep up with all the aspects involved in the keeping a site well tuned.
Enter my Android smartphone. It has saved me by becoming my mobile office and admin centre. I keep a folder on my home screen with six applications that let me control the core functions of blogging (and maintaining a website). The beauty is that all these apps plug into free (or nearly) online services, making the deal even sweeter.
The only way to know whether you are doing the right job is to check the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie. gAnalytics is a great little app that simply plugs into your Google Analytics account and presents the numbers in a format that is easy to read and understand. It is not the sexiest analytics reader out there, but it is definitely the most effective.
WordPress for Android
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms around. Whether you have installed a version on your own server (like I have) or whether you are running off wordpress.com, there is no better way to manage your content while on the move than with this gem of an app. You can create, edit or delete posts, images and comments at the swipe of a finger – all while on the move. Especially valuable when you receive a text from the wife pointing out that you missed a typo in your latest masterpiece.
This is actually a last-minute addition. I create most of my content in Google Docs before transferring it into WordPress, but for some reason the Google Docs app was practically useless before a few days ago. Now it features collaborative editing on the move, something I’ve been needing for ages. Finding someone to proof-read an article or post for you is never easy – so you need to be able to log in wherever you are if your proof-reader can only check your article now.
I introduced the Google Analytics app by saying that numbers about your site are crucial. It is not only important to have numbers about your own site in isolation, though. Getting people to you is just as critical, and for this you need to know where you stand in terms of exposure on the wild, wild, web. WebRank SEO gives you a good set of statistics about your site in terms of mentions around the web, search engine visibility etc.
You might have an audience, but you have no guarantee that it’ll be back. The only way to keep in touch with the people who love your content and to keep them coming back for more is by reaching out to them on a regular basis by email. MailChimp allows you to do just that. Their app only offers analytics, but it is still a useful tool to have. I would have liked to see more functionality, but it gets a mention for the ease of use offered on the proper site and because keeping track of your email campaigns is just as important as keeping track of your web stats.
Control Panel for cPanel
If you are hosting your own blog or website and use a server that runs cPanel, this nifty app allows you to plug into your service and control all the little knobs you have available. From scheduling a backup to setting up a sub-domain or a new email address, you can now do it all on the move. P.S. I know cPanel is technically not a free service, because you usually get it with paid hosting, however you don’t actually pay for it so it stays here.
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