As an advanced level WordPress user, I have always found the built in WordPress tools more convenient than anything else. Even TinyMCE looks useless to me, but this is just me. A lot of WordPress users choose TinyMCE to write their content, some use Microsoft Word and then paste it to notepad and then to their WordPress Editor, and lots of WordPress users actually use Third Party Blog Clients to write their posts and publish them on their WordPress blog.
Why use a Third Party Blog Editor
Each user has their own reasons to use their blogging client. The most common reasons are:
- They can write a post and publish it at once on multiple blogs and across different platforms.
- Third party blog applications and clients come with a Desktop-like look which they prefer over a web-based interface.
- These blog clients and apps come with more writing tools to format their blog posts.
- Writing without an internet connection and saving the posts to be published later on.
These blogging tools are designed to be easier and friendlier, most of these editors focus more on writing than managing a website. This might have helped some users feel more inclined towards writing new content without bothering to look at comments and maintenance tasks of their websites.
Custom Post Types Not Supported
There are some cons to using a third party blog client. The major fault that I found is that most popular weblog clients didn’t catch up with latest versions of WordPress and they cannot offer you to choose between a blog post or a custom post type. Which means you can create Post or Pages but not custom post types. This could work for a lot of users but for those who are using custom post types their posts will be saved as default Post type. Same goes for custom taxonomies as these clients do not recognize them either.
Prepare WordPress to Work with Blog Clients
WordPress comes with an API that allows third party tools to access your blog and post content on it. This feature is turned off by default. So if you want to use a third party tool, you will have to enable this feature. Once enabled, you can post from any third party tool that supports WordPress API by providing your blog URL, username, and password.
Login to your WordPress admin area and go to
Settings > Writing. Under the Remote Publishing section check both boxes for Atom Publishing Protocol and XMLRPC publishing protocol.
The file that allows remote posting is called xmlrpc.php some blog clients may ask you for the location of this file on your server. By default this file is located in the root directory so its location would be
Blog Clients for Windows
Publish Directly from Microsoft Word to WordPress
You can directly post to your WordPress blog from Microsoft Word. Write your post in Microsoft Word and when you are ready to publish it click on the office icon > Publish > Blog. This will convert your Microsoft Word Document into a blog post format. Now click on the Publish button, Microsoft Word will then ask you to register a blog account. Choose WordPress from the list of blog providers and click next.
Provide your blog URL, username and password on the next screen. MS Word will then show you a success message and ask for your username and password again to publish the post on your WordPress website. You can add multiple blogs by clicking on Manage Accounts button under the blog tab.
Pros: If you are already writing your posts in MS Word then no need to copy paste and format posts, you can directly publish from MS word.
Cons: You can add categories but you can not add tags, change author, or schedule a blog post.
Windows Live Writer
People who are used to Microsoft Office Tools would find Windows Live Writer more convenient than Microsoft Word to write their blog posts. I do not have statistics to support, but I have a feeling that it is currently the most popular Desktop Blog Client for Windows platform.
What makes Windows Live Writer popular is its intuitive interface. You have your buttons on the top menu bar just above the editor. Switching between multiple blog is easier, you can change the skin color of the GUI. The main section has a sidebar where you choose or add categories, tags, add pictures, tables, etc. You can also add Bing Maps and videos from YouTube.
Below the main container, in a collapsible tab you have advance post edit options such as changing the author name, save as draft, schedule post to be published, post slug, and excerpt. This Advance post editor does not support custom fields so if you are using custom fields you won’t be able to use them in Windows Live Writer. But good thing is that you can save a draft of your post on your hard disk or save it on your website and continue editing on your website.
Blogjet is a proprietary blogging client available for a free 30 day trial. The interface is clutter free, the writing screen has a sidebar similar to Windows Live Writer, to set all the post options like categories, tags, post statu, etc. On the top menu bar it has buttons for formatting, inserting images and tables. In short BlogJet has all the features of Windows Live Writer but what I can’t understand is that when Windows Live Writer is available for free then why would anyone want to use Blogjet?
It has a nice interface and it looks easier on eyes but Windows Live Writer is not that heavy on eyes either. I think that is why they offer a trial version, so that people can get used to the software and find out why they should purchase it.
Browser Based Addons and Apps
ScribeFire is a browser based blog client available for Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari web browsers. Unlike Desktop Blog Clients, ScribeFire looks very webbish (I don’t know if its a word). I think that people looking for a desktop application like feel would be disappointed. The interface is a bit cluttered. There are offers from ScribeFire partners such as AdBull and Zemanta to use their services. In fact there is a button in post editor to enter Zemanta related links into your posts.
The post edit area looks very similar to TinyMCE in WordPress. It has all the features of Desktop blog clients including ability to create and add categories and tags, saving as draft, scheduling posts, etc. I was a bit disappointed looking at it because since it was reviewed everywhere I thought it would be a little better.
JustWriteBlog is a Google Chrome App available for download from Chome Webstore. It is a browser based app with a nice and simpler interface to post. This nifty little app is not as polished as the blog clients we have discussed earlier. The dark green background is a little too loud for my taste.
But what I liked about this tool is that it is small, sits on my Google Chrome’s Apps dashboard, and it is easier and quicker to launch. I thought users who like to quickly share random stuff from across the web on their blogs would find it useful. Also I believe that this review would encourage the developer to continue this project and improve it.
Desktop Blog Clients for Linux
I use Debian GNU Linux, its a free open source operating system (like Windows and iOS). Since I do most my work online using mostly the browser, so I am comfortable working on any operating system that has Google Chrome web browser. Writing this post reminded me that there are so many Desktop Blog Clients available for Linux users. So I decided I should review them too.
QTM Blog Editor
QTM is a blog editor for Linux but it also works well on Windows. It uses QT for GUI, QT is also used by WordPress for their Nokia App. The interface of QTM is simple, connecting to your blog is easy, and making new posts is a breeze. However, QTM does not support uploading images to WordPress, I don’t know. You can however give an image URL which it will embed into post. There are not too many buttons on the front but click on the drop down menu on the left and there are few advance options that you can play with.
Lekhonee Gnome Blog Editor
Gnome has its own application for blogging which is called Gnome Blog. That application is so simple and so useless that I decided not to review it. Instead I am mentioning Lekhonee which is another Gnome Blog Client, just a little better than the gnome app. Lekhonee, like all Gnome applications has a simpler and cleaner interface. The good thing is that you can edit HTML and see post preview inside the application. You can create and edit categories, load categories from your blog, save as draft on your local disk or on your server.
WordPress Clients for Smart Phones and Tablets
WordPress provides free official WordPress apps for iOS, Android, Blackberry and Nokia. These apps have mostly the same features but they use different UI to adapt to their native environment.
The iOS and Android apps have a much cleaner interface, which makes it easier to write. Also uploading the photos is much smoother in Android and iOS than it is on Blackberry or Nokia. The Nokia app uses QT for User Interface which looks a bit ugly.
Unlike other blog clients we mentioned earlier, the official WordPress apps for smartphones and devices can not only be used for editing and writing posts, you can also use them to upload photos and videos, moderate comments, reply to comments, read your blog, checkout stats and even create pages.
Third Party Blog Clients make writing posts easier, the ability to save drafts locally and prepare a post without an internet connection, make these blog editors a very useful application. However, WordPress is not just a blogging platform any more. WordPress has a lot more features available and many of these features are conveniently ignored by most Blog clients. I am wondering if any of our readers use any third party editor to write and publish their posts?