In today’s smartphone dominated era our lives are closely linked to our phones. We can safely assume that everyone reading this article owns a smartphone. We wake up in the morning and one of the basics drills include checking or phone for any notifications.
In today’s article, we’re going to list some of the most useful Android apps for blogging. Good news is, this article isn’t a traditional WordPress-centric article. If your blog/website is hosted on other CMS such as Joomla or Drupal, we’ve listed plenty of apps for you too! I’m going to cover the apps under seven major headings – each of which have a couple of apps under them. To download an app, simply click on its image. Right, so let’s get started.
Managing the blog
Managing your blog includes writing, editing, publishing, taking down certain articles (unpublishing) and commenting on your posts. It all comes down to the number of features an app has – the more the merrier.
The folks over at WordPress for Android have done a great job when it comes to developing the WordPress app. Version 2.3 of the app comes with a cool interface (with minimalistic design), a swipeable Menu Drawer and a combined Action Drawer. You can publish, unpublish, compose, comment on and delete blog posts and manage multiple blogs which can be either self hosted or hosted on WordPress.com. Along with these, you also get a reader for WordPress.com only blogs and a Stats tab for viewing visitor statistics for sites connected to your WordPress.com account via Jetpack.
Although WordPress is the reigning emperor of CMSs, both Blogger and Tumblr deserve a special mention as they’re extremely popular with personal bloggers and beginners. The Blogger app has the standard functions you would hope – compose, edit, embed images and location, add labels (labels in Blogger = tags in WordPress) and manage multiple blogs.
I personally love Tumblr because of (1) its simplicity and (2) it’s insanely popular among my peer groups – mainly for photo-blogging. The Tumblr app is equally capable like any other blogging app with the additional feature of finding people to follow from your address book. That’s neat.
Cloud Based Text Editors
Text editors are meant to be feature rich and/or as much lightweight as possible. Since all digital devices can go off anytime (really, they can), its always a good idea to save your work in the cloud. Hence, the following selections from the Play Store, all of which I’ve used:
Evernote is probably the most popular note-taking app for smartphones and tablets. I took a quick look at Wikipedia and was quite impressed. The app is a mix of a to-do list manager and text editor with powerful features such as syncing, reading text from images (yes, OCR) and sharing with contacts. The premium version of the app includes PIN lock (something which comes in very handy when a friend wants to check out your phone) and collaborative editing.
I switched from Evernote to Catch primarily because the former was a memory hog and I had precious little RAM to spare. Catch does not come with the multitude of features Evernote has to offer, but its vibrant (yet elegant) colors and super-neat categorization options drove me to press the install button. Its notable features include #tags, PIN lock, peer sharing and collaboration.
I had to try this out. Why you ask? Because its Google. Google Keep is an integral component of Google Drive and who would want to miss out on 15GB of free cloud storage eh? What I like in Google Keep is its pleasant interface, list-making capacity and a clean editor without the spell-check. If you’re running Android 4.0+ spell-check is everywhere, and sometimes those red lines get pretty annoying in a to-do list.
Enter the dragon. Dropbox is the most popular free cloud storage service out there, with over one billion files saved every 24 hours (source: Forbes). And they have apps for almost everything, save Windows Phone. The Dropbox Android app comes with a handy set of features including PIN lock, Camera Upload and raw text editor. If you’re low on phone space and/or memory, you could use this and your data will be saved upto the last character, even if your phone goes kaput.
Windows 8 has emerged as one of the respected OSes in the mobile/tablet/touchscreen world. It seamlessly integrates with SkyDrive – a free cloud storage solution with 7 GB of space. Microsoft finally gave in and introduced their new SkyDrive app in the Google Play Store although there are no traces of an official Gmail app in the Windows Marketplace. If you compose your final article in MS Word, this is sure to come in handy during times of need.
There are times when you just “feel” like writing. They can be anywhere – near the river bank, on the train, etc – particularly when you’re not at your work-desk. In times like these, you write in a flow (pun intended) and sometimes can’t find the words you’re looking for. Been there, done that. Here are some apps which I think can help:
Introducing the world’s number one touchscreen keyboard – with over 50 million downloads and 150,000 five-star ratings in the Play Store, this keyboard is a Godsend for mobile addicts. Why? It’s a keyboard that learns your typing style and grammar and predicts shockingly accurate follow up words. Get a load of SwiftKey’s features here. The app comes as a 30 day trial and a premium version at ~2.5 USD. Did I mention their exclusive tablet editions too? Sorry, iOS.
The insanely popular Dictionary.com app comes with a lot of impressive features, but in this app, I need to be online in order to lookup a word.
Any good blogger always keeps up with his reading. Some read on their phones, some on PCs and quite a few use tablets. Here are some apps that might help:
Google’s fastest browser on PC – now on mobile. Tabbed browsing, syncing of opened tabs and other user data – all linked to your one Google account makes this 50 MB app a must-have.
I’ll be honest – Firefox has an enormous number of useful addons – such as FlashGot and Firebug, but it runs quite slow on my Windows PC, when compared to both Chrome and IE 10. The memory footprint of Firefox for Android is higher than that of Chrome. Other than that, both are great browsers and depend on the user’s choice.
If you’re looking dedicated RSS reading client for your phone, I would suggest Feedly. Apart from the traditional RSS reading, Feedly supports YouTube channels, other websites and Tumblr blogs – all of this in a mobile optimized format. To quote David Pogue, from The New York Times:
Feedly is a lovely, easy-to-use service for two categories of people: those who once used Google Reader, and those who’ve never heard of it. Because if you’re still starting your morning with a zigzag through a standard set of Web sites, you’re wasting time and energy. Feedly is what you needly.
Often we come across great articles while researching an entirely different subject. Bookmarking is one way. A smarter way is adding it to Pocket. Its a cloud enabled reader client with a Chrome and Firefox extension and apps for Android and iOS makes this free service a great reading client!
Keeping track of your visitors is a great way to improve user experience and Google Analytics gives you just that, and much more. Mastering Google Analytics is a whole different ball game, but for intermediate users, these apps sure come in handy.
The official Google Alanlytics app by Google is all you need to track/manage your site’s statistics.
gAnalytics was there before Google Analytics was launched and some people still use this app to support the developer. Which is why I have mentioned it in our list here.
Maintaining a good WordPress blog requires a lot of effort – good SEO, interactive staff and prompt updates. When you think of an article idea, its best to note it down. Working on that idea is also important – else they’ll just pile up. Here are 3 important apps I always keep in my phone.
Wunderlist is great task list and to-do manager powered by a wonderful UI. It comes with a Windows & Mac app, an equally awesome web-app and an apps for Android and iOS. I use it for keeping track of ideas and assigning specific dates to work on them.
Any.DO is my one and only to-do manager. If you haven’t used it, you should really give it a try. This may sound a little weird, but this app has made my life much easier and has helped me complete my tasks on time – be it calling someone important or picking up the rare ingredients for a special birthday dinner. Any.DO is available for Android, iOS and a neat Google Chrome extension.
Smart Voice Recorder
If you think that talking to oneself is nuts, you can’t be more wrong. On the contrary, talking to yourself gives you confidence, clarifies your thoughts and re-affirms your goals. This nifty app records your thoughts and plays them back when you need to dig into your mind. Not only a great way of recollection, but it also improves your oratory skills.
Flipboard is one of my favourite readers which combines my social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) and other interesting websites I follow into a brilliant magazine interface – absolutely wonderful to read in a tablet. Its great for mobile reading and has apps for iOS and Android.
Social Media is an quintesential factor when it comes to getting steady traffic in your website. Not only SEO factors are determined by your site’s social media influence, but it serves as a medium to keep your site in the loop.
HootSuite is a popular multiple social network management portal. You can manage a huge number of social media networks and services starting from Facebook to MailChip – all under one dashboard. Hootsuit’s Android app boasts of powerful features and so does its powerful extensions.
The official Twitter app has the ability to use multiple accounts, therefore it finds a place in this list. Keeping the conversation alive with prompt replies to mentions and hashtags is a great way to drive targeted traffic to your website.
Facebook Pages Manager
Facebook’s official Android app is all about you – the user. Managing Facebook pages from mobile is a cakewalk now, thanks to the brand new Facebook Pages Manager. It has everything you need to keep your page’s interaction sky-high.
Now that Google Authorship verification is more of a necessity in websites, Google+ is should be in your phone if your site is looped in more than a few circles. The app comes with a proper pages manager – much like dedicated app Facebook has, but cleverly integrated into one unit where you have the option of adding either a user or a page.
To keep it short, I’d like to mention that mobile blogging is no substitute for serious blogging work. There’s no supplement to hard work. If you’re old school and like to keep your work and phone separate – that’s perfectly respectable. There’s no need to follow the herd. ;)
As for the rest of our readers – would you like to see your favourite app up in this list? If so, let us know!