Post to your blog from mobile devices

The best way to update Blogger is via e-mail rather than text message, while the free WordPress apps for iPad and iPhone make text and image updates to WordPress a breeze.

Who wouldn't want to blog for a living? Low pay, even lower esteem among your publishing peers, and the scorn of anonymous readers who aren't shy about telling you and the rest of the world what an idiot you are.

Yes, blogging is a career of the future, right up there with correctional officer and bankruptcy attorney.

Cynical? Moi? Actually, I've been blogging now for almost four years and I love it. Maybe somebody not named Arianna Huffington or Perez Hilton is making beaucoup dolares from a blog, but I haven't met that person. Still, money isn't everything... is it?

The fact is, blogs allow most everyone to express themselves to the masses, or whichever segment of the masses they're able to reach via search engines. There's an immediacy to blogs that no other publishing medium can match. And while most posts originate on a PC, there's no reason bloggers should feel bound to their computers.

To put mobile blogging to the test, I tried out the WordPress app for the iPhone and iPad, and Blogger's SMS and e-mail posting features. (The WordPress app is also available for Android devices and other mobile phones and tablets.) There used to be a free "Lite" version of the $2.99 BlogPress app for posting to Blogger, but that version appears to be no more.

Blogger's SMS-post feature requires that you first create a new blog and then merge the new blog with an existing one. I never got the SMS component to work reliably, but e-mailing posts to Blogger worked well enough for me.

Posting without a hitch via the WordPress mobile app
After you install and open the WordPress app for the iPhone or iPad, you're offered a choice of starting a new blog at WordPress.com, posting to an existing blog hosted at WordPress.com, or posting to a self-hosted WordPress blog.

WordPress app for iPad initial screen
The WordPress app for iPad and iPhone lets you post to a new WordPress.com blog, an existing WordPress.com blog, or a WordPress blog hosted elsewhere. screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly

If you choose to post to an existing WordPress-hosted blog, you're prompted to sign into the blog. After you sign in, select the blog to see a list of its comments, posts, pages, and stats. In the iPad app, the list of each of the four options appears in the left pane, and the contents are shown in the main window on the right. On the iPhone, only the entries for each of the categories are shown.

Choose the pad-and-pencil icon in the top right corner above the list of entries to create a new post, or select one of the existing entries to edit it. Enter the post's title, tags, and categories in the top three fields, and the text and images in the bottom field. You can also preview the post and see its status (published or draft), visibility, and publication date by selecting one of the icons at the bottom of the window.

Edit window of the WordPress iPad app
The edit window of the WordPress iPad app lets you change the text, add an image, preview the post, or view information about it. screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly

When the post is ready to go, choose the Update button. There aren't many formatting options, and any pictures you post are automatically left-aligned, but blogs are rarely noted for their fancy formatting--at least none that I write are. The posts adopt the default formatting of the blog, so they blend well with previous entries written in the blog's browser- or PC-based editors.

One problem I noted with both the iPad and iPhone WordPress apps is the need to enter returns at the end of the post to prevent your text from being hidden behind the onscreen keyboard when the text extends that far down the page. It's a minor irritation, but you would think automatic scrolling would be an easy feature to implement in the app.

Smooth sailing with e-mail updates to Blogger
To post to Blogger via e-mail, open the dashboard for the blog and click Settings. Choose the Email & Mobile tab and select either "Publish e-mails immediately" or "Save e-mails as draft posts" under Email Posting Address in the Posting Options section. Complete the e-mail posting address by entering an easy-to-remember word, and click Save Settings.

Blogger e-mail-posting settings
Set Blogger to allow posts via e-mail by entering an e-mail posting address and selecting either the 'Publish immediately' or 'Save as draft' option. screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly

When you're ready to post to the blog via e-mail, simply send the text and attached images to the address you specified. The post will appear a few minutes later and will automatically adopt the blog's default format. As with remote WordPress posts, the images align left.

As I mentioned, I got 404 errors when I tried to post to Blogger via SMS text, but if you're willing to give it a try, you'll find more information about the process on the Blogger Help site.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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