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While WordPress is the quintessential blogging service, writing blogs directly in its text editor is not always user friendly. That’s why I use MarsEdit ($39.99) for composing and uploading all of my blog posts.
MarsEdit is the fastest and simplest way to write, manage, and upload blog posts on the Mac. Though it hasn’t received a major update in a while, the current version (3.6) is stable and supports all major blogging platforms, including Google’s Blogger, LiveJournal, Drupal, Tumblr, TypePad, and Squarespace.
You can start using MarsEdit with your existing blog or by creating a new one. In most cases it will configure the information it needs for your existing blogging platform and will download your most recently published posts. You will need to input the name of your blog, the homepage URL, and the sign-in information.
Multiple blogs can be added to MarsEdit, and you can click the View on Web button to quickly visit your blog or new post.
For each of your blogs, you can configure the editing and post settings you typically use for blog posts. Inside the Show Settings feature under the Posting tab, you can select to have MarsEdit warn you if there are missing attributes (like title, tags, keywords, category) for your posts before you upload it. Under the Editing tab you can set the default size for images added to new entries, and select the default post status as either published, draft, private, or pending.
MarsEdit can handle all your advanced default blog and post settings, including setting custom fields, text encoding, trackbacks, and server text filters.
Composing in MarsEdit
MarsEdit contains most all the word processing features you’d expect from a text editor, including the various format styles, rich text editing, block quotes, lists, and subheading levels. Most of the menu items come with assigned keyboard shortcuts, and tools for style formatting and webpage linking can be accessed from the toolbar. I particularly like the ability to write and save drafts offline, keeping your all posts managed in one place.
If you like to write in Markdown using WriteRoom, or are more comfortable drafting in TextMate, MarsEdit integrates with these and other editors, including BBEdit and TextWrangler.
When you have a URL link on the system-wide clipboard, you can use the fast link keyboard shortcut to add the HTML link format to a selected piece of text. I use this feature with a Keyboard Maestro macro that automatically copies the current webpage URL in Safari without having to leave MarsEdit or manually copy the URL.
You can also add images and videos that you want posted with your words. Drag and drop an image file from your Finder to your desired location in the draft, or use the Media Manager to select and add images from your Flickr account, previously published images and other files. The manager is fast and searchable, and you can align media left, right, or center.
The MarsEdit Upload Utility also allows you to configure media files before they are added to your posts. You can also open the editor using the keyboard shortcut and navigate to and add files from there.
The live Preview area of MarsEdit updates while you type. This feature is a lot faster than clicking the Preview button in WordPress to see how your post will look in published form.
If you like to write without all the distractions of opened windows and files on your desktop, you can put MarsEdit into full screen mode, which thankfully only puts the editor (hiding the sidebar and toolbar) in the center of the screen instead of stretching it across the entire space. Unfortunately, unlike with Scrivener, the full screen mode doesn’t have a Typewrite feature which keeps the last line of your text near the center of the screen, instead of at the bottom.
After you have written and edited your draft (or before, if you like), you can click on the Options button in the toolbar and assign one or more categories for your post, and select to publish it automatically, or post it as a draft, pending, or private entry. You can also check to accept trackbacks before exporting.
Clicking on the Send to Blog button copies your post to the server in the background. You can also make additional edits to a post and re-send it for updating.
A Blogging Time Saver
As you learn how to use MarsEdit you will definitely start saving time and work more efficiently. MarsEdit is a great way to keep your posts backed up off the server, and in my experience whenever the application or my computer has crashed, MarsEdit is able to recover the draft.
I highly recommend MarsEdit instead of web browser applications for new and experienced bloggers. You can download the application for a 30-day free trial before you buy, so let us know what you think.
Download: MarsEdit ($39.99)