When blogs first rose to popularity it took days hunched in front of a computer to set them up, get to grips with their software, and even longer to wrap your head around their confusing jargon. No longer. Using your iPhone 3GS and a selection of free apps, you can easily create a great blog with nothing but your iPhone. Read on for our easy how-to guide.
What counts as a blog?
The word blog is just “web” and “log” smashed together. Originally it simply meant a place where an individual or organisation posted regular updates on what they’d been up to. But blogs can be about pretty much anything, and needn’t necessarily feature lots of text. Using the iPhone, it’s easy to create a photo blog or video blog with snaps and clips posted straight from your phone to the web.
Even using Twitter to post 140 character updates, or pinging an update to Facebook’s status and notes functions counts as blogging. Ultimately, a blog is what you make it, and with Vodafone’s generous iPhone tariffs it’s easy to post frequently without battering your bank balance.
Why should you be blogging?
To keep in touch
If you’ve got friends and family scattered all over the country, or even the world, sending emails to keep them up-to-date can become a pain. Creating a blog is a great way to open a window into your world without irritating people with lengthy round robin emails.
Set up a family blog and you can easily send photos and videos of what your clan has been up to, as well as text posts sharing news straight from your iPhone 3GS. It takes a lot less time than sitting down to sum everything up in an email, and means your friends and family can check in to see what you’re up to without worrying about time zones or phone bills.
To find people who share your interests
Whether you’re interested in the latest trendy trainers, the Teardrop Explodes or toy cars, blogging is a great way to share your enthusiasm for a subject and get in contact with other like minded folk. Thinking of starting a street style photo blog like The Sartorialist? Use your iPhone 3GS to get snaps of people in great outfits. Want to create a music blog about gigs going on in your area? The iPhone 3GS will help you grab and share photos and video, as well as getting your review online quicker than you can say “why do I always get stuck behind unusually tall people at concerts?”.
To get yourself noticed or promoted
Blogs are a great way of promoting your work. Whether you’re an artist or musician looking for a big break, or an executive with some smart ideas to revolutionise your business, creating a blog to showcase your ideas is a great way to get yourself noticed or promoted.
The great thing about blogging from an iPhone 3GS is that it doesn’t have to take too much time. Found yourself on a train, waiting at an airport or in a gap between meetings? Fire up your favourite iPhone blogging app and use your time creatively. With simple ways to connect your blog to Twitter and Facebook, you can also make sure that your posts are easily shared with your contacts, pushing your ideas out to more people, and teeing yourself up nicely for that annual review.
What to use: 3 great iPhone blogging apps
Tumblr: keeping it simple
Tumblr is one of the simplest blogging sites on the web with easy-to-use menus which automatically format your posts correctly, depending on what’s in them. You can choose to create text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio or video posts. Photos, audio clips and videos can be created in the app using the iPhone 3GS’s built-in voice recorder and camera, or grabbed straight from your iPhone’s picture library.
You can sign up for a Tumblr account through the iPhone app itself, and also post to your blog via email. The big benefit of Tumblr is its simplicity, you don’t need any special skills to start posting. There are several Tumblr blogging apps on the iTunes App Store but the one you want is simply called Tumblr and is free. It’s the official app and has all the features you need to get started.
WordPress: the web workhorse
Wordpress is the powerhouse behind tonnes of your favourite sites, including Electricpig. It’s a good option for creating a blog, since it’s constantly adding features to give you flexibility and power. It’s more adaptable than Tumblr, letting you fine-tune the design of your blog, or add advanced features for your readers. But while it’s perfect for creating a more professional looking blog, it’s not difficult to use either, it just means that as you learn more, you’ll be able to do more.
The latest version of the WordPress for iPhone mobile phones, WordPress 2, lets you post pictures and video directly from the app and also gives you lots of options to tweak the look and feel of your updates, including what size you want the photos to be displayed at (make them smaller for faster uploading).
WordPress 2 on the iPhone 3GS also lets you tinker with advanced features like securing communication between your blog and the iPhone app using SSL. You don’t need to know how to use those features to start with, but the depth of functionality in the WordPress iPhone app means you won’t end up growing out of it. Plus just like the Tumblr app, WordPress 2 is free.
ShoZu: one app to rule them all
If you’re looking to post your blog posts, videos and photos to multiple websites, or are using a blogging platform that doesn’t have a dedicated iPhone app, ShoZu is a great addition to the iPhone 3GS. Rather than being associated with one platform, it gives you the ability to post to over 50 sites including photo sites such as Flickr and Photobucket, and video sites like YouYube and DailyMotion.
ShoZu is also a great way of trying out lots of different blogging platforms. It supports WordPress, Typepad, Blogger and Vox as well as Facebook and Twitter. If you want to be able to store your photos on Flickr or your videos on YouTube and then post them to a blog too, ShoZu makes that really easy to do.
To start using ShoZu, you can simply download the app via 3G or Wi-Fi on your iPhone 3GS or through iTunes on your computer and sign up for a ShoZu account. You can grab a Shozu account online or directly through the app. Once you’ve done that you simply add the services you want to send posts to.