You’ve finally decided to start a blog — either for classroom use or for professional development. Or maybe you’ve been blogging, but you want to take your blog to a new level. Here are some of the best tools to help you manage your blog and make it the best it can be:
Embed this software on your blog and create a live stream of comments and other user activity on your blog, raising the profile of your site and its popularity. Echo can also stream activity on Facebook, Twitter, and other social-networking sites.
Create video slideshows to include on your blog, which can also be used in the classroom. This is an education-based site, so you must apply with your project in order to get the code for your blog.
You can create surveys and polls to post on your blog with this free service. You can also collect the responses in real time. There are upgraded plans with more features that cost a fee, but the free plan should cover basic needs.
Use this software to create multimedia slideshows that can include images, video and documents. It allows allows users to leave comments in a variety of formats, including doodling.
Check the spelling on your entire blog with this handy spell checker. Type in the URL and the suspect words will appear in red.
Get detailed information on traffic to your blog and the effectiveness of your strategies to bring in readers. You can customize reports to choose what date you want to see.
7. 21 Classes
Use this free tool to host and manage blogs for your students. You can create a class homepage and then manage and review student blogs, which are also fully featured.
Create tags across your blog content to help readers link to previous entries and other related content of interest. You can manage the tags yourself, or allow the software to do it intuitively.
This free web tool allows you to create all kinds of forms for your blog, including polls, invitations, contact forms, registration forms, and more. Make your site more interactive with this easy tool.
This extensive blog directory can help you find other blogs to connect with, or it can help you promote your blog.
11. Website Ribbon
Create your own custom banner for your blog, whether for advertising or to promote your favorite cause. You could also use it to highlight new content or special activities taking place on your blog, such as a contest.
12. Lab Pixies
Don’t let Google have all the fun! Liven up your blog with all kinds of fun widgets, such as games, maps, calendars and more.
This standalone application can be used to create and update blogs on several platforms. Make custom templates, manage content, and more with this free download.
Get more out of your RSS feed with this tool, which lets you send posts directly to readers’ e-mail addresses. It also has other useful blog tools, such as a blogroll.
15. Add This
Know those little icons on the bottom of a web page letting you know where they are on Twitter, Facebook, Diggit, MySpace, and everywhere else on the web? This tool will give you your very own icons to promote your presence on the web.
Liven up your blog with fancy buttons with your choice of font, colors, and styles. Don’t rely on simple hyperlink options for your various blog sections; create eye-catching buttons for your content.
Bananr makes sharing your photos easy by allowing you to enter your Flickr ID, then providing code to upload them to your blog. This is a very handy tool for sharing photos that are useful for lessons, or for sharing photos from classroom trips.
Add technical details to your blog with this tool, which allows you create charts, diagrams, flow charts and more. A free trial is available.
Posterous is a multitasking tool that allows you to share blog posts on all of your social-networking accounts. Spread your content to all of your accounts with one click of a button.
Not sure about how much you can quote from other works? Want to use a picture but don’t know if it’s in the public domain? This handy guide can help you navigate the rules for using content from other sources.