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16 Essential PC Applications for Bloggers

Posted By Darren Rowse 15th of November 2008 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

This article was written by Ruchir Chawdhry.

PS: Mac users can check out 14 Essential Mac OS X Applications for Bloggers that Darren wrote a while ago.

1. Mozilla Firefoxmozilla-firefox.png

Mozilla Firefox is the king of all browsers. Limitlessly extendable, fast, and lightweight. If you’re still using any other browser (even Google Chrome), then switch to Firefox immediately, it’ll boost your productivity – guaranteed. There are many Firefox plugins, these two posts give the essential ones for bloggers:

2. MemoKeys

Stop wasting time typing the same thing repeatedly. MemoKeys saves you time by letting you call up commonly used text with keystroke combos. This is very handy is you get a lot of email, comment on blogs a lot, or have a default email/comment template.

3. Microsoft Office 2007office-2007-logo.png

All you Microsoft haters might say otherwise, but you need Power Point, Excel, and Word if you want to make it big as a blogger. Office 2007 is easy to use and has beautiful default templates.

If you don’t want to pony up for Office 07 then the open-source OpenOffice is a nice alternative.

4. SnagIt

SnagIt is the best screen-capturing program out there. Using SnagIt, you can take screenshots of menus, windows, specific regions, and more. The more-than-capable editing program that comes with SnagIt is also a godsend for productivity seekers and Photoshop phobics like me.

5. WordWeb

WordWeb is a free powerful dictionary and thesaurus program. It’s mainly an offline dictionary tool with about 150,000 words in its database, although it also allows you to look into online reference sites such as Wikipedia. WordWeb’s a feature rich dictionary & thesaurus tool and a must have for bloggers who write their own content.digsby-logo

6. Digsbydigsby-logo.jpg

Digsby is an all-in-one IM/social networking client. It supports most of the IM protocols out there, like Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ, and AIM. It even supports Facebook chat! It features tabbed conversation window, allows you to manage your email, and stay up-to-date with everything that’s happening on your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn accounts. As its makers say: Digsby = IM + Email + Social Networking.

7. Link Popularity Check

Link Popularity Check checks how many links you have according to Google, Yahoo!, MSN and a bunch of others.

8. RoboForm

RoboForm is the tool to have for bloggers. It cuts out the time you spend filling various forms online, it remembers all your passwords, and it even features a random password generator for the security freaks among us. The price? Only $29.95. Use the discount code GOOG1 to get $6 off.

I’ve yet to come across another app that is better or on the same level as RoboForm. If you don’t have it, you don’t value your time.rss-bandit

9. RSS Banditrss-bandit.JPG

RSS Bandit is a desktop RSS reader that syncs directly with Google Reader. The best feature is has is that it allows you to download your feeds (including images) for you to view offline. Very useful for travelers and those who hate web based RSS readers.

10. Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio is the ultimate screen-recording program for PCs. With the latest version, you can create HD quality professional-looking videos. It can produce your videos in many formats such as iPod, Flash, Quick Time, Windows Media, AVI etc.

11. Windows Live Writer

A full-featured desktop blogging application, Writer allows you to add images, videos, maps, tables, and much more. Overall, it’s a much better alternative to your blogging software’s inbuilt editor.

12. AdesClrPicker

This little known color picker has recently gone free. It’s fast to load, easy-to-use, and captures colors in HTML, RGB, C++, VB, and Delphi color codes. You can capture color codes anywhere on the screen. What more could you want?

13. Yahoo! Widgetsyahoo-widgets-gears.png

Yahoo! Widgets adds small widget apps to your desktop. Aside from being glitzy, it can be useful if you choose the right widgets. Here are a few widgets that bloggers should get:

  • Day Planner – Calendar – A very useful to-do and day planning widget that also has a calendar
  • Simple Notepad – Useful for quick note-taking without having Notepad always open
  • My MemoPad – Useful sticky-note widget. I actually use it to display my goals.

14. Twhirl

Of course, how could I forget Twirl? A must-have app for twitterers to twitter their tweets.

15. PeaZip peazip-logo.png

PeaZip is a beautiful but fast archiving utility that supports most of the compression formats out there. It’s recommended for bloggers who download and sample a lot of files. Alternatives are WinRAR and 7Zip.

16. The Journal

Keeping a diary/journaling can help you improve as a blogger. Now, not many of us are so keen on opening a notebook every now and then to write in, so if you’re such a person then The Journal is for you. It supports separate volumes, inserting images, tables and the like, and you can even password-protect your diary.

For more on why you should keep a blog diary, check out Darren’s post:

What Do You Use?

I’m sure that I’m just scratching the surface here. I’d love to hear from other PC using bloggers – what applications are you using?

You can catch Ruchir Chawdhry at TechVivo where he blogs about gadgets, software, online tools, windows tips & tricks etc that you can use to become more productive & better your life. Click here to subscribe to TechVivo.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. Those are some must-have tools for a blogger. Thanks for mentioning useful apps like Journal and Camtasia Studio. I never knew there existed an application like a blog diary. Twhirl should not be missed out too. Thanks for the great post.

  2. Thanks for this post I was just looking forword for something like this as I am new in Blogging World

  3. I was thinking “Why would Darren write about PC applications when he is a hardcore Mac user?” but then I saw it was written by someone else and it all made sense. These are some great applications which will be really good for your PC users (I however have just converted to Mac and I am loving it). Hopefully windows seven will be better than Vista…because PC sucks in comparison to mac

  4. I love digsby! it has my twitter so it gives me more desktop real estate! and keeps me logged into facebook – great community app

  5. Thank you for the list! Would love to see something similar for Mac.

  6. I love FireShot — lets you capture screenshots (including full pages), edit them, etc.

    Also FireFTP.

  7. Sorry to say but this list is missing the point that most bloggers wants to be arised . You mentioned all the things that are useful : OK . but not all are free , since we get better apps for free why do you suggest everyone to waste their money on something they can get for free ? The list was well sorted out but wasn’t useful at all.

  8. Dia is a great free open source tool for creating images in a nice easy Visio stylie.

  9. Thanks a lot for the RSS Bandit tipp. I was always looking for something like that.

  10. I use portableapps.com . Almost all the available applications mentioned here (and some alternatives) can be installed to a usb and used on any other PC. good for me who changes between a laptop at work and desktop at home. I got an idea for a future article: the essential web applications for bloggers. “Remember the Milk” is one useful to-do list. You guys fill the rest.

  11. HUGE fan of Ades Color picker! Love that thing and use several times a week!

    Great list:)

  12. Ruchir, great list, I’m checking out RSSBandit and MemoKeys right now.
    -I’m a huge fan of Evernote, I’m using it to journal pretty much everything. And with the sync to their site now, I can switch computers and still have access to everything. (www.evernote.com)
    -For screen captures, I’m a fan of ScreenHunter Free (http://www.wisdom-soft.com/sh/sh_free.htm).
    -Instead of Twhirl, I’m currently using TweetDeck, which is working nicely, letting me see my streams and searches at the same time. (www.tweetdeck.com)

  13. I agree with most of these here. In a category, i either use the one mentioned here or i don’t use one at all. The exceptions are color picker and unarchiver.

    I use 7Zip for archives. And i use the instant eyedropper tool. Its the simplest one IMO..

    Also, i recently switched to Google Chrome from Firefox… :) Yay for Chrome..

  14. @ Rahul: Well, you get what you pay for. And if you can find a utility as powerful, intuitive, user friendly, and easy on the eyes as SnagIt or Camtasia that’s free, then I’ll give you a license to SnagIt… Seriously…

  15. I’m a big fan of Paint.NET for graphics editing. I create all my logos, buttons, etc using this free app. Its updated often and there are a lot of plugins for it. Its easier to use than photoshop but still has many of the same features


  16. I use the ScribeFire plugin for firefox and I also use notepad. I use word for my spell checking but because I use wordpress for my blog I copy and paste all my text into notepad to remove all the microsoft code that sometimes follows when I copy and paste from Word directly into wordpress

  17. Very cool tools! Great info. I especially like the digsby application.

    My wife has that crazy thing that jumps up and down on her mac, but I’ve always downloaded all the different apps for my pc.

    Now I have something similar.


  18. windows live writer .
    i have found it useful while managing too many blogs .There are also options for water marking images and easy alteration of alt tags .

  19. You always post the most useful stuff! Thanks

  20. Does anybody use the Flock browser? I love the social networking integration that it comes with, although lately I have been having problems with it, and I find it to be a great alternative to Firefox.

    Just wondering what other people thought. I have Chrome downloaded but haven’t tried it out yet.

  21. Excellent list. Thanks for the information!

  22. I love ShortKeys, which I have set up to auto-insert things like my e-mail signature, website addresses, e-mail addresses, common e-mail subjects and inquiry responses, etc.

    Does anyone know of a journal app that is web-based? I’m aware of tools like EverNote, which enable you to capture parts or all of web pages, but those apps aren’t quite up to the task of journaling. Any suggestions?

  23. @Chuck, Maybe try Google Notebook…

  24. @ Kevin: Yeah, flock can be useful if you actually use the extra features. I uninstalled it, though, as it consumed too much RAM on my PC, and I didn’t use any of its features anyway…

  25. My latest install is Intense Debate, a WordPress plugin.


    Check it out!

  26. I never know that Yahoo Widget can be used for blogging tools, thanks so much for sharing these stuff

  27. I like google notebook for organizing thoughts and links. While firefox has great apps, I find chrome faster on my old laptop

  28. I like the yahoo widgets. I’d like to check other tools as well, tools like AdesClrPicker.

  29. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I started to get half of those items – they are really very very useful.

  30. I hate to nitpick, but these aren’t “PC” applications, they’re Windows applications. A lot of people use Linux on PCs and there would be different applications in that case. A couple of these do have Linux versions (Openoffice is great in Linux for example), but just keep it in mind for next time!! ;)

  31. Great list Darren. I started using FireFox about two months ago after being fed up with IE. It was one of the best things I have done. WordWeb sounds like a must have application for an aspiring writer like myself. :o)

  32. If you like RoboForm, you might love LastPass at https://lastpass.com/

    It’s cross platform, cross browser, integrated directly into your browser, includes automatic synchronization across multiple PCs, automatic filling of forms, and a host of other features.

    Oh, and best of all: it’s free.


  33. OpenOffice is the way to go! A PDF maker should also be a top 10 tool. A website I’m currently consulting for distributes literature on the web via MS Word documents. Thats fine and dandy if everyone has either Word or a Word Doc Viewer, but if you’re out there posting documents that aren’t in HTML form they should be in PDF form.

  34. Thanks Darren, nice list!

    I also use Microsoft Office, but mostly for Outlook and it’s Notes section. I still prefer Palm Desktop’s layout, but it’s not compatible with my device.

    What do you or other people use to keep multiple notes, and todos?

  35. I also wanted to mention a few essential tools I use, related to blogging:

    -UltraEdit, for editing files directly on my blog’s FTP server.
    -Filezilla FTP client
    -Thunderbird for email

  36. This is an absolutely awesome list. My faves include Firefox (MUST have browser for serious bloggers) and Camatasia. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Can’t agree more with you about the list of applications. I am a bit surprised that you mentioned “Microsoft Office” as a must-have tool… Come on? Srsly. Why would a blogger need that?

  38. Definitely Open Office on #3 – it’s not about ponying up, it’s about committing to and supporting open source!

  39. I was using wridea until they updated it now my browser (IE-6) throws an error.
    It is a web based app and I really Liked it for Jotting down and tying Blog topic ideas together does anyone use this or have a program to perform a similiar function

  40. My substitutions for the list:
    3. Google Docs, you can use it to type up an article on the go (with Gears) and online, no need to move documents or ppt files around with a USB stick.

    4. I sincerely beg to differ. FastStone Capture is awesome. It’s a single executable that you can take around wherever you go without having to install anything. It can take screen shots of pages that scroll and other items that scroll using PgUp and PgDown. It has a fully functional editor, color picker, screen ruler, ability to export to all kinds of formats, and only costs 19.95 lifetime compared to SnagIt for 49.99 for version 9.

    11. ScribeFire + Google Docs

    14. TweetDeck: Adds functionality to Twitter by allowing you to set up groups and have separate columns for tweets, dms, replies and searches.

    15. 7Zip + The Universal Extractor: This dynamic duo can handle any extraction or compression task and with The Universal Extractor you can extract installers easily, making it possible to make certain apps portable without having to install anything and then uninstall it.

    16. Google Docs

    These are my own personal preferences. You have a great list here.

  41. RoboForm is by far my favorite tool on there. I use it every day many times a day. I have dozens of logins and passwords online and none of my passwords are the same thanks to RoboForm. That really helps with security.

    What tool do I use to blog with?

    I’m sure many people don’t do this, but I have a saved html version of my blog’s (the business part of my website) template. I load it up in Microsoft FrontPage and draft up my blog articles.

    Then I can preview my article right from my own computer in a web browser and see how it’s going to look. Since FrontPage is a html editor, I can easily create image maps, figure out color codes, insert links, etc.

  42. perhaps the number one post is reasonable since it is free and could provide you anything you need for convenient blogging. Others will just fair but Firefox is improving from time to time plus as lot of add-ons and useful extensions.

  43. Yup..

    I agree with your first point. Firefox is much much better than Google Chrome! :)

  44. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who swears by PeaZip for archiving and formatting files. It’s reassuring to know that I have most all of the essential applications that you described. Except Yahoo! Widgets, not a huge fan of, but to each his own.

  45. Why would someone pay $40 for the Journal application when they can use Google Notebook?

  46. Thank you for this list.; But could you list some ways bloggers use Excel?

  47. For general notes, lists and diary/journal type things tiddlywiki is a great tool.

  48. The Journal looks pretty cool but I use MS One Note and love that I can stick pdf files, photos, random thoughts anywhere on the page within seperate notebooks and tabs – why not use it instead?

  49. I am in love with UltraRecall. They have a cool GTD-flavored overlay that lets me store and catalog all my internets knowledge. And it imports directly from FireFox, and Thunderbird.

  50. Great list Ruchir, thanks. Already using 7 or 8 of them but discovered some new ones here too.

    BTW @Swim University, and anyone else who does that whole ‘copy to Notepad to remove formatting’ thing, there’s a handy little app called PureText that sits in your tray and does just that (strips out the formatting) any time you want. It’s tiny (13Kb!!), and free! Download from http://www.stevemiller.net/puretext/
    PS I’m not an affiliate or anything to do with it, just a grateful user who thought people here might appreciate it too ;-)

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