Posts Tagged

blogging

The most exciting new open-source blog platform this year, Ghost 0.3 beta has finally been released to the public and is ready for you to use for your own new blog. It’s not 100% finished yet, but it’s already good enough that Envato has used it to launch the new Inside Envato blog — and it’s a great platform for you to start a new Markdown-powered blog that gives you an easy way to share your thoughts with the world.

Ghost is a bit more involved to get running than, say, WordPress, but we’ve already covered everything you need to get a new Ghost blog running. And once it’s running, Ghost is insanely easy to use. You’ll likely find yourself writing more than ever when it’s this simple to publish.

But what good’s a new blog without a shiny new theme? The default theme’s pretty nice, but if you want more than that, you’re in luck. There’s already dozens of beautiful Ghost themes online, ready for you to add to your Ghost blog or tweak to look just like you want, including over 30 on the ThemeForest Ghost marketplace, a handful of nice themes from the new Theme Spectre and Polygonix teams, and free themes on GitHub. Here’s our dozen favorite Ghost themes from across the web:

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There’s plenty of ways to blog today, but one has caught the imagination of bloggers and developers more than any this year: Ghost. And today, it’s finally ready for everyone to try out.

We tried out Ghost when it was first released to Kickstarter backers a few weeks back, and found it to be a brilliantly simple way to blog in Markdown — that is, once you get it installed. That last point is far simpler today, thanks to the efforts of Ghost’s partners including our whole Envato team.

Here’s the tools you need to get a new Ghost-powered blog today:

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Early last November, designer and writer John O’Nolan published his idea of a lighter WordPress fork focused on writing: Ghost. The original concept page showed a beautifully redesigned dashboard that focused on the stats and info that matter to writers, combined with a post editor that let you write in Markdown and preview the live post at the same time. The concept took the web by storm, racking up hundreds of comments on Hacker News and beyond — and even drawing interest from WordPress’ creator, Matt Mullenweg.

Nearly 11 months and a wildly successful Kickstarter later, and backers finally have the first beta of Ghost to power their blogs. It’s a Node.js and SQLite powered CMS that’s been coded from scratch instead of the original idea of a WordPress fork, and it’s already a totally different blogging experience than anything you’ve ever used. It’s attracted thousands of individual backers, as well as corporate sponsors from Envato and Code School all the way to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (of all surprising things). It’s easily the most exciting thing in blogging right now.

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As a writer who works solely online, the success of the blog as a publishing platform for the written word has been a good thing. I can’t truthfully say that the continued, never-ending growth of blogging is a positive, however. The breathtaking volume of text being published every second makes life difficult for readers, who constantly find themselves having to catch up, and it devalues the work of high quality writers.

It’s little wonder, then, that writers have flocked to networks in search of hits, or the bucks they produce. Controversial the Bleacher Report may be, but it has given a select group of writers the opportunity to be rewarded for their popularity. Equally, some have gone looking for readers on content aggregators such as Medium, with the idea being that articles within the network are far more discoverable than a blog post, on its own, would be.

But what if writers were able to combine the visitor numbers of a network with the revenue options of a personal blog? This tantalizing prospect is roughly what new invite beta service, Notelr, looks capable of providing. An impossible dream? Let’s find out…

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Blogging is popular nowadays. People take to Tumblr , WordPress, Squarespace and more to share their thoughts with the digital world. Then there are the hipsters who use Dustin Curtis’ Svbtle and Medium. There are, of course, many other platforms out there, but each group has its own preferred way of posting things. My favorite has always been Scriptogr.am because it’s effortless to set up using Dropbox, looks nice, and supports Markdown.

Now there’s a new contender in the Markdown-powered blogging world: Dropplets. When I first saw the mockups of it a few months back, I immediately added it to my list of things to review later. Now it’s at version 1.6, so let’s have a look at things and see if they’re ready to compete with the big boys. (more…)

I’m a geek. I love things like web development, design and blogging. I love writing and photography. I adore music. In fact, I love them so much that I take pictures, write and design for a living. In fact, despite the fact that I have my own blog and maintain other websites dedicated to personal interests, like music, I’m starting my own creative services company in the upcoming month.

Because I’m initially going to be the sole proprietor of this company, starting it is easier than you might think both legally and financially. But I do need a website. And even though I love coding and web development, I also hate it (not unlike many professional coders I know). So I’d prefer to leave the fine art of web coding to the professionals. That’s why I’m considering Squarespace 6. Things have changed a lot since we last looked at Squarespace. Let’s find out what’s new.

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Maybe you’ve been thinking recently about starting a blog and just don’t know where to start. Well, have no fear. After encouraging a few friends on Facebook to write a blog, I’ve learned that most people don’t know where to start and what site they should use for the most flexibility.

I’ve spent a good deal of my time in the past few years writing for blogs, whether it be personally or professionally. I’ve had experience with all three of the Big Blogging Platforms, which is my affectionate term for WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger. You can start a blog for free with all three of them. Let’s take a look at the platforms and see what they’re capable of.

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You probably write a blog. I write three personal blogs (with more coming soon!), and then there’s the blogs that I write for professionally. But blog writing has never been about the writing. Blog writing has never been about community. In fact, blog writing is a very personal and self-indulgent thing, despite the fact that you want to generate an audience. You’re not writing with any partners and you probably can’t generate an audience.

That’s because blogs have always been made with a single person in mind — you, the writer. It’s like a public diary. But in today’s world of social networks, that’s often not enough. While Twitter has proved that many writers can successfully make 140 characters work for them, most of us still want to write long form articles.

It’s time for a change. Medium is promising to be that change.

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Creating things on the web has started to become easier to do with the help of some of the amazing web tools and apps that are out there. One area that seems like it is becoming more prominent on the web is eBook and magazine creation. When books and eBooks first came out, publishing was somewhat of a pipe dream unless you had a great book or you knew how to get it published, which meant that it wouldn’t be able to get in front of a lot of people. Now, with the web, book creation and content distribution is a lot easier to do. That is not to take away from people who work hard on their own to get published, but the web is providing a platform for the average person to be able to get more exposure to their writing than before.

Today, I am taking a look at a web application that offers the mass market of people the ability to create their own ebook/magazine. Blooki.st gives people a platform where they can easily create content on the web so that it can be distributed to the world. They aren’t the first web app to do this, and they most certainly won’t be the last, but there was something about how clean and easy it looked to use that I thought I had to just try it out for myself.

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One of the recent trends in blogging has been the implementation of flat file blogging systems that take your Markdown files and render them as blog posts in beautiful website form. However, a lot of these are self-hosted and for those who may not have the technical knowledge to get one of these set up, or perhaps just want to get on with blogging, they’ll be pleased to know there’s a pretty good solution that aims to get bloggers up and running in mere minutes.

That solution is Scriptogr.am.

Scriptogr.am is both a frontend and a backend for your blog, taking the Markdown files from its designated folder in your Dropbox and collating them into a fully-featured and working blog. Also, did I mention it’s free? Find out more after the fold! (more…)

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