And finally it's the last day of Book Blogger Appreciation Week - this has been a fun week, with a break from reviews, and having a different reason to visit blogs, seeing a lot of new faces around and reading some wonderful perspectives on interesting topics. Today's topic about any tools we use for blogging is pretty interesting to me, because I can't think of very many I use. In fact, I'm pretty positive that other than this blog itself, and Photobucket for pictures, and maybe one or two here and there, I don't really use any tools. I'm pretty lazy that way - I like my job to be simple.
I used to love having a ton of widgets on my sidebar. I still do like widgets, but I no longer put everything I like on my blog, since they heavily slow down the site. It took me a while to get there, but I removed all widgets that I didn't think anyone would ever look at. My rule of thumb is scroll down the sidebar quick, and if my eyes get screwed up, remove one more widget. The one thing I have become obsessed with is how fast my blog can load up. Both Chrome and Firefox browsers have really useful tools (Inspect Element in former, Firebug in latter) for people who like playing with their sites - speeding it up, changing colors and fonts, seeing how things look with different layouts, without really making a change in the site templates. I find this a big time-killer, but unless you really love to play with code, it may not be your thing.
Unfortunately for all my obsession with speed, I went and installed a third party commenting system (Disqus) on my blog. Disqus is super-awesome, let me say that, but it loads externally, so it takes its own sweet time. Which means, if you're on a slow connection, you can step out to get a coffee, come back, and still see the 'loading' symbol. But otherwise, you wouldn't notice. Ordinarily, this wouldn't matter, because most of my readers probably have fast internet. Occasionally though, I have heard from a blogger saying it isn't loading up, and I know I myself have seen it at least once. Still, the benefits of Disqus far outweighs its minus points, which I know is kind of shallow to say because it sounds like I'm saying I don't care if you can't comment but the tool is awesome. But no, I did everything I could to try and work it out, at the moment I'm hoping time just speeds it up. I would happily go back to blogger, but I absolutely hate their non-threaded commenting tool. Besides, Disqus eventually loads up, right?
Other than that, I don't really use many tools. I have tried a lot, kept some, abandoned others. I store pictures that I use on my blog almost exclusively on Photobucket. I use Flicker to find Creative Commons-licensed photos, so that I don't run into trouble with the content laws. I use Creative Commons to copyright my blog's content. Then there's goodreads, in itself. All my book links and images are from that website, the one website that first introduced me to the massive online reading community.
What tools do you use?