My Top 10 Free Blogging Tools

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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1. ZoneEdit
Without ZoneEdit, I wouldn’t have a custom domain… they provide the DNS hosting that changes ekris.org into a machine-preferred IP address. And it’s free. And reliable (if not pretty).

2. Google Apps
Google Apps hosts my main page, some static graphics, and some of my longer documents. It also provides all of my email functionality for the ekris.org domain. I find the page editor to be clunky, limited, and rather frustrating, but then again, I don’t need much right now, and it’s good enough to get the job done.

3. Google API
The Google API provides the backbone of the “What’s Related” functionality in the left navigation area and at the bottom of my main page, the “Google Related >>” search at the bottom of each post’s individual page, and the in-page focused search function on my main entry page.

4. Blogger (by Google…)
Provides the blog hosting for both “Commentary” and “Notes from Law School.” Free, functional, and rather more flexible than I thought, if one doesn’t mind messing with the raw scripting that drives the templates. Perhaps not quite as flexible as WordPress (which I once hosted at home, but which fell victim to a cross-country move and issues with home broadband), but “good enough.” Did I mention it’s free?

5. Google AdSense
While not a core part of my tools, I have found AdSense to be well-designed and interesting, and to provide another glimpse at useful related content around the Web. Hopefully this proves useful to visitors to the site… more importantly, I am using AdSense so I can better advise clients on its utility in future. It is, of course, better than free.

6. Google Analytics
Gives a useful, rather sophisticated and, with the new interface, rather elegant look at visitors: who they are, where they’re coming from, and so on.

7. SiteMeter
Another visitor tracking site, this one is bare-bones, but provides a quick look at visitor stats and info.

8. FeedBurner
Provides some useful little tools to supplement blogs. Its prime focus is managing feeds (thus the name). I use this primarily to add the links to Sphere: Related Content and Add This! to the bottom of each post.

9. Technorati
Connects blogs with each other and provides useful search functionality. Also gives useful linking statistics that shows the connections between blogs and who’s linking to whom.

10. Creative Commons
Keeps my work protected yet shareable.

The jury is still out on…

Snap previews
Provides a quick look at where a destination URL is taking you. Is it more distracting than useful?

SmartMatch by MyWire
I’m using this to populate “Related Articles” in the sidebar. So far I’m not convinced at how relevant this articles are, so we’ll see how it goes over the next week or two.