Blog Features Learned Using Ecto

I was surprised to find that by using Ecto instead of MarsEdit, there were some blogging features available to me that may be valuable. I’ve learned about them as a result of trying Ecto. Since I am new to blogging, some of this exploration may be incomplete, or even incorrect. Here are the 3 discoveries.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Intro Blurb & Link to Main Article
The Ecto page for composing is divided into 2 panes. I think that in MarsEdit, only the contents of the upper page is available. It seems that in the upper pane I can either write the whole article, or just write an introductory line or two, and then write the rest of the article in the second post.

When I use the second pane in this manner, either Ecto, or WordPress, presents the title and the opening blurb (top pane) with a link that offers “Read the rest of this post »”. I guess this allows the browser to scan several of my articles and decide whether or not to click and move on. A click on that link reveals the whole post (as you, dear reader, must know if you are seeing this).

The previous 2 entries used Ecto: A Bit More Winter on Bowen and Still Winter on Bowen Island!

This seems to be an advantage to using Ecto. I could just bung the whole article in the top pane, and it would be the same as if I’d use MarsEdit.

Pictures Easily Uploaded from iPhoto
At first I was not really sure that I liked this feature because I don’t use iPhoto. Anyhow, for those first posts with Ecto I edited some pictures down to web-screen-size and put them in iPhoto. If you look at the articles, you will see a thumbprint. Click the thumb and the full pic appears. This works easily. I suspect that the advantage of iPhoto is that it produces the thumbprint.

I like pics in a blog — too many of these things are a wall of boring type. Like this post. So, were I planning to blog regularly, I’d use lots of topical images. This free site at WordPress currently limits me to 50 MB. Images would eat that up soon enough. So, I think the pics will have to go to Flickr. Nevertheless, this iPhoto feature makes the process of inserting images easy and fast.

Is there an easy way to grab photo and thumb from Flicker, using either MarsEdit or Ecto? I don’t know.

Tags vs. Categories
I’ve had some difficulty understanding the value of tags. Now I have solved some of the mystery.

It is pretty clear that categories are useful navigation tools for the browser. I’ve been cautious about adding too many. I think they should represent the primary themes for the site. So, someone who is interested in Bowen Island, and not blog-site-development, could select only my island articles and avoid the geeky stuff here by clicking the category Bowen Island.

As I was trying to figure out what tags are for, and how to use them, here is what the fine and helpful people at WordPress say on the subject:

One of the things people love most about is how easy it is to categorize and tag your posts. (IF you don’t know the diference between a category and a tag, don’t worry about it, they’re pretty much the same.)

Somehow, that didn’t make much sense. Also, if folks are ever to stumble upon this blog, I’d expect that tags should help. Over at Flicker, it seems that the more tags photographers put on an image, the better chance there is that people will discover it.

Ecto allows me to choose from BOTH the categories and the tags. So, for the article, A Bit More Winter on Bowen, I added 8 tags to see what happened.

This was interesting. The following appeared below the opening blurb (as if it were in the top pane).

Technorati Tags: Vancouver, Canada, snow, blizzard, Howe Sound, fun, cold, winter

If you choose to see the whole article, that line of tags appears right after the opening blurb.

Each of those tags is a link to the Technorati site, where, with a click you can go and see what other articles use the same tag.

Somehow, Technorati seem to acquire that tag, and the link to the article, very quickly.

Ecto keeps the list of tags, so as I write any future post, I can simply put a check in a box beside any tag to use it again.

For promoting a blog, tags and Technorati seems to be a most important tools. I will need to explore this further.


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