How To Blog on an iPad
When blogging on Tablet Habit I have gotten the question of how I do it all from my iPad. It is a fairly simple process, but it can be hard to build from scratch, so I want to break it down here. Before I get into it though, I want to make a quick note. I write in Markdown. If you write in Markdown this should be pretty easy to follow along. If you don’t know Markdown, you can find out more from the creator of it, John Gruber, on his site Daring Fireball.
Also, this is primarily for anyone using Wordpress as their blogging platform. That is the service I use as well as a large portion of other websites on the internet. It is a free, open-source platform and is absolutely worthy of the praise it has received over the years. I will happily help those who use other platforms like Squarespace if they would like. Information on how to contact me is at the bottom of this post.
With that out of the way, I am basically going to format this as a step-by-step process of planning, writing, and posting on a WordPress blog.
So the first thing is to brainstorm your article. You can do this in a Markdown app you will eventually write this in, or use a mind mapping tool like iThoughts and MindNode. You can even use a pen and paper. The only requirement for this is to get everything out of your head and onto a page or screen. Emptying your brain is key to allow for more mental RAM when actually writing the article. Don’t be afraid to dump anything and everything down, even if it has nothing to do with the project at hand.
Forget to take the trash out? Write it down at the bottom of a page or note on your iPad. Just get it out of your head and write it down. The less you have swirling in your mind the less distractions you will have when actually doing the work.
From there, clean out the things not about the blog post and put them elsewhere, like a task manager or even a different sheet of paper, you can deal with it later. Really focus your outline and/or mind map to one specific goal at a time, in this case it is the blog post.
Once you know the topic and have some kind of idea what you want to say, it is time to write it into a post. Open your text editor of choice and start using that outline you wrote as a basis of what you want to say.
Side-Note: If you want some good Markdown text editing apps I highly recommend Ulysses, Byword, iA Writer, or Editorial. There are a ton of posts elsewhere that will get in the weeds on Markdown apps so you’ll be able to find one that is right for you in no time. Anyway, back to the writing portion of things.
One thing I like to do is focus on one part at a time. This can be the introduction, conclusion, item 1 of 5 if you are posting a top 5 style post, or so on. For me, I like to have the introduction and conclusion done first. It helps me know what I want to have as the “meat and potatoes” of the post. Bookending the main points I want to make allows me to work with the constraints I put on myself. If that doesn’t work for you try something else out.
There really is no wrong way of writing, but I do have one piece of advice for anyone wanting to do anything on the internet: Really take your time and make something worthwhile here. Hang your hat on your work.
So get things right instead of just getting it done. Once it is done and you want to share it with the world, you have to know what to do with those words you’ve written to get on your website.
Exporting and Posting online
After writing the article, comes exporting it to Wordpress.
There are a number of ways to do this but if you are using an app that has integration with Wordpress you are halfway there. Ulysses and Byword both have this built in. From within the app with integration you can actually send your post straight to the Wordpress website. Just login to your website and in the app there is an option to publish (if you need help finding it let me know what app you are using and I’ll happily help you out).
Alternatively, if the app you want to use doesn’t have built in Wordpress integration you can still post to your blog. You just have to use the app Workflow. You will need to convert your Markdown text into rich text. Here is a quick and easy Workflow you can use to accomplish this. It converts the Markdown text into rich text and then sends it to Wordpress. Upon first use you will need to sign in to Wordpress so make sure you have that information at the ready. But after that initial setup you are set to post away!
If you are using an app that is already rich text (Notes, Microsoft Word, etc.) then you can delete the conversion block in the workflow and just have it take the text and make a post on WordPress directly, or you can download this Workflow I made.
From there you can go to your Wordpress post either in Safari or the Wordpress app and you can edit the post, add a featured image, change the SEO or meta data, and then post it.
Uploading Images to Wordpress
There is one more thing I wanted to share with you that helped me a ton. It is related to images. Uploading images to Wordpress from an iPad can be a royal pain if you let it. I created a workflow that allows you to upload an image from Photos right to WordPress and then copy the link of that image so you can paste it into your Markdown text editor. It comes in handy especially if you write in Markdown and want to share that image within world. You can download that workflow here.
PLEASE NOTE: you will need to change the domain from tablethabit.com to whatever your domain is. Otherwise your links won’t be right. Also, this only works if you have a custom website as the link it creates is based on a custom domain. If anyone knows a way to make this work with a Wordpress.com website I would love to know!
Congratulations! You just posted your blog using nothing but your iPad!
If you have any thoughts or ideas on how to improve this feel free to let me know on Twitter or get in contact with me.