Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Use Windows Live Writer {Beautify Your Blog Series}

how to use windows live writer

I am in love with Windows Live Writer and I’m going to explain how it works so well for me when I blog. I feel like this topic fits into my Beautify Your Blog Series because my posts look better than they did when I used Blogger’s post function to write my posts. Plus I can write a post more quickly. Windows Live Writer came automatically installed on my laptop but you can get it via free download from Microsoft. You can use this for any blogging site, it doesn’t have to be Blogger.

For me these are the features in Windows Live Writer that mean the most to me:
Resizing pictures
Adding a watermark
Adding alt text/title to a picture
Adding a hyperlink for text
Adding a hyperlink for a picture

Other nice features:
Word count
Automatic spell check
Editable HTML
Overall usability is similar to Microsoft Word

It’s really easy to set up Window Live Writer for your blog. Once you have downloaded Windows Live Writer, open it up and go to Add blog account. Follow the steps to connect your blog.
Windows Live Writer will download the theme to your blog including your background, color scheme and blog width.

How to use Windows Live Writer

You type in your post title in box #1. Underneath that you write your post. You can add a category or label in #2. Your labels from Blogger will automatically show up in the list. You can add more labels here and they will also display in Blogger. You can schedule your post date in #3. I use this feature all the time since I try to write multiple posts in one day and schedule them for a future date.

How to use Windows Live Writer

When I first starting blogging I felt really bogged down with photo editing. I was uploading my pictures to a different site, editing and saving. I felt like it took forever to process all my pictures before I was even ready to post. In Windows Live Writer you can do some basic edits to save you some time. (I do other edits in Picasa first since it automatically uploads my pictures. I also use Picmonkey if I want fancier editing tools.)
In order to upload a picture, Click on the arrow underneath Picture and choose From your computer.

How to use Windows Live Writer  add picture

If you want to resize your picture you can type in the width or length that you want on the Format Tab. You can also set a default size that will automatically resize your pictures when you upload them. If you need to crop your picture you can do it here as well. I usually crop my pictures before I upload them.

How to  resize picture in Windows Live Writer

You can automatically watermark your pictures here too. A watermark is just text on your pictures that shows where the source is. It’s a good way to let people that see your images in a search or on Pinterest know where the picture came from. I didn’t use watermarks at first because #1 I didn’t know what a watermark was and #2 it seemed like too much work to have to add one to every picture. Now it’s a breeze and I watermark all my pics.

If you select the Watermark button on the Format tab it brings up a little box for you to type in what your watermark will say and choose a font, size and position. If you click on the Set to Default button it will automatically watermark all your pictures.

The one shortcoming of this feature is that the watermark is text only and you can’t add a custom one. I am ok with that though because this is a huge time saver for me.

How add a watermark in Windows Live Writer

The next cool picture feature is found by click on the Alt text button. This lets you name your picture so it can be found easier in a Google Image Search. I do this on all of my pictures and I think it has helped to increase my traffic from Google Image Searches. If you are smart enough to rename your pictures when you save them with a relevant name, it will show up in the box for Alternate text and Title automatically. If not you can change the names.

How to add alt text in Windows Live Writer

You can also link your picture to a web address. I use this feature on my past projects page. Click on the Link to: button and choose Web Address. Type in the web address and when someone clicks on your picture it will take them to that link.

How to add a hyperlink to a picture in Windows Live Writer

You can also easily add a hyperlink for text too. On the home tab click on the Hyperlink button. This feature is cool because if you copy a web address before you click the button it will automatically display in the web address box. Also, if you highlight text in your post before clicking the button it will automatically display here too.

How to add a text hyperlink in Windows Live Writer

If you are like me and you like to edit your html occasionally you can still do that. Down in the bottom left corner there are three tabs. Edit is where you write your post. Preview will show you what the post will look like on your blog. Source is the html for your post and you can make edits there.

Windows Live Writer Edit Source Preview

When you are all done with your post you click Publish to publish the post to your blog. If you had entered a schedule date then it will post on that date. You can also post as a draft to your blog if you don’t want to publish it yet.

You can open old posts if you need to make edits to them. You can also save posts that you aren’t done with and come back to them later.

Publish Post in Windows Live Writer

I showed you the features that I use the most. This program is really easy to use and if you have used Microsoft Word in the past you will have no problem picking it up. I’m sure there are more great features I haven’t mentioned but I showed you the ones I used the most. I hope I have compelled you to try it out. By the way, there is no endorsement fees for me to mention this program (although I wish there was :P ) This is just my honest opinion about a program that makes my blogging life easier. If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them.

Check out the previous posts in my series:
How to make social media icons using Picmonkey
How to make a blog button using Picmonkey
How to make a blog header in Picmonkey
How to customize your blogger background

Upcoming posts:
How to make a Facebook cover photo
How to make a blog header part II
Resource Round Up

I may be linking up to one of these fabulous parties.