Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Tools I use for blogging: Evernote

Blog Post Bonus: Download a PDF version of this blog post to read later.

This is one of a series of posts on the tools I use to run NicksWanderings.

The Evernote logo

The Evernote logo

What is Evernote?

Evernote is (and I am sure I have heard someone else describe it as this – so apologies to them for reusing) my “brain on the internet”. So what do I mean by that?

Well, Evernote can be viewed as your central “depository of information”. On the surface Evernote appears to be just a simple note taking application, but it is actually much much more than that.

The real power of Evernote is in its ease of use, its search capabilities, and the fact that it can be used on pretty much any platform (PC, Mac, android, iOS). There is even a plugin for your browser that can capture webpages, and this makes a great tool for when researching a trip.

Ease of use

To use Evernote just go along to their website and sign up for the free plan. You can then use Evernote via its web interface, or its desktop and mobile apps. The apps are very easy to use.

On the desktop version you just select a notebook and click (select) new note, and you have a new note. On the mobile app (which is where I create most of my blog notes) you can just click on the icons at the top of the screen (see below) to create a text note, a photo note, a reminder, a list, or an audio recording.

Evernote Mobile

Button to create new notes on Evernote Mobile

Evernote Search

The search capabilities are truly powerful and are aided by the use of tags that can be added to notes, and the ability to sort and store notes in notebooks.

The use of tags and notebooks are a matter of some debate in the Evernote community. Should you create notebooks? Should you use tags? Well, the answer to those questions is – do what works for you! Yes the search system is powerful enough to find a specific note from a few keywords without the use of notebooks and tags, but if you use notebooks and tags, in my opinion, searching becomes a lot easier.

Tags and Notebooks

Personally I like to use notebooks and tags. I tend to store all my trip information (hotel reservations, ticket invoices, car rentals, research on places to visit etc.) in a specific notebook for a given trip. I take material from the web (my research) using the handy browser plugin that will grab a webpage and send it to Evernote. And all flight information and hotel confirmations I will forward from my email account straight to Evernote using a special email address (only available in paid Evernote plans). I most probably won’t use tags in that notebook as I will know everything in it will be related to the trip.

For blogging I typically use two notebooks. One notebook is “posts in progress” and the other is “completed posts”. In the case of these notebooks I will use tags such as the name of the country, name of the region or town, and possibly the type attraction the post is about.

Cross Platform and syncing

The fact that Evernote can be easily used across a range of platforms, with which it will sync so that notes written on your phone will appear on your desktop and other devices, makes it an ideal application for blogging. I can start working on a blog post whilst out visiting a temple or museum, and then come back to my hotel room and find that the material has already synced through to my laptop for further editing and the addition of photos taken on my camera. This all makes my life as a blogger so much easier.

How do you use it for blogging?

Evernote is at the centre of my blogging and travel experiences. I use the program to store my itineraries, travel tickets, emergency contact details, research material on places and sites I am visiting, and also as my main note taking device when I’m out and about. I will typically start a blog post on my phone, and then finish it off later on the desktop version back in my room.

A typical blogging session with Evernote will run something like this:

  1. Arrive at site/tourist attraction which I wish to blog about.
  2. Log my location using Swarm and IFTTT (more information on how I use IFTTT for blogging), which will automatically create a new note in Evernote containing my location data (see image below). (Very hand if you later get your posts confused!)
  3. Add notes to the new note created using Swarm – these notes may be typed, dictated (if you have a network), recorded as a voice memo, or grabbed as photographs of information boards etc.
  4. Take photos on my phone to use in the post and add them directly to the note Swarm created in Evernote.
  5.  At the end of the day (once back in my room) flesh out and edit the post using the desktop app, add in any photos from my camera, and then transfer to my blog.
evernote blog stub

A typical place holder for a blog post in Evernote

One final bonus that comes with using Evernote as your blogging application is that the application can analyse the current post you are working on and suggest related articles that you may have already blogged about. Example of this can be seen below.

evernote_suggestions

Evernote suggestions for related posts

Summary

I have been writing blog posts for many years (in fact my first blog was around before blogging was even invented), and over that time the best workflow I’ve discovered, the one that I keep using, is the one I have described above using Evernote. It’s not perfect, but it works!

Blog Post Bonus: Download a PDF version of this blog post to read later.

Disclaimer

I have not been paid for the above endorsement. I also have no connection with the Evernote other than I have been an Evernote user for over six years, and I currently on the Premium Plan. None of the links in the above article are affiliate links.

PS. I started this blog post on my phone one day whilst waiting for a bus, I then edited and added to it using the desktop app, wrote some more of it on my phone whilst travelling on a train, and finally finished it off on the desktop app.

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