Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
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- Huawei P10 Strengths & Weaknesses [2 Months On] - July 13, 2017
- Avoid Perfectionism in Blog Design [Blogging Distractions] - July 9, 2017
Last updated on 7th of June 2017 after using Chromebooks for over 3 years and running this blog solely from my Chromebook.
This article is written by a person who started blogging on a Chromebook. 3 years on, he is still using and enjoying the Chromebook to manage his blog fully.
That person is me.
In these 3 years, Chromebook has been my only primary personal computer and I am delighted to say that all my blogging and writing needs are successfully met by a Chromebook so far.
I am going to take you on a journey of my complete blogging routine in this article. I will explain to you how I believe that a Chromebook is a cheap, cheerful and smart companion for all those bloggers who want to know about the potential of Chromebook in real-life situations. I want you to understand the potential of the Chromebooks in relation to blogging and managing a website.
I won’t be biased.
I will explain my 4 distinct phases in running this website. I will explain how I manage them all with my beloved Dell Chromebook 13 at the time of updating this article.
If you are thinking of getting a Chromebook or want to know more about the strengths or limitations of a Chromebook, stay with me and I am sure that at the end of this article you will have a flavour of my “Chromebooking” which will help you to make your decision based on your circumstances.
Don’t forget to share your opinion at the end in the comments section. I am sure me and the other readers will benefit from it.
Before I even think about writing my first word for the blog, I know that if I want to succeed as a blogger, it is vital for me to continuously learn, develop and grow my knowledge.
Jon Morrow has explained it all in this article here where he outlines how blogging is a representation of your own character, personality and style.
And there is no hiding from the fact that internet gives you that opportunity with so much ease and abundance. You just need to carefully plan and utilise this opportunity to your maximum benefit. It opens a whole world of resource for you to learn and develop your skills to become a successful blogger.
We are not talking about any rocket science here.
We are talking about simple, plain and to-the-point web surfing experience on Chromebook.
“I have been using computers and internet for over 22 years and I can easily say that the web surfing and browsing experience that I get on my Chromebook is the most enjoyable one that I have ever experienced.”
Chrome browser on my Chromebook is fast and agile.
ChromeOS is clever and practical. It is the most slick OS that I have ever used on a personal computer.
It opens pages quickly and does not normally shows signs of sluggishness. The apps and extensions enhance the functionality of your browsing environment and at the end of the day you get more done without distractions and sidetracking.
Have a look at this short video (03:41) which explains it all.
Reading Experience on Chromebooks
I used to use a free Chrome extension called “Clearly” (by Evernote).
A great little app which served me for years before Evernote decided to stop supporting it.
However, Evernote included the distraction-free reading feature in their core app “Evernote Web Clipper”.
On a page where you have an article or a substantial amount of text to read, the “simplified article” option within the “Web Clipper” will normally take all the distractions away and leave you with your main article to enjoy on a full screen. I have been using it for a few months now and can thoroughly recommend you to use it.
There have been hybrid Chromebooks (tablet + laptop modes in one machine) that have gained popularity in recent times. I have not used one personally but can imagine that the reading experience must be relatively better in tablet mode for those who like reading a lot on internet.
Audio and Visual Experience on Chromebooks
If you are a keen follower of audio programmes, podcasts and listening material, Chromebook is no different to any other laptop.
A set of internal speakers, a standard audio jack port and Bluetooth connection for wireless audio connectivity are all available to me on my Chromebook. To be fair, this is all I use if I have listening material on my Chromebook.
Finally, an important part of our surfing experience is watching videos.
Everyone of us watch videos and YouTube is one of the most famous repositories for videos on a wide variety of topics. As a blogger, I must say that it is a huge source of information and learning if you use it carefully. Most of the Chromebooks nowadays can handle videos easily and I never had any problem in running or playing a video from internet – even in 1080p (full HD) resolution with a few tabs open and running simultaneously.
In essence, if you choose your Chromebook carefully, it gives you a brilliant surfing experience in general. It is fast, to-the-point and agile.
“In a nutshell, for day to day surfing, reading, watching and listening on internet, Chromebook is a perfect candidate to offer you its services.”
I am going to be specific here about self-hosted WordPress blogs and for those who use this service.
WordPress script installation (the programme itself) is not done on your Chromebook or local drive etc. Instead your hosting service will provide you an option to install the WordPress programme on your space on their server. All processing, handling and technical work is done on your host provided server and you only see an end result in your browser window (and so as your blog visitors).
I have been using the WordPress and its back-end (admin panel) for more than 3 years now from my Chromebook. I never had any issues at all with my Chromebook not been able to manage it for me.
No error pages, white screens or browser messages. The Chrome browser is capable enough to easily handle the relatively lightweight WordPress setup through cloud.
Chrome browser has been excellent and robust. I never felt a need to go to any other browser to have a better and faster browsing and handling experience.
You might have your preference to use Safari, Firefox, Opera or Edge (previously Internet Explorer) but for me it is the Chrome all the way.
No other browser comes close to it.
It is the most widely used browser in the world at the time of writing this article. And there are valid reasons for that.
Ideas and Planning
I use a combination of three online tools for this purpose.
Evernote as my online journal for idea capturing and diary keeping.
Todoist for my task list management and general productivity.
G-Suite (Google Docs, Drive and GMail etc.) for storage, information, building a library resource and general documentation etc.
Gone are the days when everything was hard-copy and manual. It is all digital and online for most of us nowadays.
I am not going to go into the details of either Evernote, Todoist or Google apps/programmes but for the purpose of this article, I would like to mention that all of these cloud-based programmes offer web-based interfaces to access and work on from your Chromebook window.
They stay with me all the time.
“It does not matter if you use Wunderlist instead of Todoist, Dropbox instead of Google Drive or OneNote instead of Evernote. They are all well-manageable on a Chromebook – that is the key.”
As a blogger, ideas are important and you need to capture them as and when they come to you.
I keep a hard copy diary/journal when I am not having an access to my smartphone or Chromebook. When I come to my Chromebook, I record and programme it formally in Todoist. Similarly, some stuff from my hard copy diary gets transferred over to Evernote on a regular basis as well.
Software as a Service (SaaS) and cloud based computing is at its best in the Chromebook world. You don’t rely on installed software and programmes on your local hard drive. You instead use them remotely on robust servers and computers.
To me, this is the future.
What About Images and Graphics?
If you are a blogger, you are already aware of the importance of images in your articles and blog posts.
A minimum of at least one image per blog post is common and you will need certain degree of editing and software handling to create visually appealing images for your blog.
I use Canva for this purpose.
I call it my “photoshop” on Chromebook. There are other more advanced options available as well such as Pixlr etc. but for me, Canva is more than enough.
A web-based (cloud again) image editing service which is created with people in mind who want quick and desirable results without much technical knowledge of imaging and editing. All you need is your browser window and a half decent internet connection.
I agree that it can never replace a fully featured and advanced image editing programme but for your blogging needs, it is very likely that it should be more than enough.
Here is an example of a featured image I photographed myself and prepared in Canva to include in one of my recent articles.
I create and refine graphics and images in it.
Edit them, fine-tune them and then finally include them on my blog. I have written about Canva in detail in this article here if you would like to have a read.
A programme thoroughly recommended for bloggers and those who want to create visually appealing graphics without too much hassle.
Writing, the Main Part
The “bread and butter” for a blogger.
I use Google Docs for writing my blog posts. It is simple, easy to use and loaded with enough options for a writer of my level easily.
If you are a “Word” user, your closest option is “Google Docs”. If you are converting from Windows/Mac to a Chromebook, it can take some time to getting used to Google Docs using online and cloud-based environment – although you can use Google Docs in an offline mode as well.
Sometimes though, I want simplicity and distraction-free environment when I am writing.
And for that purpose I use a Chrome app called “Calmly Writer”.
I have written about the Calmly app in detail here but for the purpose of this article, all you need to know is that it is a small programme (app) that gets installed in your Chrome browser. You access it by clicking its icon and a simple writing screen appears where you can start writing your article or blog post.
It stores and saves your writing in real-time on your Google drive – hence a peace of mind that you will not lose your data.
It is cleverly designed and its writing interface is encouraging and a pleasant experience for writers and bloggers. They have an online website as well to try (with limited features) but their Chrome app is worth paying and trying for your writing needs on Chromebook.
Marketing is a big part of the blogging journey.
Writing and publishing good content is not enough on their own. You need to get it in front of as many eyeballs as you can.
Many marketing techniques and strategies in blogging do not require hi-tech hardware or software infrastructure to run. Marketing has its roots in human interface and technology always comes second. To date, I have not use any marketing service or product that I can not run on my Chromebook.
Social media is a big part of content marketing nowadays.
All common social media platforms have decent websites and interfaces which I had no issues with in accessing and using them from my Chromebook. Many of them had apps and extensions which make life even easier. One such extension which I love using and frequently enjoying is the “buffer app” for scheduling my updates on different platforms. I have written about it in detail in this article here.
Flipboard extension is another such example. The list is long. It all depends on which social media platforms you use in your blog marketing strategy.
Plain old email is next.
An important tool and a way of communication for building relationships and market your offering.
I use Gmail – part of the G Suite – can not praise it enough. Simple, reliable and fast.
It offers email service with my own domain name as I use the Google Apps Unlimited service – a paid version of the free Google apps. The two main drivers behind this decision to go for a paid service were the familiar and versatile Gmail interface and fully searchable vault where emails can be saved/archived for future retrieval.
Chromebooks boot fast – mine is around 7-8 seconds.
Chromebook battery generally lasts longer – mine is more than 7 hours with normal use.
Chromebooks don’t need much maintenance – no antivirus and malware worries and no manual OS updates.
Chromebook is relatively cheap – I don’t worry taking it out and about with me frequently. I don’t mind if they get minor scratch or scuff occasionally.
And most importantly, it is fast and efficient and does all my tasks.
Now you can see that why I mentioned in the beginning that a Chromebook is well-capable of handling your all blogging related activities and I have demonstrated it in this article with few examples as well. I hope this will help you to get a flavour of working with a Chromebook if you want to blog or write.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
They are not mega-expensive and many people use them as secondary devices. I bought one second-hand to see what they were all about. More than 30 months of “Chromebooking” and now I am writing this article saying that it has become my only personal computer and I love it.
“Yes, it is not for gaming and it is not for specialist software-based work (Photoshop, 3D Cad etc.) but for my blogging and general use, it has worked and served me like a charm.”
What do you think?
Do you agree that for most of us, Chromebooks are perfect personal computers for our day to day requirements?
If you a blogger or a writer, do you have any experience of working with Chromebooks?