Docs & Spreadsheets as a blogging tool
And by blogging I mean writing blog posts. You see, writing your blog post straight up in WordPress might seem like a good idea at the time, but go back and read your work. Does it kick ass? Probably not, since you most likely need a spell checker to actually deliver quality content on the grammatical side. I know that, having proof read about ten billions articles since I started my working career. Most in my native language, but not all of them.
English is not my native language, so I rely heavily on both spell checkers in my word processor as well as dictionaries (the old fashion type, with paper pages, actually – not very Web 2.0 of me) for sanity’s sake. Now, there aren’t that many errors in my English texts most of the time (not that a spell checker can find at least) but every now and then I have mispelled a wrod or mixed up the sentence in the words…
Spell checkers make my blog posts, well, make (more) sense. I use them for short posts as well as longer ones, and so should you. If you can’t afford Microsoft Office (Word having an excellent spell check tool) then OpenOffice.org is probably a good way to go. There are also spell checking plugins for WordPress and other blogging software, but I’m still to find one I think does the job as good as Word.
Gmail has a decent spell check, at least it does the job for me when I e-mail all you American bigwigs. So Google Docs & Spreadsheets – a fairly recent addition to the family, consisting of previously bought-up site Writely as well as Googles’ own (?) Spreadsheet service – might do the trick as well?
So here goes. I have written all this in Docs & Spreadsheets, which autosaves every now and then, and I’m pressing the Check spelling button now…
Yep, looks like Gmail. I’m baffled that Google hasn’t added blogging, blog, plugins or even Gmail (*gasp*) to their dictionaries, but hey, I know I got those right. And you know what, clicking them allows me to add them to the dictionary, sweet. I assume that’s my dictionary as I don’t want anyone else’ crappy scribblings… The spell checker also got “autosaves” as mispelled and suggests I split it in two. I won’t, though.
There’s another feature which I haven’t tried out yet. You can actually post your work to a blog by setting up some stuff in Docs & Spreadsheet settings. Blogger seems easy enough, and there are API’s ready for some other systems as well including Movable Type but not WordPress. Has anyone tried this to a greater extent? I’ve never been a real fan on auto publishing to my blogs – I prefer to use the post screen, but that’s just me. This post was all really about you writing valid English anyway…
Docs & Spreadsheets found two other mistakes, but I’ll let you find them on your own. I’m happy with the service and as a spell checker, as well as a simple word processor this works for me. That means it probably works for you and your blogging as well. Because I’m tired too read really interesting content with bad spelling, it’s boring and makes me rely on the meaning of the words less.
A good story, as well as a good blog post, is best told in a way that makes sense.
(Recheck – nothing new, I rock!)
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.
dictonaries – dictionaries
You spelled it right though, Thord on the following line.
Should be –
Because Iâ€™m too tired to read really interesting content containing bad spelling. Itâ€™s boring and makes me rely on the meaning of the words less.
Because Iâ€™m tired of reading really interesting content with bad spelling. Itâ€™s boring. The words simply have less meaning when inproperly spelled.
Cheers dude! I believe you do very well for having English as your second language. Much better than I do with my french which is my second language to English.
Firefox 2 includes spell check… and WordPress 2.0.5 will as well.
You’re an angel, Jessica! :)
I haven’t had the opportunity to really push Firefox 2’s spell check yet, do you find it good? WordPress 2.0.5 isn’t out yet but I’m curious to see how it fares agains Gmail, for instance.
You also misspelled the word misspell. I love irony.
Thanks for this, Thord. It was just was I needed to give it a try and I’m switching over. :)
There might be another one of those in there. ;)
I tend to do the same thing: fret about if or if not I’m going to try this kind of service or not, then read something about it that pushes me over the edge. Del.icio.us got this treatment and now I don’t know how I lived without it!
WordPress 2.0.5 will have a spell check? That’s cool. Back in 1.5.2 days I tried one of those plugins that practically swamped my server with its caching plus I can’t recall all the details but I think it was linking to a site on the www and it was down in the first month from popularity of the plugin? (I could be mistaken).
I just hope WordPress doesn’t make it a default for use under the Rich Text Editor mode only – because that (in my opinion) is the worst thing about the new wordpress … I always remove that option when I create new blogs. I like to see the code and type it actually, instead of hiliting and push a button. Then again, I also use my Tab button to tab over to the Preposting Timestamp section when I’m block posting in advance on the weekends. HART = Dos-Guy
Back to the article though .. I do not think it is right for some readers to boycott blogs just because there are spelling errors. (unless of course it’s like .. I h8 u 4 NoT deweeng it rite .. then perhaps because it’s annoying!) I mean – I type like I speak and I don’t carry a dictionary so, sometimes I might type phonetically. I might go back and fix any obvious grammar mistakes or times when I think I’ve said something but typed something entirely different.
I mean – there is NO spelling check that will correct me when I type that I have ten tows on my feat.
Content can sure be interesting to read even when it isn’t following English grammar, sure. However, there are quite a few readers out there who find that annoying and hard to read, and by not writing valid English you are alienating them.
Then again, there are quite a few who enjoy a relaxed language and doesn’t care at all if it’s correct grammar or not – as long as they understand they are happy.
As always you need to look at your readership and your target audience. Then decide how much treatment you should give your language.