Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


SubscribeFollow me on TwitterLinked In Stumble Upon What I Digg Email me

Essential Tools: Successful Blog Style

By Char

Yesterday I had a great conversation with Liz at Successful Blog while she was interviewing me for her Blogger A Day (B.A.D.) series. As we neared the end of our discussion, I asked her to give me her top three tools that she must have in her day-to-day operations for blogging and business. Here are her picks:

1. Wireless Mouse – A wireless mouse is the single most important tool for Liz. She figures that anyone without one, especially Mac users, are just crazy.

2. Graphics Program – It doesn’t have to to be fancy or expensive, and often Paint will do. Liz likes to give her posts a personal touch using some fancy fonts and cool badges, and therefore she needs to be able to create and edit images.

3. Skype – Without Skype , think of the phone bills!!! Skype allows Liz to talk with Bloggers all over the world without spending a dime. We were talking about our vision for the next generation of Skype – one that incorporates the visual aspect of communication similar to SlideShare or GoToMeeting .

What’s in your toolbox? I am thinking about making this a regular feature on this site and would love to get your input.



At my last company, I brought my own wireless mouse. I thought nothing more about it until I sat a editor’s computer and had to scroll through 40 page Word document. I immediately went to my communications coordinator and arranged for IT to purchase wireless Mouse(s) for every member of my department. The inefficiency of using the scroll bar so frustrated me. I had forgotten what a pain it was. :)


3 excellent tools. Thanks for sharing them.

I would say that a wireless keyboard is nearly a necessity as well, at least for desktop use. No more kicked loose cables in mid-sentence.

I’d also say that a portable USB drive for transporting your files would be a very worthwhile addition to your toolkit.

Also, a wireless printer or a way to print wirelessly at your home. If you’re a laptop user and a desktop user, you need a way to print out your stuff. I don’t have this yet, and it drives me nuts.

I would also recommend a program like CutePDF to PDF anything you want to save that you do online but you don’t need a hard copy printed out.


Phil – Thanks for stopping in and sharing your favorites! I am very familiar with the “Cute” line as I used to swear by Cute FTP. I’ll have to grab CutePDF, too. Right now I use Macromedia’s Flash Paper to create PDFs.

I am also a huge fan of wireless everything. I will say that my Mac is much better at playing the wireless game than my PCs are. Reminds me of the commercials…


Hi Char,

I’ve not stepped into the wireless world yet; the day will come soon, though.

Being here now, it’s a wonder I didn’t come over sooner. You have some really good stuff.



I’ve not gone wireless on anything yet either. I’m such a creature of habit! I know that’s so bad – especially when it comes to working via the internet.

It’s taken me a while to get talked into Firefox, but at long last, I’m going for the change – hopefully this will give me the boost I need to keep going until they finally offer something other than dialup in my area.

I’m too cheap for DirectTV so DSL is my only option and I certainly hope it’s worth waiting for.


Great post, as usual. I swear by’s products and have used their SnagIt to get images from the web (and edit them) for years. I wouldn’t even try another one (I’ve tried others but this is the easiest/best for me, with no graphics ability). Also, I’ve been using the 30 day trial and will buy the license to the video recording software as I’ve already used it to record tutorials of my software. It literally takes one or two additional minutes to create a 2 minute tutorial – and has a great filesize when done. Very very cool stuff from TechSmith. Here are some examples of the tutorials (I haven’t taken the time to learn all the cool stuff although I need to):


I use a wireless mouse on the desktop, but on the laptop I use wired/trackpad. Skype here is blocked by the ISP, so that their International call revenues arent affected.


Thanks everyone for stopping in! I love learning about new tools that make our daily lives more efficient (or more fun!)

Leave a Comment


Team Training NE Celiac Family