7 top tips for mobile blogging

What you need to know to blog from your mobile

You can make your blog even more immediate and up to date - by posting directly from your mobile phone. We take you through the essentials of moblogging...

1. Why you need a mobile blog

The world, his wife, his dog and a significant portion of his extended family, already write blogs. There are over 82 million blogs and 1.8 million blog updates a day on the internet - if you ain't got one, you ain't nobody.

Moblogging is only going to get bigger too with the increasing speed of 3G mobile internet connections - particularly with HSDPA and HSUPA technology - and the availability of 3 or even 5-megapixel cameraphones like Sony Ericsson's Cyber-shot models and Nokia's 5-megapixel N95. So what are you waiting for?

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2. What you need (hardware)

Put simply, moblogging is the easiest way to blog. All you need is a mobile phone that can send emails, preferably with attachments. Though to get the most out of it, you'll want a phone with a decent camera so you can take pics, then upload them straightaway to your online noticeboard.

If you're choosing a phone specifically for moblogging, think for a moment about what you're going to be doing with it. If you lean towards text-heavy posts, it's worth considering a phone with a Qwerty keyboard, such as the BlackBerry Curve or Nokia E70. If you really want to focus on the pics, one of Sony Ericsson's 3-megapixel Cyber-shot models like the K810i or Nokia's 5-megapixel N95 will be worth the investment.

3. What you need (software)

Some phones come with blogging software already installed. Sony Ericsson's K810i and others in its Cyber-shot collection come with Blogger, while Nokia's Symbian S60 smartphones include Lifeblog. Other manufacturers are also planning to release phones with blogging-friendly software pre-installed.

There's also a wide variety of Java applications which you can download to virtually any cameraphone, usually for free. As with deciding which phone you want to use, some are better for certain types of blog than others. Shozu is ideal for uploading pictures and captions, for example, while LiveJournal will allow you to make entries by voice, which will then be translated into text for the web (they charge for this though).

4. How to do it

Moblogging simply involves updating your blog from your mobile phone. You take a picture, add a caption, and send it by email to your weblog's address, where it will be automatically uploaded as your latest entry. Your blog may have been initiated from your phone or your PC, and you can add pretty much anything you like - text, pictures, video, audio, whatever.

Moblogs tend to take the form of photo journals with short captions for each pic, but mobloggers with Qwerty keyboards on their phones tend to make longer text entries. Also, it's easy to add more text when you're next at your PC.

Most moblog applications are free to use, though some have extra charges for extra features, and some standard weblogs charge extra for moblog facilities. You'll also pay your mobile operator's standard data transfer rates for sending attachments via email - so posting video or audio files this way can get pricey unless you subscribe to a flat-rate data package.

Check with your mobile operator (or look on its website) for the data deals they're currently offering (some cost as little as £5 a month).

5. Moblog tips

Be sure to save your blog's email address in your phone's address book so you can find it quickly.

Experiment with your phone's camera settings to see which picture size and resolution comes up best on your blog (most moblog sites will automatically resize your pics if they're too big).

Remember that it's not just the people you want to see your blog who may have access to it - anyone in the world can see your blog, unless your moblog server has security features.