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Five Ways Posterous Can Make Your Online Life Easier

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Patrice-Anne Rutledge, author of Using LinkedIn (and many other business technology titles), suggests five ways the posting and sharing site Posterous can make your online life easier. Far more than a simple posting tool, Posterous enables you to publish a blog or podcast, syndicate your content on the Web, create a private online community, and much more.
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Posterous is a web publishing platform whose tagline is "the easiest way to post and share anything." Although simple posting by email is its trademark feature, Posterous is far more than an online posting tool. In this article, you'll learn how to use Posterous to create a full-featured blog, post on the Web from anywhere, syndicate your content, create a private online community, and publish a podcast.

Creating a Blog: From Simple to Sophisticated

Posterous is a great blogging tool and a solid alternative to Blogger or WordPress. Granted, Posterous doesn't have all the bells and whistles that WordPress and its many plug-ins provide, but Posterous is surprisingly powerful considering its simplicity.

If you're not very tech-savvy or you just want a basic blog, you can get up and running on Posterous quickly. On the other hand, if you're looking for a full-featured blog, Posterous offers many features for the sophisticated blogger, such as publishing on a custom domain, adding Google Analytics, creating a custom theme, and more. Another alternative is to use your Posterous site to complement your regular blog—providing a place where you can post shorter items, share interesting content you find on the Web, publish your lifestream, and link back to the best posts on your own blog. This is how I use Posterous.

To get started with Posterous, you first must sign up for an account. Before you post anything, be sure to set up your account information, activate your phone (if you want to post via your mobile device), and create your profile. You can do all this by clicking the Your Account button in the left sidebar. Then name your site (you can create multiple sites if you want), set your privacy level, and select a theme. If you just want a basic blog, you should be ready to post at this point. Figure 1 shows a sample Posterous blog.

Figure 1 Posterous makes blogging simple.

You can start posting on your Posterous blog from scratch, or you can import blog posts from an existing site, such as a blog on Blogger, Tumblr, Vox, Xanga, Squarespace, LiveJournal, TypePad, Ning, Windows Live Spaces, Movable Type, or WordPress. To learn more about switching to Posterous from another platform, see the "Switch to Posterous" page.

If you really want to tap the full potential of Posterous, consider the following options (all handled on the Settings page for your blog):

  • Set up your Posterous blog on a custom domain. By default, your Posterous blog uses the Posterous.com domain name. For example, my Posterous blog is at http://patricerutledge.posterous.com/. Although this setup is fine for casual use or for posting supplemental content, you might want to map your blog to a custom domain (as I did with http://www.patricerutledge.com) if you use Posterous to host your primary blog.
  • Customize your theme. Posterous allows you to choose from a variety of ready-made themes for your blog. For many users, these themes are all they need. You can also modify colors (on select themes) and upload a custom header. If you know HTML or CSS, you can make additional modifications to your chosen theme or even create your own Posterous theme.
  • Add Google Analytics. Posterous offers basic site statistics such as the number of post views, site views, and subscribers. If you want more insight into who is visiting your blog, where they're coming from, and what they're reading, consider adding Google Analytics to your site. To do so, you first need to sign up for a free Google Analytics account and add your Posterous blog. Then enter your Google Analytics Domain ID in Posterous (it usually has the format UA-123456-1). Within a day or so, you can start viewing your Posterous statistics on Google Analytics.
  • Add a FeedBurner RSS feed. Posterous adds a Follow This Posterous RSS button to every site so that your readers can use their favorite feed reader to follow what you have to say. If you want even more feed flexibility, advanced statistics, and email subscriptions, you can burn a feed with the popular feed tool FeedBurner. Sign up with FeedBurner and then enter your new feed URL in Posterous.
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