If you are a blogger, you must have used or heard about Windows Live Writer. WLW is a great desktop client for blogging. It supports many services and platforms like WordPress, Blogger, TypePad etc. In this article we will focus on some of the main and important configurations which have to be setup before you start using Windows Live Writer.
1. Auto saving drafts
Backup should be an integral part of any digital data. This is because if anything fails, you have the backup to restore data to working condition very quickly. Windows Live Writer comes with this auto-save feature that can save your writing at regular interval. By default, the auto-saving feature is disabled. To enable it, go to “Tools -> Options -> Editing” and check “Automatically save drafts every __ minutes”.
2. Removing WLW customized smart quotes and dashes
One of the features of Windows Live Writer is that it can automatically replace the conventional quotes and double hyphens with smart quotes and dashes. This looks a bit stylish but the problem comes when we look at the source code. Google and other search engines do not seem to recognize smart quotes and dashes so they will put the ASCII value of smart quotes and dashes instead of the actual symbols. This is especially the case with meta titles and meta descriptions. It is always recommended to keep away from automatic smart quotes and dashes at least in headings. To turn these features off, go to “Tools -> Options -> Editing” and un-check the following:
- Replace hyphens with dash
- Replace “straight quotes” with “smart quotes”
- Replace other special characters
3. Windows Live Writer reminder options
Windows Live Writer can remind us of various options to be set like specifying a category or tag to make sure that we fill in the most important details of the post before it is published. To enable reminder options, go to “Tools -> Options -> Preferences” and check the following:
- Remind me to specify a title before publishing
- Remind me to add categories before publishing
- Remind me to add tags before publishing
4. Configuring spell check and dictionary
Windows Live Writer includes a dictionary and spell check module by default. To enable it, go to “Tools -> Options -> Spellings”. Here you can easily configure the dictionary you want to use for spell check. Please note that if you have installed English version of Windows Live Writer, only English dictionary will be available. You can install other language dictionaries by installing Windows Live Writer setup in that specific language. Windows Live Writer can check spellings in real time. This feature is very similar to Microsoft Word. If you don’t have auto spell check enabled, you can press the F7 hotkey to check spellings manually. Or you can also check spellings when publishing a post. This option is also available under “Tools -> Options -> Spellings”.
5. Configuring auto linking for SEO
No matter how advanced the search engines have become, they still rely on links to estimate the value of a certain page. Interlinking your own posts is the best way to give link power to the posts. Since the anchor text also plays a vital role in SEO, it also becomes necessary to control the flow of anchor text. One of the most powerful features of Windows Live Writer is that you can auto-link specific words to a specific URL. If you have configured auto-linking in WLW, you don’t have to worry to link to your previous posts while writing.
There are two ways to configure auto-linking in Windows Live Writer. One when you are inserting a link, you can check the following checkbox:
- Automatically link to this text
If you want to add your text and URL and make a custom interlinking database, you can go to “Tools -> Options -> Auto Linking”.
6. Configuring Ping Servers
Once Matt Cutts, the head of anti-spam team of Google was asked about why the scrapper content sites were ranking above the original site. One of the reasons he gave was that the original site was not using Pinging services and scrapper sites were being indexed sooner than the original site. This made Google think that the scrapper site was the original creator of the content. To avoid this problem, Windows Live Writer comes with an option to ping servers automatically when publishing a post.
If you are using WordPress, you can use the default list of XML-RPC ping services list. Other alternatives include Ping Shark which pings 60 services for free. If you are using Feedburner as your RSS Feed provider, you can also configure Feedburner to ping different services. To add ping services to Windows Live Writer, go to “Tools -> Options -> Ping Servers”.
7. Configuring image properties
The image properties can be configured when inserting images. After inserting an image, select the image to configure its properties. You can configure the layout, borders, margins and linking properties of the image. You can also set maximum image size in advanced options. If you want all your pictures to have the same properties as the current one, you can safely click on “Save settings as default” in the image properties.
8. Making use of plugins
The functionality of Windows Live Writer can be extend by the use of plugins. You can browse through Windows Live Writer plugins repository.
Extra tips: Backing up Windows Live Writer
Backing up Windows Live Writer settings and data allows you to restore it on another location. WLWBackup is a great plugin which can backup all the settings and data of WLW. This comes in handy when changing Operating Systems.
What configurations do you make when using Windows Live Writer? Please share with us in the comments below.