Jeff Chandler wrote a post on Web Blog Tools Collection yesterday called Do You Post By Email? In the post, he asked if anyone was actually using the post by email ability that WordPress has had since at least version 1.5.
From the comments on Jeff’s article, most people have not used it because it’s incredibly limited in what can be posted—no images, HTML, video or formatting. So basically, you can only post text.
Also, it’s of limited use since most people who have access to email also have access to a regular computer. Since the blog posts that can posted by email are only text, typing on your cellphone’s keyboard takes forever.
Post by Email With Posterous
However, a free online service called Posterous was also mentioned. This lets you post not only text, but also images, videos, etc by email.
Posterous also allows you to link to your Flickr account, WordPress blogs, Blogger, Movable Type, Typepad, Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and more. This means not only can you post via email to those sites, you can post via email to ALL those sites simultaneously. No more making individual posts one by one to every site you have.
Benefits are pretty obvious for those with camera phones and a connection to the internet. Imagine being able to post directly from your phone or BlackBerry.
Posterous also gives you 1GB of space and a free blog on their site.
I couldn’t find any tutorials for Posterous, so let’s walk through:
- Posting via email with Posterous
- signing up for a Posterous account (optional)
- Linking your Flickr, WordPress, Facebook, etc accounts
- Posting to all account at once
Posting Via Email
This is seriously easy. It could not be simpler. Really.
- Go to www.posterous.com
- You don’t have to sign up for an account at this point, so click on Step 2: Email anything to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Your email client will open with email@example.com as the recipient. If you use Gmail, Hotmail, etc, just log into your webmail account and create a new email addressed simply to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Type your post as you want it. You can use HTML formatting in your posts and drag and drop photos, files or videos into your email. If you add more than 1 image, Posterous will create a simple gallery for you.
2 things to note at this point:
- If the email address you are sending from attaches a signature, you will want to highlight and remove it or this will be included in your posts.
Edit: If you don’t want to remove your signature by hand each time or are posting from an online service that adds a signature/ad at the end of your emails, type #end where you want your post to end and Posterous will ignore the rest. (Thanks, Alan)
- Posterous will use the first name in your email address as your name on their site. Make sure the email address you’re sending from contains your name. If you sign up for an account with Posterous, you can change your profile later though, so it’s not really a big deal
After you’ve written your post and attached/added your files, send your email and you’re done!
Editing and Removing Posts
You also have the option to edit your post or delete it altogether.
You can set a password for your blog as well. This requires signing up for an account though, but it’s free. This also lets you to choose your own username and address for your Posterous account and allows you to link to your blog(s), Flickr, Facebook, etc.
While you don’t have to create a Posterous account to post by email to your Posterous blog, if you want to follow the rest of the tutorial, you will need to sign up for an account.
Signing Up For a Posterous Account
Now, let’s password-protect your new blog and sign up for a Posterous account.
- In the email that Posterous sent you after your first post, click the link Click here to set a password for this site. This takes you to the Set a Password page.
- Choose a name for your site (ex: yourblog.posterous.com) and a password and click Sign Up
- You’re now at the Manage page where you can change your profile, set up more email addresses or mobile phones to post from, and set up your Autopost accounts.
Posting to Other Sites and Blogs With Autopost
Now, we can link other sites to your Posterous account and when you post to Posterous, all those other sites and services will be posted to as well.
Linking WordPress to Posterous
Let’s begin by linking our WordPress blog to Posterous
- Choose Autopost to Everywhere in the sidebar on the right
- You can now add an account to your Posterous account and link it
- On the Autopost to Everywhere page, click Add a service
- Let’s choose WordPress by clicking the More Blogs link
- Go to your WordPress blog and make sure XML-RPC is enabled in your WordPress settings
- Back in Posterous, type in your blog’s address and username/password
- Click the Advanced options link. By default, Posterous adds in a blurb at the bottom of every post. If you want to remove it, just highlight and delete.
- Click Save to complete
You will now see your WordPress blog listed in your linked services.
Link to Your Flickr Account
Now, let’s link a Flickr account to Posterous.
- Click Add a service and choose Flickr from the next screen
- Click Click here to authorize Posterous to access your Flickr account
- This takes you to Flickr’s site to sign in and confirm giving access to Posterous
- Click OK, I’ll Allow It and you’ll be returned to Posterous where you’ll see that it’s added to the Autopost to Everywhere page
Now you can follow the same basic steps to add more services and sites to Posterous if you want. All the sites that are linked to Posterous will be updated when you post to Posterous.
The neat thing is that when you write a post and send it to Posterous, the complete contents of your post get posted to WordPress, but only the photos will be added to your Flickr account. Neat, huh?
WordPress note: The thumbnails and galleries Posterous generates are 500 pixels wide, so make sure that your theme has at least 500px in width in the post area. Otherwise, it may throw off your layout.
Hopefully WordPress will improve their posting by email system soon. It would be nice if something like this was included right in WordPress. I guess we’ll just have to wait. Until then, Posterous seems like a great solution for posting by email.