A simple process to post to my personal blog from my iPhone.
I briefly mentioned this on my personal blog, Alvalog, but I wanted to create a proper blog post detailing the steps to set up a blog for posting from my iPhone. I recently migrated Techuisite from Medium to Ghost, and I'm still figuring out the process there. Ulysses may make a grand return from Drafts on my iPad Pro.
For my more personal and, for lack of a better term, simple blog, I wanted something more mobile. Alvalog is where I plan to post quick thoughts that you would normally see on social media, a place just for me. I like Blot.im, where Alvalog resides, and the simplicity of uploading photos and Markdown files to a folder in Dropbox to post is really great.
Before I delve into my iPhone setup process, I want to quickly go over how Blot works in a little more detail. I set up my domain and the theme on Blot, then connected it to a cloud storage location of my choice. Due to some Shortcuts access issues with Google Drive, I decided to use Dropbox, which I am still on the free tier. If my files become too large, I may need to upgrade, but 5 GB is fine for me right now.
After linking Dropbox to Blot, everything is pretty much ready to go. Now, if I want to post something, I just create a Markdown file (or a text file), and drop it into the folder called Posts that Blot uses to find and create blog posts. If I reference any images in my Markdown file, I make sure the same-named image is in the Images folder on Dropbox, and Blot knows to show that image within the blog post.
It's pretty straightforward and appealing for anyone who wants to start blogging without getting caught up in hosting complications. Blot only costs $4 a month, which is really cheap, and you have the ability to customize the CSS and HTML to make your blog look however you want. I am currently using the Blog theme and may change some elements later, but for now, I just wanted something simple to start posting.
Now, for the fun part. Next, I wanted to find a way to post from my iPhone without too much effort. I wanted to use Apple Notes, as it is a reliable app always available on my iPhone, and I knew it would work well with Shortcuts, which I knew would be a huge tool for this process.
I created a folder called Alvalog in Notes, and this is where I write all my blog posts. If I want to include photos in my posts, I have to move those to the Images folder in Dropbox manually and make sure to name them something that I will use to reference in my Markdown file. The name of the image also needs to begin with an underscore so it is ignored by Blot unless referenced in a Markdown file; otherwise, it will just post the image to your blog, which may be useful for some.
Blot uses the date of when you uploaded the document to the Posts folder to create the date metadata for your posts, so you don't have to worry about that. If you want to date something that is not today's date, you can start your Markdown with the date, and Blot will know to replace the date with the one you specified.
After I finish writing a blog post, upload any image in the Images folder, and reference that image, all I need to do next is bring up the Share Sheet and click on the "Post to Alvalog" shortcut, and boom, my post is live. If I don't have an image that I want to include, it is an even easier process, but overall, it makes blogging really easy and intuitive.
If you want to use the shortcut I created, you can download it below:
The "Post to Alvalog" shortcut is quite simple. All it does is receive whatever note I am in when I trigger the shortcut from the Share Sheet, get the title of the Apple Note, name the Markdown file the same, then move it to the Posts folder in Dropbox.
Once you have all the folders set up in the shortcut you are pretty much good to go. I love it since all I have to do is pull up the Apple Notes app, write a quick post, and click the Post To Alvalog shortcut. A lot of times I don't need to add an image and making it a linked post is easy with markdown.
We will see how much I use it over me writing longer posts here on Techuisite, but I like that I have a cheap and simple place to post things that I don't feel belong on this blog.