Ok, I have been officially blogging for 1 year, 2 months and 11 days and have written 25 articles. While it may not make me an expert in blogging, I can safely say I have some experience doing it.

Originally, I used Text Edit or BBEdit to write the articles, then I would cut and paste them into the New Post window on Blogger where I would tweak them, add links and upload pictures.

Then I graduated to using just the browser to write the posts. But, depending on the browser, I would get different results. Firefox gave me full set of editing controls, Safari gave me a more limited set.

Also, I was always afraid I would lose what I had written if the browser unexpectedly quit or if I decided to move to another provider for my blog. In addition, you always have to wait between some commands in order to be able to save a draft or preview or publish your post.

Then I stumbled upon offline blog editors. These programs allow you the convenience of an email or word processor interface in addition to being able to manage and upload your posts when you’re done. Nice. In fact, I am writing this post using a program called MarsEdit. Let’s hear it for another local software programmer!

Can you say “WOW”? Sure you can! I downloaded, installed and setup this program, retrieved all my past posts and setup my account and started writing. Total startup time: less than 5 minutes. Read the manual? Nah! I’m not even sure there is one.

MarsEdit supports multiple blogs, on multiple blogging systems, including Blogger, WordPress, TypePad and Movable Type. It uploads images along with your posts. Save drafts, preview posts, edit previous posts, spell-checking, add HTML tags, even build your own. You can even tag posts with category labels for quick sorts along with name, date and Weblog sorts.

Then there are the more esoteric features supported like automatic pinging of blog search engines, support for third-party text filters and bookmarklets. Also, MarsEdit can use an external edit like BBEdit and Textwrangler. In addition, it’s fully Apple-Scriptable.

Anything missing? Well, it would be nice to have a count or statistics feature in the Edit window so you can tell how many posts either overall or by Weblog you have made and maybe how many have visited the site (maybe a tie-in to a stat-tracking page like Google Analytics). And currently, there is no image upload feature for Blogger (dang!) but that seems to be a Blogger issue more than MarsEdit, since Blogger doesn’t support external image uploads – yet. But after reading some forum posts, that feature is on it’s way. That’s about it, other than the price.

At $24.95, it’s an expensive alternative to the existing, free methods of posting. If you manage multiple blogs, it pays for itself with a single user interface and multiple blog access. Maybe a less expensive version for maintaining a single blog would lure more users. A regular and a Pro version, say. But overall, an excellent, well-designed application.