As far as advice I give concerning eJournals, the service I recommend above all others is the industry standard for online journaling- Penzu. This solid journal website is what CNET called “the most realistic re-creation of paper I’ve seen on the Web” and what I recently gave the highest recommendation in the ebook Modern Journaling, saying “As far as online journals go, it is a Penzu world and pretty much everyone else is playing catch up.”
Penzu has an incredible free service that allows you to journal from any computer and offers several great features including unlimited storage and the ability to upload pictures (even from Flickr). It is so popular that many of you have probably used it at one time or another. What some don’t know, however, is that for $19 a year you can have access to pretty much every feature known to the digital journaling community by signing up for Penzu Pro. This includes the incredible ability to update it from most smartphones and keep separate journals for separate people. This means that you can use Penzu for a low price which works out to just over 5 pennies per day, 37 cents per week or $1.58 per month. To put this in perspective, you could pay for Penzu 10 times over… and still not pay as much as you would for Netflix. Not bad for the top of the line.
Put simply, if you are serious about keeping a journal, subscribe to Penzu Pro and you will never be disappointed with your journal again. Ever.
To put more meat to this recommendation, I have compiled 37 reasons why you should use not just Penzu, but Penzu Pro.
37 Reasons to Use Penzu Pro
1. Smartphone Access
A smattering of the online journal competition will allow you to access their service via a limited mobile site or if your device has flash (such as some Androids), but these barely work. Penzu one-ups everyone by offering actual smartphone apps that you can download for free and sync with the same journal you update from your computer.
2. Multiple Journals
Keeping a single journal is so 2010. Penzu allows you to keep entirely separate journals so that you can keep one for your dream journal, one for your gratitude journal and even ones for your children who are too young to keep them for themselves. I’ve only see this feature in one or two other journal applications.
Never get that sinking feeling that you forgot to save your entry because Penzu automatically does this frequently as you write. Don’t worry, you can manually save it whenever you want as well.
That’s right, you can print your Penzu entries (which we should all do from time to time). Penzu Pro even allows you to print multiple entries at a time.
5. Back Dating
I have spoken before about a very cool trick where you collect emails from your sent folder and use them for entries, especially for periods of time where you weren’t keeping a journal. This is only possible with the upgrade because it allows you to change the date of any entry.
Dozens of them.
7. Spell Check
The most amazing invention since the crutches.
8. Entries via Email
This is an amazing feature that allow you to simply send an email to a special address and that email will automatically be included as an entry. This is especially useful in situations such as if your work limits the websites you can access but allows email. “No I’m not writing in my journal, I’m emailing!”
Get stuck no more. These simple phrases will dislodge those brain farts and help you add more meaningful thoughts.
10. Import Live Journal Entries
If you have ever used the journal/blogging service Live Journal you might have a bunch of great stuff you want to include with your Penzu journal. With the upgraded service you can import those posts right in with the rest of your entires.
11. Easy Navigation
The Penzu crew has taken the time to make this great website not only look good, but also easy to move around in. You can quickly flip between entries, sort by tags or sort by journal- just to name a few of the ways you can get around.
If the plain white paper doesn’t do it for you, the Pro service allows you to not only change the paper (pad) style but the backgrounds as well. You can either choose from dozens of built in paper or backgrounds and can even make your own! Watch my video review below to see for yourself.
13. Image Download
This neat feature allows you to upload higher resolution photos into your entries and then download them later in the same resolution. This means that his is another way to safely store your pics in the ‘cloud’.
14. Military Grade Encryption
The military scrambles their files using special encryption. Doesn’t your journal deserve the same?
Best way to navigate, ever.
Offering the relatively new way to organize, tags allow entries to be grouped together with like subjects. You have probably already used this with blogs, pictures or other applications. You can also sort entries via tags and not just chronologically.
17. Rich Text Formatting
Much is lost in the translation when words go from spoken or thought to written. RTF allows you to use bold italic underline and more to give more meaning to your words.
18. Import Posts from RSS and XML
Similar to Live Journal import, Penzu Pro also allows you to import via RSS and XML. This means that you can import posts from any blog into your journal. Sweet!
19. Move Entries
Once an entry is written it isn’t just stuck forever. Instead, you can later move it- even from one of your journals to another- if you decide to in the future.
20. Default Font
This allows you to choose your favorite font and set it as a default so that it will be there to greet you every time you log in.
21. Export to PDF
Basically the coolest feature ever. This gives you basically complete control over your journal and what you do with it.
22. Auto Logout
Don’t ever worry about whether you logged out or not because Penzu will automatically boot you if you don’t. This is great for security and privacy.
23. Email Reminders
If you have troubles remembering to write in your journal, Penzu’s email reminders will give you that not-so-subtle nudge you need to make it a habit.
24. Available Everywhere
Since Penzu is browser based, you can use it on any computer with an internet connection. This could be at work, vacation or from various computers in your own house. This also means that it doesn’t matter if you use a Mac or PC.
25. Looking Glass
Get snippets of entries sent to you in the ‘future’ a week, month or year in advance.
26. Always Backed Up
Because Penzu is an online journal, your data is never saved on your hard drive. This protects you against computer crashes, house fires and pretty much any other calamity.
27. Password protection
This should be standard for eJournals, but surprisingly I have still seen some that doesn’t have it. The fact that Penzu has good password protection allows you to open up in your entries.
28. Unlimited Memory
The last thing you want to think about when you journal is you MB upload limit. Fortunately you don’t have to worry with Penzu.
29. Social Features
I have argued that you have to be very careful about social features in eJournals. Still, it can add a nice touch when there is something you want to share with friends or family. Not only can you share entries via email and public link, but those entries can be commented on as well. Luckily this is most definitely an ‘opt-in’ feature so you are in control.
30. Custom Avatar
Just another way to make your journal, your journal.
31. Time Zone Controls
Make sure that you are posting your entries with your own time zone. This is especially important because the time is stamped on each one.
32. Post Editing
If you are reading your old entries and realize you made an error, you can just hop right in and fix it! This is also a cool trick if you want to comment on thoughts you had in the past. When you write those comments, use a different color and/or font so that you can tell that it is a future comment.
If you like the service and are sure you want to continue, you can just sign up for auto-renew. Of course you can opt out of this as well at any time.
When you are looking at your journal where it lists all of your entries, you can just click on the eye button and a preview will pop up so that you can see if it is the one your are looking for.
35. 30 Day Guarantee
Try Penzu Pro absolutely risk free with the 30 day guarantee. If you aren’t satisfied, get a full refund!
36. Flickr Integration
Quickly and easily insert pictures you have stored in your Flickr account! You can also import pictures from your computer, of course, but that’s just so old school.
37. Bottomless Entries
While Twitter and even some eJournals have popularized putting limits on entries, you don’t have to worry about running out of characters with Penzu. Just keep writing and writing. But not like this post, because this is the last reason.
So, just click here to sign up and see what all of the buzz is about.
Good luck and check in at Easy Journaling often to get the most out of your Penzu experience!