9 Firefox Plugins for Easier Blogging

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Blogging isn’t hard, but it can be a hassle. You collect information from around the web, then keep up with the sources and links, write the blog post, tweak your on-page SEO, find an image, check the links, and that’s not even taking into consideration the linkbuilding, maintenance and competitive analysis. Here are nine free Firefox plugs that can help you spend more time generating content and less time chasing details.

Research

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Trail Mix Activities — Collect information on the web and store it in a handy sidebar. Just drag and drop images or text clips to a blue box on the sidebar, and store them until you’re ready to use them later. Collect clips, bookmarks, and images from the web or images and documents from your hard drive and keep them available for later. When you’re done with the blog post or don’t need the information anymore, you can just delete it. No need to clog up long-term disk storage with data or a link you’ll only use once.

Blogging Clients

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Deepest Sender and Scribefire Next — With either of these two blogging clients, you can post to any of your blogs from a window of your browser. They both work with a variety of blogging platforms, and they both offer the option of writing in WYSIWYG or HTML. With either one, you can apply the category as you input the post. Both allow you to open and revise old posts. Both will hold your post until you’re ready to publish and to create a post while your computer is offline.

scribefire

Scribefire Next comes loaded with features. It gives you a field to write your excerpt, if your blog uses that, and other user-defined fields. You can add tags. You can schedule a post or post to "private" — but not to "draft." Deepest Sender’s interface is clean and undistracting. It doesn’t have all the features Scribefire has — no tags, no excerpt. It does have a draft button, which I prefer over Scribefire’s "scheduled" or "private." But having used both, I turn back to Deepest Sender when I just want to write a post. They’re comparable browser-based blogging clients, both with enough features and strengths that it comes down to user preference.

On-Page SEO

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SEO Blogger — WordTracker Labs brings you SEO Blogger a free firefox plugin to help you check your keyword use as you write. In the top module, you pick keywords and get comparative traffic figures. From there, you add them to a working list in the bottom module, and the tool keeps track of the number of uses and the keyword density figures. With just a quick look, you can make sure you’ve got your keywords in often enough that Google knows what you’re writing about but not so many times that you get hit for keyword stuffing.

Image and Link Suggestions

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Zemanta — Add images and links from right within your blogging window with the Zemanta plugin (also available as a server-side plugin for self-hosted blogs). As you write, Zemanta analyzes your text and offers images, links, and related posts that it thinks might be relevant. Don’t like the ones it suggests? You can put a word into a search field, and it will bring expand your search to include your terms. It also offers informational links for words that appear in your text — to company websites, Wikipedia, your choice. Just click, and the link is in place.

Outbound links to authority sites are good for search engine optimization. And you can put in your Amazon.com affiliate code, and it will link to books and other products that Amazon sells. One caveat is that the pictures tend to be small and don’t reside on your site. That means that you can’t change the size, you can’t use them for feature photos (if your theme uses that), and if the other website changes, you lose your image. You can, however, sacrifice the one-click ease and go directly to the site Zemanta finds and download the photo. Even the search function alone can be a big help.

Commenting

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Resizeable Text Area — This handy little Firefox plugin does the small but useful task of increasing the size of text boxes in blogs, forums, comment areas. If you’ve ever been frustrated by the two or three lines you can see as you’re writing, you’ll be glad to find a drag handle so that you can just open it out as far as you want.

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CoComment — Comments are a powerful way to increase your exposure and traffic — not to mention SEO linking. And when you comment, half the fun is seeing if anybody continues the conversation. One way to handle that is to subscribe to future comments — if that’s an option on the blog. But then you get emails from the site long after the conversation has faded from memory. CoComment is a Firefox plugin that tracks your comments and stores them at coComment.com. You can follow all your conversations on your schedule without clogging up your inbox.

Competitive Analysis

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Search Status — Wondering just how well that other site is really doing? Search Status gives you all kinds of performance information about any site you land on — Alexa, Google, Compete, and Linkscape rankings. It will also highlight no-follow links, give WhoIs information, list backlinks, keyword density, and more. Search Status can make every page an object lesson.

Website Diagnostics

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Firebug — Speed is one factor Google uses in assigning authority to your site. Like a lot of people, the robots apparently get bored and move on if it doesn’t load fast enough. Firebug is a free Firefox plugin that will tell you if your site is slow and why. It also helps you analyze your CSS and HTML, and check for Javascript errors. But if all it did was tell you if your site is too slow, that would be a good thing all by itself.

This post was written by Jan Bear, who gives book marketing tips at Market Your Book She also builds websites for writers and other creative professionals.

4 Useful Weather Add-Ons for Firefox

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Firefox – the browser which can do practically anything has a number of really useful weather add-ons as well.  Here are 4 of the best.

1. How to get long term weather conditions

forecastfox

Extremely customizable, and simple to use, Forecastfox is perhaps the most popular weather related Firefox add-ons.  The weather updates are very simple, does not get in the way of your browsing experience.

2. How to determine air quality

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AniWeather is perhaps the most full featured off all the Firefox add-ons for weather.  It even provides air quality monitors so you can check on whether it’s a good idea to be leaving the house today.  The only drawback is that the more advanced features are only available in the USA.

3. How to get weather satellite images

1clickweather

1-click weather is a weather forecast add-on which, on top of the normal weather forecasts, also shows you international weather satellite images. 

4. How to get wind information for sailing

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Windfox is an add-on designed specially for sailing.  It provides key weather updates focusing on wind, and even has a wind monitor which will alert you in your firefox statusbar when ideal sailing conditions are met so you can shut down the computer and go sailing.

Do you check the weather online?  Tell us in the comments :)

How to Pick the BEST Firefox Extensions to Match Your Personality

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Because Firefox is an open-source fully customizable web browser, there literally thousands of Firefox extensions which can be used to tweak your Internet experience any which way you like.

When the community was starting to grow, the kind folks at Mozilla put together a section for recommended extensions to help new users get the best extensions, but because the extension ecosystem has grown so large, even that section has become unwieldy. 

Recognizing the fact that it’s going to be incredibly difficult to define the ˜best extensions’ because everyone is different, Mozilla has put together a tool which suggests useful extensions based on the type of person you are. 

Are you a social butterfly?  Hook up Firefox with extensions for easier social networking like Facebook and Twitter.  If you’re a shutterbug, there are also suggestions on great photo and imaging extensions you can try.  There’s even something for music lovers, news junkies, and shopaholics, and many more personality types.

Fashion your Firefox today!

What are your favorite Firefox extensions?  Tell us in the comments

Top 5 Helpful Foreign Language Firefox Extensions

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It may come as a surprise to most people that when it comes to languages used on the web, English only accounts for 30.5% of all Internet users.  If you’re using the Firefox browser, here are some free extensions to bridge any language gap you come across on the web. 

1. How to easily switch language dictionaries within Firefox

One of the key features of Firefox is it’s built in spell checker.  This of course goes awry if you’re typing in another language.  Fortunately, you can download dictionaries for other languages, and "Dictionary Switcher" is an extension you can use to toggle languages automatically so you’re always using the correct dictionary when you’re surfing the web.

2. How to translate major languages fast

gTranslate is an extension which hooks onto Google’s translation engine, so all you need to do is select some text, right-click and it will translate it for you on the spot.  What I also like about it is that it can even automatically detect the language on the site so it saves you more time.

3. How to learn Chinese by surfing the web

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"Perapera-kun" is a translation tool which goes beyond basic Chinese to English translation work. Working with both Simplified and Traditional characters, just hover your cursor over Chinese text and you’ll get definitions, and an option further explore a selected word, e.g. whether it is a noun, verb etc.  Not only that, it also allows you to export words to a file to study later.

4. How to type in Indian languages in web pages

Indian languages are often overlooked when it comes to web translation tools.  The IndicIME toolbar project addresses that by helping users who want to key in text in Indian Languages in Web pages (Web forms, Emails ) but don’t want to localize their entire Operating System or Browser Application.

It currently supports the following languages:

  • Devanagari (Hindi, Sanskrit, Marathi)
  • Bengali
  • Gurumukhi (Punjabi)
  • Gujarathi
  • Kannada
  • Malayalam
  • Oriya
  • Tamil
  • Telugu
  • 5. How to quickly type in accented & international characters

    The Firefox extension "abcTajpu" allows you to type in accented letters, international characters, and various symbols into Firefox or Thunderbird, either simply by using a context menu or quickly by keyboard macro (you can even define your own).  Fantastic especially if you’re a heavy European language web user.

    What other language tools do you use?  Tell us in the comments!

    How to Backup ANY Browser – 5 Tips for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, and Opera

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    No matter which browser you’ve picked for everyday use – chances are you’ve customized your browser to make it your own.  Here are 5 free tools which will let you backup and preserve your browser profile, so all the tweaking you’ve done is safe.

    1. How to backup Google Chrome

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    Google’s shiny new browser doesn’t come with extensions yet – but ‘Google Chrome Backup’ will help you save all your bookmarks and settings.  Not only that, you can easily create multiple user profiles (each with different settings/bookmarks) and switch between them quickly.

    2. How to backup Firefox & Flock

    mozbackup

    Mozbackup is a cross Mozilla backup utility which allows you to backup and restore bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions, cache etc.  It works for Firefox, Flock, and any of the other Mozilla based browsers eg. the Sea Monkey browser.

    3. How to backup Safari

    afari

    (Mac Only) Apple provides an uncharacteristically round-about way of backing up your bookmarks on its support portal, but if you’re interested in getting a tool which would help automate the process, try out ‘Safari Backup And Restore’

    4. How to backup Internet Explorer

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    BackRex Internet Explorer Backup is a backup and restore tool for Internet Explorer. It allows you to backup favorites, history, proxy settings, fonts, autocomplete passwords and cookies.  Not only that – it supports backups across different versions of IE eg. IE 6 to IE7 and vice versa.

    5. How to backup Opera

    opera

    The good folks at Opera were the only browser group to actually release a proper official backup utility for their browser, and as a result – it’s a top class product called OperaFly.  Aside from handling the basic backups, it also has the ability to backup and restore to/from an FTP server, send backups via email, and to restore backups from a http site.  It also allows for pre-scheduled backups and automatic backups when the browser is closed.