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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.