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Turbo Charge your Blogging

MozillaImage via Wikipedia

I have been scratching my head of late trying to figure out which tools will help me to cut down my time with blogging; so with the help of some other likeminded bloggers i have tested out some alternatives. I have picked out three of the top names in browser assisted applications, these are all browser extensions. So here goes!

The first application I tested was Scribefire, hugely popular with bloggers it has a lot of really useful attributes that can help in many ways. It does have a nice interface with enough editor tools to play around with, also it enables users to easily drag and drop formatted text from the Web into their blog(s), post entries, take notes, and optimize your ad inventory, directly through the Firefox browser. When ScribeFire opens, an account wizard will appear to help you connect to your blog. Here is a list of the blogging services that are compatible with ScribeFire).

ScribeFire posts the entry to your blog immediately. Your blog title will also appear in the right sidebar enabling you to go back and edit or delete your post.

Additionally ScribeFire allows you to:

* Categorize and tag your blog posts
* Upload images
* Set timestamps
* Save works-in-progress as notes
* Post an entry as a draft
* Share your posts on social websites
* Upload files via FTP

A relatively new aspect of Scribefire is the ability to integrate ads directly from the application on to your blog, this sounds pretty useful, you can see an example at the foot of this page it works a treat.

* Your banner ads are optimized by our patent pending ad technology that serves the highest paying ads automatically
* We are using our relationships with over 100 ad networks and our ad targeting technology and decision engine to make sure that the highest paying ad is always shown on every ad impression
* Our direct sales team is representing your website to agencies and direct advertisers
* You can login anytime to see consolidated reporting
I can see why ScribeFire is so popular with bloggers, it works well with Firefox or Mozilla browsers but it is not available to IE users which is a pity.

Next Option; Windows Live Writer;

Similar to the “BlogThis bookmarklets”, you can select web images, hyperlinks or any portion of a web page inside Firefox or IE and quickly publish them to your blog using the Blog This feature available separately.

Windows Live Writer will automatically insert the attribution links (source URL) in the blog posts. You can also customize these HTML snippets through Tools -> Options -> Blog This. A good example would be to include social bookmarking icons, Technorati cosmos, Sphere related posts, etc.

Resize Images using the Image Handles

Most of us may know this trick but still mentioning it here since it is simply the biggest time-saver for bloggers. Sometimes that web images don’t fit our blog layout so you can easily resize them right inside WLW by dragging the pointers near the image corners. Windows Live Writer will maintain a link to your source image for readers who like to view the image in full size.

Insert Blog Widgets, Google Adsense Referrals and other Javascript, play around with CSS.

Overall if used correctly windows live writer is a powerful tool for bloggers and can greatly enhance your productivity. Microsoft being Microsoft don’t have the same flexibility of open source but do have huge development resources, so you can’t really ignore future releases.

Third option Zemanta

Save Time with relevant content from all over the web delivered instantly as you blog.
Build Traffic with immediate tagged links created between your posts and others sharing related conversations.
You can use Zemanta anywhere on all popular browsers and blogging platforms. A very flexible application and i must say is a favourite of mine. What i like about it most is that you can work with this application inside your blogging editor; I have tried it in Blogger and WordPress and am very impressed.

Here are some of the key points:
They have imported CrunchBase and now link people and companies from the CrunchBase database.

This means that now you can write a post about your favourite new start-up and can easily link to their homepage and add images of their logo or people that founded the start-up. Pretty cool!

For more traffic hits and more authority for your blog, Zemanta can build your blog’s readership through:
Automated Links

Help your readers get the most out of your text by adding to its scope and depth of connected content.
Related Articles

Attract more readers to your post by linking to similar topics on other sites.

Looking Good

By generating a Photo Gallery of related images for each post you create, Zemanta gives your blog the good looks it deserves.

Zemanta automatically suggests the targeted tags you need for search engine optimization. Just click your selections and you’re done.
Reblog It

Like what another blogger says? Just click on Zemanta’s Reblog button at the end of their post and instantly snip a quote with your added comment. Easy enough!
Build the Conversation

Zemanta’s Reblog feature makes it easy to expand on conversational threads in the blogosphere-or to start your own. Just identify the quotable text you want and add your own comments to it to create a new post on your own blog.
Just Press Reblog

You can capture any text that has the ‘Reblog’ button appearing beneath it, as well as any articles listed on our popular page.

Without doubt I am a Zemanta fan the main reason; it works with you in real time as you blog and gives you relevant links, tags and pictures to pick for your blog. But most of all it hooks you up to the blogging community in a more meaningful way.
What’s next? Tell me about your choice of productivity tools for blogging i would really like to know so please leave a comment.  **Quick update added link to Kaalga, suggested by Benjamin**

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12 comments to Turbo Charge your Blogging

  • Bejamin Walker

    After writing an article on Zemanta, I received word of a product called kaalga.

    It isn’t as comprehensive as Zemanta but the links suggestion are a bit more deep - sometimes not as precise, but there is definitely a lot more suggestions.

    Just a little something extra to quicken up blog writing.

    - BenfromSonofjacob.org

  • MaxNo Gravatar

    Hi Ben, thanks for the tip, i will check it out and see if it merits a go in my blog. The one thing about Zementa that you have to watch, dont put to many links into your post becuase they are one way links that take the reader away from your blog.

    But i still prefer Zementa becuse of the way you can interact with the tags and links which you can use as trackbacks, the pics can be pretty touch and go, not a great choice, but they do brighten up the post.

  • Bejamin Walker

    I completely agree. However, I like to offer my reader a chance to completely understand the blog. Offering them a link ensures:

    1. They don’t continue reading the article not fully understanding the topic.

    2. They don’t leave the page forever by having to do a search on a topic.

    Obviously its good not to offer a link for every unique word. But, offering key terms - not a bad move.

  • BillNo Gravatar

    Hi Ben,
    I understand where your coming from, and i agree its a good thing to enlighten the reader and take them to links that compliment your post, it needs careful linking that gives true value to leave the reader satisfied and hopefully come back again.

  • Hi Guys,

    Just came across this discussion, and wanted to say that with Kaalga, you can add links to other posts in your blog and not only outgoing links. You define the url of your blog, and kaalga uses Yahoo search to find suggestions from it as well as from the web.

    -Amit, Kaalga developer.

  • Bejamin Walker

    @Bill, I completely agree with you. Obviously the linking needs to be in moderation.

    @Amit, I’m still in the process of testing Kaalga on my own blogs. Something that I’ve found useful with Kaalga is exactly that. The program makes it easier for you to send visitors to articles of yours. And to Bill and Max’s points, that can offer information as well as not take the reader away from your site. Two birds with one stone I guess.

  • Corealala

    Hello
    Nice site!

    Bye

  • I am reading your blog posts for a long time and this is my first comment at your blog because i like the post :) Please keep it up.

  • ellen page web

    Now thats what i call a good read, i have bookmarked your site and will certainly be reading more of your posts.

  • BillNo Gravatar

    I have been testing Kaalga out and the link suggestions are pretty gaff, i dont like it at all! I reinstated Zementa and find it much more intuitive. of course its not perfect and does seem to pull a lot of related information from Article base since my blog profile is mainly marketing and home biz.

    In the meantime i will keep testing Kaalga to see if there are other options that i have missed. Cheers guys’

  • Hi Bill,

    I’m sorry to hear that..
    We are in our very early stages, and would really like to improve, so can you please be more specific about what you didn’t like?
    (I’m not a native English speaker, so I’m not sure what gaff means, but I guess it’s something bad :) )
    Anyway, thanks for giving it a try.

    BTW, it works well side-by-side Zemanta.

  • MaxNo Gravatar

    Hi Amit,
    Sorry i didnt want to sound at all negative, its just that everybody wants whatever the application is to be up and running and to fit in within their needs. I do still have the plugin activated and use it to compliment Zementa.
    If Zementa runs out of link suggestions then i can turn to Kaalga for more.
    Zementa have recently upgraded their app to include more social linking and include Amazon to generate income.
    I will keep Kaalga on my system becuase i am allways looking for new and intuitive ways to produce my articles.

    Thanks for the comment and keep on developing, after all its guys like you that make blogging more enjoyable and less of a chore. )

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