Growing up, I created dozens and dozens of blogs on nearly every subject that interested me. I’ve had software development blogs, video game blogs, religious blogs, mini-blogs for team projects, small blogs for my inner circle of friends. You might be running a blog right now, or you may be thinking of running one. If so, listen up!
One of the best advancements in browser technology over the past decade has been in plugins/extensions/addons. Firefox in particular has a massive database of user-created addons that really spice up the browser and boost your productivity and efficiency. If you’re an avid blogger (or plan to be) then these Firefox addons will help make the entire experience so much easier.
ScribeFire Next is the most popular blogging addon across all of the mainstream browsers, including Firefox and Chrome. With it, you can write blog posts straight inside your browser (without having to visit the site itself) and upload them with a click of one button. ScribeFire Next is the successor to the original ScribeFire Classic.
Pros: Integrates with the browser extremely easily; most of the process is automated. The interface is clean and conducive to writing blog posts without distraction. ScribeFire’s tab is small and persistent but you can remove it at any time. Save drafts, set publish times, create categories, label tags – every necessary blogging feature you’d need. Supports Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, MoveableType, and more.
Cons: Hasn’t been updated since November 2011, which is a problem when certain blogging interfaces change and ScribeFire doesn’t update to keep parity. ScribeFire works great for my WordPress blog, but it may prove buggy with other blogging platforms.
Zemanta is a self-proclaimed blogging assistant. As you write for your blog, Zemanta will recommend various images, articles, tags, and links for you to include in your posts. Basically, you can enrich your blogging content without having to do much extra work. Zemanta does it all for you.
Pros: Integrates perfectly. All it takes is one click and Zemanta will insert awesome bonus content into your post. Images are sourced from Getty, Flickr, and Wikipedia. Articles and links are curated from hundreds of different sources, including BBC, CNN, Amazon, IMDB, and more.
Cons: Since it’s all automatic, Zemanta has a certain format to the way it inserts images, links, and text. If this format rubs against the way you like to do things on your blog, it may create extra work for you since you’ll have to delete extraneous details or rearrange tags. Requires you to create a Zemanta account for the advanced features.
Search engine optimization has become a big requirement in blogs these days (that is, if you want traffic) and the makes of SeoQuake understand that most users don’t have the time or resources to learn the ins-and-outs of SEO. This addon is meant to aid blog owners in identifying various SEO elements of their site in real-time to improve overall optimization.
Pros: Adds a toolbar to Firefox that you can use to quickly glean SEO-related data on the website you’re currently browsing. Great for immediate access to page ranks, keyword densities, host and domain information, and more. Clicking “Info” on the toolbar will take you to a page that shows all of the data on a single page.
Cons: For SEO newbies, the amount of information can be overwhelming at first. Some of the data isn’t interesting or useful for most bloggers, nor is it presented in an aesthetically-pleasing manner.
Keyword density is probably the most sought-after piece of information when looking to improve a website’s SEO. If the SeoQuake add-on above was too much for you and all you need are keyword densities, then KGen might be for you.
Pros: Examines the current web page and spits out keyword densities and keyword weights. You can use it to analyze your own blog’s SEO performance, or you can use it to monitor your competitor blogs.
Cons: The KGen interface (which is a Firefox sidebar) isn’t very intuitive or pretty. It’s not cluttered or overwhelming, but it can be difficult to determine what certain tabs mean if you don’t have a background in SEO.
If you run your own blog on your own servers, you’ll need direct access to the files, whether you’re just uploading them for a fresh install or editing them to suit your blog’s purposes. To do that, you’ll need an FTP client. If you don’t want to use a desktop or web FTP client, the FireFTP add-on will get the job done.
Pros: FireFTP’s transfer speeds are fast and don’t drop out or stutter, so there’s nothing to worry about there. It doesn’t just transfer files either. Some advanced features include: directory comparison, directory synchronization, integrity checks, drag-and-drop interface, and remote file editing.
Cons: If you’re using FireFTP on a Linux-based version of Firefox, the drag-and-drop functionality may not work. The interface is standard FTP affair, but it can feel a bit cramped and overwhelming for FTP newbies.
There’s a lot of effort that goes into running a blog properly, but with the various Firefox extensions available at your command, you can make the whole process easier and more enjoyable. Instead of writing simple text without images on a page that won’t draw search engine traffic, use the tools above to jumpstart your blog to the next level.
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