How To Blog Better From Your Browser With Scribefire
The following article is a review of 2 very useful Scribefire features. Recently, I took a training class at my “day job” that really made me sit back and think. The point of the training was that every one of us has inefficiencies in our lives that we just accept and deal with. When we make a mistake, we get defensive about it, instead of trying to understand the root cause of that mistake, and then develop improvements to our work flow in order to prevent it from happening again. This post is one example of how I’m streamlining my online activities so that I can post blog entries to my own blogs more often.
My excuse is always that I don’t have time, or it’s so difficult because I have to go to the Admin area of my blog, or I have to open up a blogging tool like Windows Live Writer and then write my blog entry. What makes it more annoying for me is that I like to write while I’m browsing the Internet, so that I can look up quotes or locate references for my article. The time and effort all of this takes is often enough to make me procrastinate and do other work instead.
After taking this training, I decided to look for a tool that would remove all of these inefficiencies that keep me from blogging. Of course, the first place to check for such a tool is MUO, and once again MakeUseOf did not let me down. I discovered Lee’s Scribefire review with a head-to-head comparison between ScribeFire and DeepestSender – two of the most popular and powerful in-browser blogging applications. After reading his post, as well as Damien’s brief mention of it, it didn’t take me long to realize that ScribeFire is exactly the tool that I need.
The following is a review of two awesome ScribeFire features that will make it easier and faster for you to post blog entries every day.
Use ScribeFire & Post Blog Entries More Often
If you are truly serious about blogging, then you have to make it an integral part of your life. When you’re browsing, reading news in your newsreader, or strolling through your favorite social networks – you need to be ready and willing to throw together a quick blog entry whenever something witty, interesting or astounding strikes you.
ScribeFire is clearly the top tool of choice for this. It’s an in-browser Firefox blogging plugin – and Google Chrome users will be pleased to note that the developer is currently putting together a Google Chrome version as well.
Once you’ve installed the plugin – putting together a blog entry is as simple as clicking on the little golden ScribeFire button in your toolbar. When you do, a blog editor pops up in split-screen mode, with your editor at the bottom and your browsing activity at the top.
Now, you can also configure ScribeFire to open in a new window, or a new tab – both work equally well – but, for my purposes, since I write best when I can see the information that I’m writing about on the same screen, this split-screen setup is a dream come true. I don’t really want to cover the basics of ScribeFire because Lee did that well enough in his article that I linked to above. However, I would like to offer 2 valuable tips (features) on how you can use ScribeFire to make your blogging more efficient and less labor intensive.
Use ScribeFire’s “Blog This” Feature Often
Sometimes, do you feel like it’s impossible to think of a topic to blog about? It’s not like you don’t have a million ideas while you’re surfing the web and reading news articles, but the moment you open up your blogging editor, doesn’t it seem like your mind just immediately goes blank? This is why I love ScribeFire so much, because the moment you have one of those brainstorming moments, you can immediately blog about it. Better yet, thanks to ScribeFire’s “Blog This Page” feature, you can practically automate your blog entry. Let me show you how.
For this example, I’m going to toss together a quick blog post on my blog, about Lee’s article covering ScribeFire. When you spot an article like this that sparks your own creative juices, just highlight a quote from the article that you particular want to focus on in your own blog entry, and then click the dropdown arrow on the ScribeFire button and select “Blog this page.”
When you want to keep your blog updated often with interesting and fresh content, then this is the way to go – comment on things that you read on the web or whenever the thought strikes you. Quickly quote and comment on other blogs and websites in mere minutes. Best of all, if you have an sort of special advertising code or formatting that you’d like to automatically embed into your entry so you don’t have to worry about it every time – just place it into your “Blog this Page” template in the ScribeFire Options area.
This particular feature alone is worth its weight in gold to me. I like to keep ad placement and article formatting a particular way – and with this template you don’t have to worry about it. Set it up once, and when you click “Blog this page” you’re good to go. All the work is done for you, and all you need to do is enter your thoughts and insight. It’s the ultimate efficiency in blogging.
Use Zemanta To Help You Find Sources Or More Information
While you’re poking around in ScribeFire, you’ll also notice this odd little button that looks like a newspaper. When you hover your mouse over it, you’ll find that it mentions using Zemanta to locate related articles.
What is Zemanta? It’s actually a powerful research tool that you can use in the middle of your blog entry. When you hit on a topic that you’d really like some references for, just click on this button and Zemanta will scour the web for relevant websites, and return the results, which you can use in your blog entry. It saves you the time and trouble of conducting a Google search and sifting through all of the junk to get to what you need. Zemanta intelligently reads your blog entry and locates all of the related information for you.
On the right side of the editor, you receive results from relevant pages, along with excerpts and a link to visit the site for more information. Zemanta basically performs your blog entry research for you, and all you have to do is select the sources that you want to use. Best of all – why bother manually writing up a bibliography of source at the end of your blog entry, when Zemanta can do that for you as well? As you select the sources you want to use, Zemanta appends your sources at the bottom of your blog entry for you.
In the blog entry above, I wrote the start of a post about conspiracy theories, and Zemanta was smart enough to not only identify related online articles about conspiracy theories, but even a few of the specific theories that I mentioned in my post. In my opinion this embedded feature makes ScribeFire one of the most useful blogging clients available.
For my part, I’ll probably still not have enough time to blog as much as I’d like to – but at least tools like ScribeFire take away most of the excuses we can come up with to procrastinate. When you have a tool that automatically creates a blog entry based on a template, and does your research for you – seriously, how many other excuses do you have left?
Do you use ScribeFire, or do you have your own favorite blogging browser plug-in? Share your feedback or insights in the comments section below.