How to Enhance Blog Posts with Zemanta

November 1, 2010, By Christian Cawley

There is always a time when blogging that you find yourself struggling for content. Even when you have pages of material and links to other sites, there is always that nagging doubt at the back of your head that the readers are going to dismiss the post because of a lack of rich content or interesting links.

Well, you can put those thoughts to bed with Zemanta, a ridiculously easy way to enhance your blog.

Zemanta is a browser-based extension for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari that activates when you visit the admin screen of WordPress, Blogger or whichever platform you’re using, and offers suggestions for links, images and other content. Zemanta is easy to install and simpler to use – so let’s take a look at it.

Installing the Zemanta Extension

For this tutorial we will focus on using Zemanta with Firefox; although the general functions remain the same across all browsers there may be some differences with installation.

To begin, visit www.zemanta.com – the website will detect your browser and offer you the appropriate download link. Click this and follow the instructions/accept the terms of use to install. With Firefox, you will need to restart the browser – your open tabs should be restored.

Most of the time, you won’t even be aware of Zemanta – however when you enter a blog admin page and start writing a new blog post, Zemanta will activate!

Using Zemanta to Enhance Your Blog

Currently, Zemanta supports the following platforms:

  • WordPress.com
  • Self-hosted WordPress.org 2.6+
  • Blogger.com
  • TypePad
  • LiveJournal
  • MovableType
  • Tumblr
  • Drupal
  • Joomla

To get started using it, visit your blog dashboard and create a new post. As an example, in WordPress.org blogs (those running on a self-hosted WordPress installation) Zemanta will appear as a new sidebar option in the Add New Post screen, alongside the Publish, Tags and Categories tools, in a section labelled Content Recommendations.

As you begin writing your blog post, Zementa will pick out keywords and search the web in the background, looking for suitable additional context, quotes and media clips for your post.

For instance, if I typed this section of text into WordPress, Zemanta would suggest a variety of public domain images related to blogging and WordPress, and suggest related articles.

Adding Zemanta Suggested Content into Your Blog Post

To include an image suggested by Zemanta into your blog post, simply left-click it – the mage will then be embedded into your post and you will get an idea of how it will look, as well as its position. Note that you will be able to change the image’s alignment as well as alter the caption. Zemanta embedded images also include assigned classes for you to manipulate the images in your CSS file.

As well as images, Zemanta will also suggest links. These are listed beneath the images, and can be clicked to add to the footer of you blog as related articles.

You might also have trouble thinking of tags for the post – don’t! Zemanta will suggest tags that you can click to add to your own usual tags.

Finally, Zemanta will also offer to hyperlink certain keywords in your posts to places like Amazon, Wikipedia, IMDb, etc. This will add some useful additional context to your posts, and can also be used to generate revenue for your website from sites like Amazon.

All in all, a great way to enrich the content you provide to your readers!

Do note, however, that you finished posts will have a small “Zemified” icon at the foot, to link back to the main Zemanta website.

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