Image by chucks via FlickrAbout a week ago, I reviewed a blogging tool called Zemanta. I was very excited about it, but my excitement faded as I clumsily tried to test the software with the very review I was writing. It left me scratching my head and promising to revisit the topic after some more hands-on time with Zemanta. As promised, here’s part two of my Zemanta review.
I am going to keep this one short because I’ve already explained what Zemanta does and how it’s used. I will talk a little about what else I’ve learned in the last week and correct some assumptions from my previous review.
Giving photos a chance again
In my previous review, I choked on the photo adding capabilities of Zemanta. It seemed to me that photos would vanish. This still appears to be the case for me with FireFox 3 on Vista. I find that images will still occasionally vanish, but I have a much better handle on things now. If I want an image, I simply click on it on the right side. If I want a different image instead, I just click a different image. While I am much more comfortable with it, I still have a few suggestions for the developers.
1. I need more images to choose from. I seem to get the same geisha girl with a laptop every time I start a post.
2. Allow me to use more than one image per post.
3. An image should always be placed where the my cursor was in my editing text area before I clicked the image. Every time I add an image, it’s always top right aligned and sometimes, I want it down with the paragraph it relates to.
I have figured out how to add more images sources (like my Flickr account), though it still seems a bit limited. Still, even if I could only add my own images from Flickr, Zemanta saves me a step.
Links make a little more sense now, too.
If you don’t understand Zemanta’s link suggestion tool, it can be a little cumbersome. I guess I always just expect something to happen at my cursor position when I use a tool. When you click a link from one of the drop-downs named after the words they will link, it creates a contextual link for you. This is handy mostly for reference links, but will be nice if their link choices some day include other blogs that will give me trackback links. Currently, they mostly go to Wikipedia, which is to be expected while they grow. If you install Zemanta, be sure to add your own blog and Flickr account so your resources will be available to the rest of us and you’ll get lots of link love.
SEO tags and my apology
This is one area where Zemanta shines and I owe them an apology. The SEO tags functionality does a pretty good job of guessing some tags I would think of that I would normally have to type in as well as some that would have slipped my mind. When I’m done with my post, I just click the tags I want and they’re added. Then I manually add any remaining tags that I want. It’s another time-saver and it works just as it should, despite what I said previously.
Filter, My Stuff, and Preferences
Since I’ve continued to play with Zemanta, I’ve found more that needs to be written about. “Filter” and “My Stuff”, for example, are options just above your image choices. They both make sense given their names. Filter gives you a text box to filter images by keyword. If you happened to type about 100 different things but you’re looking for a photo of a puppy, you can filter images for “puppy” and get what you need faster. “My Stuff” just narrows the image pool to your own images.
Preferences is a whole area I had previously missed. It hides at the bottom of the Zemanta panel. When you click the link, a new window pops up with your preferences page. Included are “Image Position”, which lets you choose the horizontal alignment of your image, “HTML Code Style”, which allows you to choose between standard HTML and xHTML, and “Signature Image”, which is where you choose what style of “re-blog” image you want at the foot of your post (or none). The preferences page includes two additional sections called “Personal” and “My Stuff”. The Personal section allows you to add a bit of personal information, as well as an Amazon.com associates ID. I added mine, but if I happen to mention my favorite movie, Dream a Little Dream, Zemanta offers links to IMDB, Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes, but not to Amazon. I am excited about seeing that work, though. The My Stuff section is where you ad your stuff, of course. Here, you can identify your Flickr account, add your social networks, and add blogs and other sources.
My new verdict : Install it
As I said before, I’ve installed the FireFox plugin, so if I ever dislike it, I can remove it. The posts will still have the “Re-Blog” or “Zemified” footer links, but I think it may be a keeper.
– Only one image
– Images always at the top
– Amazon links not an option yet?
– Seemingly limited sources
– Add images in a snap
– Add tags easily
– Suggests tags I might forget
– Provides resource links
– Provides a means for others to find and use my media and posts
The minor cons can be fixed pretty easily, I think, and the limited resources will improve as more people use it, I feel. My excitement for Zemanta is renewed, and I can’t wait to watch it grow. If you install it, drop a link below to your first Zemanta post and let us know what you think.