Blogging Tools / Social networks / Writers Resources

Zemanta for Blogging

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

My blogging buddy raincoaster gave me a heads up on Zemanta, a free blogging tool that does what no others do. I did some searching and blog hopping to see what other bloggers thought of it.

In A Peek Inside my Toolkit – Online Tool Set, blogger and educator Angela Maiers shares her description:

Zemanta: A great addition to my blogging and my learning, Zemanta allows me to include links to other contextually relevant articles. This is valuable to both of us, as these links can allow us to dive deeper into the conversation by bringing other voices in to the conversation.

I clicked through into the site and read the following on the Zemanta About page:

Zemanta is a revolutionary new platform for accelerating on-line content production for any web user. Any user-created text (a blog post, article or web page) is directly “read” by Zemanta, which recognizes all contextual content. Zemanta then combs the web for the most relevant images, smart links, keywords and text, instantly serving these results to the user to enrich and inform their content. What’s more, Zemanta can be deployed on all major content publishing platforms and web browsers through a simple plug-in.

Zemanta is available in these forms:

  • as a Browser Extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer 7/8 (supports all platforms)
  • as a plugin for, MovableType and Drupal
  • as a plugin for Windows Live Writer
  • as a book-marklet for Safari and Chrome, as well as direct integration into ScribeFire.

Woo Hoo! Zemanta suggests tags, links, photos, related articles, and videos more. It also allows me to link to my related posts in my own blog.  There’s also a  reBlog button makes it real easy for  readers to excerpt a quote from my posts and publish it on their blog (with attribution and a link back to my original post).

I’m a Firefox user and as I have both self hosted installs and blogs, I tried the demo, and then downloaded the Firefox extension, and today I’m beginning to use it. I’m inviting reader feedback so please don’t hesitate to share your experience of my blog posts made using Zemanta as a blogging tool.

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23 thoughts on “Zemanta for Blogging

  1. Hi timethief – I wonder if you might be able to help me? I’ve searched the WP forums, but couldn’t find anything on this particular point:

    I use Zemanta, but have found that it disappears when returning to edit a post after it has been published. This has become a problem for me when an image I have selected has been taken down (and so no longer shows on my blog) and I need to replace it with a new one. The only way I have been able to do this is to copy and paste the post into a ‘new’ post: the Zemanta tool always automatically appears when I’m writing new posts. (Never when editing).

    I do appreciate any light you might be able to shed on this.

    Many thanks and kind regards


    • Hi Deborah,
      I’m so sorry that I cannot be helpful. I am using the browser version of Zemanta and I do not use the images that Zemanta provides so I have not run into this problem.

  2. I have been using Zemanta for a couple of weeks now and it works fine. I would like to ask you and your readers if you had ever tried Arkayne, a similar tool? And if you did how would you compare to Zemanta?

    • I haven’t tried anything else like it so I have nothing to compare it too. I use it after I have completed a post to enhance what I have. Sometimes I don’t find any articles my readers would benefit from me linking to.

  3. Zemanta is amazing, I’ve been trying to write all day and I was losing motivation and I remembered this post from when it was first published.

    Just downloaded Zemanta and its so awesome Im excited to write now, It certainly makes writing posts easier, Im so happy (it almost does my thinking for me which I am loving)!

    Thank you so much for sharing this info!!

    Peace & Blessings xoxox

    • @Lola
      Hello there. :) I’m liking it too. I compose the post first and then use zemanta to enhance it before publication. Thanks for your comment and best wishes for happy blogging. :)

  4. I like your idea of turning it on only after the post is done. While it’s loading, I can be formatting the GetSocial links, so I don’t waste any time.

    Glad to hear you got the Sources listed. I have to do that, but first priority is hacking the Duotone theme for Lolebrity. Ugh, one thing at a time.

    • @Panos
      Greetings! I finally figured out how to enter my “sources” (trusted sites) on zemanta. We can enter 160 of them and I entered a whack them last night including your blog’s URL. :)

  5. I tried Zemanta for a minute on my old PC, but had to stop because that system was already being over-taxed as it was. Because of that, and a lack a reference materials, I didn’t get to see if it was the wonder it claims to be.

    Now that I’ve seen it endorsed by bloggers whose opinions I respect (both yours and raincoaster’s), and have a PC that has the muscle to make use of it, I will definitely be trying it again. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention. :-)

    • @izaakamk,
      Hello there. I do like it. If you read what I said above you don’t have to enable it unless or until you need it. It’s a cool tool, for sure.

    • @Vikas
      Give it a try as I’m pretty sure you may like using it. Note what raincoaster and I have said about using it creating slowness. I solved this by turning it off under tools and doing my drafts first. I intend to turn it on again when I am ready to enhance and complete them.

      Yes, I have changed themes yet again – eagle eye. There are only two things that peeve me about this theme.
      (1) How it makes the fonts in titles in the widgets in the side look like the ink is bleeding.
      (2) The variability in the ink intensity coloration and slight overlapping of letters when using H3 and H4 for subtitles in posts. It looks like crap so I’m tempted to do what I did in the 5 Adsense Myths post and change them subtitles to paragraph and bold.

      I have tried out several different themes over the course of these lat 3 days. What prompted me was seeing how they display on laptop screens because so many people are using them, and even smaller screens too. So far this one is the one that displays best.

    • Ummm … this is from the post above:

      Zemanta is available in these forms:

      • as a Browser Extension for Firefox and Internet Explorer 7/8 (supports all platforms)
      • as a plugin for, MovableType and Drupal
      • as a plugin for Windows Live Writer
      • as a book-marklet for Safari and Chrome, as well as direct integration into ScribeFire.

      I use a Firefox browser so I downloaded the Firefox extension, which can be used by bloggers on all platforms. This is an older post re: Blogger and Zemanta that you can read. You can also click through to the Zemanta site to the downloads page.

      • I did read that part. I guess my question is more like, is it something that your readers can see too or is it just for you – even if you were to put it in your blog?

      • @Jenn
        Yay! I’m so glad you found the Blogger Buzz article to be helpful. I like this tool. I have learned how to disable it when I don’t need it and to turn it on after I have prepared a draft and I’m ready to enhance my post and publish it. Try it!

  6. I’m glad you like it. As for me, I’m EXTREMELY impressed by it, and also by the service I received when I made a post in their forum: the CTO replied to me within five minutes. The more I use it the more I like it. You can even set it to choose images and links only from a specified set of (friendly) blogs!

    There are two things that could be improved:

    One, it’s slow-loading. I had a lot of posts to edit tonight and I turned Zemanta off, something easily done with one click from your Firefox Tools option. I will turn it back on when I’m done.

    Two, I wish the contextual links it adds could automatically be configured to open in a new window.

    • @ranicoaster
      I’m impressed with it too. I have a question I can’t find an answer to so I’ll ask you. On the preferences page, how the heck do we enter our social networks “friends” and where do we do that?

      Do we enter them one at a time (GOD forbid) in the same spot we entered our blogs? Or can we not just provide our profile URL at the various social networks and then Zemanata can locate our friends> I added only twitter and mybloglog as they were already depicted there and all I had to provide was my username.

      With regard to “friendly” blogs I have only added my own at this point because I wasn’t sure if I could indeed add other sites, and wanted an answer to my question above before I added any.

      I’m not convinced I want to enter the contextual links at all. I dislike them when I am reading other blogs, and can’t see how they may improve my reader experience on this blog. If you have a pitch to make I’ll listen.

      I did notice the slow loading so what I did with the upcoming posts I was working on was to turn it off under Tools and put all my stuff into the drafts first. I intend to go back with it on and finish them later.

      • I’m not sure how to do that, but everything so far has been quite intuitive. When I do try this, I’ll let you know.

        I just got a paid gig at True/Slant and they have Zemanta built right into their site. Presumably if you have a network of linked blogs like True/Slant or Gawker Media, you can limit the links to your fellow blog network members.

        The ONLY contextual links I ever use are links to my own categories, because I’m selfish like that. Or when the links themselves convey information by their relationship with the content, in which case I want more control than the automatic links.

        It could potentially be a useful feature if you’re blogging for utter newbies in some specialized field that has a lot of jargon (like blogging!).

        • Yes we have to enter our sources one at a time, URL by URL in the same spot we entered out blog URL’s.

          One annoying thing that keeps happening is that an tag named “Add a tag” has twice appeared in the ding dong tags on my posts. I did not select it – do not want! Arrgghhh! I hate having to edit it out and spam my RSS feed subscribers. I wish we could set the RSS feed to ZERO when we have to make such piddly but necessary edits.

          I may soon be adopting your approach to Categories. I’ll be zooming over to check yours out.

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