WordPress Plugin Spotlight: Zemanta

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I run a lot of niche websites on the WordPress platform and am on the constant lookout for plugins that will enhance both my experience authoring them and my reader’s experience.

A few days ago I noticed my friend Tom Ewer mention a plugin called Zemanta that seemed like it could be something worth giving a test drive.

The tagline for Zemanta is “the easier way to blog“.

There’s a wide open statement if ever there was one.

Essentially what the plugin does is hook into your WordPress backend and provide content assistance when you’re writing new posts or pages.

I know it’s an overdone cliche but I’ll use one of my dog training sites as an example (hey, what can I say – it’s a good niche).

There are 3 main features of Zemanta that I’m finding quite useful.

Image selector

Automatically insert images in your post

It’s always a bit of a hassle and can break the writing flow trying to find good images to include in posts. I’m a big fan of including relevant imagery throughout the content of my niche sites and Zemanta makes it dead-simple to choose from a selection of good images.

As far as I can tell, they are all Creative Commons licensed and include the ability to leave photo credit as a caption on your photos.

Link to related articles

Another good feature of Zemanta is the ability to cross-link to other articles on your site. It’s important from an SEO perspective to do this and it can sometimes be a bit time consuming especially if you have dozens of articles to select from.

Zemanta seems to do a nice job of populating the “related articles” section with relevant internal content to link to.

Link to external authority sites

Another recommended SEO tactic is to link out to authority sites from within your content.

Link out to authority sites

This is a strong feature although I’m not totally sold on the “Promoted” content that appears first in the In-Text Links section. I haven’t seen the benefit to linking to some of these promoted sites vs a site like Wikipedia.

This is clearly a business strategy for Zemanta and makes sense for them – I’m just not sure I’d use this as linking to competition on a niche site isn’t something I would do.

I’ve only been using Zemanta for the past week or so but have found it to be a very useful plugin so far.

I have several sites that are managed by my VA in the Philippines and being able to quickly enhance the content with imagery and cross link efficiently is something that makes her job easier Рand raises the bar on the quality of my sites.

Overall I’d highly recommend giving the Zemanta plugin a try. It’s totally free and a very quick and easy install if you’re running WordPress.

If you do try it – or are using it already – let me know what you think in the comments!

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