If you use Firefox as your web browser here is an "elite eight" collection of free tools that will maximize your writing. It doesn't matter if you write as a hobby or career. The extensions listed here will help you to research it, code it, tag it, count it, login to it, analyze it, open it and SEO it.

Just to be clear, each extension mentioned is for Mozilla Firefox. Each is free, open source, and tested by me through Firefox version 3.0. If needed you can download the browser from Mozilla.org.

One reason Firefox is superior to other browsers is that you can customize it to suit your specific needs. This is done by downloading what are referred to as extensions. An extension is a small software application that brings added bits of functionality to your browser. By only keeping those features you actually use, Firefox remains speedy and avoids becoming bloated. These extensions are invaluable to anyone wishing to be any sort of writer. Off we go.

Things You Will Need

All you need is the Firefox Browser. You can download it for free from Mozilla.org

Step 1

Zotero: A web research tool that allows you to save entire web pages or blocks of text. You can annotate these with notes of your own if needed. This is easily the most robust and powerful tool in the toolbox. It also supports citing. For detailed information about how to use and learn more about Zotero you may go here.

Step 2

BBCode: This extension compiles all the most common HTML & BBCode commands on the right click menu. You can also add your own as well. Invaluable for forums and free form HTML entries such as blogs. To learn more or download this extension visit this site. Once you get there simply copy and paste the extension title (the bold text starting this paragraph) into the search bar. It will take you to the download/install page.

Step 3

Word Count Plus: If you highlight a web text box you get the character/word count. And, you can configure it to keep a running count as well. This is extremely handy in sites with min/max count requirements. To learn more or download this extension visit this site. Once you get there simply copy and paste the extension title (the bold text starting this paragraph) into the search bar. It will take you to the download/install page.

Step 4

SEO Workers Analysis Tool: A one click resource that performs an SEO analysis of your completed page. Because of the importance of being search engine friendly even the artists among us need to know the basics of SEO. This tool automates the learning curve, is very powerful, and free for the asking. See screenshots, find the download url, and read more about it here.

Step 5

Bugmenot: A generic method to login to websites w/o registration. This is great for one time visits to gather information. It is not for bypassing paid member sites. But, if you do not wish to leave your name, address, etc all over the Internet this is a very handy extension. To learn more or download this extension visit this site. Once you get there simply copy and paste the extension title (the bold text starting this paragraph) into the search bar. It will take you to the download/install page.

Step 6

SearchStatus: This extension displays the Google Pagerank and Alexa rating on your screen for every webpage you are visiting. This will quickly allow you to see how POPULAR a page is. If you wished to post to a blog or to a dedicated article site, this will tell you which gets more traffic. In essence it is giving you a headstart and is only scratching the surface of what SearchStatus can do. This extension all by itself is a powerful Search Engine Marketing Tool. There is more information on SearchStatus here, including a few screenshots, and download url.

Step 7

Snap Links: This extension allows you to select and open multiple links in separate tabs. If the page you are reading has many links (such as this one) you will save time and effort opening them all so you can switch back and forth to work. If you wish to learn more about this extension please read this article.

Step 8

Technorati Tag Generator: This extension allows you to create tags in Technorati format to add to you blog post. Then as you ping Technorati your tags are automatically added to the cloud. To learn more or download this extension visit this site. Once you get there simply copy and paste the extension title (the bold text starting this paragraph) into the search bar. It will take you to the download/install page. As you can see, there are many extensions available to make you a more productive, and hopefully profitable writer. There are also custom dictionaries, tag clouds, highlighters, content messengers, keyword checkers, ad infinitum. This list is the ones that I use on a daily basis.

Tips & Warnings