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Blog Exercises: Speed Blogging with CoLT

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.I’d like to introduce you to the work horse I use for speed blogging. It’s a web browser add-on for Firefox called CoLT. It stands for Copy Link Text.

I will be offering a variety of web browser tips and tools to make blogging faster and easier throughout these Blog Exercises, and of all of them, CoLT is my favorite speed blogging tool. I literally cannot blog without it.

I blog in HTML. It is faster than using the Visual Editor in WordPress, or any WYSIWYMG editor (What You See Is What You Might Get) in other web publishing platforms. There are technically only 10 HTML tags you need to know to blog in WordPress, of which you use 5 on a regular basis. When traveling to a foreign country, the odds are you will learn more than 10 words to manage your international experience, so learning these 5-10 HTML tags should be simple.

I write my post drafts in a text editor. is my personal favorite, though there are a variety of pure text editors to choose from, which I’ll cover later in this series. Compiling all my notes and research into an article in my text editor, combined with powerful tools in Firefox, I’m a blogging force to be reckoned with.

Once installed in Firefox, the Copy Link Text (CoLT) Firefox Add-on adds a Right Click menu item to your browser menu. Right click on any link or web page and copy a perfectly formed HTML anchor link for pasting into my posts.

CoLT Firefox Extension for copying links - right click menu.

When I copy a web page link, the results look like this in HTML:

<a href="http://mashable.com/2013/01/24/j-j-abrams-star-wars-episode-vii/" title="Is J.J. Abrams Directing Star Wars Episode VII? - Mashable">Is J.J. Abrams Directing Star Wars Episode VII? - Mashable</a>

If you are unfamiliar with HTML, a properly formed HTML link includes the following.

The href which points to the address of the website.

The title is the contextual description of the link destination, telling the user where the link will take them. As of a year ago, the United States joined many other countries to require web accessibility standards on all commercial and public access websites, which means the title is required for all links, as is the alternative text (ALT) required on all images.

The words between the opening and closing anchor HTML tags are called the Anchor text, the text visible as a link on the page.

By simply changing the Anchor text and not the rest of the link, the link is easily incorporated into the post. Edit it to reflect the appropriate usage within the content such as, “I’m so excited JJ. Abrams of Lost and Star Trek will take on the sci-fi epic Star Wars, bringing a fresh perspective and energy to the movie series.”

NOTE: However over that link to see the title displayed in a balloon over the text and/or within the browser status menu if your browser supports that feature, another sign of a well-formed link.

To setup CoLT to create this lovely HTML link, in Firefox, go to Tools > Add-Ons > Extensions and look for CoLT. Click Options.

At the top under Top Level Menu Items, click all three at the most, the bottom two on the list at the least, to Display the Copy link options in the menu.

Find HTML Link and press Edit.

Change the Format to the following:

<a href="%U" title="%T">%T</a>

CoLT Firefox Extension for copying links - options panel.

Optionally, if it isn’t there, add or edit the Plain Text link to the following to copy the post title and a link with a hyphen in between for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels for fast link copying and sharing.

%T - %U

The result will look like this:

Is J.J. Abrams Directing Star Wars Episode VII? - Mashable - http://mashable.com/2013/01/24/j-j-abrams-star-wars-episode-vii/

To make life a little easier, choose the Move Up and Move Down options to put these two copy link menu items at the top of the list.

How CoLT Add-On Works

When you find a link to something you wish to include in a post:

  1. Right click on the link and choose Copy Link Text and Location As, move to the HTML Link and click it.
  2. Switch to your text editor or post editing tab.
  3. Paste the link where you would like it.
  4. Edit it if necessary.

Wish to link to the web page you are viewing? In previous versions, you could only copy links, not the actual page you were on. A few years ago they added the ability to copy the page you are on as well.

  1. In an empty space on the page (not a link), right click.
  2. Click Copy Page Title and Location As > HTML Link.
  3. Switch to your text editor or post editing tab.
  4. Paste the link where you would like it.
  5. Edit it if necessary.

In Blog Exercises: Check Your Site Title Tag, the exercise asked you to check the <title> HTML tag on your site to ensure it truly represented every pageview on your site and your branding and online identity for search engines. This is another way of testing the <title> as CoLT pulls the information for the link from that HTML tag.

For the front page of Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education, using CoLT, this was the result as pulled directly from the information in their title HTML tag.

<a href="http://cce.clark.edu/" title="Home | Corporate and Continuing Education">Home | Corporate and Continuing Education</a>

The college name does not appear in the link, so it requires editing to make the link right as you can’t always count on a site’s developer, designer, or owner to pay attention to the details you are learning throughout these Blog Exercises.

<a href="http://cce.clark.edu/" title="Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education">Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education</a>

In upcoming blog exercises, I will show you more web browser tools and tricks to improve and increase your blogging process.

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.Your blog exercise today is to install Firefox if you haven’t already, and add the Copy Link Text (CoLT) Firefox Add-on and set it up properly.

Run some tests. Copy some links and paste them into a text editor or into the HTML/Text Editor of a post on your site. Edit it if necessary and blog about that site. Or create a list of links by quickly copying and pasting the links into a list.

If you are determined to use Chrome, here is a list of similar extensions, though they aren’t as useful as CoLT, which I wish was ported over. Read the instructions for each as they all work a little differently.

To reproduce the equivalent in Google Chrome, it takes two Chrome extensions: Link Textify and Create Link. The first adds a right click menu for copying links, but not a link to the web page you are currently viewing. Create Link covers that by adding a button to your Chrome button bar. Copy Link Text is to the two, though you have to customize it accordingly. If you know of a more useful Chrome extension that does the same thing, share it in the comments below.

For more help on understanding how to blog in HTML and web design basics, see “The 10 HTML Tags You Must Know to Blog,” “The Basics You Must Know About a WordPress Theme,” and “What You Must Know About Writing on the Web.”

Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.

You can find more Blog Exercises on . This is a year-long challenge to help you flex your blogging muscles.


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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.

3 Comments

  1. Papizilla
    Posted March 15, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Ranting Papizilla and commented:
    More handy blog information people! Check it out!

  2. Posted April 1, 2013 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Ahhh, the only blogger left who haven’t sold herself for “inspiration posts” by guest authors. Glad to see you’re still going, and this tool is going to save me SO much time. Thank you!

    Lorelle, I wonder what is your stance regarding writing in Markdown? it seems much faster and simpler once learned, but after 8 years of WordPress editing in HTML, my first (10-minute) try didn’t really work out.

    Cheers,
    S.K.

    • Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Personally, I stick to HTML as markdown is learning a new language rarely used. Stick with one that will help you under the hood as well.

      Thanks!


8 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Firefox web browser and a combination of two Firefox add-ins to automate and speed up the process, CoLT (Copy Link Text) and AutoCopy, which automatically copies text selected on a web page to the system clipboard. […]

  2. […] Blog Exercises: Speed Blogging with CoLT […]

  3. […] use the CoLT Firefox Add-on in Firefox. Before using CoLT or another HTML linking tool, ensure it is set up properly to capture […]

  4. […] Download Firefox as my new web browser. Download COLT Firefox Add-on in Firefox. CoLT stands for Copy Link […]

  5. […] In Firefox, I use CoLT for Firefox. In Chrome, there are several options including Chrome Create Link or Chrome Copy Link Text. For details on how to use these, see “Blog Exercises: Speed Blogging with CoLT.” […]

  6. […] Copy Link as Text Extension is a Firefox extension I literally cannot live without as it is the key in my speed blogging […]

  7. […] easy process to update your WordPress site, but take time to learn how to use your web browser and speed blogging browser extensions, basic HTML tags found in your articles, and how to write efficiently and well to make the […]

  8. […] editors in WordPress, the Visual Editor (a WYSIWYMG editor) and the Text Editor, an HTML editor. Copy a link using CoLT in Firefox, switch to your WordPress site tab for the post you are working on, switch to the Text Editor and […]

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