28 February 2011

10 Best Firefox Add-Ons

Mozilla’s Firefox browser burst onto the web landscape a few years ago, and unlike IE, Firefox is doing it right.

In fact, the popularity of Firefox has grown significantly, and when you consider that this browser competes with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome, the success of Firefox is proof that Mozilla got it right by introducing a blank-slate browser that you customize to make your own.
Firefox supports a large, diverse and active community of independent developers. Visit the add-ons page at Mozilla and you’ll discover hundreds of features you can add to Firefox, enabling you to customize Firefox to your business needs, web cruising practices and personal preferences.

Ever since Firefox launched, Mozilla has promoted the browser as user-centric – a lesson every site owner can take to the bank. Engage your users and they become a digital community.

I use a number of browsers for different purposes, but I always come back to Firefox for routine web-based activity. And, by downloading add-ons, I’ve created a browser that meets my needs so my Firefox search page looks different from your search page, thanks to the roster of add-ons offered by Firefox.
This productivity app is fairly new, but man, has it caught the attention of Firefox users. I can’t believe how this one app improves the performance of any computer from 5-year-old doorstops to today’s high-speed processors and a terabyte of RAM .

FastestFox simplifies repetitive tasks. Program the interface once and daily chores can be automated – everything from time cards to content management. Downloads are faster, even when I’m downloading two or three batches of digital data simultaneously.

This handy little tool can also run in the background if you don’t need all the bells and whistles by increasing speed as you move from one site to another. I’m still discovering new ways to use this app. It’s flexible, deep in features and it’s a simple add-on to the blank Firefox interface.

With Google apps moving aggressively into the exclusive activities of the world wide “wealth” of Microsoft, there’s a lot of Google tools I want access to daily – everything from my Analytics account to Google Docs.

This handy download lets me place all my critical Google tools on a single menu. Click once and I’m deep in my Google account, or conducting research with Google’s Keyword Generator.

It’s a simple navigation tool that takes a few clicks out of my work day and those clicks add up. So, it improves my productivity, too, providing faster access to the Google tools I use everyday. Hey, save a click here, a click there – it adds up to increased productivity.

If you’re like me, social media takes up a big part of the day. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr and other digital gathering and SMS sites are a great way to create web or blog buzz. And isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?

Yoono is in my arsenal of guerrilla marketing tools, enabling me to ping posts, add posts to a variety of sites and track return activity such as RTs and comments to posts – all from one dashboard. Think of Yoono as a blend of Ping.fm and Seesmic – only mashed together in functionality. Real simple interface, too.

If you’re like me you’ve got a couple of hundred bookmarks in your favorites file. Well, if you’re tired of searching for your destination sites, Smart Bookmarks enables you to display more bookmarks on your navigation bar.

You can hide it and bring it up as needed, but it’s so convenient, I keep it on-screen all the time so I’m on any site with a click. That’s just how I want it.

A simple download add-on that delivers all the tools I need to install, manage and change extensions and Firefox themes and other add-ons in a variety of formats and from a simple interface.
Makes download management more manageable. Another time saver for me.

Simple idea, simple add on. AutoPager automatically loads next pages based on your preferences and web use practices. It reads Google, Yahoo and interfaces with other Firefox add-ons like spam blockers so you can still skip the spam without having to manually load the next page into your Firefox browser. This little tool does it for you.

Think of AutoPager as an infinite scrolling tool and stop manually clicking to the next page. Scroll through an entire site in seconds.

I’ve got over 100 blogs and sites loaded into four different RSS readers so sometimes finding the news takes more time than I want to spend.

That’s why I added RSS Ticker – a convenience overlay that notifies me of changes in any of the live bookmarks I place in the tracker. Now, I don’t have to manually track RSS readers. This add-on does it for me.

A security add on that automatically backs up all my Firefox activities – bookmarks, preferences, passwords and other stuff that I use everyday.

Sure, I have multiple, redundant back-up systems off-site and in-house. This Firefox add-on simply takes one more thing off my plate – one more thing I don’t even have to think about. Nice back up security for all your Firefox add-ons and settings.

One of the most creative uses of Firefox’s OSS interface, View Source Chart provides the source code of any site in a very simple GUI. But it’s not just a click saver.

View Source displays HTML tag boundaries, provides a GUI of tag nesting configurations and even identifies a page element’s ancestor tags – all on one screen and all with a click.
If site performance analysis is part of your profession (you’re an SEO, SEM, web copy writer, site designer, etc.) this little add-on, which I keep loaded on my main toolbar, will make your market analysis activities more productive and effective. Highest recommended for web professionals.

The Greasemonkey team’s main add-on, just called Greasemonkey, allows me to create web displays using snippets of JavaScript. You can grab Greasemonkey-compatible scripts here or create your own Greasemonkey scripts by mashing scripts to suit your needs. If you don’t know diddly about JavaScript, here’s everything you need to know to create a truly unique browser using this very sweet little time-saver.

With such an active community of developers, building literally thousands of Firefox add-ons, and new releases coming out daily, bookmark the Firefox add-ons site.

You’ll be back. A lot.

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