5 of Our Favorite Google Chrome Plugins

Ask someone what web browser they use and you are likely to get a pretty passionate response. In my experience, peoples’ attitudes towards web browsers are a lot like their attitudes towards cell phones. Just as many people are either Apple or Android users, most typically have strong feelings about Internet Explorer versus Google Chrome versus Safari.

Here at the Quintain offices, we use Google Chrome exclusively for web browsing. Why? Because it is, as they say, “built for the modern web.

All taglines aside, Chrome is fast, simple, secure, portable and customizable. Your browser is where you spend your time on the internet. It is where you catch up with your friends, conduct business, bank, search and read the news. Shouldn’t it be customized to fit your needs? Absolutely!

I personally prefer Chrome because it allows me to customize my browser to my needs, saving me countless hours here at work and making the internet more fun at home. Plus, it syncs between devices, so when I set my Chrome preferences on my iMac at work, they populate on my MacBook, iPad and iPhone.

What makes Chrome really special outside of it’s minimalistic inerface, speed, security, built-in Flash player, PDF reader and syncing system, is it’s vast library of extensions (like apps for your cell phone). Chrome extensions are small software programs that can modify and enchance the functionality of your web browser. For example, a web designer can tailor their browser with tools that help to extract on-page images, identify CMS’s and even check to see what theme a website is utilizing.

So how can these extensions help you with marketing? Easy! With the following plugins, you can either tailor your browsing experience to provide you with the most relevant infomation on a page or provide your clients with quick access to crucial information.

1. Awesome Screenshot

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We have all been there. In our case, it might be a client who just can’t seem to grasp the steps to log in to their HubSpot blog. Rather than type out the directions for the fourth time, we use a visual aid! Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotation allows you to capture all or part of a page (even those parts you have to scroll down to see), and then edit it. Use their tools to point directly to a page element, blur sensative information or create captions. The user even has the ability to temporarily save the image on a shared server, or save it for future use.

If you download only one extension from this list, this should be the one!

2. Chrome Sniffer

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Web designers, take note! This extension has saved me countless hours answering the question, “can you tell me what platform this website is on?” The Chrome sniffer will appear at the end of your address bar and will show you the logo of the CMS (content management system) the website is built on. It has never been faster to identify whether a website is built on WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla, Drupal or just good old HTML! It has the ability to detect more than 100 popular CMS and javascript libraries.

3. Glimpse

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Have you ever wondered what your website looks like on a mobile phone, without having to actually go on your phone and pull your site up in a browser? Glimpse is the extension for you! Glimpse will allow you to type in the address of any website and see what it looks like on a mobile device right from within your computer’s browser. I love using this tool when I’m on a screen sharing meeting with a web design client. It lets me easily discuss a mobile site with clients either in development or during initial engagments without everyone having to pull out their phones.

If you aren’t interested in this app for client presentations, it is still handy as a tool to quickly get you to the information you need on a website. Because mobile sites are typically built iwth a simplified interface, the developers originally intended the extension to serve as a “quick info” portal anyone too busy to browse a cluttered site and get sucked down the rabbit hole of web browsing.

4. Pocket

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How many articles make their way through your inbox, only to be stashed away or eventually deleted? If you are like me, it is more than a few. Pocket is an amazing bookmarking tool that surpasses any I have used before. Simply install the extension and when you come across an article you want to read later, put it in your pocket. Mac users can access Pocket content through a desktop app and iOS users can access pocket offline on iPad or iPhone. Save your articles and read them later, even if you can’t connect to wifi. Out of all the extension on my browser, this one gets the most use!

5. SEO & Website Analysis

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Everyone is concerned about SEO. Even if you aren’t building websites for clients, like we do, you can use this plugin to grade your own website. With the click of a button a left-hand panel appears over your website and provides a highly detailed account of how your site ranks. You can view visitor location, traffic rank, local directories in which your site appears, online reviews, your social ranking, how your site renders on mobile, and an SEO checklist with keyword recommendations. With all of those features packed in to one extension, you have no excuses for your site to be at the bottom of the search results!

Now that you know our favorites, what are some of yours? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to tweet me directly @jhyphenl.

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