Everyone here at [meta]marketer is huge on online productivity. Like the rest of the team, I use a good many web-based tools to help facilitate getting a lot of stuff done. As I was setting up a scheduled tweet, it occurred to me that some of our friends might like to see just what tools we use. I’ll start, and maybe I can convince everyone else to show their browser tools. Maybe.
If you’re not already using Evernote, you’re either scrambling to keep up with odds and ends of information scattered everywhere, or you’re using another digital organizing system that may not be as good. What’s great about Evernote is how many ways there are to get tidbits into it, and how many ways you can get stuff you need back out. Besides the Clipper extension and the bookmarklet, they have mobile apps, the ability to send notes by email, integration with lots of other apps, and multi-format note capture (audio, photo, and/or text).
The Clipper Chrome extension enables you to enter some tags and comments and specify a notebook other than the default if you want to, but you can also just quickly save the note (as either the whole page, whatever you have selected, or just the URL) so you can get on with whatever you were really doing and deal with sorting it later. The best part is that notes are indexed and readable text in images is recognized, so even if you’re too busy to go back and sort your notes out, you should still be able to find what you need with a good search.
Clearly by Evernote
Clearly is also by Evernote, and it’s a great way to simplify the formatting of a page so you can reduce visual clutter — and lighten the page footprint so that it takes up less space if you want to save it into Evernote. I use it all the time. My notes in Evernote are so much more streamlined since I got into the habit of clicking this button first, then clicking the little Evernote elephant icon within the Clearly-reformatted page.
We have a custom short link domain: optmz.me (you know, like “optimize me”), and bit.ly allows us easy custom shortening of links for sharing and also provides a high-level but helpful snapshot of how those links are performing in the social channels where they’ve been shared.
If you manage multiple social profiles, it just doesn’t make sense not to have a tool that supports multiple profiles per channel and gives you great tools for listening, participating, and measuring the effectiveness of your presence. Our tool of choice is HootSuite, and this Hootlet extension works beautifully as a time-saver and facilitator of social sharing: click it, and it pops up a small window so you can share whatever you’re looking at to whatever social profile you choose, now or at a scheduled later time.
SEO for Chrome
The starting point on understanding SEO is always user experience: the site should have meaningful, relevant, well-architected content that addresses potential user needs. But to diagnose and understand technical considerations of how a page or site is ranking relative to others, it really helps to know some of the site’s quantifiable characteristics: how many pages are indexed, what’s the PageRank, how many backlinks does it have, both to the site overall and to whatever page you’re currently looking at. This extension is a very handy tool for a quick assessment of those numbers.
If you want to look a little more closely at the SEO-relevant characteristics of a page or site, the SEOmoz extension digs a bit deeper and provides a look at metadata, configuration settings, and other attributes that can affect rankings.
It happens surprisingly often that I sit in meetings with prospects and ask about what technologies their website is built with, and the answer is “I don’t know.” Fortunately, I can pull up the prospect’s website, click the “bw” button, and have a pretty darned good list of platforms and tools so that we can move into the next level of detail about what it might take to optimize their marketing performance. You gotta love anything that reduces the time from sales inquiry to getting the job going and showing the client their first results.
It’s important that your pages load quickly, both from a user experience perspective and to ensure that your perceived quality by search engines isn’t adversely affected by a slow-loading script or badly-sized image. The Yslow extension, based on Yahoo!’s guidelines for site performance, gives you a fairly robust assessment in a few seconds about what factors may be affecting page load times, and grades each area so you know where your site performance sits relative to other websites.
If you work with Google Analytics in any sort of advanced way, you will periodically need to check how it’s configured for a certain page, what variables are being passed, and so on. Especially if you are in an agency or consultancy. This little extension comes in handy on sales calls, too, where I can quickly determine how savvy my prospect’s organization is when it comes to their web tracking.
I’ve only recently started using Buffer and I’m still only on the free version, but it’s already been useful nearly every day and I will likely be upgrading to include all my social channels, and to get the ability to schedule updates. But even in the free version, Buffer encourages you to update your social profiles with greater regularity, posting your queue of updates on a pre-determined schedule and even suggesting quotes and tidbits to share if you can’t think of anything. If you frequently struggle with remembering to update your accounts, this could be a big help for you.
So there you have them: the 10 Chrome Extensions that make me a more productive, connected, and informed digital marketer. What are the must-have browser extensions for you? Let us know in the comments.