Having worked as a project manager at several companies and having to monitor my own projects there’s a certain list of things I do to check on often (and I still do). Some of the things are SEO related, some are tech tasks, some help to achieve the marketing goals. Some of the things are just general but still it’s very convenient to have the nice set tools to perform the actions that you do on a regular basis. Today I’m going to write about Firefox add-ons that I have added my browser options (yes, I’m an addicted Firefox lover) as a project manager and just a human. All the add-ons listed help me in my daily work and I don’t know how much time I would spend if I had to search from all the information they give to me manually. I decided to divide this list into 2 sections- the add-ons that I use as a usual human being and the add-ons I find extremely useful for the project management. So here we go.
The Add-ons for regular Internet Surfers
Web of Trust warns you about risky sites that cheat customers, deliver malware or send spam. Never in my life did I have a problem with some serious viruses infecting my computer until about a month ago. Suddenly my browser got frozen and in about 5 minutes all the programs and applications on my computer stopped working while the antivirus software that I had (kasperski) haven’t showed any thread which surprised me tremendously. Having restarted the system I trying at least something I was continuously getting the notice that I have to send a sms to some address and buy the security code that should unblock my computer or something along that line. I had to reinstall the system on my pc but this was not the end yet.
On the next day I found out that I got the virus on my server that have infected all the .html and .php files. I knew from the server logs that the virus got there from my computer and thanks God I had files backed up.
Doing my daily job I visit hundreds of website and I had no idea where I could get such a deadly virus from. That’s when I started thinking that I need in some way to exclude the potentially dangerous websites or at least know what websites have low reputation. Now I’m a happy user of the WOT add-on. It works very simply and graphically clear.
Next to every link and in the browser address line you will see the circle that changes the color from green to red depending on website trustworthiness, green being safe and red very poor. They gather this information from website visitors using the WOT and you can also rank the website for several parameters like trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy etc. You can also leave a review if you say got infected from this website and want to warn the rest of the community. In case you get to the dangerous website they will show you a big pop-up with the warning before actually prompting you to the page, where you can choose where you want to see why the page is considered as dangerous, ignore the warning and go to the page or leave the page. If you have children there is also a children control option where the websites will adult content will not be available for browsing. You can get additional info on WOT add-on here.
2. Read It Later Add-on
Read It Later allows you to save pages of interest to read later. It’s very simple but very useful, at least for
me. Browsing tens of interesting pages daily I often don’t have time to read them right away. I used to add the pages I wanted to read to the bookmarks and then was totally forgetting about them or couldn’t find the pages I needed and finally I ended up with the long-long list of bookmarks cluttered with stuff of any kind one can ever imagine. Read it later add-on allows you to add the page to the read list in one click. You can right-click with the mouse anywhere on page you’d like to read later and choose an option “read this page later”.You can also copy the link and add it to the library clicking on small yellow arrow on the top right cornet of the browser.
A simple nice add-on that blocks add-on the pages. Once installed it will show up in a red hexagon in the top right of the browser window. Nothing special to say about it but it makes my life easier.
AddThis is a nice add-on making sharing and bookmarking simple. The list of social icons will be added to your
browser toolbar area as well as to right-click mouse options. You just click on the icon, the application connects to your social network account and posts the update there. Here’s the sample how it looks in Twitter:
Though I use AddThis I still have a separate toolbar for stumble as this is one of my favorite websites and I love to have the options to leave a comment, thumb up or just view some cool stuff directly from the toolbar. You can install this add-on here.
Add-ons that I use in my work of a project manager
If you are starting the career of the project manager in some company or just have a start-up project I do recommend you to add this add-ons to the browser as they can not only make your life easier but help you choose the right direction in your marketing campaign as well as provide help to the customers if they run into some problems with the website.
1. Fire FTP
This might be one of the most Firefox add-ons. This plugin allows you to upload files to the server as any other FTP client but you don’t have to install it separately on your computer. The interface is quite intuitive. On the left you will see list of files on your computer and on the right once connected to the server you will see the files on the server. When you start the files upload or download you will see the how the process flows in the bottom area, the connection errors will show up there as well. You can choose the mode for files transfer (binary, ASCII and automatic) and whether to show or not to show the hidden files.
I started using FireFtp after my website files on the server were infected. Before that I was using Total Commander for years which I had to reinstall as well and since I didn’t want to get used to any other similar programs I decided to give a try to Fire FTP.
It’s not perfect and the websites in the other tabs and windows start working slower when FireFtp is working and there are now usual hot keys but it’s not bad at all. I like the error reports and I like when the program says ZZZZ when it’s connected to the server but not command is performed. This can be actually the only reason why I’m using it :)
2. HTTP Fox
HttpFox monitors and analyzes all incoming and outgoing HTTP traffic between the browser and the web servers. In simple words it shows you how the website interacts with the server and if any errors occur you can get the details of the error without having to check the server log files. I used to work for the company who developed a cool CMS system running on php and flex. Working with the customers, uploading files to their servers and helping them to actually manage the website I was facing some php or flex errors pretty often but the problem was that these were the errors the admin area was showing and I had no idea how to handle that. I’m neither a programmer nor a flash developer and this was a real nightmare for me. One of my friends recommended me to install the HTTP Fox plugin and there hasn’t been a single problem I couldn’t fix on my own.
I guess things would still work for me much easier if I had a better php knowledge. The way it works now- I start HTTP Fox (toogle HTTP Fox as they call it in the application), get the error description, go to google to type it there and then check for solutions how the error can be fixed on the php and flash forums :) With the HTTP Fox add-on you can also check whether some website will save a cookie on your computer as well as get some other useful info.
3. Fire Bug
SeoQuake extension is a must if you perform any type of work related to SEO, links exchange, online advertising etc. It gives you a profound info about the website, helps you study your competitors and potential partners. At one glance you can see the page PageRank, the number of pages from the domain name indexed in Google, Yahoo and Bing, Alexa Rank, the age of the domain name and the direct link to the whois info. There’s information about internal and external links on the page as well as the information on the keywords density ( you can check what main keywords your competitors use and how often and where on page).
The SeoQuake extension has another cool feature- so called Yahoo links- showing the number (and the list) of external URLs pointing to the page and domain name. Extremely useful when you need to check who’s linking to your competitors.
That’s a good alternative to SeoQuake but I prefer using them both. By default the Search Status add-on options will show up in the bottom right corner of the browser alone with the traffic stats from Alexa (alexa rank), Compete and mozRank by SeoMoz. Earlier I was using Alexa stats from the SeoQuake and had a separate Compete add-on installed and now I have them all in one place. Some of the other features Search Status add-on include: no follow links analysis, general page’s link report, stats about indexed pages and keywords density, whois info etc. There’s almost the same features as in SeoQuake and some additional ones but they are not convenient to use. I prefer clicking on an icon in the toolbar rather than going to the footer, clicking on the icon and only then getting the list of options available. It would be perfect is someone could combine these two.
That’s it, I’ve listed all the add-ons that I use daily. I’ll be glad to hear what add-ons you use and how they help you in your work. I still have a place for two or three until my browser stops working so do let me know :)