Using Google Chrome Extensions for Small Business
Preach What We Practice
The fifth installment of our new blog series, “Preach what we Practice” where we’ll give fellow small business owners a back-stage pass to how we do business. This week I’m digging into Google Chrome.
– Nate –
Background: Google Chrome Extensions
One of the upsides to Firefox back in the day was its fantastic extensions, especially web developer favorites Firebug and Colorzilla. And to be honest that’s what I used until last year when Google Chrome’s fast loading features were just too good to resist.
The Google Chrome Store has a ridiculous amount of extensions … I found the ones covered in this post while searching for add-ons for the tools and apps I was already using. I would check the number of downloads and positive reviews as well to keep things safe and stable.
Package / Cost / Setup
We just use the latest version of Google Chrome – Version 29.0.1547.76 m at the writing of this post.
Setting up extensions is quite easy … some of them may require an automatic reboot of your browser.
All of these extensions are free (or have free versions available).
Which Google Chrome Extensions does our business use:
- AdBlocker (install)
- The most downloaded extension on Google Chrome
- Blocks pop-ups, but will also make it easy to allow pop-ups on sites that require them (such as online banking)
- Evernote Web Clipper (install … requires a free Evernote account)
- Evernote is a far superior option for bookmarking … well … your life.
- Especially useful for grabbing full page screenshots (even below the fold) for use in swipe files. I use it specifically for bagging / tagging research for my graphic novel project, and cataloging screenshots of my favorite landing page designs.
- ColorZilla for Chrome (install)
- Chrome version of the popular Firefox extension
- This is a little tricky to use, but is handy for snagging color codes from your website for use in your theme options (i.e. if you want to snag the right shade of blue used in your logo to re-use in your heading tags).
- Ecquire (install … requires an Ecquire account)
- The most recent addition to my Chrome Extension toolkit
- Syncs up Highrise, Gmail and LinkedIn … a must have for anyone in sales.
- Rapportive for Gmail (install)
- Found this via a post from Katherine Leonard on Lonely Brand – thanks!
- It adds a sidebar to Gmail which will snag a headshot, job title, company, social media links, etc… of the person whose email you are reading OR the person you are sending too.
- I’ll cover this in more detail in my series on Gmail. Sign up for our newsletter to get notified.
What to avoid with Google Chrome Extensions:
- Don’t load too many extensions into Chrome, just stick to the essentials. It will take forever to open Chrome when it has to load up the files and off-site API connections for 22 extensions. There’s usually a better app and extension or resident shortcut key for what you are trying to tackle anyways.
- Adblocker will sometimes block features necessary for a site you visit to function. Just click on the AdBlocker icon in the upper left of your browser and select the appropriate exclusion option.
- Pay special attention to when it was last updated (see notated screenshot to the right for more guidance on this topic). I’ve fallen in love with an extension only to have it fall apart when Google Chrome ran a regular update – because they are free, developers don’t have a strong incentive to keep them up-to-date.
Chrome Remote Desktop (install). Technically this is an Chrome App and can be accessed from the New Tab screen
I use this to help some of our clients with tricky installs such as the QuickBooks / WP Commerce Integration we knocked out for Eagle View Arms. A free replacement for expensive remote access tools. It’s session based, so don’t expect to ba able to remote into your own machine like GoToMyPC / Citrix.
Starting this Fall, we’ll be sharing our favorite templates, check-lists, tutorials, etc… to our email subscribers. That includes everything from marketing checklists to finance spreadsheets to comprehensive how-to guides for tools such as CutePDF, and sales funnels.
Launches in early October 2013. Sign-up here to be notified of the release date and details.