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Useful Firefox Extensions

April 7th, 2007

After using it for almost two years, I have found that Firefox, an open source browser published by Mozilla, is generally more secure and easier to use than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) browser. Aside from the enhanced security and user friendly interface, however, what really gives Firefox the edge over most other browsers is its amazing versatility, including the ability to customize Firefox through the use of a wide variety of extensions, or “add-ons” as they are also called. Some of these extensions are particularly useful for bloggers and Internet entrepreneurs, so I will briefly describe a few particular extensions that I have found the most useful below. If you do not already have it, you can download Firefox from the Mozilla site by simply clicking on the relevant text in this sentence.

Search Status

This toolbar extension is especially useful for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes because it can help you to easily gauge the overall popularity of any website. It will display the Google Page Rank and Alexa rank in either numerical or graphical format on the right side of your status bar at the bottom of the screen. By right-clicking on the page rank, Alexa rank, or Quirk logo icons, you can access a wealth of other information about the site that you are currently visiting, such as Whois info, keyword density, inbound links, pages of the site that have been indexed by the major search engines, Alexa traffic details, number of links on the page, “nofollow” links, meta tags, archived pages, and more. Google and Alexa queries can be disabled without having to remove the extension itself if you wish.

Linkification

This handy little extension has the ability to convert plain text links on web pages into active clickable links. According to one of the reviews at the Mozilla site, links that have been converted in this manner are able to be scanned by anti-virus programs as well. After downloading and using this extension, I also noticed that any email addresses on the page are converted into active links and are made clickable for use with an email client. By navigating to Tools >> Add-ons >> Extensions >> Linkification from your main Firefox menu, you can access various options to use with your new extension, allowing you to choose things like what kinds of links should be made clickable, what color they should display as, whether or not you want them to open in new windows or tabs, whether or not you want to include specific domains, etc. The ability to “linkify” text in this way is useful because it saves you the extra step of having to copy and paste the relevant text into the address bar every time you want to visit a specific site that is not displayed on the page as an active link.

Resurrect Pages

If you are trying to visit a web site that exists (or did exist until recently) but find that you cannot access it, you can attempt to “resurrect” the page with the help of this extension. After installing this application and encountering the error page of a “dead” web site, you will see a little talisman icon under the “Try Again” button, and to the right of this icon you will have several options that will allow you to search for any cache of that web page. If any of these options return successful search results, you will be able to view the content of any pages that had been previously indexed. This can be useful for times when traffic to a web site is so heavy that it is difficult to access it, or for use in collecting evidence that could be used to report scam sites that have suddenly shut down without prior notice.

Domain Details

With this useful tool, you will have nearly instant access to any web site’s Whois domain info, IP address details, search engine details (page rank, Alexa rank, number of listings, etc.), and even a Google map of the site’s server location! After installing the extension, simply right click after visiting a web site and mouse over the option “Domain Info” at the bottom of the menu.

Clippings

Particularly useful for blogging and forum posting, this application acts a kind of permanent, extended clipboard that is accessible from the bottom right corner of your screen in the status bar. You can select any text that you want to save and drag it into the icon to create a new Clippings item. These items can be saved, sorted, modified, and later pasted into documents of your choice by right clicking the little icon that looks like a piece of paper and choosing the appropriate option. There is even a Quick Start Guide available for this extension to help you get started. This tool should save me lots of time by making copying and pasting of frequently used chunks of text (such as affiliate links) much more efficient.


Related article: Entrecard Time Saver: Firefox Snap Links Extension


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