Since starting at Zapier eight months ago, I've been on the hunt for the best Chrome setup for my content marketing role. No longer do I care about the optimal configurations for my desktop, I want to know how I can make the most of the app where I spend 98 percent of my workday: my web browser.
The following tutorial shares the Chrome settings, features and extensions that I've come to rely on as a marketer at one time or another. It will teach you not only how to begin to make the most of Chrome itself, but introduce you to more than two-dozen add-ons that will add efficiency to your everyday marketing efforts. Some suggestions might already be familiar to you, but hopefully you'll come away with a few new ideas and share the ones we missed in the comments.
Let's get started!
You're a professional on the go, browsing the Internet from multiple devices, so to ensure the following steps stay with you whether you're using your work or personal laptop, sign into your Chrome browser. Doing so, will sync your bookmarks, tabs history, and other browser preferences.
"When I’m at work at SEER and I have to update a password and download a new extension it’s automatically on my laptop," Miceli says. "When I add a new bookmark to my toolbar, boom it’s automatically on my home desktop computer."
Now that you're signed into Chrome, consider why you're using the web browser, both in your professional and personal life. It's for different activities, isn't it? As a marketer, you use Twitter to engage with your customers. As a social creature, you use Twitter to interact with your friends. With multiple Chrome profiles set up, there's no need to sign out of your work Twitter account to then sign-in to your personal account—different Chrome profiles can be signed into different Twitter accounts.
During the workday, for example, I primarily use my "Zapier" Chrome profile—indicated by an orange silhouette—but keep my "personal" profile open, as well. In that window, I'll sporadically check email, reply to personal tweets or check last night's Minnesota Twins score.
When taking a screenshot for help documentation or sharing your screen in a webinar, use a Chrome profile you've set up specifically for that purpose. Keep this profile clear of extension clutter and set it up with the demo accounts of the services you'll be showing off.
Unless an extension is needed in the webinar, use a Chrome profile without add-on clutter.
Want to check if your latest blog post has hit the first page for the keyword you targeted? Google it, of course. But don't make the mistake of doing so in the Chrome browser window in which you're signed into Google. Instead, open a Chrome Incognito Window to rid your results of influence from your search history and cookies. This method is the "quickest and easiest way to accurately check your Google rankings," says Phil Graham, an internet marketer and SEO consultant.
To open an incognito window, either click the Chrome menu button (three horizontal lines) and then click "New Incognito Window" or use the keyboard shortcut, ⌘-Shift-N on Mac or Ctrl+Shift+N on Windows, Linux and Chrome OS.
Use Incognito Mode to:
This tutorial will soon point you to some of the best tools out there to make you work as a marketer more efficient, but on top of all those tools is one that rules them all: your password manager. Adding a password manager to Google Chrome ensures that you keep your security strong while making the switch from service to service a breeze. Whether you're a team of one or many, this tool is a must.
LastPass, Dashlane and PasswordBox are three of the most popular password managers, says USA TODAY tech columnist Jefferson Graham, but there are several others, such as 1Password and Keeper. Also check out Meldium, which in addition to being password manager offers an easy way to get new employees set up with your company's many app accounts.
Ultimately, find a password manager that fits your needs and price range and then seek out its Chrome extension. At Zapier, we use LastPass, and the service's Chrome extension is one of our co-founder's 10 favorites such tools for getting work down.
There's a hidden feature in Google Chrome's Omnibox, the browser's always present search and address bar, that will save you hours in the long-run. It's revealed with a right-click in the Omnibox: "Edit Search Engines". This feature allows you to skip the Google results and go right to results for only content on a website you specify. Custom search engines take a few steps to set up:
Google has already set up five custom search engines for you, which you might have already taken advantage of before without evening knowing it. To use a customer search engine, you just type in the Keyword, such as "yahoo.com", press the space bar and continue typing your search query and press enter. Take a minute to try it now, you might be surprised you're able to search Yahoo directly from Chrome.
Try Social Media Examiner as an example:
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/search?q=%s— for most blogs and news sites, you'll use the URL and add
search?q=%s, but other sites vary (see below)
To find the URL needed to create a custom search outside of a blog or news site, it's quickest to simply Google it, e.g. "Twitter search Chrome custom search". Here's a handy list to start, collected across the web:
Via Zapier Teammates
Refine your Google results by using filters, especially helpful when searching for relevant information about an industry or product. To take advantage of this feature, click "Search Tools" on the results page.
If a high-ranking site isn't providing the information you're looking for and it becomes more of an annoyance than a help, use Google's Personal Blocklist Chrome extension to remove it from future searches.
Chrome extensions are the easy buttons of the web, giving you the ability to do a variety of actions in just one-click. Here are some of the best for marketers.
There's no quicker way to share an article on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ than to click the Buffer extension and queue up a future post. You can share the content immediately or schedule to share it at custom time, too. The extension also adds a "Buffer" button alongside other sharing options on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Hacker News.
• Get the Buffer Chrome extension
Here's how Zapier users make even more use of Buffer:
When monitoring Twitter for work or pleasure, you come across quality content that takes some time to read. Instead of emailing yourself a link or adding it to Evernote, install the Chrome extension to make saving to your preferred read it a later app an easy habit. Or if you keep coming back to the same blog, conveniently subscribe to it with the feedly Chrome extension.
Here's one way Zapier users add more articles to Instapaper:
Like Instapaper, but specifically for Facebook, you won't need to open a new tab to save an article, just click the added "Favorite" button that appears next to "Like • Comment • Share". Clicking on the extension's icon opens a page with your collections of saved links.
"Just to be clear, it is only similar to the bookmarking aspect of Pocket and does not allow saving posts for offline reading," writes Waqas Ahmed on Addictive Tips. "It’s still pretty handy for users with extraordinarily busy or cluttered news feeds."
• Get the Facebook Favorite Chrome extension
Sure, your operating system offers a screenshot tool, but is it as awesome as what's available in the Chrome Web Store? Look no further than the aptly named Awesome Screenshot, a screenshot extension that allows you to not only select a portion of the page but the whole page—a great feature for capturing landing pages—and annotate on the image, too. But there are others, plenty of others.
To capture a short screencast, check out free extension Screencastify. "The dead-simple tool enables recording screen activity within a Chrome tab or on the desktop," writes Ahmed. "It also carries options for configuring screen resolution and frame rate."
Pushbullet creates a better connection between your computer and phone, and with its Chrome extension installed, its easy to send links, pictures and files to another device or contact.
• Get the Pushbullet Chrome extension
Here's another great use case of Pushbullet when you use the app on Zapier:
Related: Read how to make the most of team collaboration apps: "6 Tools to Help Turn Your Team’s Daily Reading into Big Ideas"
Gmail continues to add features that make the email the best around, but there are still a set of Chrome extensions that make it even better. And there's one native Gmail feature you may have missed.
Sending out pitches to promote your latest product feature but then forgetting to follow up by week's end is easy to do, especially if you don't rely on a CRM to manage contacts. That's where Chrome extension Boomerang can be big help—before pressing "send" you can set the app to remind you to follow up. You can also schedule an email to be sent later or get a notification if you never hear back.
"This extension will make answering email easier for any busy marketer," writes Jordan Skole on the Ambassador blog.
• Get the Boomerang Chrome extension
Before you get a reminder from Boomerang that a press contact hasn't replied to your pitch, hopefully you'll get a notification from Signals that the individual opened your email. With Signals, an app from HubSpot, that's just what you can keep an eye on, and more.
• Get the Signals Chrome extension
Here's how marketers on Zapier make even more use of Signals:
Who's the person behind the new email address in your inbox? That's the question that Rapportive can answer with a simple click on the email address. (It also comes with a trick revealed by Scott Britton: reverse lookup)
Also check out Vibe, a recently reviewed extension on Lifehacker. Similar to Rapportive, except instead of revealing social information about an individual inside your inbox, it can do it across the web—wherever an email is written.
This built-in but overlooked Gmail feature is one of the most time-saving but simple tools on this list. If you find yourself writing the same email over and over again, click the "More options" arrow at the bottom right of a compose window and either select, add or delete a canned response.
Finally, keyboard shortcuts in Gmail can ramp up your email answering speed, but learning them isn't a fast task. That's where KeyRocket for Gmail comes in handy, prompting you during your Gmail use of how you could have done your latest action with a quick keystroke instead of a few clicks.
• Get the KeyRocket for Gmail Chrome extension
Google Analytics' URL builder is an essential tool to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaign, but constantly visiting the page to generate a URL is an annoyance. That's where the Google Analytics URL Builder Chrome extension comes into play—click when on a website and you can quickly build a Google Analytics URL for that page.
"Best of all, the extension connects to bitly accounts to automatically shorten those ugly appended links," points out Katherine Leonard of TOKY Branding + Design.
This simple extension delivers just what it promises: a quick check to make sure there are no broken links on your page.
• Get the Check my Links Chrome extension
This extension provides a quick rundown of a site's SEO stats, including Google PageRank, Alexa Rank and Compete.
Here's how Zapier CEO Wade Foster makes use of PageRank Status for marketing:
Throughout the day I'm constantly evaluating potential partners for Zapier. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to figure out just how much traction a company might have. If I had infinite time, I'd work with them all, but I don't so I need a way to quickly evaluate how effective partners might be. […] This is helpful for separating the merely interesting from the potentially great partners.
• Get the PageRank Status Chrome extension
Campalyst no longer works! If anyone knows a good replacement, let us know.
Another extension favorite of Wade's is Campalyst, an add-on that helps you analyze Twitter traffic in Google Analytics.
"Instead of flying blind on who is sending you Twitter traffic, Campalyst embeds the tweet inside Google Analytics so I can see exactly which people are driving traffic to Zapier and how well it converts," he writes.
"This is great information for informing us what Twitter influencers we should be aiming to form a deeper relationship with," he continues. "For instance, based on the tweet above you can see that Howard Lindzon sent 54 visitors with one tweet and five of those converted to users. That's a pretty good conversion rate."
For the SEO advanced, Moz's MozBar gives you a quick glance at metrics like Domain Authority and Page Authority for every page you visit. It can also display those numbers as part of a Google search results page, too, a feature that can be toggled off and on.
• Get the MozBar Chrome extension
The following one-function extensions play a strong wingman to any of your design contributions as a marketer.
Hover over text to reveal the font used, including the services used for serving the web fonts.
• Get the WhatFont Chrome extension
Once again, just a hover of your mouse is needed to uncover a characteristic of a web page.
• Get the EyeDropper Chrome extension
If you've ever been frustrated by the inability to pull text out of document because you've realized it's an image, not a PDF, then Project Naptha exists for you. This Chrome extension says it uses state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms to let you highlight and copy-and-paste text once trapped inside an image.
• Get the Project Naptha Chrome extension
With your users spread across various devices, Window Resizer can be of help when it comes to testing the many screen sizes in which you'll serve up your website.
• Get the Window Resizer Chrome Extension
Too many tabs? It's a bad habit for many marketers, and on top of mowing them down by saving pages to apps like Pocket, you can take proactive steps for better tab management.
Chrome extensions Session Buddy and OneTab put together lists of your open tabs, allowing you to return to all of them (or just some of them) at a later time. The latter extension promises it'll help save up to 95 percent memory on your machine just by using its tab management solution.
If you're on Windows and you're still OK with keeping many tabs open, at least check out the experimental Google Chrome stacked tab feature.
In their own right, each the add-ons above will help add more productivity to your day, but the following apps are made with only that goal in mind.
The Momentum Chrome extension turns your "new tab" window into a constant reminder of your goals, providing you a spot for a to-do list and one main focus. It also offers an inspirational quote atop a beautiful nature picture.
The extension is simple yet effective, and productivity blogger James Clear would likely agree. His latest blog post, "The Only Productivity Tip You’ll Ever Need", encourages you to "do the most important thing first each day". This will help remind you to do so.
• Get the Momentum Chrome extension
Related: Read productivity tips from the creator of Momentum,"From 0 to 100,000 Users in 4 Months: The Story Behind Productivity Chrome Extension Momentum".
Time tracking and analysis app RescueTime offers a Chrome extension to enhance its power and Limitless, an add-on with resemblance to Momentum, is self-contained as a Chrome extension. Both help you better understand how you work, where you're wasting time and where you can gain time back.
To log RescueTime alerts, some Zapier users have hooked the app up to their Google Calendar:
If you've discovered Facebook is the stealer of your productivity but you just can't kick the habit of visiting it during the day, then apps StayFocusd and Time Warp can be of assistance. With time limits, reminders (like motivational quotes) and website blockers, these apps will make sure you stay on task.
What Chrome settings, extensions or apps—a dimension of the web browser not discussed here—are part of your marketing toolkit? Please share in the comments below!
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