Guest Post by ATOMIC Member Allison Christie
There are over 10,000 Google Chrome extensions, so it’s easy to get lost when it comes to picking the ones that are really going to make a difference to running your business.
Extensions range from cat/dog/supercar wallpapers to powerful productivity tools and mean you can customise your Chrome browser to suit you. They’re the ultimate techy pick ’n’ mix!
They’re all right there in one place, whatever web page you’re on and you can find them all in the Chrome extension store.
Here’s my selection of the extensions that make a real difference to your focus, concentration and workflow each and every day. They can improve your productivity, take you straight to what you need to know and reduce the steps (and time) it takes to move from system to system, or page to page.
How many Chrome extensions should you run?
Like everything, adding extensions is going to take up some memory, so a bit of balance is key here. Run what helps you in your business, but don’t install every shiny sparkly extension you might like the look of. Less is more – multiple fancy coloured themes or cat wallpapers are probably not going to make a difference to the work you get done today!
If you ever find Chrome is using a hoosh (technical term) more memory than it should, look at your extensions and uninstall what you’re not using. The first one in this must try list helps with managing that too…
This is a great one for enabling and disabling all those extensions you want to keep but don’t need to have running all the time. You can easily enable and disable them as you need to. Which means they are there when you want them but they’re not taking up memory when you don’t.
You NEED a password manager in your life. Really, you do. If you’re not using one, do it now! Sorry if that’s a bit of a nag but it is absolutely what you need to secure the information in your business. A password manager is always going to be more secure than any method you come up with to create and save your own passwords. If you’re one of the many who uses just one or two favourite passwords, you need to start using this, prrronto!
LastPass will remember all your passwords for you, you just need to remember the one you log in to LastPass with. They’ve got everything else covered for you. You can share access to sites with your team, with or without sharing the actual passwords with them. You can save credit card details and important information securely, and you can also set up emergency access so someone has access to your accounts should you ever be unable to access them yourself. Data is encrypted at device level, which means your data is secret even from LastPass (which also means it can’t be hacked).
One of the criticisms I sometimes hear about any password manager is that it’s a single point of failure – why would you store all of your sensitive data in one place? Well, here’s the thing – there have been several attempts to hack in to LastPass over the years (that would be a hackers jackpot) and NOT ONE ATTEMPT has ever resulted in a password being revealed. So it’s something that security experts and ethical hackers recommend – if they can’t get into it or uncover your sensitive data, you’re as safe as a safe thing in a safe place. They have hackers of their own actively looking for holes in their own security, so you’re going to be safe.
Try 1Password if LastPass is not for you.
This Chrome extension means you can stay secure if you’re working out and about using public wifi. A VPN (virtual private network) keeps you in a secure little wifi bubble within wider wifi, so there’s an extra layer of security that keeps your data safe – very important if you have access to clients data to be sure you are doing all you can to comply with GDPR.
Google Calendar is next at the top of my list! I use it for time blocking and planning my to do list, as well as appointments and, just, well, life! But I don’t always want my calendar open in a tab. This nifty little plugin lets me keep an eye on my calendar in a little dropdown and also tells me how long it is until my next appointment.
Perfect for catching those typos! Grammarly runs everywhere within Chrome so it catches errors in those annoying Tweets that you can’t edit, Facebook posts, everything really. A quick check in Grammarly will catch those typos that your eyes don’t catch!
Project Management and Productivity
Powerful but simple to use! An extension for the Todoist productivity tool that is brilliant for managing tasks and to do list right within Chrome. Add categories, set due dates, add notes and lots more. It’s a simple but hugely powerful way to keep on track of everything you need to do.
If you use Asana to manage your projects and tasks, you can quickly add work or check in directly from Chrome. It saves you moving from tab to tab or having Asana running when all you need to do is check in quickly. This one makes it super easy to keep track of tasks and progress.
Asana doesn’t have as many add-on extensions as other productivity tools (possibly because its own functionality is so good, they’re not needed), so all I’ve needed to do is connect my Asana to my time logger, Toggl.
As well as installing Trello itself to manage your tasks and productivity, there are lots of Chrome extensions to customise Trello, worthy of a blog all of their own! As well as having Trello in my toolbar to manage tasks and projects straight from Chrome, I also use:
Trelabels for Trello, so I can add wording to any colour coding I use on tasks.
List Layouts for Trello to switch between a horizontal and grid view for my boards.
Gmail for Trello to add tasks straight from an email.
There’s lots more, and Trello have them covered in their own Big List of Trello Extensions.
If you use Toggl to track your time on tasks, install this extension too. Another one that means you don’t need Toggl running in its own tab in the background. You can start and stop tasks straight from your Chrome toolbar. There’s lots of integration between Toggl and other systems too.
One great place to save, sort and review curated content. Whenever you come across a web page, a blog or an article you want to save for later, simply put it in your Pocket! And once you’re in Pocket, you can sort, add tags, find similar content, etc.
I use it all the time for gathering and saving social media content. It’s a great way of keeping content you know you want to refer back to, all in one safe place. It’s not internet dependent either and it syncs across all your devices. Content curation made easy!
If Pocket is not for you, there’s Feedly or Evernote and a whole lot of other options to help keep and organise web content for later use. All great for making the most out of your browsing and content curation.
Brilliant if you’re a GMail user, like me. A great tool to help you track email replies and schedule emails to be sent later. You can also pause your inbox (for when you need interrupted work time) and keep track of email receipts too. It’s awesome!
Stats and SEO
Keywords Everywhere makes looking for keywords and search phrases so much easier. I don’t know about you, but as good as the Google Adwords Keywords Planner is, it’s just a bit clunky to get into. The Keywords Everywhere extension shows keywords up right in your Google search, so there’s no need to look elsewhere. And the bonus is you can export the results straight in to a spreadsheet to save, sort and use in your future marketing too. An easy peasy extension that basically does keyword searching and SEO research for you.
Another one for SEO, Mozbar from the legends that are Moz, so you know it’s going to be good. It gives you all the data you need on SEO and keywords.
Want to see stats about pages and content you’re watching via Chrome? Great for seeing stats from other channels to see how they’re performing – subscriber counts, rankings, etc. A quick way to get right to the heart of statistics for your performance.
There’s a Chrome extension for most of the big social media scheduling tools out there, so we’ll not go down a rabbit hole and list them all, here are my favourites:
A great one to install so you can share and schedule your social media posts straight from Chrome.
If you’re a Tailwind user, another great one for saving and scheduling content to your Pinterest or Instagram.
Another one in daily use here. So handy for pinning images to Pinterest. I’ve got a range of private boards for clients and my own business and this is a great tool for quickly pinning content where it needs to go.
Another one I use regularly for checking stats, adding Youtube tags, keywords along with all sorts of added functions that make editing YouTube videos faster and easier.
Another YouTube video must! VidIQ is fantastic for helping you use the best SEO tags for your video and making sure you’re ticking all the boxes to optimize your videos.
Not entirely sure I want to tell you about this one! This one blocks the ‘seen’ message on Facebook messages. It’s super handy if you have access to business Facebook accounts and might like to check in on a message but not necessarily reply right away.
It’s handy if (like me), you’re on Facebook for business purposes and other clients or friends send you a message. You might want to quickly check in just in case it’s something urgent. It saves you that awkward expectation around ‘you saw my message hours ago, why haven’t you replied!’
The Handy to Have’s
Do you often need to hop on a call with a client/contact and share screens? Loom is a fantastic add-on that I use all the time. It’s ace for recording straight on your screen and sending a quick video link. Brilliantly handy when you need to run a client through something on screen and explain at the same time (Facebook Ad result springs to mind, I use it for that a lot). Just click your Loom extension, record your video and send them the link. No need to faff with finding a time you are both free for a call, and no need to upload/download a video. Just record, send the link and you’re done! The bonus is you can also see when the video is viewed, so you know someone has got your message. And your videos are all stored in your Loom account too, so once you’ve recorded something you can use it multiple times.
With this one you can reply to What’sApp messages and texts, etc. from your computer. It saves you going from phone to computer, computer to phone. Now I don’t always have Pushbullet switched on, sometimes this one is disabled if I’m doing deep work and need concentration, my phone is switched off and so is Pushbullet. That’s a time management trick I swear by – it limits the distractions and pings by switching them off.
But all the same, there are times when it comes in very handy – when a client and I are pinging messages back and forward, usually about something I’m working on right then, I don’t have to switch from device to device. I can also share links straight from my computer which has come in very handy too. Messages are encrypted so they’re secure, always important to know.
A fantastic extension for an instant browser clean! This one clears cache, cookies, search and download history as well as scanning for malware and cleaning up your computer.
If you’re fed up of seeing web pages filled with adverts whenever you’re trying to read something, AdBlock is great. It does what it says really, it blocks intrusive ads from your Chrome web pages. You’ll still see adverts and you can whitelist particular sites, but it saves nothing but ads on some pages in Google.
Do you ever need to reference website pages or add a formal citation? This clever little add on correctly formats your citation so you can copy and paste it wherever it’s needed.
Just for Fun
Ever tried this one? It changes any website into gangsta Snoop Dogg style lyrics. Utterly hilarious!
And, just for fun…. Sometimes the internet just needs Googly eyes!!!
Allison runs her own business Tick The List, helping small business owners with their social media, digital marketing and managing their online business. She lives in the Shetland Islands, and regularly laughs at anyone in mainland UK who says they’re ‘from up north’.
Away from the office she’s usually rounding up a husband, three kids, a horse and two cats. Spare time isn’t really a ‘thing’, but she does have dreams of taking photos, lounging around reading books and travelling/working from all sorts of exotic places. It’ll happen 😉