10 must-have Firefox extensions for business

Work smarter without leaving your browser

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Foxy SEO Tool Firefox extension
Use the Foxy SEO Tool to evaluate your Web site's search engine performance.

Foxy SEO Tool

Is your company's Web site as noticed as it could be? The Foxy SEO Tool installs a toolbar to Firefox that contains a wide range of third-party tools to help you determine how well your site ranks on the major search engines and identify areas where you could improve your site's findability. Tools for spotting security problems, identifying plagiarism of your content and conducting traffic analysis are also included, as well as links to submit your site or pages to the top social media sites.

The extension doesn't really do any "work" on its own -- instead it links you to third-party services, such as Alexa, Compete and Quantcast for traffic analysis; Copyscape for plagiarism detection; and Quarkbase for Web site information. The beauty of Foxy SEO is that it gathers all these disparate tools into a single handy toolbar.

A few of the services used by the extension require registration; for instance, you need to be logged into Digg to submit a page to the social media service, and you must be logged into Google to use the Google Webmaster Tools. Most of these tools work fine without registration, although you'll get more info from a service like Quantcast if you're a subscriber.

Yoono Firefox extension
Use Yoono to keep an eye on the social media world.

Foxy SEO's tools work on any site, so in addition to checking out your own site with them, you can use them to learn what other sites are doing right, as well as what you might be doing wrong.


Handling your company's social media marketing and branding strategy can be complicated -- there are so many sites to monitor and post to. Yoono brings the most popular ones (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and several others) together in a single sidebar so you can easily view and post to each in turn.

Yoono also supports multiple accounts on several services so you can, for instance, keep track of separate Twitter or Facebook accounts for each of your company's brands. For a more detailed view, you can set up customized multicolumn views with, say, Facebook statuses in one column and Twitter replies in another.

Gmail Manager

Gmail Manager Firefox extension
Gmail Manager is essential for anyone tasked with managing several Gmail accounts.

More and more businesses and other institutions are shifting to Gmail as their primary e-mail system. Whether you use a stand-alone Gmail account or a hosted Google Apps account, the Gmail Manager extension enhances the Gmail experience in Firefox, starting with some basic functions, such as letting you see when new e-mail is available or compose e-mail on the fly without opening a Gmail window.

But it really shines when you're tasked with keeping tabs on more than one e-mail account via Gmail. For instance, you may be in charge of your organization's info@yourcompany.com e-mail address or a shared sales@yourcompany.com account as well as your own individual e-mail. Gmail Manager makes it easy to switch back and forth among multiple accounts without having to repeatedly log out and back in to check each account.

Gmail Manager also adds an entry to your right-click menu when you click on e-mail addresses, allowing you to easily select which account you'd like to send an e-mail from.

Bonus extension: Firebug

If you're in the business of developing for the Web -- or are just scouting around for ideas to make your company's Web site better -- Firebug is an essential tool that allows you to explore the HTML, CSS and JavaScript of any Web page. Code is displayed in an outline view that you can surf through by opening and closing elements within the code itself or by clicking on the Web page to select the element you want to examine.

While Firebug is not an editor per se, you can edit the code of any page and watch the effect in real time; you have to open the code in an external editor to save it, though. This extension is ideal for debugging faulty pages, testing changes or just learning new tricks from other sites.

Firebug Firefox extension
Firebug's outline view makes it easy to navigate complex code.

Logan Kugler is a frequent Computerworld contributor. His most recent article was 10 must-have free Palm webOS apps.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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