For all of the greatness that the internet affords -- cute animal videos, GIFs, and interesting blogs -- one of its biggest downsides is how distracting it can be. How many times have you sat down to work and been pulled into a pit of procrastination?
Perhaps you get absorbed in updates on social media, or maybe you click through Wikipedia trying to determine what exactly Gina Rodriguez's first TV role was (it was on Law & Order). No matter where you click online, it's easy to be pulled into a black hole of distraction and low productivity.
Enter Google Chrome browser extensions. The Google Chrome web store offers a variety of different tools that help you become safer, smarter, and more productive with just one click.
We can't guarantee that these extensions will make YouTube videos less tempting to watch, but we recommend them for busy marketers who want to make their time online more efficient. We've broken them down into different categories if you want to jump ahead:
Please note: All of these are free tools, but some of the services that they work with have paid features or subscriptions.
Best Security Chrome Extensions
- HTTPS Everywhere
- J2Team Security
- Avast Online Security
- Fair AdBlocker
Users: 2.1 million
"HTTPS" is a website protocol that ensures a site is secure before you visit it. And although you might recognize this tag at the beginning of most websites, it's not quite ubiquitous across the internet -- nor does it guarantee that the site you're browsing is 100% secure.
The Chrome extension, HTTPS Everywhere, rewrites the request you send to any website you want to visit in Chrome so you can be sure your browser produces the secure version of that site. Browse assured that all your personal information is kept safe and your computer doesn't catch malware while you're online.
See how this browser extension looks in the screenshot below.
Users: 3.4 million
If you're constantly searching and downloading work material during the day, it can be a tedious task to clear your browser history. You just don't have the time to keep pulling up your history page and manually clearing your cache or download log.
The Click&Clean extension for Chrome allows you to clear your cache, URL searches, website cookies, and download history with a single click of a button on your browser toolbar. The extension can also scan your computer for viruses and clean up your hard drive of unused applications -- helping your computer run faster as a result.
Users: 164 thousand
J2TEAM Security isn't your average firewall. This Chrome extension starts with basic virus protection, but also allows you to customize your website blocklist and ensure your Chrome browser uses the "HTTPS" security tag on blogging sites -- preventing you from visiting user blogs that are deemed unsafe.
The extension also offers a variety of Facebook-specific privacy settings, such as blocking the "seen" tag after you read certain private messages and hiding how long you've been active in Facebook Messenger.
Users: 2.7 million
Ghostery is a sophisticated ad-blocking extension designed to remove ads that distract or interrupt you while you're viewing specific website content. It also disguises your browsing data so ad-tracking tools are unable to collect personal information that you'd prefer to keep private. These features help to speed up webpages' load time and ultimately improve your browsing experience.
Users: 15 thousand
Checkbot combines technical SEO with modern security to help you analyze both how safe and how optimized a website is for search engines. Because search engines like Google prioritize website security in addition to content quality in their rankings, this Chrome extension is a handy one-two punch for content creators and web developers.
Checkbot can test the page speed, SEO, and overall security of more than 250 URLs per domain for free -- and help you improve in these three categories to protect you and you website visitors from unsafe material.
Users: 10+ million
Avast Online Security is known as a "web reputation plugin," examining each individual website you visit for suspicious information. The extension also warns you if the site you're visiting simply has a bad reputation. In turn, you can rate the websites you visit to help Avast get better at flagging potentially unsafe webpages while on Chrome.
Users: 45 thousand
This security extension is specific to emails, allowing you to send and receive encrypted emails (and attachments) to and from your colleagues. It's one of the best ways to be sure your emails are kept private and secure while in transit to the recipient.
FlowCrypt uses PGP encryption, which stands for "Pretty Good Privacy" -- the standard for encryption in most email clients. The tool integrates perfectly with Gmail, adding a "Secure Compose" button to your inbox.
Users: 2.1 million
Fair AdBlocker offers both malware and adware in one browser extension. The tool protects you from malware as well as distracting ads and pop-ups. Once installed, you can configure your blocking settings to hide the types of ads you're least interested in seeing -- especially those that carry dangerous information that can infect your computer.
Chrome Extensions for Social Media
Users: 447 thousand
This extension lets marketers quickly and easily shorten links and share them on social media directly from their browser. This is particularly useful for social media marketers and allows for personalization with an Enterprise plan.
Image courtesy of bitly.com
Users: 20 thousand
BuzzSumo provides insight into how content is performing. When you're on a web page, click the extension to show metrics such as the number of social shares and backlinks to a piece. This tool provides an easy way to see how much engagement your content is generating. You could also use BuzzSumo to perform competitor analysis to uncover strategies that might make your content more shareable.
Users: 10+ million
This extension allows you to easily save items onto your Pinterest boards without navigating away from what you're doing. What's neat about this tool is that it shows you multiple pinnable items available on each website so you can save more than one item to your board at a time. (Normally, you would have to click into each blog post or image in order to separately pin each to your boards individually.)
Users: 2.4 million
Facebook's new "Save" feature lets users aggregate links, images, and videos they find on Facebook in one location in their account. This bookmark allows you to do the same from anywhere on the web, making Facebook a centralized place to save content you're interested in checking out later. (As you can see, in addition to inbound marketing, I'm also interested in learning more about footwear and vegan recipes.)
Users: 22 thousand
RiteTag shows you how hashtags are performing on Twitter and Facebook before you post content. Once you log in to RiteTag using your Twitter or Facebook credentials, it checks the hashtags you begin typing in real time and color codes them:
- If your hashtag is green, it means the hashtag will help your content be seen now.
- If your hashtag is blue, it means the hashtag will help your content be seen over time.
- If your hashtag is gray, you should select a new hashtag because it has low levels of engagement.
- If your hashtag is red, you should select a new hashtag because it's so popular, your content will disappear into the crowd.
Users: 1 thousand
If you're following a hashtag or event on Twitter, you may want to make a list of users tweeting about topics you're interested in, which is time-consuming to do manually. With the List Builder for Twitter, you can navigate to a hashtag or trending topic and build a list of all users tweeting, or you can select which users you want to add to a list. Here's an example of the tool in action: I built a list of all users tweeting "#INBOUND16" during our annual event in 2016.
If you're a HubSpot customer, you can easily create lists using the social streams featuring in the HubSpot Social Monitoring tool.
Users: 603 thousand
Want to keep tabs on Instagram notifications without having to constantly check your phone? With this extension, users can see what's happening on their Instagram content directly within their browser.
Chrome Extensions for SEO
Users: 546 thousand
The MozBar is a Chrome extension that allows SEO marketers to easily get insights about different websites without leaving their web browser. With one click, you can find search ranking and link coding information about all of the search results on a Google results page.
Image courtesy of Moz
Users: 177 thousand
Check My Links does what it says it will: It quickly scans web pages and shows you which links are working properly and which are broken. With this extension, marketers can ensure that their own websites are functioning properly for their visitors. Additionally, marketers can check for broken backlinks to their content on other websites to build backlinks to their content and increase their domain authority.
Users: 70 thousand
NoFollow quickly indexes web pages and identifies links that are coded with the nofollow metatag. Nofollow links aren't crawled by search engines and don't contribute to search engine authority, so SEOers can use this extension to determine if external sites are backlinking to them with followed, or indexed, links. Additionally, you might use nofollow links on web pages you don't want crawled, such as a landing page or thank you page, and this extension can easily double-check if you've coded links correctly. In the example screenshot below, nofollow links are highlighted in red.
Users: 2 thousand
Impactana's Chrome toolbar offers a wealth of SEO, social media, and content marketing information about any web page. Its two biggest metrics are "Buzz," which measures a website's reach on social media, and "Impact," which measures SEO metrics such as clickthrough rate, backlinks, and time on page. It also shares details like author and publisher contact information that are useful for PR professionals.
Best New Tab Chrome Extensions
- Blank New Tab Page
- Infinity New Tab
- Earth View
- Infinite New Tab
- New Tab URL Redirect Changer Plus
Users: 1.9 million
When you conduct research for a piece of content, it's easy to get swamped in multiple open tabs with great resources you want to cite. The trouble is, once it comes time to write and refer back to the sources, it's hard to navigate between all of the tabs. Luckily, OneTab lets you put multiple different URLs into a single tab for easy reference.
Users: 3.8 million
Momentum is a simple Chrome extension that replaces blank new tabs with beautiful photography, inspiring quotes, weather reports, and a space for you to write down a priority for the day when you open up your browser for the first time. (Don't worry -- the temperature is in Celsius, it's not that cold in Boston.)
Users: 33 thousand
Blank New Tab Page is exactly what it sounds like -- a completely blank, white page when you open a new tab in Chrome. Today's browser settings and themes -- and new versions of Google Chrome -- display previews of recently visited websites or a Google Search bar on new tabs when you open them. If all you want is a blank page to navigate somewhere new, this Chrome extension is what you're looking for.
Users: 118 thousand
Infinity New Tab includes a feature known as Speed Dial on every new tab you open in Chrome. This feature produces large icon-based shortcuts to your most frequently visited websites, as shown in the screenshot below. You can customize these icons with new websites as needed, and add productivity widgets like to-do lists to each new tab as well.
Users: 73 thousand
With Start.me, you turn each new tab you open in Chrome into a personal dashboard. You can populate this dashboard with webpage bookmarks, productivity widgets, news feeds from specific websites, and various photos and videos. If you prefer to keep your daily schedule online, rather than in print or on your desktop, you might find this extension useful.
6. Earth View
Users: 1 million
This Chrome extension might not make your browsing experience easier, but it will make it prettier. Broaden your geography skills while surfing the internet at the same time with Earth View by Google. Each time you open a new tab, the first thing you'll see is a satellite image of a beautiful location somewhere on Earth. See some of the images that pop up on new tabs in the screenshot below.
Users: 32 thousand
Not to be confused with "Infinity New Tab" (the fourth new tab extension on this list), this browser accessory turns your new tab into a canvas. Choose from more than 100 wallpapers to customize your new tab background, as well as a reminder list and note pad for staying on task.
Users: 9 thousand
Got a website you always need to have open? This Chrome extension automatically opens a page of your choice when clicking on a new tab. The tool can even redirect to a specific file you have saved in Google Drive or elsewhere online.
Chrome Extensions for Content Sourcing
Users: 3 thousand
Whether you're conducting research for a project or simply reading different articles online, you most likely come across resources that you want to save and return to for later use.
That's where HubSpot Collect will come in. Instead of saving content to another application or document, you can save it directly to your HubSpot software for easy reference when you sit down to write a blog post or web page. Coming soon to HubSpot software, Collect will automatically generate author attributions and citations if you want to cite a link you saved for a blog post.
Users: 2 million
AwesomeScreenshot is a screen capture extension with capabilities for annotation and photo editing while staying in your browser. Once you take a screenshot of a selected area of your screen or an entire web page, you can crop, highlight, draw shapes, and blur sensitive information.
Users: 4.7 million
Evernote is a note-taking and organization app that can be shared across teams for content collaboration. With the Evernote Web Clipper extension, users can save links onto a clipboard within their Evernote app for later reading and reference.
Users: 176 thousand
Everyone loves animated GIFs. They make emails, blogs, and social media posts engaging and funny, and with this extension, you can easily grab a GIF from Giphy's huge database for whatever content you're working on without navigating away.
Users: 503 thousand
Manually bookmarking websites can sometimes be a tedious process, so Google created this extension to organize websites you want to save without having to open a new tab. Save websites to bookmarks, create folders, and add notes for later reference.
Chrome Extensions for Blogging
Users: 10+ million
Grammarly is my go-to app for reviewing blog posts for proper spelling, grammar, and word use. You can drop large pieces of text into the desktop application for review, or you can use the handy Chrome extension to call out any grammar errors you're making while typing on the web. Here's an example of Grammarly pointing out an error I was about to make in a tweet:
Users: 4.6 million
Have you ever come across a word you're not familiar with while doing research online? Instead of Googling it in a separate tab, quickly highlight the word and click on the Google Dictionary extension to get the definition.
Users: 5.4 million
For those times when you and your coworkers are working on computers with different operating systems, or want to collaborate on a live document together, check out Office Editing. This extension lets you easily drop Microsoft Office files into Google Drive to view and edit them without needing the software installed on your hard drive. Here's an example of an Excel file that I dropped into my Google Drive:
Users: 9 thousand
Sometimes it's hard to free yourself of distractions to write productively, especially if you're writing online. This extension quickly opens a new tab for a clean and neutral text editor that auto-saves while you're working if you need a break from where you normally write.
Best Chrome Extensions for Productivity
- Add to Trello
- Extensions Manager
Users: 634 thousand
ToDoist is a project management tool that lets you create highly organized and visually appealing to-do lists across all of your devices. What's neat about the Chrome extension is that you can see your to-do list, or your team's shared lists, and add tasks to it without having to open a separate tab, app, or device.
Users: 382 thousand
Rapportive uses LinkedIn account information to provide details about the recipient of an email you're drafting. This is a great way to get details about someone you're trying to connect with and to ensure that you're contacting someone on their correct email address.
Users: 753 thousand
StayFocusd lets you budget your time on specific websites so you can eliminate distractions when you need to buckle down and work. It's highly customizable -- you could set your time limit to 20 minutes on Twitter and only five minutes on Facebook, for example. It also has neat features like the Require Challenge: Once you set time limits on sites, if you want to go back and change your settings, you have to complete a challenge (think: retyping a piece of text without typos or answering questions).
Users: 7.8 million
LastPass is a password manager that auto-fills in passwords for all of the accounts you save with this extension. You only have to remember one password: your LastPass password. This saves you time, headaches, and increases the security of your personal data.
Image courtesy of LastPass
Users: 10 thousand
Users: 97 thousand
We couldn't give you 27 different extensions to try out without also suggesting Extensions Manager. Try this tool to organize all of your extensions so they don't take up half of your browser's screen. It shows you what extensions you have operating on Google Chrome and gives you the option to hide some of the icons to keep your browser better organized.
Now that your browser is loaded with extensions to make marketing easier on a day-to-day basis, test them out to see what time and efficiencies you're able to save. When you're ready to work on your next piece of content, try these content curation hacks and tools to make that process simpler, too.
What's your favorite Google Chrome extension? Share with us in the comments below.
Originally published Oct 28, 2018 8:38:00 PM, updated October 29 2018