I wrote about how Google Chrome became the most popular browser and how I use it for my web development. I would like to now expand upon those articles and provide a list of browser extensions that I use. These are a list of extensions that are geared toward web development and SEO. However, anyone can use these extensions as they are useful for even just normal everyday browsing. This list will start off small as I try to keep the number of extensions that I use to just the crucial ones. As I find more extensions, I will update this article and keep it current. I will also use this list to tell you ones that I have used before and found better replacements for. As you know, I prefer to use free options when available and make the most of them. There is just no point in paying for something when you can just keep looking for free options once they have exhausted themselves. I will start with what I use first and then ones that I have replaced with better alternatives.
Best Chrome Browser Extensions for SEO and Web Development
Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder
This is probably my favorite extension that I use all of the time. Many times you are viewing a web page that is very long and scrolls vertically a lot. When we want to share this page with someone, we want to capture the entire page with all of its content, including the scrolling. So just showing some of the content on a page is not sufficient because it does not show everything. Also, just sending a link to someone is not good enough either because sometimes you need to show the current state of the web page that requires some human interaction. For example, maybe you need to click a button to show some content or fill out a form. Many web pages that only show certain pieces of content when interacted with will not appear by default. Of course, you can tell people to just go to the page via a link and perform the interactions themselves, but we are trying to be efficient here. Let me show you how this extension can increase your efficiency with your users.
It is much better for you to just show people a screenshot of something rather than have them go through extra steps of clicking a link and then clicking a button. You want to reduce the number of steps to reach the end result, which is a very basic concept when it comes to design and user experience. The reason why is when you make it easier for users to get to your content, they will be a lot happier and less frustrated. Think about guiding your users to where you want them to go instead of just simply stating instructions and hoping that they follow every single step correctly. A lot of things can happen while users try to navigate your instructions, they can get lost, they can execute steps improperly, or they just get upset and stop altogether. This will cause aggravation that might cause your users to return to you and state that they could not access what you wanted to show them.
Now, this extension is purely just for screenshots and no annotation. If you need something like that, I recommend using PhotoPea and uploading the screenshots that you take with this extension. The reason why is because PhotoPea is very powerful and I wrote about it a lot on this blog. I have an article on how PhotoPea is better than Photoshop and how I use it to design web pages. With PhotoPea, you can use layers, borders, paint bucket and text tool to annotate your screenshots. This really helps out your users when you want to highlight certain data or information on the screenshot. This will save your users time in having to look around to figure out what you are trying to say to them. I mentioned how you need to reduce the steps that users take to get your point. Not only do screenshots save users from interacting with web pages, but annotating them brings your screenshots to the next level. As you can see, I have a lot to say about this extension and that is why it is my favorite one. Pairing this extension along with PhotoPea and you have two free tools that you can easily use to show people what you find online.
Page Load Time
The next extension is handy because we all love SEO and high speed scores. I have written some articles on my thoughts on SEO so take a look at those if you want to know my opinions on it. High speed scores generally translate to low page load times. This extension called Page Load Time shows you how long it takes for a web page to load. This works for any web page, both your own and your competition. When you pair this with Page Speed Insights, you have a couple of tools that you can use to see if there is any correlation between page speed scores and page load times. We all know that the faster pages load the better. Users become more and more expecting of you to provide fast loading pages. This is why I recommend keeping your website simple with WordPress and a good fast like GeneratePress. I know that not every single website is plain and simple. Comparing a blog with just articles is a lot lighter than an e-commerce website with hundreds of products.
Using an extension like this just gives you an idea of the page load times under your current environment. Page load times will differ for different people because of all of the factors involved. Some of these factors include your device, connection, website traffic and your distance from the website’s server. So you have to keep these factors in mind when you use this extension. This extension is still good because you can go through the reports in Page Speed Insights and correct many of the recommendations that they make and then check the speed of your pages. If your page were really slow before and now they have sped up some, you can tell with the extension. It is better to have actual numbers instead of just guessing based on what you see. What I mean is, is having page load times before and after you make changes and using those numbers as something like a benchmark. Rather than just saying, it looked like it went from 10 seconds down to 5 seconds. Having some hard numbers prevents you from having to guess page load times.
As we have seen so far, a lot of tools are very powerful on their own. When combined with other tools, their power multiplies by several factors. Pairing the Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder extension with PhotoPea gives you a screenshot that you can annotate. Combining the Page Load Time extension with Page Speed Insights gives you hard numbers to tell if your page updates are really making your pages load faster. So this is why I like to keep my list of tools to just the essentials. The smaller that you keep your list of tools under your belt, the more that you use them and learn how to unlock their full potential. If you use too many tools then you have a lot more to manage and then the list becomes too long and there is bound to be some redundancy among them. So learn how to use these extensions and combine them with other tools.
Another use for this extension would be if you wanted to see what your web pages would look like if someone turned off JS when visiting your website. Do your pages still load? Do they still look right? Or do your pages look weird without JS. This is actually a good test to see how reliant your website is on JS. Especially if you are using a WordPress theme that comes with a lot of JS, you can see the impact of that page with no JS. This is why I talked a lot about the caveat with using JS on your website. JS is great and all but if you overuse and do not optimize it, it can really drag your website. The same thing can be said about CSS and images, so JS is not the sole reason for adding weight to your website. This is a pretty handy tool to quickly manipulate JS on your pages.
Word Counter Plus
This extension is good for those who want to know how much our competition is writing and how much we need to surpass them. Word Counter Plus tells you many words are in a piece of selected content. So you can see how much content people are writing on a web page. Again, in order to outrank your competition, both content quality and length are required. Not only do you need to write more than everyone else, but you also need to write something that is more interesting, insightful and thought-provoking. You could possibly outrank others on Google if you write less content if it is better. Not that much less but maybe a little less. There is no concrete formula that Google discloses to give everyone a fair shot at ranking high. There are guidelines and if you have a lot of good thoughts to share with everyone that is new and innovative, then you should have no problem getting those words out and writing a lot. Many times, if you are really knowledgeable about a subject, you can just write about it for days without running out of material. So these kinds of things kind of work themselves out naturally.
Chrome Browser Extensions that I Have Replaced With Better Alternatives
I used to like this extension called Markup Hero which not only did screenshot but you could annotate also. So this extension could do what Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder and PhotoPea do separately. The reason why I stopped using Markup Hero is because it only lets you do five screenshots a day if I remember correctly. After that, you have to pay to keep using it. You know me and free stuff, time to find another alternative from Markup Hero. This is why I am using Awesome Screenshot and Screen Recorder now. Plus, Markup Hero, the annotation interface was a little too basic and does not even come close to PhotoPea. I do not mind using separate tools for screenshots and annotation because I use PhotoPea for web page design also.
These are the Chrome browser extensions that I use mainly. I hope that you will find these extensions useful even if you are not a web developer like myself. I feel that my favorite extension is the screenshot one is one that anyone can use when they either want to save information onto their computer for later reference or share it with someone else. As I find more extensions to use, I will come back to update this article. Again, I have to be really impressed with an extension to add it to my list. I will probably try out any interesting extensions and then note what issues that I had with them like Markup Hero and suggest better alternatives.