One of the main reasons Firefox has always been so popular is due to its flexibility when installing add-ons. These provide you with the ability to customise the software and modify it to suit your own needs and purposes. I always anticipate new versions of Firefox with a mixture of excitement and trepidation; whilst the new version will undoubtedly bring new features, better performance and increased stability (at least, that’s the theory!), how much of my customisation will remain? How many of my add-ons will still work?
Firefox 4 has officially been launched, and so to celebrate I’ve been listing some of my favourite SEO add-ons and investigating whether they still work in the new software. We began by looking at how to install old add-ons before examining the Firefox 4 Add-on Compatibility Reporter a little more closely. In my last post we started looking at SEO add-ons for Firefox, and we continue this week with another round-up of some of my favourites.
Not all of these add-ons are officially supported in Firefox 4 and some have been installed using the Firefox 4 Add-On Compatibility Reporter or other techniques for enabling old add-ons in Firefox 4.
RankChecker 1.8 works fine in Firefox 4.0
During my initial tests, RankChecker 1.7.9 (or RonkChecker as it’s known in the office, due to the logo) was not officially supported for use in Firefox 4 but appeared to run correctly. It looks like this has now been updated to version 1.8 which also runs fine.
RankChecker is a fantastic tool that lets you enter all of your keywords along with a domain name. It goes away and finds ranking information for various search engines in the background, allowing you to continuing surfing the web or working on your search marketing.
I like this tool and find it a real timesaver; however I still have reservations about inaccuracies when rank checking using different browsers. The important thing is that you always use the same browser when rank checking, so you are checking like for like. We’re getting off the point a little here – the tool still works perfectly in Firefox 4.0
Flagfox 4.1.1 is officially supported by Firefox 3.5 – 4.0
On the surface this is a very simple add-on – it places a flag in the address bar which shows where a website is hosted, providing an easy way of understanding if Google will recognise a website using non-country specific domain names as being appropriate for the country you’re targeting. If you right click on the flag you will also notice a whole range of additional tools adding even more value, although not all of it will necessarily be needed by people optimising websites.
This add-on installed and worked correctly in Firefox 4.
Form Saver 0.9.1 does not work in Firefox 4.
I used this handy add-on when submitting a website to directories. Rather than spending ages typing the same information into different forms, this add-on let you store all the information as ‘autofill-bookmarklets’ which would sit with your regular bookmarks. On loading a new website, you simply needed to click the bookmark and the form would fill out which I found more straightforward than messing around with other profiles, the way most form fillers work.
This add-on doesn’t work in Firefox 4 as you are no longer able to save your ‘bookmarklets’. I’ve since switched to Autofill Forms 0.9.8.0, however there are plenty of alternatives out there.
Extended Statusbar and YSlow
Extended statusbar displays extra information in your status bar when you load a page, showing how much of the page has been loaded, how many images are present, page speed and how long the page took to load. I use it for this last point – the timer is a great way of looking back at load time if you felt a page had taken a long time to load, but weren’t sure. Of course, this is only a rough indication of whether there’s a problem with the site as load times timed from your PC are subject to many external factors, such as the speed of your internet connection.
I’ve read reports by some users that this didn’t load correctly for them in the Firefox 4 Beta’s as they didn’t appear to have a status bar. If you encounter this, just go to View: Toolbars: Add-on Bar to re-enable it.
Another add-on which looks at load times is the excellent YSlow by Yahoo. This also gives extensive tips on how you may improve performance. This also worked fine when I tested it in Firefox 4.
Next week will be the final part in the series where we look at the last few add-ons I’ve been using and I reveal my all time favourite!