Why We Use Google Chrome Plugins and Which Plugins to Use to Boost Efficiency?
When Google introduced plugins to the Chrome platform in 2010 they did so with every type of end-user in mind, however many small businesses such as dental practices are still failing to take advantage of the productivity benefits these handy little software programs can lend. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the best productivity Chrome extensions that you can use to improve your practice’s online marketing, and we’ll discuss how plugins fit within your broader marketing strategy. But first, let’s discuss what Chrome plugins are and how they work more broadly because while most people have heard of the term, fewer really understand what is going on when they click the “install” button on the Chrome Web Store.
What are Google Chrome plugins?
Chrome is the multi-platform web browser developed by Google and initially released in 2008. Since then, it has grown in popularity to become the most popular web browser in the world by a significant margin. One of the reasons for its popularity has been the incredible array of plugins that Google has enabled for the browser.
Chrome plugins are micro software programs that help users customize their browsing experience thorough the Chrome platform. They can be fairly simple, such as a program that lets you copy URLs and clip them for later reading—to highly complex, like plugins that aim to remove all adware content in order to streamline the browsing experience. According to Google, a plugin can have multiple functionalities, but they must all be in the service of a common purpose; there is no single plugin that can handle all the average user’s needs.
Before we delve too deeply into the subject, it will be helpful to define a few terms and clarify some semantics surrounding this topic. You have probably heard the terms “plugins,” “extensions,” and “apps” used when talking about micro software programs that are embedded within web browsers such as Chrome, and you may be wondering how each of them is different.
For starters, Google originally called software add-ons to Chrome “extensions.” They had a separate category for certain programs where they allowed the developers to actually “plug-in” their code to the browser itself, and those became known as “plugins.” The most common examples of these types of plugins were programs such as Adobe Flash player and PDF viewer, and Java.
Recently, however, Google decided to integrate the functionality of these plugins into the native program of Chrome itself, effectively eliminating what were formerly known as “plugins” from the browser. Extensions are still being developed in spades, and it is now often the catchall term for any program that is added onto Chrome. Additionally, Google has always used the terms “app” and “extension” interchangeably. For the purposes of this piece, all three terms should be taken to have the same definition.
How do Chrome plugins work?
Not that we know what Chrome extensions are, we can talk more about how exactly they make our browsing lives easier, whether you’re just reading stories for pleasure or trying to optimize your practice’s online marketing. It all starts with a software developer or a team of developers deciding on a purpose and functionality for the extension. For example, one extension offered by Google is Google Translate, which makes translating text in different languages easier by allowing you to simply highlight text and receive a translation within the browser window, as opposed to opening up an entirely new tab in order to search for a translation.
Once the developers decide on this purpose, they write lines of code that work with the established code of Google Chrome to accomplish this purpose. It is then loaded into the Google Chrome Web Store, where users like you and I can install it in our browsers. Once it is installed, the code is added to your Chrome browser and the functionality is included along with the browsing experience, typically accessible in the form of small icons on the status bar.
How can these tools enhance dental practice marketing?
There’s a plugin for pretty much everything these days, whether you want to find the best deal for an item among a group of online retailers or look at a picture of a virtual cat while you browse. However, one of the most important factors in Chrome plugins becoming such a standard part of the web experience is that developers have created a vast array of apps that increase and improve productivity and can turn anyone into a power-user.
Productivity is a huge part of effective dental practice marketing, so of course, you would want to use any available tool to help you get the most out of your efforts, especially when the tools are free and easy to use as extensions. You have limited resources—namely your budget, time, and personnel—to try and create value-added messaging and consistently deliver it to as many patients and prospective patients as possible. It’s a massive task, so it’s worth taking the time to curate your web browsing experience through extensions so that you are as prepared as possible to get the job done quickly and get it done right.
Extensions that are useful for dental practice marketing span many distinctive categories, and we’ll be discussing some specific extensions you should consider in the next section. Suffice it to say, if you’re looking to do things such as improve your social media sharing, catalog lists of tasks that are still pending, improve your research methods, write more clear and concise content, optimize the performance of your PC, there’s an extension that will likely be valuable to your marketing effort.
The best productivity Chrome extensions you need for your practice
Clockify Time Tracker
We’ve all had those experiences where you eventually look at the clock and realize you’ve spent way more time on a project than you expected. Use Clockify for Chrome to quickly keep track of how long you’re working on a particular task.
Effective writing is a crucial part of online marketing, whether you’re creating content for your website or sending an email asking for referrals. The better your writing is, the more chances you have to connect with patients. The Grammarly extension tracks everything you write in Chrome and notifies you of spelling and grammatical errors, and helps you improve word choice and usage.
ScreenCastify is one of the best collaborative tools out there. With this extension, you can easily record your screen and then edit and share with others. All of your recordings are saved to Google Drive for easy access, and you can also use your microphone to add narration.
OneNote Web Clipper
Use OneNote Web Clipper to improve your multitasking abilities and tackle your most important tasks first. When you see a website that interests you but don’t have time to read it, you can instantly clip the page to OneNote for later viewing, instead of keeping the tab open.
Keeping track of when to share posts on your various social accounts can eat up your time before you know it. Free yourself from this burden by using Buffer to queue up your social content for scheduled posts, so that you can focus on other things and stay connected to your followers.
Todoist is another great productivity booster, and it allows you to save websites in a task list that you can accomplish later. This is especially great for when you’re toggling back and forth between projects in Google Docs and a web-based content management system.
The Great Suspender
Most of us who are trying to maximize productivity suffer from the same problem: a profusion of open Chrome tabs at any given time that can use up available RAM and hamper computer performance. The Great Suspender is a very useful app that runs in the background and suspends tabs you aren’t using instead of closing them, freeing up your valuable memory and allowing you to easily return to the tabs when you’re ready.
Diigo streamlines your marketing research so that you never lose track of the information you need to strengthen your strategy. With this extension, you screenshot, archive, or bookmark web pages, and also add notes for more context later on.
This extension is a must-have if you’re doing any SEO work. With MozBar, it’s incredibly easy to pull up page ranking information about any website you want without having to use a separate browser. When you’re trying to research many competitors at once, it’s a massive time-saver.
How to find out more about using Google Chrome plugins in your marketing
If you’re new to the concept of a productivity Chrome extension this is just the beginning. The Chrome web store is full of apps that can transform your browsing experience with just a few simple clicks, and make it easier for you to do what you do best: show your prospective patients why they need your practice for their dental care.
At Connect the Doc, we leave no stone left unturned when it comes to finding the right marketing tools for our clients. Our goal is to ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to turn your practice into an online marketing powerhouse, and we will work with you to create and execute a broad marketing strategy that enables you to share high-value content, capitalize on the effectiveness of online reviews, and build strong, long-lasting relationships with your patients. Get in touch with us today to take the first step on your journey to optimizing your marketing.