Three reasons to use Firefox

The Firefox web browser, part of the Mozilla project, became my standard Web browser some weeks back, replacing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. There’s a lot of reasons to use Firefox instead of IE: Firefox is more secure, takes up less system resources, is independent of the rest of the operating system, has a tabbed interface, and more.

The biggest reason to use Firefox is for its extensions. Extensions are “small add-ons that add new functionality to Firefox”. Here’s three extensions that any tech-savvy person can not do without.

  • Web Developer. This is the single greatest thing for Web developers since the birth of the markup language. Web Developer adds a toolbar to Firefox that allows you to do dozens of tasks: edit a page’s CSS, auto-complete form fields and expose password fields, convert between GET/POST requests, display image ALT, size, and dimensions (or hide them altogether), view cookie and header info, display HTML block, ID, CLASS, and link properties, clear cache/cookies/authentication, outline block elements, resize your Web browser window, link the current page to the W3’s HTML and CSS validators, and more… If you are a Web developer, this extension will increase your productivity. If it doesn’t, you’re not a good Web developer.
  • WebmailCompose. I use GMail for e-mail. Unfortunately, the typical mailto: link in a Web page tries to open the operating system’s e-mail program. WebmailCompose fixes that by trapping mailto: links and redirecting them to any of a wide number of WebMail services, including GMail, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, and any other that you use. You can even code your own string to work with your own Web-based email client.
  • PasteIP. Whereas Web Developer is incredibly complex, this is incredibly simple, but for those times when you need it, it’s invaluable. Need to paste your IP address somewhere? Just right-click and “Paste IP Address.” No more trips to the command prompt or to

There’s plenty of other useful extensions available, and some not-so-useful – just take a look and find what works for you.

Most Hated Advertising Techniques, Google AdWords, and more

Jakob Nielsen, the proclaimed “king of usability” and probably the guy who knows more about what you should and shouldn’t do on the Web, recently published an article on on The Most Hated Advertising Techniques. It basically tells you this:

  • People have intrusive ads – popups, flashing ads, and ads that block Web content.
  • People hate ads that advertise something they have no interest in.
  • People hate ads that play sound.

This is certainly one reason that Google Ads are so effective: they are largely text-based (and thus unobtrusive), they don’t popup or play sound, and they present ads that are related to the content of the Web page.

From my perspective, I eliminated all pop-up, flashing ads, and obtrusive ads from all my Web sites about a year or so ago. Incredibly, my ad revenue went down about 5% as a result. Which told me one big thing: You don’t need popup ads in your campaign.

Further, one of my newest sites, EQ2Craft, uses Google ads. The other sites use Burst Media for graphical banner ads. Incredibly, my Google ads generate about 200% greater revenue per click than the standard banner ads. Clearly this is partially a factor of site content, but it is interesting to see how effective Google ads can be – and how unnecessary popup and related user-unfriendly ads are.

Consider how much traffic an average user brings to your site. Then determine how much traffic (and potential ad revenue) you lose when one average user decides don’t want to deal with your advertising techniques. The result is an ad campaign that works for you and your users.