Welcome to Digital Homesteading.
This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.
Cumulus [kyoo-myuh-luhs] (Noun): A heap or accumulation.
A 9 Clouds Cumulus is a roundup of our favorite tools, ideas and other things for digital homesteading. Got an idea for a Cumulus post? Let us know in the comments!
Chrome Extensions: Less grind. More glide.
Our day-to-day buzz of creative production involves extensive screen time here at 9 Clouds, and we love to find new ways to make it less grind and more glide.
The majority of our team here uses Google Chrome to do work on the web. In fact, we typically spend nearly 100 combined hours in Chrome every day. For that reason, we take Chrome Extensions very seriously.
What the heck is a Chrome Extension? #nerd
Chrome Extensions are little pieces of software built into Chrome to help you customize your work environment and work more efficiently. Extensions are buttons on the address bar which, when clicked, perform useful tasks. And, when you make your living in Chrome, Extensions present wonderful improvements in efficiency. (BTW: Extensions are also available in Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer.)
Here is our “cumulus” of the best Chrome Extensions to help you with your digital marketing efforts.
Checker Plus for Gmail™
Gmail is a staple here at 9 Clouds. As the name implies, the Checker Plus extension will monitor your Gmail inbox and show how many unread messages you have. If you have no unread messages, the Checker Plus envelope icon appears gray instead of red. In addition to the icon notification, Checker Plus also shows your inbox in a convenient little pop-up so you can mow through your unread messages very quickly without even needing to open Gmail in the browser. Get Checker Plus here.
Save to Pocket
This one is a huge focus saver. Pocket is a web service that saves articles and links for you to read later. Our team does a substantial amount of research (and sometimes “research”) which results in several links being shared via Gmail and Slack. For example, one of my colleagues Slacked me a link to a CNN article about Paris Hilton being pranked on an airplane. While it’s obviously a must-watch, it wasn’t quite relevant to what I was working on at that moment, so I simply hit the Pocket button and enjoyed it later at home. The Pocket extension saves the articles, and you can read them later on getpocket.com or on the Pocket mobile app. Get Save to Pocket here.
This one is essential for those of us who spend a good amount of time in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign. With just two clicks, you can match any color on a web page and copy the hex code to your clipboard to then paste into your design. It stores your color history, analyzes web pages for colors and even generates CSS gradients. Our team finds ColorZilla especially useful for creating banners, emails and other visual elements to match a company’s existing brand standards on the web. Get ColorZilla here.
Pin It Button
If you’re responsible for Pinning on your company’s account (tough job, right?) you can streamline your process with the Pin It Button. As the name says, the Pin It Button allows you to select the appropriate pin board and post the pin with a custom caption. By the way, this process of creating new pins is great for your own brand exposure since only 20% of pins are original. Get the Pin It Button here.
We all know how easy it is to get sucked into a time warp online. Whether you’re surfing Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or even Amazon, the Strict Workflow extension can prevent unwanted distractions and help you become more productive at your computer. Strict Workflow temporarily blocks certain websites (with the splash page above) so you can stay focused on your work. The extension is based on the popular “pomodoro” working method: 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time followed by a 5-minute break. You can adjust those times in the extension’s settings and also identify the specific sites you would like it to block during the 25-minute cycle. The Strict Workflow Chrome Extension is the perfect companion for any business which relies on time entry for production and accounting purposes. Get Strict Workflow here.
Sidekick by HubSpot
This nifty extension shows you exactly when people open your out-bound emails. Sidekick is packed with other features to show you a certain contact’s interaction history with your emails and it will also let you schedule email messages for later. If you’re like us and you rely on email for communicating with your clients – especially in sales situations, Sidekick is a must-have. Get Sidekick here.
Did your favorite Chrome Extension make the list? We want to hear from you in the comments!