Firefox can easily be called one of the most versatile, most powerful browsers: tens, nay hundreds of extensions enable it to do just about anything from predicting the weather to playing music.
And thus we do; enable hundreds of extensions, that is. Which turns starting Firefox into a second-boot experience, its startup time equaled only by the actual boot-up of a complete operating system as you switch on your computer in the morning.
Ran Firefox into the ground by turning your Swiss army knife into a slow moving armored vehicle?
Here's how to transform Fireofox into a lean, mean, rapid deployment SEO machine.
The Right Tools for the Right Job
I would so want to insert something here about hammers and every problem looking like a nail (I wish to use that quote someday) but the problem with Firefox users is precisely the opposite; even when the only thing to do is hammer a nail, they bring their whole friggin' toolbox — sometimes a kitchen sink, too.
And yes — I *am* talking about you. You're just reading some blog posts right now but what's that up there <points to toolbars>? That's Aaron Wall's SEO Toolbar isn't it? I mean, the one above the SEO Quake toolbar but below the Google toolbar?
And there <points down your viewport> that's your color picker you sometimes use to pick a new background color for no-follow links which you make visible through SearchStatus. Otherwise you're only using it in conjunction with your currently hidden yet still loadedwebdev toolbar, right?
Well, rest assured; I'm not going to even try to talk you out of these tools. Convincing members of the National Rifle Association to voluntarily and joyously part with the right to bear arms would be a stroll in the park compared.
No, what I'm telling you is to divide and conquer.
Firefox is an application which can run different versions of itself. Either for different people — or different situations, different purposes.
How your Firefox looks, the add-ons you have installed, the specific settings, the bookmarks and its history — all these are a Firefox profile. And you can have as many profiles as you wish or need.
Think about it: you can have an Online Financial profile which you use only to access your back account. It has the highest security settings, no addons and maybe just the good old plain Firefox default theme.
But when you need to figure out why that site is ranking above your client's — you fire up your super-duper SEO profile; rank checking, total backlink analysis and complete stats capture enabled.
Feel like social media link hunting? Load that profile.
Are you blogging instead? Load your Blogging profile with keyword research add-ons like WordTracker's SEO Blogger.
The right toolset … for the right job.
Creating a New Firefox Profile
In XP, click the start menu, then run.
In Vista, click start and type in the start search box (bottom left) instead.
In either case, you type this and hit [enter]:
Firefox's Profile Manager will start up which in most cases will look like this:
Click [create profile]
The wizard starts. Take whatever it says for granted and click [next]:
First step in the next screen is to give your new profile a descriptive name which will help you identify the purpose of the profile. Names like keyword research, blogging, competition analysis, SEO recommendations, etc. come to mind:
Second, and this is somewhat optional, you may pick a folder where all the "stuff" for this profile will be remembered by Firefox:
I like to keep my Firefox profiles on an external drive. Getting back up and running after even a complete reinstall of Windows is no problem as all data is still there:
Click [finish] to complete the generation of your first self-made Firefox profile:
Your newly created profile will appear in the list of available ones to choose from:
Starting Your New Profile
As you see above, we've unchecked the option "Don't ask at startup": whenever you start Firefox it will present you with your list of profiles and ask you which one to start.
If you prefer you can create shortcuts which will always start the profile of your choice.
Go into your start menu and right-click on your Mozilla Firefox entry. Choose Send To à Desktop (Create Shortcut):
Right-click on the new shortcut on your desktop and choose Properties.
Simply add –P and the name of the profile you want to start with this shortcut:
That's it – from now on when you click that shortcut it will start your dedicated keyword research Firefox setup. Feel free to rename your shortcut and/or put it anywhere you like on your computer.
Populating Your New Firefox Profile
When you start your new profile for the first time, it's like the first-run experience of Firefox. None of your customizations will have made it to this profile; that was the idea.
So you might want to go into Tools à Settings and check and uncheck what you would normally do – or what makes sense in this specific profile.
Maybe you feel sad and lonely without your trusted bookmarks and aren't (yet) using any form of online/shared/portable ones? Not a problem.
Start your old Firefox profile and click Bookmarks à Organize Bookmarks:
Use the Import and Backup option to export all your bookmarks to an HTML file:
Close this Firefox, open your new one. Moving again through Bookmarks à Organize Bookmarks à Import and Backup you can import the HTML file.
It's a wrap
Firefox can be made to do anything, but making it do everything slows it down way too much
By dividing your add-ons over several task-dedicated profiles you create multiple, super strong versions of Firefox
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