Alexa Toolbar - A good help on the web
For many of us, life on the web is not complete without referring time and again to one or more toolbars. Near to 60% of all web-users I've visited thus far have their browsers sporting trendy toolbars, most commonly Google toolbar. As ubiquitous as they may be, we all have personal choice of toolbars like branded items, though it seems only a handful are more popular over a wide cross-section of surfers.
But, what is a toolbar?
Most often a toolbar is like a main menu-bar residing alongside in popular browsers, usually Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Like browser's menu-bar, a toolbar too provides many options to viewers, the main aim being bringing focus to surfing on the net. Various hues of toolbars are available, majority of them being free of cost, but one feature that is common in nearly all of them is the ability to easily browse for relevant information from respective search engine. A second feature found in most toolbars is blocking pop-up and pop-under ad, which of late has proved to be more of an irritant than help.
How does toolbar fit in?
For people who frequently surf the net for information, a toolbar is of great help. The world-wide-web contains wealth of information ready to be tapped for use. Yet, for many, getting precise information is more often than not a frustrating experience. If you happen to refer to by Chris Sherman, you would know that to get right information would rather require practiced skill so as to formulate your query perfectly. That is to say, if you're not pretty skilled to do your searches, you may in all probability need to fine-tune your searches again and again. And this is where the toolbars come as great help. Toolbars do not eliminate pain of searching. It instead assists in pruning your browsing time so that you can devote more time to do what you want to with the information collected.
A subtle difference can be made out in the working of various toolbars. Thus, while search toolbars allow searching in your favorite search engines directly, meta search utilities are for searching multiple search engines simultaneously.
Alexa toolbar - how it helps?
One of my favorites is Alexa Toolbar. The variety of information that can be culled from Alexa toolbar about any webpage (and of course a website) is truly amazing. Alexa owes it to millions of users of its toolbar, for 2 of the most important toolbar information (Related Links and Traffic rankings) are basically aggregated culminations of what its toolbar users do while surfing the net.
But first, let us go through Alexa toolbar's main features and how they're helpful to web-surfers like you and me.
Traffic rank at-a-glance
The most impressive is perhaps the unique at-a-glance traffic ranking of any website. The figure displayed denotes the traffic rank of a particular website. Remember this is not the actual traffic rank. This figure is just a reflection of where a particular website is positioned in the long queue of those websites that are visited by users of Alexa toolbar. Now, if you feel this ranking is flawed, so it is. No doubt there. Yet, many people rely on this figure for the simple reason that in absence of any other similar data, Alexa toolbar users do form a good sample (even if insignificant compared to total web population) to provide some basic unbiased information.
Links to similar websites
The second very useful information that can be had from Alexa toolbar are links to some more websites that are similar to the one being presently viewed. A great help that. Why? Suppose you are looking for information on, say mosquito repellent. You start by searching the term on your favorite search engine, which then throws up a list of urls' closely matching your search term in the SERP (search engine result page). As you select a url from the list and browse the related website that deals on the subject of your search term, you will simultaneously be shown links on the toolbar of similar other websites. If you feel the current webpage or website is not up to your expectation or if you are inclined to explore more options, you may simply click on the link of a similar other website shown on the toolbar.
When you follow one of those links and visit the new site, 2 things happen. One is of course that you are able to view a similar website without much of an effort. Second is that you will get to see a new set of related links on the toolbar that may be partially or fully same or different from the earlier ones. You will thus have multiple options of websites while you roam from one site to another looking for required information without the hassle of repeatedly referring to search engines. This feature allows you to save time you would have otherwise spent for searching afresh. Isn't that a topper? You bet.
Quite a lot. For example, you will know 'reach' of your website per million toolbar users, which other sites link to yours (pretty common feature), search in various platforms (like stocks, news, dictionary and thesaurus, default search being in Google), email a webpage to your friend, be quickly taken to Amazon (Alexa is an Amazon company) for shopping and so on.
But what perhaps takes the cake is the feature provided in collaboration with , said to be the largest internet archive online. When you click the link (toward the right end of the toolbar, the 'page history') you will be taken to WayBackMachine's search result page that details year-wise links of your website since the time it has come online. You click a link that says say 'April 12, 1999', and pronto you get to see what your website looked then. I felt pretty nostalgic while recently checking my painting website. Like seeing my childhood pictures in half-pants, eh! To download Alexa toolbar, click .
Not for Firefox
Well then, an Alexa toolbar does indeed make web-life easier. There is though a major drawback. Firefox does not allow Alexa toolbar, and so Firefox users will remain bereft of Alexa's advantages. However Firefox does permit using , which is quite a useful tool. SearchStatus is basically a toolbar extension for Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox users.
The advantage with SearchStatus is that it shows (if chosen) both Alexa Ranking and Google PageRank for a webpage in a remarkably unobtrusive manner. Locate it at the bottom corner of browser or on menubar at top, you may not even notice it is there. Authored by Craig Raw, SearchStatus is very cool in the sense that it offers nearly all that Alexa toolbar offers, plus you get to see some features of Google toolbar as well, including the all-important PageRank.
Do you need more?
The answer is a qualified 'yes'. You may also need Google toolbar to make your web-life more complete. Let me explain. If you are an IE user, you may certainly like to install Google toolbar, for how else would you automatically know the PageRank of a webpage! On the other hand, if you make do with Firefox, you may perhaps omit Google toolbar if you have installed Quirk's SearchStatus.
But then Google toolbar is so feature-rich that without it you will miss out on many advantages. I am not going to explain Google toolbar anew. Click to know all you need to. The bottomline therefore is if you are an active surfer, you will most certainly benefit from both Alexa toolbar (or its 'derivative' through SearchStatus) and Google toolbar. As they say if it is good to be informative, it is still better to know how to remain informative. To that extent, toolbars are a necessity on the web, if not must-have.
A freelance web designer and content writer, and an avid web watcher, Partha Bhattacharya owns and operates , a free hot internet web marketing and webmaster resources. Ideal for both start-ups and regulars alike. Dealing mostly on current topics, Partha's is a good pr
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