Why Firefox is best for bloggers, VAs and social networks

If you have a blog or website, if you help out with blogs and sites as a VA and if you are active on social networks, you should use Firefox browser which has special features you’ll love.

  1. Containers: Log in to a site with multiple accounts on different tabs
  2. Side View: See what your website looks like on mobile phones
  3. Pocket: Save web articles for reference or reading later

Firefox Containers

These are easy to use, but difficult to explain. Once you have mastered them they become very useful.

Features in Firefox browser that make it useful for bloggers and virtual assistants

Everything you do is stored by Firefox, such as cookies, browsing history, pages you visit and so on. If you login to a website, it stores the details, cookies, site preferences, and even the password. Then if you revisit the site, the same details are used and it makes the whole thing a lot smoother. You might even go straight in, bypassing the login like when you revisit Facebook or Twitter.

However, problems arise if you have two or more accounts at a website, such as two Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter accounts and so on. It can be difficult and you have to log out of one account and log into another. The settings and accounts can become muddled.

This is where Firefox containers are useful and containers are separate storage areas that keep everything private, similar to the way separate user accounts on the computer keep user data separate. It is like having different Firefox user accounts and each container has its own settings.

A tab can be opened with a container and different containers can be used to login to sites as different users. If you have two Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook accounts, you can login to both accounts on two tabs.

Why might you have two or more accounts? You could have work and personal accounts, or if you are a VA (virtual assistant) you might have several clients and you need to log in to their social accounts as different users.

You might want to login to your own blog or website as different users to test various features, such as with a Contributor and an Author account, or as a member with a membership site.

Containers let you do this.

It is not a built-in feature of Firefox and it is an add-on, but it is by the Mozilla team. Here’s how to set up and use containers using the latest version of Firefox. If you don’t have it, get Firefox from Mozilla.

1 Firefox menu

Open the Firefox browser menu

We need to install an add-on so open the Firefox menu and click Add-ons.

2 Get more add-ons

Get more Firefox add-ons

Scroll down past the featured add-ons to the bottom of the page and click See more add-ons.

3 Add the Containers add-on

Firefox Containers add-on

Use the search box on the page to search the add-ons catalogue for ‘containers’ and then click the Add to Firefox button.

4 Open the Containers add-on

The Firefox Containers add-on

Click the new Containers icon in the toolbar and click through the introductory pages.

5 Edit the containers

Firefox Containers add-on

Four containers are provided by default and a container is like a separate user account. It is not essential, but you may find it useful to click Edit Containers and either add more or rename the default ones. Name them in whatever way is most useful to you.

6 Add a new container tab

Add a new Firefox container tab

Clicking the plus button next to the tabs at the top adds a new normal tab just as it always did. Click and hold on a tab and after a second or so, a menu appears with a list of your containers. Select one.

7 Open multiple accounts

Firefox containers tabs

Click and hold again and you can open a different container on another tab. The container name is shown at the right hand side of the address box.

In the screenshot above I have two different Pinterest accounts on two different tabs – work and personal containers.

The great thing about containers is that tabs are remembered. Next time if you open a container, like Work, and go to a site, you will log in as the user you used last time. Open a different container tab and you open in with that user. You don’t need to remember login details or log off one account to login as another.

See your blog/website on mobile

You should check that your website works on mobile phones and not just desktop computers. Of course you can simply use a mobile phone to check it, but you can also check it on your computer using Firefox. Just open a mobile view in the sidebar.

This is an experimental feature but don’t let that put you off because it works fine.

  1. Go to testpilot.firefox.com
  2. Look for Side View and click the Get Started button
  3. Click Enable Side View
  4. Click through the messages to finish

Side Vide at the Firefox Test Pilot website

A sidebar opens on the left and this is where the mobile view of a website can be displayed. Navigate to a website, your own blog for example, and then click the Side View icon in the Firefox toolbar. It shows current and recent web pages you have viewed. Click any of them and it opens in the sidebar.

Firefox Side View showing a mobile site in the sidebar

This screenshot shows a mobile view of the side in the sidebar, all fully working of course so click around, and the desktop site is in the main part of the Firefox window.

It is great to see the mobile and desktop versions side by side and you can easily spot problems. The sidebar and main window do not have to be the same URL or even the same website and you can have any sites open.

You could even have the admin back end open in the main tab and the mobile vide in the sidebar so you can tweak the theme and widgets for mobile. Now that’s an interesting idea.

Save web articles with Pocket

As you browse the web you will come across great articles that you would like to save for future reference or perhaps you don’t have the time right now to read something and you want to read it later.

Some browsers have features to save web articles for reading later, but some don’t and this is where Pocket comes in useful. It stores articles for you. It is similar to bookmarking but it has more features and saved articles can be tagged with labels to organise them for example.

I use it to store all the web building and blogging articles I discover and want to keep for reference or inspiration.

Pocket has been around for many years and it is on desktop computers, phones and tablets. Go to Get Pocket and sign up if you don’t already have an account – a free one is all you need.

Pocket is built into Firefox and you just have to log in to activate it by clicking the button in the toolbar.

Pocket stores web pages for reading later

Once your Pocket account is set up, just click the Pocket button at the right side of the address box to save the page to your account. Add tags to the link so you can find it later.

Pocket stores web posts like a bookmarking service

When you want to view all the articles that have been saved to Pocket, click View List in the Save to Pocket panel above. It opens the getpocket.com website.