Here's a simple hack for your browser that can improve the appearance of your standard bookmarks bar and give you room for more links at the same time. By limiting the sites you save to just their favicons, you can create a row of instantly recognizable shortcuts that's always to hand. Here's how to do it.
Below we go through the instructions in Chrome, but it's a very similar process in Firefox.
You can bookmark any site in Chrome by clicking on the star icon that appears to the right of the omnibox (this should still be the case after Google Stars arrives). A Bookmark Added! window pops up; just make sure that the new site link is saved to the Bookmarks Bar folder.
The Bookmarks Bar appears by default whenever you open up a new tab in Chrome. You can get it to stay permanently on screen by opening up the Chrome menu then choosing Bookmarks and Show Bookmarks Bar. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+B on Windows or Cmd+Shift+B on a Mac. Right-click on the bar and untick Show apps shortcut if you want to hide the link to your installed Chrome apps.
Here's where the trick comes in: once the bookmark dialog box pops up, remove everything in the Name field (this is typically auto-filled with the title of the site you're saving). Click Done to dismiss the pop-up and save your choice.
Without the site title, all that remains of your bookmark on the Bookmarks Bar is the site favicon. In most cases—for sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Gizmodo, Dropbox and so on—this will be enough to recognize each site. Click and drag the favicons around on the bookmarks bar to reorder them as you please.
The only difference in Firefox is that you need to click twice on the star to edit the bookmark; you'll also notice the Bookmarks Bar is called the Bookmarks Toolbar. Apart from that the process is the same; remove the bookmark's name to leave the favicon on its own.
And that's all there is to it! You should find you can squeeze on dozens of bookmarks (depending on how wide you like your browser windows), and if you keep the Bookmarks Bar visible at all times then these links are only a click away from wherever you happen to be on the Web.