With a bunch of techies around the office, we're constantly sharing great sites that help us with common daily tasks. (Did you know there's now an iPhone keyboard made entirely of gifs
?!) We are constantly finding new sites, so I've rounded up a few of the favorites that range from writing to social media tools to how people are using your website.
Buffer is a tool that helps you manage all of your social channels from one spot. Much like Hootsuite or other versions of an all-in-one social management tool, Buffer allows you to shorten links and schedule posts. Buffer also lets you schedule your posts for optimum times based on your audience and tracks clicks and reach of each post. You can plan up to 10 posts in your queue (or up to 100 with the paid "Awesome" plan) for each network and pull suggested articles from your industry to build up the amounts of industry-related content you share.
One of our favorite ways to use Buffer is through their Google Chrome Extension. This tool lets you add to your Buffer as you browse the web. As you read an article worth sharing, with just one click the Buffer extension will pop-up, allowing you to customize the post and add in your personal commentary before going into your queue. It makes social media management and sharing content effortless, and is a reliable way to gain notoriety as an expert in your industry.
[UPDATE 1/18/16: Notepad.cc is ending their services as of February 16. We have left them on this list to reference similar programs]
Notepad.cc offers a blank canvas that allows you to write, free from distraction. The minimalist design paired with a full screen browser allows you to freely write without the interruptions that can break your flow. Each time you visit the website you are given a blank canvas with a unique URL. This URL can be shared with others or transferred between devices so you can continue work. You can also put a password protection on your specific URL or create a custom link before sharing.
Although there are several notepad apps and screen sharing platforms (we're a fan of Google Drive for collaboration projects), Notepad has a simplistic, basic concept that voids out any distraction of styling or linking and allows you to write focused content that can be transferred and formatted as necessary into any program.
IFTTT (If This, Then That) is becoming increasingly popular and for good reason- it helps you be in two places at once! IFTTT connects to your social channels, your email, phone or hundreds of online programs and automates processes for you. Want a dropbox file for every photo of your business that's shared on Facebook? Want a text alert when you're going to hit rain on your morning commute? IFTTT allows you to create 'recipes' that set up rules to help you stay organized.
One of our favorite recipes is the RSS to Buffer recipe, which takes the RSS feed of your favorite news or article site and adds the update as an article post into your Buffer to share out with your audience. These can be from favorite publishers or can be content specific such as articles that only address 'Widget X' or any other specific subject. This allows you to stay up to date and not miss out on articles that are published when you aren't around.
There are hundreds, if not thousands of recipes on IFTTT. The best way to use IFTTT is different for everyone, and we recommend jumping in and exploring for yourself. The website has a section of suggested recipes to get you started and category specific recipes to make it easy for you to get organized.
A few people in our office have found LastPass to be useful for their productivity. LastPass is a downloadable program that encrypts and remembers all of your passwords to log you in with ease; remembering your LockPass password is the only password you'll ever have to remember! The program keeps your data secure using leading encryption technology that protects your accounts and keeps your accounts from getting hacked.
One of the best features of LockPass is that it works with multiple devices, so there is no need to have several accounts, just one password login will manage all of your passwords. There are both free and paid versions of the program, both offer superior security above most other password saving options.
If you are social media savvy and regularly plan content, you have come across the frustration of scheduling Instagram posts. While the developers at Instagram have yet to release a module made for scheduling, Latergramme is a great third party app to keep you organized. Using the mobile app or web interface, photos and captions can be placed on a calendar for the date and time of your choosing.
With a few steps for allowing permissions, Latergramme will then push the scheduled posts directly to your phone, prompting you to open and share in Instagram. Once loaded in Instagram, you can choose your filter and sharing settings, without the legwork of choosing a picture or setting the caption for full social media management of your Instagram presence!
Not only has this proven to be a great way to set up weekend or special event posts, this is also a great way to share photos to Instagram that weren't taken on the device. For instance, if we're sharing info on our Instagram about a recent blog post, it's easiest for us to capture a screenshot of the actual web site, and share via Latergramme, rather than devise a special picture of the website using a mobile device. This tool allows social media planners the ability to think ahead for Instagram, which is a great opportunity for growth on this popular network.
Followerwonk is a great tool to monitor and grow your Twitter following. This Moz tool monitors your account for followers and unfollowers and graphs your social growth. The app also shows you which of your followers are the most influential and allows you to search for influential people to follow based on the topic of your choice. By identifying your influential followers and engaging them, you are likely to increase your following as well as your own influence.
In addition to identifying your influencers, Followerwonk takes twitter analytics to another level. It also gives insights on your account, such as optimal posting times (and connects directly with Buffer to schedule at these times).
Crazy Egg is one of our secret weapons used in the office. Being a web-design heavy firm, we're always testing what's working, what's not and optimizing our client's sites for growth. Crazy Egg is a great tool for that. We love sharing the reports we run through this program, which works as a heat map to track where your web visitors have clicked. There are several different reports that show exactly where people are scrolling, clicking and can identify opportunities to create more conversions. This is a great way to identify pain points and how people are maneuvering throughout your website.
In the sample to the above, you can see a heatmap, which shows the heavily clicked portions of the site. To start tracking, a pixel code is placed on the website, and only the static page will be captured, so any rotating banners or moving parts will not be tracked. To track multiple pages on a website, a pixel code must be placed on each side. As you see, the entire page is tracked to see how your audience interacts 'below the fold' and throughout the entire page.
This easy-to-use tool from QuirkTools allows you to enter any URL into the browser and easily see how it looks on a variety of devices. Designing several mobile responsive websites and mobile templates each day, having programs that help us test a variety of screen sizes is a necessity. This web app automatically picks up if there is a mobile version of the site, and converts to that version.
You can see screens from iPhones or Android, or even Kindles and wide screen desktops. The screens are interactive, so you can navigate through the menus and see how all design elements are converted. This is great for testing our site to enhance user interface and experience.
Have we missed any of your favorites, sites or apps you can't live without? Share them with us below and let us know how they help you!