Archive for the 'Online tools' category

2 things that will blow your mind in 2011

Jan 01 2011 Published by under Observations, Online tools

2 things to blow your mind in 2011

It’s that time of year when everyone goes a bit Mystic Meg. We get the usual ‘predictions’ appearing in list after list and I thought it would be more useful to point to a couple of things that are real and have caught my eye recently.

Word Lens

This is one of those brilliant products that speaks for itself. Point your iPhone at a sign in a foreign language and the text is instantly translated into English without the need for a data connection.

Watch the video after the jump to understand just how cool it is.

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Use your own domain for OpenID

Creating accounts and remembering passwords for every site you visit has always been a major pain. A simple way around this issue is OpenID. This technology allows you to use a single account to control access to lots of sites in a secure way.

You probably already have an OpenID account but just didn’t know about it.

Keep reading and watch a quick video to see how easy it is to set up…

3 must-have plugins for setting up your business blog with wordpress

If you’ve installed WordPress for your business’ website, blog or news section, you’ll need to install some extra plug-ins to really get the most from this excellent software. They’re all free (although a donation is welcome) so install them right now.

Greg’s High performance SEO

Out of the box, WordPress doesn’t insert some common meta tags in your pages. Although the importance of these (specifically keywords & description) has been reduced since the early days of SEO, they still hold some value and it is just general good practice. This plugin has a wealth of features (and documentation) to help make your site a bit more Google friendly and to get it set up properly took me about 15mins. If you only have time to install one plug in, this is the one – it really is superb.

Google XML sitemap generator

To make sure that Google (and Bing and Yahoo!…) knows where all your pages are, you can submit an XML sitemap. However, editing the file manually every time you create a new post is a major pain. This plug in does the editing and submits the new sitemap to all the search engines automagically!┬áMake sure that you take a couple of minutes to configure the plug in to get all the categories and tags that you want into your sitemap.

Wordtwit

There are a whole host of ways to integrate your WordPress blog with Twitter but this plugin gives you a couple of powerful features that are really slick. Once installed, you can create your own url shortening structure (now, that looks pro doesn’t it!) and you can track clicks from Twitter in your Google Analytics account. You can also restrict the posts that are tweeted by including or excluding a specific tag/category.

Free file sharing service

Aug 21 2008 Published by under Online tools, Productivity

If you want to share large files with your suppliers (videos, photos, artwork etc), the best service I’ve found is drop.io. There are lots of file sharing services out there but what’s so great about this one is that it is totally free (up to 100MB per file), its quick and doesn’t require registration or other annoying shenanigans. If your data is particularly sensitive you can password protect it at no extra cost. The premium versions of the service allow much larger data storage and shorter url’s (not that the 7 characters of the free version are too long). Quite simply there’s not much more you could want from an online file sharing service. If you think there’s something better please let me know.

Free professional website planning tool

If you’re planning a new website or an update to an existing site, its a good idea to think through what sections are going to be included and how the website’s going to grow over time. This used to be done with PostIt notes and a pen but the sparkly free service over at WriteMaps is so much easier and you don’t loose your afternoon’s work when the wind blows through the window!

Free website planning tool

Of course in this web 2.0 world its a free service, allows you to work collaboratively with your team and the interface is simple. Perfect!

Linkorama: WriteMaps

Manage customer feedback for free

Jul 07 2008 Published by under Looking after customers, Online tools

Capturing ideas and suggestions from your customers or potential customers is a vital part of developing your product and customer base. Its really easy to take a more structured approach to customer feedback by using the excellent Uservoice. The service is currently free (while its in beta) and I suspect it’ll move to a ‘freemium’ model once its live.
Users can leave new suggestions for you or vote for the features that they feel would best enhance your product offering. By including a snipet of code on your website you can add a button to allow customers to add feedback with the click of a button without actually leaving your site. Once you choose to implement an idea you can interact with contributors via the service which really does create the kind of reactive “we’re listening” kind of feel any good business wants.

Online image editing

Jul 04 2008 Published by under Online tools, Productivity

I’ve just been looking for a decent web based image editor for cropping and scaling images without having to buy desktop software. Well I found Picnik and what a beauty she is! It allows you to do all the basic features of Photoshop with some of the more advanced stuff like filters thrown in for good measure. If you need to scale some images for your website look no further than this excellent free app.

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