Since my previous post was all about sites you’ve forgotten about, it seems fitting this one be all about ones you can’t live without. However, now I want to address web tools. I was just thinking the other day, I self-taught myself HTML when I was 13 and built a couple web site back in the day but of course it was a tedious, time-consuming effort. So after the novelty wore off, I gave up on building web sites because I never really wanted to be a web developer. However, I remembered just how rewarded and accomplished I felt to have my own little piece of real estate on the World Wide Web…
And look here I am again! However, this time, I built the blog from nothing in a couple of hours. First I bought some hosting and a domain. I went with a hosting provider that self-installs WordPress, so piece of cake… then I picked out a template, tweaked it a little and voila! Really *anyone* can do it. Really freakin’ cool when you think about it!
So on to the point, here are some web tools/apps/sites I just couldn’t bare to live without.
I think I just explained this one pretty well, but I would also pick WordPress over Typepad, Movable Type and Blogger (yes, I’ve used them all!) because I just find it amazingly versatile and you can set up your blog ‘quick and dirty’ as I did with this one, or spend a lot of time making it absolutely how you want it (which is what I *want* to do with this one day). Also I’m constantly amazed with all the plug-ins, and constant updates. It’s just great.
Because what’s the point of talking if no one’s listening? I love the details Feedburner provides and tracking subscribers. Paired with Google Analytics you’ve got a full picture of who’s visiting your site, and after following for a while you can start to get a solid grasp on what works, what doesn’t, etc.
Back when I learned to build web sites, as best as I can recall there wasn’t really much to measure your traffic aside from those stupid hit counters which never seemed to work. When my parents ran their own business I maintained the web site and I remember they had paid some company a lot of money to produce these “reports” about the traffic. Which were about as easy to read as a Japanese dictionary. While there are some great analytics tools out there today, Google Analytics is fabulous…AND free. The great thing is, even if you don’t really know too much about analytics, Google makes it so easy to understand, within a couple of hours of poking around you will feel like a pro!
Can you even remember life before Youtube? It’s only been three years, but for many of us, it’s changed the way we use the Internet.It used to be such a pain for the average person to post a video. I remember working on an e-newsletter for my college, and the administrative staff wanted to put a video in it. I remember spending hours trying to figure out how to convert file formats, compress the file as much as possible and posting a link on the landing page that subscribers would have to click to download the video file. It was ridiculous.
And finally… My *all-time* favourite…
Twitter has literally changed the way I communicate. (Now it is only in 140 character intervals!) but seriously, via Twitter I am able to quickly find answers to probably any question I can imagine, “meet” people in my field or with similar interests around the globe and network/get to know each other without it being creepy or overly personal–which I love. I could go on all day about how handy I think it is, the versatility and many uses… but it’s Friday, so I’m out of here! (Oh yea, if you aren’t already, don’t forget to follow me!)
So what tools have changed the way you live/work/socialize? What could you absolutely never live without again?