December 21, 2011
I enjoyed reading ReadWriteWeb's top web products and top web developer tools of 2011, so I thought I'd put together my own list of top web tools of 2011, based on which ones I liked and used the most.
Here they are, in no particular order:
I use Basecamp every day as the project management tool for my web team. Many people I work with still use spreadsheets and emails to manage their work, and I just feel so organized compared to them. It has just the right amount of features for me, and has been easy for other team members to pick up and use. Given the amount of tasks we have to manage, including multiple websites and email campaigns, it would be impossible to keep everything on track without a solid, user friendly project management tool like this.
If you're still coding forms by hand then you're crazy. With JotForm I can create any kind of form I need — including branching logic, validation, tooltips, custom thank you pages — in minutes. Embedding the forms into a web page is easy thanks to the range of options, and maintaining them is simple as I can do it all from within Jotform without ever having to touch the code on the page.
I manage a team that looks after multiple social media accounts and HootSuite has been invaluable in enabling us to keep up with posting to all of them and managing interactions with others. The user interface is very intuitive, with all the functionality I need, such as easily posting to multiple social media networks and scheduling posts in advance.
Not a big surprise to see Google Analytics on this list. It's a fantastic tool and I use it multiple times a day. New functionality is continually being added, such as the integration with Webmaster Tools, real-time reporting, and multi-channel funnels, which is turning into a real one-stop analytics shop. Plus, there is so much being written on how to use Google Analytics that I'm continually improving my reporting and analysis through the tool.
There are many online services for tracking keyword rankings and backlinks, but I've found that Digital Point's keyword position tracker works fine for my needs. The free service is easy to use, can track a ton of keywords, and provides charts to show your rankings over time in Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. They also track backlinks to your site.
I often need to email design mockups to stakeholders (some people just love to live in their email), and so I use Convert Hub to do this. It's quick and easy to use, and supports a wide range of image formats (although my need is mainly PNG to JPG). More recently, I've started using QwikVu to share mockups, but it's too early to tell if it will become an essential tool for me.
I'm always taking screenshots and sharing them, and for this I use the Firefox add-on LightShot. It's lightweight, quick and easy to use, and is perfect for snapping portions of a screen for copying into an email in order to share or send feedback.
I use LastPass for password management. I've found it to be a well designed password management tool that doesn't get in the way as I'm logging in and out of websites. It's pretty intelligent, so it knows when you make a change to some login information, and it manages multiple profiles well, so I can use it with my wife.
I don't have much to say about Firebug, except for how I don't know how I would do any web development without it. It's also immensely useful for providing feedback — instead of trying to describe how I want something to look, I can just show them. This also saves cycles, as I can see what works and what doesn't myself without going through numerous iterations with a developer.
I've tried out a number of wireframing tools in the past, but settled on MockFlow for my UI design needs. It is a very full-featured tool, while still remaining easy to use. They also have quite an active community creating wireframe templates, which you can use to jump-start your designs. For the longest time, my main complaint was the lack of a snap-to-grid function, but that has since been fixed and new features are being regularly added. A desktop version is available for no extra charge, but for some reason I still find myself using the web version instead.
Thanks to all of these tools for making my working life a lot easier than it would have been without them.
I use a number of other apps on a regular basis that I didn't quite make my list. These include:
These are my choices — I'd love to hear what web tools other people couldn't do without.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 | 4 Comments