Article by Jerry Low
Geek dad, SEO data junkie, investor, and founder of Web Hosting Secret Revealed. Jerry has been building Internet assets and making money online since 2004. He loves mindless doodling and trying new food.
If you have to develop websites or blog themes regularly then I am sure that you too have a list of web tools like me. It’s no secret that web developers seldom build things up from scratch nowadays. From web icons to graphical chart, CSS menu to random dummy texts, from web traffics analysis to financial bookkeeping – there’s a web tool for (almost) every web development related job.
In this blogpost, I am going to share a great list of useful online tool that will save you a lot of time when developing a website. Some of these tools are free of charge, some are not – either way, I hope you can find something new for your tool list.
GoingUp! is a free web-based web analytic tool that comes with powerful SEO features. The web application tracks (almost) every activity on your website and presents data nicely with charts, heatmaps, flags (for countries), etc in an Ajaxed interface. Besides, the web app also comes with several free SEO features including keyword position tracking, Alexa Rank tracking, as well as keyword density tool. You need to signup before using some of these features but registration is completely free.
It’s no secret that web desginers nowadays do not create all icons from scratch. There are infinite amount of free icons available on Internet and it’s a waste not to leverage these free resources. But with billions of these free icons comes another problem – searching and sorting these tiny images become a time-consuming job. Luckily we have tool like Icon Finder – an icon search engine that helps collect and categorize various icons. At this time of writing, Icon Finder keeps more than 150,000 icons in their database – which is not a lot but I am sure the figures will keep growing.
IE NetRenderer allows you to check how a website is rendered by Internet Explorer 7, 6 or 5.5, as seen from a high speed datacenter located in Germany. Just type in a URL in the field above and you can check your webpage deisgn compatibility for free!
What Eric’s Color Blender does is exactly like the name refers – it blends two colors together in various proportions and creates up to ten different colors shades. I like the simplicity and efficiency of the tool and it’s definitely one of biggest time-saver for me.
Google is everywhere on the Internet nowadays and this include charting tool. The Google Chart Tools allows you dynamically generate charts with a URL string, where it can be embed in a web page. A chart gallery was recently included in the Google website and users who are interested with this tool should take a look.
Looking for free web statistic tool but don’t want Google Analytics? Well then you should check out TraceWatch. TraceWatch is a free website analytics tool that works in real-time. The application has everything for in-depth web stats analysis including real time details on Unique Visitors, New Visitors, Sessions, Page Views, Hourly and Weekday Distribution, Robot Page Views, Average Pview/Visitor, Average UVisitor/Day, Average PView/Day, Average UVisitor/Hour, Average PView/Hour, Robots Hits, Browser Types, Locations, etc etc.
DIY Chart is a simple but yet powerful online tool that helps create interactive charts and graphs. Some webmasters might be turned-off by the needs of registering an account but I believe the rich features of this web tool deserve every second you spend on filling up the registration form. At this time of writing, DIY Chart offers a wide range of chart types including Coulmn, Stacked Column, Bar, Stacked Bar, Area, Stacked Area, Pie, Doughnut, Pyramid, Funnel, Point, Bubble, Line, Range, Combination, CandleStick, Stock, Radar and Polar (isn’t that massive?).
Feng Office (formerly known as OpenGoo) is a web office that helps manage, collaborate, and organize your web projects online. What’s special about it is that this web tool comes with its own email functionality and the GUI is very responsive. Unfortunately good things don’t come free – Feng Office is quite pricey but you can always sign up for a free trial.
Most web developers are not good (or simply not interested) at managing business finances and tracking down payments. In fact, who likes boring book keeping jobs? Fortunately, there are plenty of online tools that can help. FreshBooks, for instance, is a very popular web application for book keeping (eg. invoicing, expenses tracking, quotations, etc). This tool is free for those who are managing less than 3 clients but anything above that will cost you $14 to $149 per month.
Color Hunter is a handy tool that helps find and make color palettes created from images (via URL or a simple search term).
TYNT (perviously known as Tracer) is a free web-based service that tracks what’s being copied from your website. Tracer is a cool tool to fight copycats and would recommend it if there’re a lot of competitors stealing your web content.
BrowserShots is a popular tool that allows you to preview your web page in more than 70 versions of browsers.
FormSite is one of the earliest HTML form builder online. The website was established in 1998 and there are over 100 pre-built forms intheir database. FormSite is quite generous to their free account users – you can create up to 5 forms with 50 items and 10 results in each of the forms for free.
WuFoo is a HTML form builder helps you create contact forms, online surveys, and invitations so you can collect the data, registrations and online payments you need without writing a single line of code. WuFoo is a little pricey compare to the other two form builder tools listed here – The free account allows only one form, and the paid package starts at $14.95/mo.
(Do you really need me to introduce Picknik? Well okay.) Picnik is a popular, easy to use, and powerful set of photo editing tools for editing, sharing and printing images. The free tool is integrated with a wide variety of websites like Picasa Web Albums, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo! Mail and Photobucket. The website has just been acquired by Google recently (read official blogpost on March 1st, 2010).
The variable grid system is a quick way to generate an underlying CSS grid (based on 960 Grid System) for your site.
Building or tweaking a font style is sometimes part of the web designing job. If you do not have a proper font-building software installed, it’s time for you to have a look at FontStruct. FontStruct is a free font-building tool that lets you quickly and easily create fonts constructed out of geometrical shapes, which are arranged in a grid pattern.
CSS Menu Builder helps build (well?) CSS Menu. The free tool comes with more than 1,000 pre-designed menu combinations and I believe anyone who wish to build a CSS menu instantly should check them out.
STC Font Browser is a free tool that enables you to preview font styles in your browser. The tool is simple to use and it’s very helpful when you need to choose a font style.
Form Style Web 2.0 Generator is a easy to use, poweful, and yet completely free of chrage. It generates stylish CSS forms instantly and definitely belongs in your bookmark list. It’s such a shame that I missed out this tool in my previos post about web generators (30 Must See Web Generator For Lazy Webmasters).
Okay, Make Text is not a must-have but it’s definitely a fun tool to use. MakeText does only one thing – it generates random texts (where web designers will often use it to preview and test their designs).
Icebrrg helps make all kind of forms – contact forms, registration Forms, surveys, application forms and personal inventoriestracking forms. All you need to do is to signup, create a form using their wizards, and the tool will work everything out on the programming side. Cool isn’t? However note that the you need to pay if you wish to create 3 forms (price starting from $9/mo).
Lazy to code a special character in HTML code? Well, you should. Because with CopyPaste Character the only key that you need to type is “ctrl + c” and “ctrl + v”. ;)