5 Amazing Tools for Website Owners
Let's be honest - If you want a website to work well as a website owner then it's going to take a lot of work on your part. At a bare minimum to set up a site you're going to need to pick a content management system, install it on your server, choose plugins, and perhaps the toughest challenge - market your content in competition with every Joe Schmoe out there on the internet.
While it would be impossible to cover everything in one article, here are 5 tools you can use as a website owner or webmaster to smooth out your process of getting started and beginning your presence on the web in 2015.
Google / Bing Webmaster
Pingdom - Website Speed Test
Paletton Color Scheme Designer
Flickr - Creative Commons Images
#1: Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
The Google and Bing webmaster tools are very important if you're seriously about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), checking the status of your website as it appears to search engines, and helping those search engine robots to understand your site through the use of preferences and site map submissions. They tie in with analytics data, can show you what people are searching to reach your site, and tons of other information.
If you ever plan on running a website which any serious goals, then you should sign up for Bing/Google Webmaster tools and use them. While you're at it, probably sign up for Google Analytics and tie it into the Webmaster Tools as well.
Depending on what CMS you are using (if any), the platform (like Wordpress) or plugins (like Jetpack) will notify the main search engines (Google/Bing) about your posts after you hit publish. That said, your plugins may/may miss a lot of other reasonably sized ones which is free traffic you'll be missing out on otherwise. Enter EntireWeb, a website that is set up to submit your website to the entire web of search engines. Now it won't get literally every single one in existence, but it will get your site out to around 10 for free. Entireweb.com is also it's own search engine to begin with.
If you're running a blog (what site doesn't have one these days), then pingomatic is also a worthy consideration.
#3: Pingdom - Website Speed Test
Maybe its just me, but one of the most frusterating things I ever run into online is when something takes a very long time to load. If something hasn't popped up within 5 seconds then there is a serious possibility that I've already ignored it and moved on. Imagine if your entire website took 5 seconds to load and every visitor had to experience that every time they loaded a page (or at least the first time before anything was cached).
Sound like the apocolypse for your online business? Well it's probably pretty close to that. With the internet, people expect quickly provided and quality information. With the Pingdom Speed Test you can check how long your page and all aspects of it take to load from an outside source for free.
In addition, it will also give you information on where any slow down may be occuring with your website and whether any server 400 or 500 level errors came back in the results. There's no good reason not to check your site out with Pingdom every now and then to make sure everything is loading properly.
#4: Paletton Color Scheme Designer
I don't know how skilled you are in color theory, and how quickly you can pick out a color scheme for your site. What I do know is that Paletton is an excellent tool for picking color schemes whether you're just a regular person or if you're even an expert web designer. Using the power of mathematics, Paletton is an online tool that will give you an array of colors that work well together.
All you need to do is select a color with their tool, choose what kind of color palette you may like whether it's monochrome, or 3/4 opposing colors on the wheel. It will provide you darker and lighter shades of the base color and it is fully tinkerable with using it's visual interface. When everything is set and done, you can export in many easily readable formats like HTML, Text, or a CSS file. It's helped me make up for my own lack of visually artistic ability to create color schemes that work well.
What Content Manage System do you use?
#5: Flickr - Creative Commons Images
Now you might be thinking to yourself... Daybreak Sunshine - That's not a tool, that's an image search engine. Technically that is true, but it can also be thought of as an incredibly useful tool. Surely you have taken a look at modern blogs and seen tons of thumbnail images at the top or embed into blog posts right? Now something about images, is that most images are copyrighted unless they've been released into the public domain or are under a license like creative commons that grants use of the work as long as the original is credited.
Flickr is one of the few and biggest search engines that actually let you target images that are licensed under creative commons for commercial use specifically. That means that with these images, as long as you credit the original creator, you may actually take and use those images in your own site legally. If you plan on actually making thumbnails for your site, and you want to ever move past simple patterns and text then having photography that is free for you to use is excellent as a resource. There are other sites out there that do provide free images but none that have the volume or cleanliness of the presentation of Flickr. It's one of my favorite website tools and is also great for YouTube.