We are all busy, busy looking after our clients & running our business: but there are lots of brilliant tools out there that can make all this business a bit smoother. From Online image editors & apps, paid stock image libraries, font tools, wordpress to productivity tools, listed here are our favorites as well as those that our clients & colleagues love!
If you have any suggestions, we’d love to hear what helps to keep you from the tedium of admin work & focus on working with your clients, leave as a comment at the bottom of the page & will take a look.
- if you’re after free stock images, check out our ultimate list of FREE image sources but be sure you understand your rights to use the images you download. If you are after wordpress tutorials we have them too!
- some of these links are affiliate links, signified by a ♥. You’ll pay not a cent more if you use these links but using them helps me to add to this list & keep working to improve the content on the site.
TASK MANAGEMENT & PRODUCTIVITY:
DESIGN APPS & RESOURCES:
STOCK IMAGES & RESOURCES:
TASK MANAGEMENT & PRODUCTIVITY:
Oh, did I mention it’s FREE? All you need is a google account & you’re well on your way to keeping all your notes in one place.
You have the ability to create projects, to-do lists, create handwritten notes and even snap photos. The system is available anywhere and can be synced to all devices. The best thing is that you can search for anything you have saved, even those hand written notes that may be way back and Evernote will find it for you!
While the internet changed the way we do business for ever, social media & blogs have changed the way we market. It’s put small business in an equal playing field with the high end!
But how on earth do we manage to get all this social & content marketing while trying to run our business? Beside the fact that writing & posting is not our area of expertise?
Here are some tools which might help…
If you struggle with writing the Hemingway online editor could just end up being your godsend. It’s a FREE browser based editor which allows you to write with power and clarity by highlighting adverbs, passive voice, and dull, complicated words.
It colour codes suggestions to improve your copy
- yellow means a sentence is hard to read
- orange is a really hard sentence to read
- fushia notes a phrase which has a simple alternative
- blue highlights an adverb which should be removed & green notes the use of a passive voice
If you want a desktop version you can purchase Mac or windows versions
Kickass Headline Generater
The tool is based on Sumo’s 49 Headline Formulas to Skyrocket Conversions (And Where to Use Them) by Sarah Peterson.
Portent Content Idea Generator
onelook.com is like an intelligent thesaurus. Say you’re looking for words similar to ultimate – but you want a word that starts with g – voila, you don’t have to scratch your brain forever – it does the job for you.
answer the public
answerthepublic.com is one of my favorite sites useful for any marketing team, creatives, PR, content or SEO.. Type in your core word & recieve a highly visual, aggregated view of data drawn from user searches, basically giving you an overview of what your customers are searching for.
Watch the entertaining video & give it a shot – you’ll be addicted in not time at all.
Swipe-Worthy is a handy tool for Profitable Marketing Inspiration & Analysis. This is the place for copywriters & marketing minds to dissect & discuss great marketing examples.
Need some inspiration? Check it out!
A classic struggle for new businesses is time-management. The good news is that there are lots of free online apps you can use to help, most of which have advance options you can subscribe to as you grow. The trick is list what you need now & what you think you will need in the future then try them all & see which one works for you.
Drop the lengthy email threads, out-of-date spreadsheets, no-longer-so-sticky notes, and clunky software for managing your projects. Trello ♥ lets you see everything about your project in a single glance.
It seamlessly integrates with Slack, harvest & time doctor which is a win & is is free forever with 100mb storage. Upgrade for unlimited storage for the wee sum of $5pm (USD)*
- as at the time of writing
- Collect your thoughts: Milanote is a place to put it all together. See your ideas, notes and research side by side.
- Explore your options: Milanote’s fast & tactile interface makes it easy to experiment, play, generate ideas and explore possibilities.
- Figure it out: Gradually add structure as you start to see patterns and connections.
Milanote lets your work evolve naturally.
Online Stop Watch
It promotes itself as the ultimate timer. It’s insanely simple. Toggl’s time tracker is built for speed and ease of use. Time logging with Toggl is so simple that you’ll actually use it. Toggl drives a stake in the heart of timesheets.
There are a few time trackers listed here, try them all & see which one works for you.
You Can Book Me
The free version has limited ability for customisation but you can add your logo & brand colours. It has a “powered for free link” back to YouCanBookMe. If you want greater functionality they offer pretty cost effective monthly plans.
Check out how it works.
DESIGN APPS & RESOURCES:
Download the iPhone app ♥ for iPhone
Unlike many other on-line editors, there’s no need to sign-up or log-in so there’s no excuse not to give it a try & create your own branded social images to make your posts pop.
Edit & touch-up your photos, turn them into a collage or design your own images. Don’t have your own images library? No problem … check our our ultimate list of free stock image libraries.
Oh, & did I mention there is an app on its way? The world is your oyster with PicMonkey.
*correct May 5, 2016
Canva is not just for social images, you can also do print files but be sure to save them for print, with printer marks, if you’re sending them off to a print shop.
Oh, and they have an app so you can work on ♥ Canva – Graphic Design & Photo Editing – Canva” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>iPad or iPhone
Take a look, you’re sure to be impressed!
Small business owners, bloggers and advertisers will have a feast using Desygner.
RelayThat boasts of the built-in SEO, tagging and scheduling so messages are given the boost on online search.
Another feature that sets this platform apart is the One Click Resize which promises to resize your graphic for every platform with no additional tweaking required.
Adjusting and enhancing photos is so easy with iPiccy. You can add filters, effects, frames, texts, overlays and so much more to your photos. Edit your photos like a pro.
It is a flexible and sophisticated drawing tool with capabilities comparable to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW and Xara Xtreme.
Okay, so you’ve found the perfect image but you want to remove the background, Background Burner is an online tool which allows you to upload your image, mark out the area you want to remove & then download your burned image as a .jpg or .png.
SIgn-up for a limited free trial, then decide whether you need a personal, small biz or professional plan.
Optimizilla can compress 20 image at the same time, but you can set the compression level for each photo separately.
If you’re anything like me I prefer to own rather than pay monthly subscriptions to tools I use a lot, & yes I remove a lot of backgrounds from images, both stock & my own. Yes, sure, I can use masks & channels in Photoshop but sometimes I just need to do something quickly this is where my secret tool, Photoscissors, comes in.
It is a tiny but super powerful program in fact I used is on the image on my ultimate list of free stock images.
From editing, colour filters, resizing and much more, this FREE app has everything you need to edit and create imagery without the need for a subscription.
Just type in the URL and Stylify Me will generate everything you need to establish branding.
The outcome options are limited – if you want various formats etc thats where they’ll hit you for a dollar or two.
Wordmark It is one of my favorite time-savers. Choosing the ideal typeface for what you are trying to communicate can be frustrating with the available font browsing interfaces. Wordmark.it helps with your font selection process by quickly displaying previews of any text using the fonts installed on your computer.
You can work in white on black or black on white, change the fonts size, view lowercase, uppercase or sentence case. You can then save your your favorites, print them or share them to get feedback.
This is certainly one worth bookmarking…
my script font
Simply download their .png or .pdf template, fill it in (making sure you follow the simple instructions, scan it & upload it then choose a name for your font & an output (ttf or oft) click start & in no time you’ll be writing totally personalised letters.
Fonts That Go Together
Scroll through, find a combo you like & underneath the image you will find the font/s used. How clever is that?
Downloadable fonts are available for Windows and Mac users.
Fount will tell you which web font in your font-stack you are actually seeing – not just what is supposed to be seen. It’ll also tell you the font size, weight, and style.
Fount works in Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and IE8+.
An understanding of colour & how it affects people is important when you are branding. Once you’ve decided which colours are going to work for you the challenge is to create a set of colours that work perfectly together. Get it right & your brand will zing – get it wrong & it will fall flat!
There are a few great tools on-line to help you to choose a great colour set or palette.
There are a number of colour palette generators on-line where you can play with colour combinations such as Adobe Kuler & Paletton but what if you are totally clueless about working with colour & just want to have combinations handed to you?
Enter Coolers. Although you do have the ability to refine the set palettes you can cycle through lots of combinations by hitting the space bar in the generator browser when you find a shade you like click the lock icon & it will generate palettes based on that colour.. What I particularly like is that each colour is displayed in its hex, hsb, rgb, PMS (pantone) & copic (pens) codes,
It also allows you to colour pick from an uploaded image.
Color Lisa is a curated list of color palettes based on masterpieces of the worlds greatest artists. Palettes have been created by color obsessed designers, artists, museum curators, and masters of color theory. Palettes are constantly being added to help keep your designs colorful & fresh.
CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-blacK) Color Codes
Color Palette FX
You can select a single colour and get its complimentary or triad colours. I love the colour names it generates, too.
Canva Color Palette Generator
Faster than typing, save time every day with quick videos for free. The ultra-flexible communication tool with endless use cases.
Loom ♥ is essentially taking a video screen shot of what you are working on to be able to show your team mates, co workers or staff. This is a super handy tool to help your team visualise the tasks at hand and it is 100% FREE!
I recently discover the Filmora video editor made by Wondershare. I must admit I can use the high end programs like Final Cut & Adobes Premier but, let’s face it, they are expensive & complex to use. This is so easy, the interface is yummy & it has titles & templates to die for.
You can download it for PC or Mac but there is also an app for the iPhone although that is probably better for personal use rather than business.
Icecream Screen Recorder
Capture screen, create screencasts, video instructions, website and software video reviews and record games in window- or full-screen modes.
A great tool for handy recording, available in a FREE version and an upgraded version, great for commercial use, for only $29.95.
With Vidwiz , creating beautiful videos can be easy as 1-2-3 – drag and drop feature, background music, fonts, colours, animations – all the elements in creating amazing videos right in your fingertips.
STOCK IMAGES & RESOURCES:
Subtle Background Patterns
Free Design Resources (FDR)
Here we list the big boys in town (read as the ones the pros use) … Many of these guys operate under a number of names like Fotolia who own 3 or 4 image banks so, if you need a lot of high quality images, it’s best to do your due diligence before purchasing a subscription.
The upside of going with the big boys is that their images are not over-saturated in the marketplace!
Which ever image bank you choose, make sure you read their licensing permissions before purchasing.
You can join iStock to get for free stock files every week to build up your personal image bank.
*correct May 4, 2016
You can sign-up for a months unlimited access, 12 months access or the best option is a lifetime plan @$89USD*. If you use a lot of social media images this is a good way to go.
* correct May 3, 2016
GL Stock images
Make a deposit (min $20USD) so you can download as needed or purchase one-off images by paypal.
Your subscription allows you to download X number of images per week or month – use it or loose it so if you do sign up, put a reminder in your diary when your downloads run out.
i23rf ♥: These guys boast over 48M stock images, vectors, video footage & audio clips. They have a couple of different ways you can purchase…
ON DEMAND: no daily limit | standard images | editorial images | vectors | TIFF | footage & audio or
SUBSCRIPTION PLANS: standard images | editorial images & vectors.
If you only need the occasion images on demand may be the go for you.
*current May 6, 2016
WEB & SOCIAL:
Have I Been Pwned? (or hacked)
One just have to enter their email address and the site will notify if their account has been breached or compromised in any way.
now click on may link & see what you get.
A brother site to this one is https://placeholder.com/ where you type you image size after their domain & you’ll get the html code to add that size placeholder into your site. Try it, I’m sure you’ll love it.
Website owners can check the themes you find or buy before installing them on your site, helping check code quality and presence of malware. Are you a developer? Themecheck.org helps you verify the themes you create satisfy WordPress standards and common users needs. You can also share your verification score on your site with ThemeCheck.org widget.
This service is free and compatible with Joomla templates.
It is fully compatible with woo-commerce, great for on-line stores & it interacts beautifully with a number of membership plugins. In fact this site is built with it!
Not with Beacon! Using their wordpress plug-in, choose the posts you want to use, customise the book colours & fonts & save – all in 90 seconds. Well, that’s what they promote, the book I made took several hours to perfect but that’s because I’m perdantic!
There’s a free version which allows you unlimited publishing using the wordpress or hubspot plugins to create pdf or web books. If you want to remove the beacon branding you need to upgrade to a paid plan which start at $9pm USD*.
*correct May 6, 2016
ODD BODS & LINK LISTS:
Registration is required. Basic version is for free with limited amount of controls. Pro version is $8 per month with prioritised processing and you can create your own ligatures.
Character Count Online
Copy and paste your texts or simply type them in the text area provided, and the counter will be updated generating the amount of characters, words, sentences, paragraphs and whitespace in your texts.
The platform contains three search options – Suggestions, Autocomplete, and Questions. You can enter a keyword as well as specify Location and language, and KWFinder will generate related keywords with search volume, CPC and difficulty displayed on the left-hand side of the dashboard. You’ll also see SERP results with some valuable SEO metrics on the right hand-side.
I chose Kafka, 200 words in 3 paragraphs & this is what I got …
“One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections.
The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked. “What’s happened to me? ” he thought. It wasn’t a dream.
His room, a proper human room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four familiar walls. A collection of textile samples lay spread out on the table – Samsa was a travelling salesman – and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of an illustrated magazine and housed in a nice, gilded frame. It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer. Gregor then turned to look out the window at the dull weather. Drops”
Xtensio Toolbox for start-ups
A new way to open and edit PDF files online, PDFescape frees users from the typical software requirements for using the de facto document file format. Completely online, PDFescape requires no more than a modern internet browser and an active internet connection.
A great online or desktop PDF editor tool, available in a FREE version and an upgraded version, for only $5.99 a month for the full version.
It also converts pdfs, allows you r to eSign a pdf, merge.What a masterful little tool!
General Link List
visual content marketing
PLEASE NOTE: all information & prices were correct at the time of writing. Although we try to ensure all our information is correct, things change quickly on the internet so please do your own due diligence prior to making financial commitments.
Should you find any errors, please let us know so we can correct them. Thanks