My Favourite Resources

man looking at laptop computer with coffee beside the computer

FastStoneImages-screen-printFastStone Capture: A tiny, inexpensive piece of software that once opened, can be placed anywhere on your monitor that you want it to be, for easy accessing.

This software I use for screen capture (all those included on this page!), creating short (mostly) how-to videos, scroll image capturing, and even capturing a piece of an image. Once you have your image in this software’s editing screen, you can do so much more with it. You can edit your image in several different ways, draw on your image (to emphasis an area if you so wish) in different ways, you can add a drop shadow to your image, and a whole lot more.

TinyJPG-screen-printTinyJPG: A free online means of optimizing JPEG and PNG images by compressing them without causing and distortions of the images. The files sizes are so readily reduced that this resource is also a must-have for me. Saves my having to have a plugin to do this on my website(s) too!

They also offer a WordPress plugin, but I would just as soon upload my images and download the optimized versions to use rather than chock my websites further with yet another plugin.

WordPress-screen-printWordPress: This is my preference of a content management system (CMS). This software is free to use, updates regularly, and is the most popular CMS available.

This system makes finding great themes to use much easier, as well as several how-to instructional videos that are easy to find, and many free (and paid for) plugins are made available so that you can customize your website even more … as well as several readily available means for security both free and paid for versions!

WPTD-screen-printWPThemeDector: You have finally decided to create your website … for, whatever reason … and you start looking around the internet at your competition’s sites for some ideas on what your site should look like. Or, perhaps you’ve found a site by random, one that you really like the layout of. Now, you want to know what theme this site is using because maybe you could use the same theme for your website. You need wonder no more, because WPTD will not only tell you what theme a particular website is using, but also supplies a list of plugins used!

Now, if a website is NOT using WordPress, WPTD will also inform you of that fact. All you need to do is simply copy the site’s URL, and paste that URL into WPTD’s text box labeled “Site to check”, and then click their “Experience the magic of WPTD!” button and VOILA! You’ll have your report.

GTmetrix-screen-printGTMetrix: This site provides users with an insight as to how well your website loads in a browwer, and you will be presented with a means on how to optimize your site should the test prove this is necessary. For me, this site has proven to be very reliable with their grading and recommendations. Given the surge of javacript being offered “above the fold” penalties shown in other tests (of which there is no ONE resolve to fix this … yet) not being displayed, I think if would be safe to say that this site would be perfect for use, rather than PageSpeed (next on my list). However, once this well known issue with javascript has been resolved by WordPress, PageSpeed will be right back up there as a resource I would be quick to recommend to newbies once again.

PageSpeed-screen-printPageSpeed Insights: A free online resource that offers users the ability to discover how quickly your website loads. This resource will show you where your site needs improving, if any are found. Once the fixes are completed, your site will have a much better chance of ranking higher in search results for your niche. Though chances are, this website tool will issue you an error message regarding your site’s loading of the javascripts. To-date there has not been one specific resolve found that works for all WordPress sites. This site also now offers a separate means of testing your site for being mobile-friendly; another “must-have” resource for advanced webmasters.

SERP-checker-screen-printSERPLAB: Though this website states that their tool is still in BETA (refers to a product’s stage of development, example: from pre-alpha, alpha, beta, and then finally, a working stage!) this online resource allows you to check your Search Engine (Google) Ranking Position (SERP) free of charge. By checking your site’s SERP you will soon discover how well your website is ranking (in Google!) for the keywords you want it to rank high for. This tool claims to accurately report how a website ranks on Google for different keywords, providing you follow their well noted recommendations … so, what are you waiting for? Give it a try!

HeadlineAnalyzer-screen-printHeadline Analyzer: What a great means for being able to double-check that you have the very best possible title for your latest post of page … and that this is also a free online tool … meaning, no software to install. This is a great way to help ensure that your titles get clicked on in search results. If you don’t think headlines are all that important than you need to understand better why writing a great headline is important.

All you need to do is simply type in (or copy and paste) your page or post title, select the type of business your headline relates to (in order to provide you with a more accurate rating) and then click on their “Submit For Analysis” button, and you will receive a rating, along with an explanation and possibly a recommendation. Think of it this way, what makes YOU click on a search result? We humans want what we want with full benefits, right? So be sure to provide your readers with the best message possible … and then check it with this tool to see how your headline stacks up against the rest.

Peek-screen-printPeek: This free online resource will have a real-live user review your website for you and then they will submit a short video review (5 minutes worth!) so that you can learn for yourself exactly how a new user will experience your website. This will allow you to make any necessary changes to your site in order to improve user-experience, which will inturn improve your chance of ranking higher in search engine query results for your niche; another must-have resource for the serious website designer. Should your review prove your site needs further work, not to worry. Fix your sites failing, and then be sure to come right back to this awesome online resource and have their live person review your site again for you.

Fiverr-screen-printFiverr: Offers users a great online resource to several very talented artists like: logo creators, voiceover, video and animation creators, writing and translation done for you, graphic designers, and a whole lot more. Whatever you can imagine, I’m SURE you can find a talented individual right here at this website, offering very low cost services to provide you with just the right service for your website, advertising, or social media account needs. Be sure to read through all of the reviews offered on a person-for-hire’s product page. In this way, you will be better armed to have selected a great talented individual to work with the first time around. However, if you should be so unlucky to have selected a wrong person to work with, please don’t let “one bad apple” determine your overall view for this website’s offerings.

Dreamstime-screen-printDreamstime: Is my favourite (and only trusted!) stock photograph website on the internet today. Their prices are great (reasonable) and the selections are awe-inspiring most times. With over 50 million stock photographs to look through, I’m certain you can find the perfect photos for your projects here.

Money Saving TIP: Once you’ve signed up to use this website, and you’re looking for a particular image, be sure check through their FREE images offered, and also try selecting their “Lowest price” offerings, and have a look through these choices too. So many times that I have been able to find great images for SUPER low prices by doing just that!

Pixabay-screen-printPixabay: a great database of FREE images that I discovered when searching for truly free-for-commercial-use images. Here is how I found this website initially, go to “Google images”, click on “Tools”, then click on “Usage rights” and be sure to select “Labeled for reuse” … and then I scrolled where I found a Pixabay free image. You can do the same! Then simply visit the page the image you found is located on, and follow the instructions to the right of the image there. Be sure NOT to select an image that is NOT clearly labeled “free for commercial use” or you may pay severely.

WARNING: If you should decide on choosing what Pixabay titles as “Sponsored images” at their website then you will have to pay to use those images. Be very careful to read the small print of those images. Here’s why: When Free Isn’t Free at All.

TIP: Should you find yourself choosing lots of the free images offered at Pixabay, it might be a good idea to give some money this website in order to help ensure this type of option will continue to be offered. Personally, I like to offer the image owner a text link in the article’s web page, at the very bottom of the page or post (see bottom of this page for any example), as this too will help this site’s SEO.

TypeSlab-screen-printTypeSlab: A free online resource to help users create great images using only text. There is no need for downloading software with this free tool! You can select different colours for the background, you can change the style of text or fond used, and you can easily add your very own quote. Once your selections have been completed, you can either download (“Save locally” button) to your computer or (the “Upload to IMGUR” button) upload your image from a URL offered to you, for use on whatever website you want it displayed on. Great for using as a Facebook post and/or a tweet on Twitter! I have even used this type of image as a header image on some blog posts.

This is the end of my personal favourite resources at this point in time. However I will add to these resources as I discover, test and use them.

Now for some great resources those others have informed me of …

Other Great Resources

Keyword-screen-printKeyword: This is a free keyword research tool, very similar to the one I paid to use. I’ve given this tool a test drive and it really does offer several keyword suggestions for you to go through. You can have this tool search Google, YouTube, Amazon, Bing, Wikipedia, eBay, Alibaba, Playstore, Fiverr, Fotolia and Ponds for the different versions or variations of your keywords that you have asked this tool to find for you. Think maybe I need to be taking a VERY serious look at using this tool myself … hmmmm.

FindForms-screen-printFindFoms: A free Privacy Policy template you can easily edit for your website needs. This is bring offered by this website in order to help you provide a very important feature; a necessary feature for any website conducting business or collecting information. Providing a well written (truthful) privacy policy displayed on a web page of it’s own lets a website visitor learn exactly what is to become of their private information should they use your website.

As you will note, there are other country’s templates available from this website too. I have chosen to share the Canadian template here as I am a Canadian, serving Canadian local businesses.

TheDigitalGarage-screen-printThe Digital Garage: A free online resource of Google tutorials regarding your website, online marketing, social media, and beyond. Apparently, this website is meant to help both the business people and the career seekers. Sounds like a perfect tool for the do-it-yourselfers! This website claims that you can even earn a certificate should you complete one of their online courses. They also claim to be the winner of the European Digital Skills Award. Learning at your own speed … and it appears to be FREE!

Canva-screen-printCanva: A free online resource that many friends swear by. This site offers you the opportunity to signup using Facebook, Google or your email. Personally, I prefer to NOT join my social media accounts, thus I would only use my email to sign up in order to use this online tool.

PCWorld stated the following:

Canva is a design service that takes the friction out of designing. All you have to do is choose one of 11 available templates or start from a custom-sized blank canvas. You then use the Layouts and Background tabs to get a rough idea of what you want to design. These tabs are chock-full of options to choose from, whether you want a complete template or just a nice background to build on.

For the full PCWorld review please visit: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2079100/canva-review-free-tool-brings-much-needed-simplicity-to-design-process.html

Credit for Header: image by BarnImages apple business cafe coffee on Pixabay