Not-So-Common Tools that made My Online Work Easier
Today's Editor's Picks
We all have a toolset we’ve built since the time we got into doing this whole affiliate marketing and online business thing. We’re all actually quite proud of it, too. They’re the tools that get the job done and they cater to our specific desires.
- Some of these tools you may have found on round-up lists.
- Some of these tools you may have discovered on your own.
And like all tools … it’s how you use ‘em.
Over the years I’ve picked up a few I’d say are not-so-common. These aren’t really the ones I’d find on those big round-ups nor ones you’d think of when doing a search. However, I still find them valuable which is why I’d like to share them (and hope that you too may find a place for them).
Starting right off with an odd one is my go-to alarm clock. It happens to be online. I happen to have used it for nearly half a decade. It works. It’s never let me down.
I find it valuable because it’s quite obvious … it wakes me up.
The other value I find from it is that I can change the sounds because after about a week my mind seems to block out the alarm if I keep it the same.
Sure I can just get a digital or analog alarm clock (or even use my phone) but then I wouldn’t have my laptop next to my bed for when I have those sparks of inspiration and I want to start working during the wee hours of the night.
I work a lot out of Word for all the writing I do. I work a lot out of the WordPress backend for a lot of the posts I produce. I work out of notepad for all the little notes I need. And I still use a pen & paper for quick doodles and ideas.
But the tool that has me coming back time and time again for extensive writing is Notepad++.
It’s basically Notepad on steroids. It’s lighter weight than Word, too. It’s somewhat clunky and rough around the edges but where it shines is that it’s great for doing code editing since it keeps it nice and clean. Oh, did I mention it’s free?
It’s easy to get lost in a project or find yourself wandering off to the far stretches of the Web looking up goofy videos and reading really strange blog posts. Toggl is my savior. It’s a time tracking app which I use for helping me understand my time versus money.
With this timer running I can hop right into some work, get it done, and figure out the length of time it took me to completion. Next time I do the task I have an idea of how long it will take. This not only gives me inspiration to do it better and faster but it can help me plan out my day far more accurately than just listing out a few things on my to-do list.
As an added bonus it’s always good to have something like this if you’re working with clients that want to see reports. Better to generate a report using a free service like this than trying to crunch the numbers about a week’s worth of work (some of which you may have already forgotten).
4. Xenu Link Sleuth
Hands down one of the ugliest programs you could probably use for checking your website for broken links but man does it get the job done. Once you have it configured it will search … and search deep.
It’s a free program that looks like it was stuck in 90’s design but that doesn’t mean it’s any less in value as some of the other link checking programs, websites, or services out there.
The value with this tool should already be apparent. It will help you find those broken links that’s probably running your SEO efforts into the ground. It’s far more thorough than something like Google Webmasters Tools if you ask me. It’s also incredibly fast which is always a plus.
5. Hover Zoom
When I’m trying to find images for blog posts or if I’m just browsing the Web for cool stuff I had always found it frustrating that I could see a thumbnail and then be forced to give it a click to see its full size.
Not with Hover Zoom.
With the plugin install all you need to do is hover over and it’ll pop up the image full size as long as you have your cursor still on it. This makes browsing so incredibly easy. It doesn’t sound like much because it’s just remove an extra click (and another to go back) but once you start browsing through hundreds (if not thousands of pictures) a day it can really save a good amount of time.
6. Awesome Screenshot
I always hated the earlier days when I would need to take a screenshot, paste it into Paint, do the edits, and then save. Once I had Photoshop this process became a little easier but PS is big and clunky so running it for extended periods of time can really make it a resource hog.
Awesome Screenshot, a browser plugin (I’m using it for Chrome), lets you just click the icon and select what type of screen you want to capture. It could be a select area (great for grabbing graphs or if you were taking snapshots of page elements you’d like to include in your work), the full page, the visible part of the page, a local image, and a feature which I haven’t used yet (that intrigues me) the desktop (and windows you have open).
It really cuts down on the time for grabbing screenshots since it also lets you edit, add any annotations/arrows/etc, and save it in the popular file formats. For me this has been my go-to tool for the past few years when it comes to quick image capture.
What in the … ?
Yes the focus of the site is about affiliate marketing and truthfully none of these sound like tools you’d immediately think of to help with your work. But to each their own. Turns out that these are ones I frequently use to do a good deal of my work.
These are great for content which also means they can help with social updates. They can be used to fix up site links or help others understand a visual problem with the design. They help you wake up in the morning and keep you on track.
A useful tool doesn’t always need the bells and whistles. Not all of them may be as proficient as some of the latest options. Some actually have a one-up on the newer stuff, too. Ultimately it’s what works for you. If it helps you get the job done than it’s worth using.
Agree? Disagree? What sort of tools are you using, then?