6 New (to me) tools for online design
About 6 months ago, I started a new job thanks to a former co-worker, Jake Rutter (check him out at onerutter.com). One of the great things about working with Jake is he is always introducing me to new tools and techniques. I have to admit, some of the things he shares with me are little beyond my knowledge, but a lot of things, I find to be pretty useful. Often times when working at home, I find myself saying “where did I put that link Jake sent?”, or “what was that site Jake was talking about a couple weeks ago?”. He’s always a great resource, and here’s a collection of tools that he’s introduced me to, that we’ve adopted for everyday use at our current employer. While these might be old news to some, they are pretty new to me, but I’m learning more and more daily (and hope to begin sharing my learning here in the near future).
Anyway, on to the list:
Ok, to be honest, Google Analytics is not new really new to me. I’ve used for years when I launched this site. It’s a great FREE tool for basic Web site analytics. However, I’ve only used it just for the basics… there is so much GA can do! In my current position, I’ve dived deeper into the GA toolset, and encourage any Web designer to do the same. While it may not be as robust as some of the high priced analytics tools out there, it’s still pretty powerful, and a great place to learn the basics to prepare you if you need tomake the jump to the it’s higher priced counterparts.
Google Website Optimizer
A “sister product” to Google Analytics (along you can run one with out the other) Google Website Optimizer is another FREE tool from Google that allows for A/B and multivariate testing on your Web site. As someone who has worked extensively in online marketing and landing page optimization, I’m very excited to dig deeper into this tool and really see what it’s capabilities are. In fact, I’ve just recently set up my first A/B test, and hope to share that process here in the near future.
While not free, Coda is a great (low priced) text editor with some nice features, and some pretty useful plugins. Like many designer/developers, I was a regular DreamWeaver user, but as my developer knowledge grew I found myself using the WYSIWYG features of DW less and less, and for the past year and a half, used them rarely, if ever, and using just the code view of DW. Even thought I knew pure text editors were out ther, I never made the switch. Then I was introduced to Coda, and watched by DW software collect dust… I don’t know enough about text editors to say Coda is the best, but I found it a good fit for my needs.
While it may not be the most robust and well-known email marketing software program out there, if you’re in need of an email marketing package, I strongly suggest checking out Bronto. Very easy to set up and use, and with some great tracking and reporting tools, I look forward to every email marketing campaign I send.
While it may have a funny name (that actually a struggle for some people to get used to saying…) FogBugz is a great multi-user project tracking tool with some great features to allow different users to easily communicate with each other on projects. I will say, I’m not sure if it’s the best fit for larger companies, but for smaller businesses with a lot of smaller projects that still need multiple user involvement, FogBugz is a great tool. Simple search functions to see where jobs are and who they are with, and nice email integration for updates and notifications, if you’re in the market for a tool to improve communication with your production team, definitely check out FogBugz.
That’s it. Six new (to me) tools for online design that I have found very helpful the last 6 months or so. As mentioned, I hope to put some more information about all of these tools (and others) on the blog soon, so if you’re interested in any of them, please check back.
Thanks for reading!