Web Tools and Software That Make My Life Easier

Posted by in Tech

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I am addicted to The Internet. I work on it, I play on it – it’s a huge part of my daily life.

But the thing I really love about it is that it enables me to expedite, improve or bypass a lot of the tedious parts of life.

Using web tools and services has allowed me to make pretty good improvements in efficiency, mainly in my business, but also for some other parts of life. So I thought I would write about how that works.

Why This List Changes Often

The great thing about living right now is that we exist in an age where there is a massive changing of the guard. The Internet has thrown a massive spanner in the works of the existing companies and industries which means a lot of very clever people are currently trying to get their own piece of the pie.

That means innovation. Old services fold, new ones come along and slowly but surely, you change your toolset to suit new realities.

That means that in six months’ time, this list will be quite different.

Software for Photography

Lightroom – Simply the best software for organising and doing basic edits on your photographs. There is a reason that it is the industry standard for pros. It also lets me upload the images I choose to my Flickr.

The Fader - If you use presets in Lightroom to speed up your workflow, then you’re going to want to get the Fader. As you probably know, most of the time a preset will be too strong or too weak for an image. The Fader ¬†allows you to adjust the strength of the preset to suit your image.

Export to Flickr – Publish your edited images straight from Lightroom to Flickr.

Lightroom Presets by Presetify – One of the Light Stalking network’s sites, it supplies premium quality presets for photographers who use Adobe’s Lightroom.

Photoshop – When you need to get serious on your photo editing, this is the big daddy. I don’t use it much, but I am grateful it’s there when I need it.

Web Tools for Writing

Mars Edit – I do a lot of blogging and this is my desktop blogging software of choice. I wish it had a module to allow me to save drafts to Google Drive or Dropbox, but that’s about the only point on which I can fault it.

Scribe Fire for Chrome – I used to use this software back when I used Firefox, and now it’s available for Chrome so I am giving it another shot.

Web Tools for Publishing Online

WordPress – What I use to run all of my websites like Light Stalking, Photzy, Presetify and First Lighters. The best CMS around.

Buddypress – Allows me to turn WordPress into a full community site. I use it on Light Stalking.

BBPress – Forum software for WordPress so your users can chat on your site. It runs the forums on Light Stalking.

WebSynthesis – The best WordPress hosts in the world today. (And yes, I have tried most of the big ones).

Cloudflare РKeeps my sites running fast.

FileZilla – A great and free FTP program.

Getting Organised

Evernote – I organise my thoughts into plans using this desktop app. I keep lists of ideas I am fleshing out as well as resource lists that I work on (like potential partners to work with for Light Stalking as well as what they offer).

Google Keep – This is a mobile app for my Android that let’s me record ideas and whatnot when I am away from my computer. Kind of like a notebook. If the idea stands up to a bit of thought when I get back to my computer, I transfer it to where it needs to live (usually Evernote). (Yes, I could probably do this all in Evernote, but I prefer Keep’s mobile app). Sometimes I just use it for the shopping list.

Trello – This is an amazing and free web app that I use with the Light Stalking team. We use it so we can easily see what each other are planning to work on, working on now and finished working on. It’s all on one easy screen and it’s invaluable.

Zapier – This amazing tool automates the web. It let’s web apps talk to each other. I use it to post new cards on Trello (each card is a task that has to be done on a recurring basis – like monthly reporting for example) and assign it to a relevant person. There is a similar (and free) service at IFTTT.com that is worth checking out too.

Skype – Everyone I might need to quickly chat to is on Skype so that I can reach them. The trick is to not get caught up in Skype groups and waste your time just chatting.

Google Drive - I keep a lot of files in the cloud at Google Drive. It let’s me easily access them from any computer and at a Terrabyte for less than $10 per month, it’s pretty good value.

Jing – This is really handy for communicating with my employees (who are all remote). I quickly take a screen shot and upload it in a couple of clicks. It also does screen casts so I can show them my screen and talk over the top. Very handy.

Found – This Mac app lets me search all of my storage (including Cloud storage) for a file. Much better than trying to remember where you saved a document.

Consumption Tools

Chrome – Simply the best and fastest browser. It also lets you use a heap of plugins which makes your browsing a lot more useful.

Chrome Plugins

  • Hover Zoom – Stops you having to click through to see the original image (handy for browsing forums on Reddit and Light Stalking)
  • Bitly – Quickly shorten links to share.
  • Clicky – Always know how much traffic is on your site.
  • Last Pass – Great for password management.
  • Buffer App – Quickly schedule sharing on social media.
  • Page Rank Status – Quickly tells you a few publicly available metrics that you can use to judge the popularity of a website.
  • Pocket – I save articles that I discover during the day to read on my android later on the bus (stops me getting distracted)

Design Tools

Canva – This is a very useful service for designing quick banners and social media designs. Very intuitive and easy to learn quickly.

Share Your Own in the Comments!

What tools, software or apps do you use for your own workflow? Any I should be checking out? Let me know in the comments.