It seems that every week I am telling someone else about one of my favorite little known websites, so this week I wanted to help make them well-known websites (ok, so one or two of these are fairly well known, but I always find someone that has never heard of them). I hope that you find a website that you will use for the next several years in this list: my favorite websites that not everyone knows about.
Google Alerts – Know immediately when someone writes something about you or your company online. A friend turned me onto Google Alerts when I started blogging several years ago. It is a very simple tool that e-mails you whenever a Googlebot finds something new written about you on the web.
Website Grader – Take the guesswork out of SEO (search engine optimization). Website Grader evaluates your website, gives you a grade compared to other websites, and then tells you how to improve your score. Of course it isn’t perfect, but it certainly provides a great big picture perspective for free in 60 seconds, and they don’t even try to sell you something.
Elance – Outsource websites, logos, marketing, programming, etc.. to others in the US, India, China, Pakistan, etc.. without worrying about getting what you paid for. Special thanks to Mark Buckshon for telling me about this great website where designers from round the world compete for your business. I have personally seen incredible websites designed in other countries by English writing consultants for less than $200.
LogMeIn – Forget expensive hosting software, server, and VPN to access your work computer at home or your home computer at work. LogMeIn is free software that gives you easy access to your computer when you are away. Better yet, after you login your computer will look and act as if you were sitting at the other computer!
Yudu – Read and publish online for free. Many of you are members of the Design and Construction Network and have seen the incredible Design and Construction Report. Yudu is the online reading software that was used to publish the report. Don’t worry, your publication doesn’t have to be as intensive as the report; if you just want an amazing brochure or newsletter check out Yudu.
Eventbrite – Eventbrite is one of my favorite websites on this list (and yes, I regularly use every website on this list). Eventbrite is a website for event management and promotion similar to evite.com, only for professional events. I am always skeptical when a website makes a statement about selling out events, but I have seen several events managed by Eventbrite do just that!
– Dropbox solves the problem of keeping track of your files on multiple computers once and for all by enabling selected folders to sync online and across multiple computers for free (up to 2gb). It is great for files that you want to use both at home and in the office, or for sharing files with other people. One extra amazing feature of Dropbox is that you can un-delete files and retrieve older versions of a file.
CCB Buzz – Everything else you wish you knew about the web. John Sedivy and Amy Stevens Adams have revamped CCB Buzz and continue to be a great resource on a variety of topics. That said, some of my favorite posts can be found in there archives from around January 2009 when they were peeling back the tools of viral SEO.
iStockPhoto – Never worry about photo copyright again. We use iStockPhoto for almost all of our graphics at work because it is inexpensive (almost every image is available in low resolution for $1) and gives professional and amateur photographers around the world the opportunity to make money from of their photos.
Google Local – Help customers find you on Google for free. Here is one website that you need to take action on immediately. Google Local manages data about your company for Google search, Google Maps, etc… If you want to be easy to find take 10 minutes to update your company profile using the link above.
Pandora – Free customizable radio stations from a company whose single mission is to “play only music you will love.”