Every professional has a set of tools they just cannot live without and our office is no different. Of course, our preferred tools change over time as new technology hits the shelves or our job descriptions evolve however it’s important to find tools you can trust and add value to your work life. To spread awareness of the products and software we find most useful in our work, we’ve compiled this (incomplete and ever-changing) list.
Looking for a great service to remember all of your passwords, help you generate strong passwords, and scan the web for security breaches on your existing user/password combinations? Look no further! Dashlane has you covered and even allows for a teams style enviornment. Great way to keep all of your passwords unique and safe; especially if there is turnover on a team.
Number Search Engine Results
This tool is a browser extension that numbers the organic results in Google, Yahoo, and Bing, so you can tell what a site’s ranking is for a particular keyword without having to count. This browser extension is available for free on Google Chrome, however there are other versions of this same extension available for Firefox and other browsers.
Word & Character Count Tool
This browser extension counts the number of words and characters in the selected text. This is great for pulling content to use in meta tags or tweets. This extension is availble for free in Google Chrome, however you can also access the software here if you wish to use a website instead of a dedicated extension.
It’s not unusual these days for a site to be hacked with SEO spam and not be aware of it. This is because hackers can set the user-agent to show different content to users versus the search engine bots. The User-Agent Switcher allows us to simulate how Google, Yahoo, Bing and other bots will see the site to determine if spam code has been planted into a site. There are many different versions of this popular extension which are available for free in most common browsers.
While we have a fabulous graphic designer on staff, sometimes it’s convenient to use Canva to create quick graphics. This web-based tool is free to use unless you choose to certain elements ($1 a piece). Canva allows amateurs to create quality custom graphics and even those experienced with graphic design may find Canva useful. With Canva you can duplicate pages, which makes it easier to create a series of similar images. As with any graphic design tool, Canva can be used properly or improperly. We highly recommend learning design principals before using this tool. Canva offers assistance with learning design and also provides “design inspiration” right from the tool itself.
Sometimes when working on a project you may need to quickly test a bit HTML code. This free tool is helpful to those in the office that may not be full-time developers. For example, Carissa our Social Media manager utilizes this service to test smal bits of code used in blog posts or other pages on client websites. There are a handful of HTML testers out there, but this one tends to be the simplest to use when you’re trying to get projects completed efficiently.
If you’re a web developer who prefers to use a Mac, you likely are familiar with Parallels. This “virtual machine” software allows you to install Windows as if it were another application on your computer. Without having to switch between computers or operating systems, you can have full functionality of Windows right there on the same screen. This is especially useful when testing websites in multiple browsers on Windows as well as OSX. Parallels itself runs for under $100 a year, but keep in mind you would also need to purchase a license for Windows which can run you anywhere from $120-200.
Wacom Pen Tablet
Our graphic designer, Chris, could not live without his Wacom pad. He uses a Wacom Intuos 3 which is a few generations old, but that pad got him through college and has been a valuable asset on the job. The stability and control of the device allows him to be more precise in clipping out the fine details, and give that perfect brush effect. The Wacom pads they’re selling now range from $70-500 depending on what size and functionality the pad has.
Now, hopefully you have a list of software/hardware that you want to go out and acquire to help improve your productivity at work! We hope you find these tools useful and effective and if you have tool recommendations for us, please leave them in the comments!