Web Designers ToolBox

Every website owner needs a “toolbox” containing all of the various software programs and online resources that can make our jobs easier.  Here are some basic suggestions for some useful and trustworthy tools to get you started. The best part is that most of the tools are free!

filezilla2Filezilla–  FTP file transfer and management (used to quickly and easily transfer files from your computer to your hosting account, and vice versa). FileZilla is open source software, distributed free of charge under the terms of the GNU General Public License. It’s undoubtedly the most popular FTP program available.

gimpGIMP–  Photoshop is very expensive.  Especially if you only need it to edit a few photos here and there. GIMP is a great free, open source version of Photoshop. The developers and maintainers of GIMP strive to be a high end free software graphics application for the editing and creation of original images, photos, icons, graphical elements of web pages and art for user interface elements. wilberGIMP has tools used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, resizing, cropping, photo-montages, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks. Animated images such as GIF and MPEG files can be created using an animation plugin.

fotolia-logoFotolia–  A great resource for professional quality stock photos.  Competitively priced photos start at around $0.74 (they also have some free images). Fotolia is devoted to offering affordable creative imagery. Their crowd-sourced library includes millions of royalty-free images, vectors, illustrations and video footage clips.  Whether you’re a professional designer, manager, presenter, small business owner or student, the right images for your website, brochures, reports, and slides are available on Fotolia.

dropboxDropbox– The super popular Dropbox is free cloud storage that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.  Store a copy of all of your important files (photos, website files, docs, etc.) in your Dropbox and access them from any computer or mobile device.  Hint:  Invaluable for backing up websites files and databases ; )

google-analyticsGoogle Analytics–  Very in depth website hits/visitor tracking provided free of charge courtesy of Google.  Just sign up for an account (or use your existing Google account) and install the code snippet they provide onto your website.  Great for analyzing how much traffic you’re getting and where visitors are coming from.

keepassKeePass Password Safe–  A free, open source password management program.  There are a lot of programs out there that accomplish the same thing, but this is a lightweight and easy to use one.  It keeps all of your ftp, email, and internet passwords on file for you in a secure database.  This program uses one master password of your choosing to unlock access to all of your saved passwords.  There are also quite a few mobile apps that are compatible with KeePass (i.e. MiniKeePass) so you can access your passwords from any device.  This tool is really handy if you have multiple websites and need to keep all of your login credentials (ftp, wordpress, email, etc.) organized.