So you're building a new website. What's the first thing you do after acquiring a reliable hosting plan? Apart from visiting the CMS Directory, of course.
Whenever I begin to create a new website (whether for myself or a client), I start by firing up some of my favorite tried and tested tools to help me construct a (hopefully perfect) website.
Over the years this list has changed many times, with content management systems such as WordPress making the website development process a rather easy experience even for the most inexperienced web developer.
With that in mind though, let's take a look at my personal collection of tools used to build my own websites for myself and my clients, without spending too much money, but acquiring a stellar result regardless.
Whether it's a personal or a business website, workflow management is crucial to getting things done effectively and on time. Comindware Tracker enables the development of an effective process for creating and updating of a website.
The solution provides effective task, data and document management within a fully collaborative work environment. Here are the key points of what the Comindware Tracker can do:
There are very few ways of replacing this type of workflow management, and learning these tools will allow you to build more stable strategies in the future.
Hiring a developer to do the dirty work for you might cost you a fortune, literally. Signing up for a visual website design tool such as Cubender is going to cost you next to nothing, and give you the exact same result.
All this thanks to rapid evolvement of the Cubender design a website platform. Here are the key strongest points I have found from using this particular builder:
many of my client websites have been built using this exact tool, and none have complained about reliability.
Once we've got a decent project management tool and fully working website built, we can move on to some of the more interesting and rewarding parts of being a webmaster, such as search optimization.
I have been fond of using SheerSEO for the past couple of years due to its easy to use interface, and a great list of features that give me the necessary insights about how well my websites are performing in organic searches. Key points:
There's plenty more, but these should give you an idea of what direction this tool is going to take you. It has been invaluable to my own web optimization journey, and surely will be to yours as well.
Social media is too big to ignore, but because there are so many social platforms to be a part of, it can become difficult to manage them all at the same time. This is where I rely on MassPlanner to take care of this problem for me.
As you might have guessed already, it's a social media scheduling app that allows you to schedule content ahead of time, to help you save time essentially. Here are the most important features to know:
There simply are too many social networks to be doing all of this labor manually. MassPlanner has been an immense help in getting my social streams oriented and actively updated.
The one thing the above tool doesn't provide for is social media analytics, which in my personal experience have been one of the most crucial marketing tools to have. This is where I rely on Brand24 to help me gather up all my social channels in one place and see for myself — what works, why it works, and how I can further improve it.
You might not realize it at first, but there are plenty of social media mentions that we miss because we don't have the right tools to dive deep into the social experience. Out of the countless features that Brand24 offers, here are my favorites:
We don't really think that we need these tools at first, but when you start looking at the features list, it starts to show just how much more competitive advantage we're able to gain over our closest competitors.
The last of the essential tools that I use for building the perfect website has to be Lucky Orange. There is no replacement in terms of understanding how your website works, than being able to see how people interact with your design choices in real-time.
Lucky Orange is an easy-to-use heatmap tool that gives you a perspective of how your users are interacting with your website at any given time, on any given page — allowing you to adjust and optimize the site for everyone all at the same time. Here's what to expect:
It definitely was one of those tools that I thought I didn't need until I actually started using it.
So there you have it, a complete list of tools that can help build a website right off the bat.
Let us know in the comments about your favorite tools, or start a discussion over on the CMS forum.