Free Webmaster And Productivity Tools That You Ought To Be Using
by James Inovejas
Managing a website is by no means an easy task. This is especially true if you’re doing it by yourself as opposed to hiring a freelancer or somebody else to do so for you. Indeed, the job of a webmaster is time consuming and expensive. Or is it? While it is true that managing a website isn’t easy, it’s also not as complicated, time consuming, or expensive as most people might be thinking. In fact, there are a lot of free webmaster tools and apps that you can use to manage content for all kinds of sites (affiliate sites, blogs, and even e-commerce sites).
Notepad ++ - Using Notepad to write/edit your code is still viable but if you want to up your productivity and efficiency then you’re going to need Notepad++. It has syntax highlighting and syntax folding features to make it easier to weed out those bugs. A tabbed interface also means that you can work on multiple documents. Additionally, Notepad++ has an Auto-completion feature that makes writing code that much faster (relative to using Notepad). The program is available as both a full install and as a portable app.
Database Browser - Developed by ETL Tools.com, this free tool allows webmasters to easily connect to their databases. With the tool, webmasters can modify data on their DBs as well as export/import data and even run sql scripts. The types of DB servers currently supported by the tool include MS Sql Server, ODBC, Oracle, MySql, BDE, SQLite, Firebird, and Interbase (just to name a few). Like Notepad++, the program is available as both a portable app and full Windows installer.
FileZilla - Considered as one of the best free FTP, SFTP, and FTPS clients today. Aside from being available for multiple platforms (Mac OSX, Linux, and Windows), it is relatively easy to navigate and use. Webmasters who want to manually backup the files on their site/sites’ FTP servers should have no problems using this program to do so. Unlike the first two tools though, FileZilla is only available as a full installer.
XAMPP - An extremely important tool for testing and debugging your site. XAMPP is actually a package/distribution that contains Apache, MariaDB (older versions used MySQL), PHP, and Perl that webmasters can use to locally host their own sites before they go live. This allows them to stress-test and debug their sites. XAMPP, like Notepad++ and Database Browser, is available as a full installer and portable app.
Google Chrome - Really the best browser to use if you’re a web developer. It has a handy feature that helps you make temporary changes to your website on the fly for testing/debugging purposes.
Graphics And Photo Manipulation Tools
Share X - This tool is basically an enhanced screenshot/print screen function. What sets this tool apart though is that you can automatically share any or all of your screenshots to media sharing site Imgur. Aside from screenshots, ShareX also features screen recording .gif and .mp4 formats.
GIMP - A great program for photo editing/manipulation if you can’t be bothered to pay for Photoshop Elements or a Photoshop CC subscription. It might take a while to master if you’re transitioning from PS but it’s by no means inferior in terms of features. GIMP is available as both a portable app and a full installer.
Krita - Similar to GIMP, Krita is also a free alternative for Photoshop. Unlike GIMP though, it’s targeted mainly at artists. Webmasters who want to create graphics/artwork for their sites should find this a lot better as opposed to GIMP.
Video Capture And Editing
Camstudio - A webcam and screen recording software that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. If you’re also creating video content (reviews, commentaries, video tutorials) for your site then you’re going to want Camstudio for recording your screen.
Audacity - Arguably the best (and most popular) free audio recording software available today. Aside from just recording, Audacity can also be used to edit audio files. It’s currently usable on Mac OS X, Windows, as well as Linux. Much like others in this list, this program is available as a portable app or as an executable.
OBS - Open Broadcast Software is a free live streaming software that can also be used for video recording. What makes it different from Camstudio though? Unlike Camstudio, webmasters can use OBS for webinars on almost any live streaming platform (Youtube, Twitch, Dacast). It’s a great way tool that webmasters can leverage if they want to interact with their target audience.
Windows Movie Maker - As of now there really aren’t that many
Communications & General Productivity
Slack - This is becoming one of the more popular group and collaboration communication tools around.
Pidgin - If you’re managing multiple freelancers who might be working with you on/for your site, then you’ll need to make sure that you can easily communicate with them. This is where Pidgin comes in. With this, you can manage almost all of your IM accounts under one client. You’ll never have to worry about opening multiple chat windows to talk to your freelancers or clients.
Skype - Of course, we shouldn’t forget about Skype when talking about IM/video chat clients. There are still hundreds (if not thousands) of business that swear by the instant messaging client today. It’s available on almost all platforms and is fairly easy to setup.
Google Drive - At this point in time, everybody knows about Google Drive. The online storage platform is great for backing up your various projects and documents in case your computer’s physical hard drive fails you. The integration of Google productivity apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms) also makes it easy to edit whatever documents you might save on it.
Dropbox - Is somewhat like Google Drive but without the editing features. What this cloud storage solution lacks for in editing functionality though, it more than makes up for in its share-ability options. Additionally, it’s a great complementary option for backing up important files. Your data is important so
WPS Office - MS Office has been the standard office productivity suite for many years now but it’s not really that affordable. This is where WPS Office comes in. It features a UI design that’s similar to Office 2010/2013 and supports the latest file formats for those suites as well.
Trello - A great project management platform that’s also free. It makes use of the Kanban project management system/concept developed by Taiichi Ohno in when he was an industrial engineer in Toyota. The Trello system makes use of signboards/billboards to help you manage your project/timelines more effectively. Take note though that Trello doesn’t have a dedicated app/program for Windows. Thankfully, you’ll only need a browser to actually access the platform. Also, there are apps on Google Play and the Apple Store that you can install on Android and iOS devices respectively.
Ninite - A program/utility that you can use to install the majority of the apps listed here (and more) automatically. Another great feature of this utility is that it’s very secure. It’s probably one of the few utilities out there that you can use to download uncompromised free software. Additionally, you can use the utility to update any app/program that it installed on your computer.