Since taking up work as an active freelance developer and since the overhaul of my blog, I’ve been paying more attention to ways of making the best uses of technology. As I’ve been working on client projects and doing research on my own time, I’ve been blessed with little discoveries here and there that have made my life as a freelance developer easier. In no particular order, let’s get started:
Useful Web Applications:
- FeedBurner – It wasn’t until I rebuilt my blog and did a bit of testing that I realized I’d had a broken “/feed” URL for almost an entire year. But despite that, my trusty FeedBurner account maintained my list of subscribers and faithfully notified them once I’d begun blogging again. FeedBurner has continued to grow over the years and their service continues to remain at the top of its game. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s kind of hard to beat “free”. For WordPress users, I highly recommend the FeedSmith Plugin which redirects all possible feed requests to FeedBurner where they are managed on your behalf.
- pMetrics – Since I began using the pMetrics tracking software back near the end of April ’07, I’ve become completely sold on it. There are features that I’d like to see added and improved on, but as they’ve just released the program I’m perfectly content to continue as a happy customer while they keep up the good work. pMetrics is very straightforward to use and, as any good stats program should be, very easy to deploy. The “Spy” feature is one of my favorites but I’ve had to cut back on it as it doesn’t offer much in the way of productivity.. *grins*..
- CrazyEgg – Though I haven’t opened up an account for a test run just yet, I’m already sold and looking forward to deploying it across some of the sites in my networks. CrazyEgg tracks every click on a page and presents you with a heatmap overlay showing you what people are clicking on. It’s an excellent way to test page optimization and be sure that your most important content is getting the attention it deserves. – In addition to the CrazyEgg service, there is also a free piece of software available for those willing to go the “Do-It-Yourself” route. Check out ClickHeat from LabsMedia.com
- FreshBooks – I began looking carefully over the FreshBooks system today and so far I’m very happy with what I’ve seen. As business has grown and I’ve taken on more and more freelance projects I’ve been keeping careful track of each one through text documents and organized folders. But there’s definitely room for improvement. FreshBooks offers web based client invoicing, time tracking, and project management. Matt and I, who do the bulk of our freelance work together at the moment, can each login to our FreshBooks control panel, track our time, manage client tickets, etc, all in a straightforward and easy to use webbased environment. I’ll share more on FreshBooks as I continue to work with it in the future.
- Tumblr – From their website: “If blogs are journals, tumblelogs are scrapbooks.” At first glance Tumblr me as a minimalistic approach to WordPress. While certainly similiar in nature, it has a simplicity about it that makes it a desireable addition to your existing blog. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with it yet, but I’m eager to watch as the Tumblr development team keeps up the good work. Check out my WordPress Tumblelog for a small demo and links to some excellent WordPress Plugins.
- WordPress 2.2 – What list of useful apps would be complete without the latest and greatest edition of WordPress? With 2.2, WordPress now includes built in support for Widgets along with support of jQuery (more on that soon). One of my favorite features of WordPress is the auto save.. in addition, I’ll share a small tip with you.. *smiles*.. When you’re on dialup, don’t try upgrading WordPress while you’re writing a blog post. Thankfully, WordPress forgave me and I was spared a rather lengthy rewrite.
And that’s that for this week’s roundup! : ) I’ll be keeping my eyes open throughout the week and taking notes of new things I find. Be sure to do the same. If you find something worth sharing, drop me a note! I’d love to check it out.
P.S. Congrats to my good friend Matt Geri on his blog overhaul. Awesome work bro! : )