Web Development

Seven free tools that will make your agency more efficient

Running a web development or marketing agency can be hard. Dealing with clients, their expectations and the development are all tasks that we are expected to master. So when someone tells us about a nifty little tool that can help make one aspect of business a little bit easier, we feel like giving them a hub. In this post we will explore seven tools that will make each aspect of your business just a little bit easier.

1. CloudFlare

If you’ve ever developed a website for a client and not has control of their DNS, you’ll understand why CloudFlare is so brilliant. By pointing your client’s NameServers at CloudFlare, you will have full control over their DNS. Changing the A records over to the new server is as simple as pasting the IP address in the A record field. Not only will CloudFlare help you control the DNS, it will speed up your client’s website by serving cached versions where acceptable. CloudFlare has a paid version, with extra security and speed benefits.

2. Dropbox

Syncing designs with your developers has never been so easy. Dropbox offers 2gb of storage for free while 1TB is just little over $10 per month. Dropbox allows you to share files with other Dropbox users, or share the link to a folder with a client. The application is available of your desktop, your smart phone and even through a web browser. Files can be synchronised through the internet, or via a Local Area Network (LAN).

3. BackWPup

If you’ve ever been at home on a Saturday morning and has a call from a client saying “my website is down”, you’ll understand the importance of backups. BackWPUp is a powerful WordPress plugin that gives you several options for backup your complete WordPress installation. Combine this plugin with Dropbox and your downtime will be reduced to almost nothing. You’ll save time and your client will be much happier with their improved uptime.

4. Codeanywhere

As the name suggests Codeanywhere lets you write clean code anywhere, straight from your web browser. After signing up for a free account, connect to your server via one of several available options and start writing code through their well-designed text editor. The editor supports more common languages and is extremely easy to use. While live edits to your website aren’t recommended, this easy to use tool will help you cleanup your CSS on the fly and make minor changes in a hurry. Codeanywhere is just one of many cloud editors that offer free trial packs. From experience, this is easiest to use.

5. Absolute Centering in CSS

If your heart sank when you were first told that the <center> tag is depreciated and should not be used, then this neat snippet of code will help you centre your HTML elements both vertically and horizontally. Absolute Centering in CSS has a series of CSS snippets that will help you get the job done and they even explain how they work.

6. YouTube

I know ! YouTube is nothing new, but you probably don’t get as much out of it as you could. YouTube has literally thousands of channels that will train you in almost every aspect of your business. With channels from some of with world’s most famous universities, such as Harvard & Berkley, you can get a world-class education for free. YouTube is an extremely powerful education tool, it’s not just for funny videos of cats.

7. Google’s Web Designer

In late 2015, Google’s Chrome browser will stop supporting Flash graphics. That’s good news for website users who never have to load anoter Flash graphic, but its bad news for those that were using Flash for banner ads. Luckily Google has released a desktop application called Web Designer that will help you make beatufil HTML5 websites and animations thatt are supported by all browsers (maybe not IE). The tool is completely free and easy to get the hand of.