Hi, I'm Tyler Willis and I've been helping businesses optimize their digital marketing and web development efforts for over 10 years. I excel at teaching and helping companies understand complex digital solutions, and applying them to their businesses.
If you manage the website for your business, you know as well as anyone the time it takes to keep up with changes, requests and additions. Even simple tasks like adding images can often take much longer than anyone would think.
When there are tasks that need to be done regularly, it's best to try to optimize your processes as much as you can, for efficiency sake and for your own sanity!
Over the years in website development and managing almost 100 websites for clients, I've gathered a list of tools that I use regularly to make my job that much easier and make it possible for me to manage so many sites.
Below is a compiled list of some of my favorite tools for optimizing images, managing SEO, accessibility and more.
1. Image compression - TinyPNG
Every image should be compressed (have it file size reduced) prior to being used on a website. Images are often the "heaviest" parts of a website - the components that take the longest time to load and slow down the entire page.
Since we want to ensure a positive user's experience on our website (which will increase the chances that they'll stay and browse and even sign up or purchase something), we should make sure that the images we're placing on our website do not slow it down.
TinyPNG is a great, online tool that allows you to drag-and-drop multiple images at a time, see them being compressed, and then download the smaller files. On average, I see about a 70-80% file size reduction. And the best part is that you can't even tell a difference between the high-quality and lower-quality files - the images still look great!
TLDR: TinyPNG helps you to minify your image files without hurting their quality.
2. SEO tag management - SEOMtn
There are a few, core search engine optimization components that should be created and updated for every webpage. They include the page title, description, image alternate text tags, content length, and a few more.
There's a lot of content that explains these SEO components, and you can even see some live website analysis examples on our site, but often, depending on which website platform you use, these components are not easy to update. Even platforms such as WordPress require additional steps to manage this content.
SEOMountain is a great tool because it provides a super simple user interface right on the front-end of a user's website where you can view, update and get real-time analysis directly. Finally, these SEO tags that everyone says are so important (me included!) and easy enough to manage on any site!
TLDR: SEOMountain makes it easy to manage important SEO tags directly on the front-end of your website.
3. Icons - Font Awesome
Maybe you've put a lot of work into the design of the text and images on your site, but you still feel like it's missing something. There's a good chance that one thing that might help to polish the design is by adding icons.
Icons are often used next to text, or even in place of text in user interface application design, but they can be tastefully added to traditional websites as well. They provide a nice, visual alternative to plain or HTML text.
Font Awesome is a massive icon library that allows you to embed icons on your site without needing to save and upload individual files. You can simply reference the icons in HTML, shortcodes or CSS and place as many icons directly into your site as you desire.
And the good news (on top of that other good news) is that, while they do have paid plans, there are still hundreds or thousands of icons that are free to use.
TLDR: Font Awesome is a large, quality icon library that makes it easy to put icons directly into your site.
4. Design - One Page Love
I love website development, but often where I could use a little inspiration is with the design - whether starting a new site from scratch or making minor or major updates to an existing site.
If you browse around the internet, after a while you can start to see many websites looking the same. Maybe many of them have the same overall look and feel, and perhaps some of them are even using the same templates! While platforms like WordPress and purchasing templates can save time and money in the short term, to put your best foot forward as a business you should really try to aim for something different.
One Page Love is a great site for website design inspiration. As is in their name, they focus primarily on single- or landing-pages. However, these aren't much different than home pages, and many elements could be recycled and used on interior pages (about pages, blog posts) as well.
TLDR: One Page Love is a site that displays an updated list of landing pages for design inspiration.
5. Image protection - ArtDefend
Depending on your industry, the type of business you are or product you sell, you may be in need of an extra layer of security on your website.
For example, artist websites often contain high quality images of all or most of their artwork in an attempt to either simply display their work or even sell it online. The problem is that many hackers will find these sites and easily steal the images for their own use - often to sell online themselves or place and sell on merchandise.
TLDR: ArtDefend is a website plugin that prevents hackers from stealing your site images and content.
6. Image resizing - ResizeImage.net
Sure, TinyPNG does a great job of compressing the file size of images, but if you really want to speed up your website, you should make sure that the image dimensions (height and width in terms of pixels) aren't larger than necessary first.
For example, a typical laptop that loads and renders a website will be, at most, 1,500 pixels wide. But did you just download a stock photo to use on one of your pages? Before you upload it to your site, check the image dimensions first. Chances are that image is at least 4,000 pixels wide.
This is a waste, because that image will likely never be displayed at that width on your website, but that doesn't mean the browser will load a smaller version of it. No, it will still load the entire 4,000 pixel wide image and cause reductions to the performance of your site.
The best way to handle this is to use a website like ResizeImage.net to first reduce the dimensions of your image to the size needed for your website, and TinyPNG to then compress the file size.
TLDR: ResizeImage.net will help you to reduce the dimensions of your image to improve website loading performance.
7. File management - FileZilla
If you haven't advanced your business's website to the level of version control (which often isn't necessary), you may be using some sort of control panel to manage your site's files. This is fine, but would require you to log in to the cPanel account, navigate to the File Manager and deal with an outdated user interface.
FileZilla provides a great alternative to this. It's an FTP (file transfer protocol) client that can be downloaded and used directly on your desktop and allows you to manage your site's files similar to you would the files on your computer - with files and folders.
You'll only need to setup your credentials one time and will be able to transfer files back and forth from your computer to your website's server with much less effort than a control panel in a browser.
TLDR: FileZilla helps you to manage and update files on your website's server right on your desktop.
8. Website accessibility - BitMtn
Have you ever thought about people who may use your site that aren't able to see or hear the same way as most people? Individuals with certain disabilities such as vision, hearing or even attention deficit disorder?
According to the CDC, approximately 26% of adults in the United States have some type of disability. So, depending on how much traffic your site has, you may have 1, 10 or even 100 or more individuals with some sort of disability using your website daily.
Not only is it important that we make our website easy to use for everyone, but it's actually becoming more and more of a requirement - legally - with lawsuits related to website accessibility being on the rise in recent years.
Fortunately, the website accessibility plugin offered by BitMtn can help you to get your website near accessibility compliant automatically. It works behind the scenes to scan your webpages and add necessary, missing components for accessibility, and even provides a user interface that people can use to make the site easier to use by increasing font size, modifying contrast, turning off animations, and much more.
TLDR: BitMtn helps to make your website accessible for use by individuals with disabilities.
9. Content length - CharacterCountOnline.com
If you're working on producing a blog post, or some sort of content that has the goal of ranking highly on search engine result pages, you may be aware that longer content typically ranks better than shorter content.
Length of content isn't the only rule that impacts SEO, but increasing the length of your page's content can help it to rank better on search engine result pages over time. For example, spinning together a quick blog post might end up being only 500 words, but if you're able to put more time and thought into it and produce a post that is 1,500-2,000 words, it's likely to perform much better.
One way you can check this as you go, is by copying the text from your content editor and pasting it into a site like CharacterCountOnline.com. This site will give you character count, word length, sentences, paragraphs and more helpful information.
TLDR: CharacterCountOnline will tell you how long your content is as you write your blog post.
10. HTML - Tailwind Snippets
If you ever get your hands dirty in the source code of your website, you may be wondering how you can code a certain component in HTML, or how you can do it more than once without having to repeat your work.
Fortunately, there are a lot of platforms that provide ready-to-use code snippets that allow you to copy and paste them directly into your site's HTML and CSS. One such platform is Tailwind Snippets. Here, you can browse through a large collection of pre-made components or sections such as buttons, forms, testimonials and pricing sections, see the code and preview at the same time.
You often don't need to start from scratch when you're creating your new website and adding pages to an existing site.
TLDR: Tailwind Snippets gives you pre-made code that you can add directly to your site.
11. Screenshots - Snagit
Unless you have full access and control to do whatever you'd like on your business's website, you'll likely need to share a change or idea with someone else or a team and get approval before publishing your changes.
Often, the best way to do this is by performing a screenshot and then sharing the image with others. However, native screenshot functionalities are often not enough to portray and highlight changes in a screenshot efficiently.
Snagit is a great desktop plugin I use to take screenshots (or videos) and add markup such as arrows, highlighting, blur and more.
TLDR: Snagit is a screenshot tool that allows you to markup captures efficiently.
11. Forms - Mailchimp
If you're not already, you should be trying to capture email addresses for an email list so that you can reach out and continue trying to sell to prospects gathered from the website.
Often, this looks like a simple "sign up for our newsletter" form in a footer or on a blog post. The simple-to-get-started way to handle this is usually to set up a simple form that emails you every time someone signs up, and then you capture the email address in a list.
Fortunately, you can automate this entire process with Mailchimp. You can even create a form on Mailchimp and have them validate and add email addresses to your lists automatically. Then, you can take the next step and create a strategy for leveraging this new email list for the benefit of your business.
TLDR: With Mailchimp you can create and embed forms and capture email addresses automatically.
12. Security - Wordfence
Unfortunately, there are always people out there that are looking for ways to get ahead in their own way, and the often means hurting others. So, you need to make sure that your website is secure if it's not already.
One way is by using Wordfence which is a plugin available for WordPress websites. With Wordfence, you can blacklist IP addresses, schedule ongoing scans to check your website files for malware, make sure that plugins with security updates are updated, set up a firewall to protect your site from invasion, and more.
TLDR: Wordfence is a WordPress plugin that helps to protect your website.
13. Development - Webflow
Are you in need of making major design updates to your site to the point of maybe even starting over? Platforms like WordPress and Joomla have long been the best do-it-yourself solution for this, but there's a newer, more modern solution.
Webflow is a great, somewhat new (a few years old) platform that is trying to replace WordPress as the platform that hosts the largest share of websites globally. It's intuitive user interface makes it even easier and quicker to develop websites than WordPress, and it's modern approach aims to provide as much in-house functionality as possible to avoid the headaches that come with WordPress and Joomla plugins.
TLDR: Webflow is a new, modern website development platform.
14. Content management - Contentful
This one is a little more technical, but if you have the development capabilities (or know someone who does), then it could be a major asset to your website content workflow.
If possible, it's often better to create website that's not on a platform such as WordPress, Joomla or even Webflow. However, that requires a developer. But that might still be the best option for you. There are a number of reasons why - security, customizations, efficiency, etc.
But you may still want a simple and easy way for you to manage the content on your website without requiring the help of a developer. This is where Contentful comes in. Contentful is a headless CMS which basically means that you can store all or most of the site's content on it, and then tell the website to get the content from it to display on the webpages.
Contentful is a super easy to use content editor and allows you to have control over the content like you would on a WordPress site.
TLDR: Contentful is a website content editor that allows you to make changes to the content without diving into the code.
15. Backups - BackupGuard
This is another WordPress plugin that, similar to Wordfence, helps with the general security of your website - namely automated backups.
BackupGuard is a WordPress plugin that will perform scheduled backups of your source code. If an error ever occurs or a change is made that is incorrect, you can easily return to a previously performed backup date.
TLDR: BackupGuard is a WordPress plugin that performs scheduled backups of your source code.