Here are 50 tools that every publisher should use or at least know about:
When you want the power and flexibility of PhotoShop without actually paying for it, GIMP offers everything you could ever hope for . . . and probably more. Image creation and editing software doesn’t get any better.
Huge catalog of stunning, relevant images presented in a way that works with your site, functions well, looks great, and can even make you money.
The full-package design studio for building your Web presence from scratch. It will cost you, but it will pay off, from the nitty gritty coding to the powerful (and beautiful) design tools.
Chances are, you’re going to need stock photos. When you do, you’re going to want to invite Stock.XCHNG to the party. A lot of pictures. Zero expense. Any questions?
When you want a lot of the work done for you while retaining loads of control over the look and functionality of your site, WordPress is second to none for bloggers. Sure, there are plenty of other options, but this is the quintessential solution.
This simple tool comes in especially handy when you’re just starting to build your site or when you want to freshen up the look. Start with a base color and get recommendations for complimentary colors and schemes. Also features a downloadable tool for Windows or Mac.
For simple, online photo editing, Picnik is incredible. If you need to make flat blog images shine or create collages in a snap, Picnik will add life to otherwise bland photography.
8. Facebook for Developers
Facebook is an absolute marketing powerhouse, and if you aren’t taking advantage of the tools available to integrate that power into your Web destination, you’re missing out on possibly the single most powerful traffic multiplier at your disposal. Get liked. Get acquainted with these tools.
9. Retweet Button
The standard-issue twitter buttons frankly aren’t enough. Tweetmeme’s Retweet button has proven much more powerful and informative to Web publishers. The tools are more convenient, and the information is more readily available then what you get straight from Twitter.
10. CSS Grid Builder
Yahoo’s CSS generator tool streamlines the process of generating the complexities of coding in a very simple, efficient way. Choose from a ton of layouts and grid options then walk away with neat, concise CSS ready for action.
11. CSS Blueprint
If you do development work but prefer to spend as little time as possible on it, CSS Blueprint is your quick solution. It is used by some pretty prominent sites, but it’s clean, efficient, and suited for the novice developer.
12. CSS Sprite Generator
If you have an image-intensive site, you may want to minimize the number of HTTP requests those images demand. Sprites combine the images on a page into one HTTP request with multiple coordinates of layout.
13. Google Alerts
You don’t have time to go scouring the Internet for content generation ideas, so it’s crucial to arm yourself with an alert system that brings you creativity fodder as it hits the Web. Social networks are great for checking on your own, but Google Alerts acts proactively to keep you ahead of the curve.
As much as you want your site listed on the hot social networks, delicious is helpful for managing and building bookmarks that will help you create your own content. It’s a great way to keep your ideas flowing and your site up-to-date.
15. Google Reader
Sometimes you just have to react to what other people are publishing, and there’s no more efficient way to stay up to speed on what your favorite sites and blogs are saying than with Google Reader. Remember, you aren’t publishing on your own, so you have to stay connected to your peers.
16. Browser Shots
Making your site look great on your own screen is one thing, but how does it look to your readers? They could be visiting on any number of different browsers, and you need to make sure your site is consistent on each one. Browser Shots lets you check them all in one convenient location.
17. Link Valet
A thorough, fast, and free tool for checking all the links on your site. An excellent way to ensure the links you’re providing are current, accurate, and free of all glitches.
18. Code Beautifier
CSS code is ugly, both figuratively and literally. Looking at it for too long will make your brain hurt, but getting it wrong will slow down your site. Code Beautifier can analyze the CSS from any URL and show you exactly what needs fixing, right away.
Search Engine Optimization
19. Google Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator
Even if you don’t use Google’s adwords service, their keyword suggestion service and accompanying traffic estimator is invaluable for discovering what words will generate the most traffic for your site. When you’re adding content, you need to know if anyone really cares. This tool will tell you, and you’ll know what words they use to search for it.
20. Google Analytics
You need to know how people are using your site, how they’re getting there, and if they’re converting from guests into customers or dedicated readers? Google Analytics gives you the information you need to turn your hunches into proven strategies. A must for marketing, SEO, and the business side of online publishing.
21. Keyword Density Analyzer
Instantly shows the keyword density of the most common 1-, 2-, and 3-word phrases for any URL. Quick and completely useful for making sure the keywords you deem most valuable are defining your site’s identity.
Multiple search engines, multiple keywords, multiple keyword watches, automatic updates and reports, but all in one very convenient, easy-to-use site.
Loads of free and premium tools including firefox extensions that integrate site rankings, keyword analysis, and more directly into your browser. A very extensive collection of tools brought together in one place.
You need a facebook presence. You need a facebook presence. You need a facebook presence. Repeat this until you have a facebook presence and are making use of it.
Digg reinvented itself, and the Digg community didn’t like the invention. The one-time behemoth of the link sharing world looks like it’s making a comeback, and you’ll want to use it to keep your content viral—but don’t put all of your eggs in this (or any) basket.
Just like with Digg, you’ll want to establish a network on this buzz-machine that generates discussion and pageviews galore.
Yes, you should publish to Twitter. No, it’s not about what you had for lunch. The updates might come at less than 140 characters at a time, but the trends swell in enormous movements that bring traffic in droves.
If you want to streamline your social media presence, Ping.fm enables you to submit to multiple accounts simultaneously (we’re talking loads of them). Be careful not to treat every site the same, but it’s a good way to get your content out their initially.
Want to know how you’re doing at social media? Klout assigns an overall score and then assesses your strengths and weaknesses as well as topics of greatest influence. It’s a good place to determine where you stand, though you’ll need other tools to get you further.
Short for Social Web Index, Swix offers a more high-powered analysis of your social marketing efforts. If you want to know how much each account is affecting the bottom line of your Web site, the advanced analytics are worth the small fee.
31. Blog Catalog
BC is an extensive, diverse blogging network that will get you connected to other bloggers and exposed to a wide network of readers that love to comment and interact.
There’s a small subscription fee, but ProBlogger is a great place to learn more about blogging, network with other publishers, and open up some actual revenue in the process.
33. Networked Blogs
Networked Blogs does an excellent job of integrating member blogs into social media. It’s free, loaded with tools and features, and nonexclusive.
34. Media Caffeine
This is a manually updated, organic blog network. Essentially, it’s a WordPress blog with a network vision: give visitors a catalog of blog posts and summaries and direct traffic to the sites. Simple, but effective.
Guy Kawasaki’s brainchild is a daily clearinghouse of indexed content. If you aren’t submitting your site to Alltop, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic courtesy of one of the biggest minds in Web publishing.
At this point the platform is still in Beta (what isn’t?), but OnSwipe promises a publishing experience completely customized for tablet viewing (read: mobile, especially touchscreens and iPad). Don’t limit yourself to desktops and laptops. The future of Web publishing is in your readers’ hands.
For the quick, slick, and easy creation of a mobile site, Zinadoo can do the trick. It’s free and painless, and expands your reach to the audience on the go.
If you simply want to test your site to see how well it performs on mobile devices, this site will test each page or your main site to determine what needs to be streamlined. Very useful and fast.
You’ll have to pay a monthly fee, but you’ll get what you pay for with more customization and control than any other service can offer. Build a mobile version of your site with exactly the features and functionality you’re after.
Turn your blog or site into an iPhone app! This is another tool that will cost you, but it has revenue potential as well. You don’t have to know a thing about coding or app development, so if you want to get started fast, iSites is a great option.
41. After the Deadline
A WordPress app that proofreads your posts for spelling and grammar mistakes. If you don’t think you need it, tink again.
Their slogan: “We make online advertising suck less.” It’s an advertising opportunity with more user control than the typical services, and an attitude you just might fall in love with.
If you ever want to run a blog contest and promote it beyond your own circle of readers, Blog Contests is, obviously, the site to get you started.
Desperate for blog comments? You can always generate some of your own . . .
If you’re out of ideas for posts, this random idea generator might be the perfect way to kick start your brain. Not something you want to go to every day, but when the well is dry, you have to start somewhere.
This is a great site to check for site plagiarism. If someone is copying your work without your permission, you can find out here by entering your URL.
47. Google Translate
Make it easy for your readers to translate your blog instantly into 40 different languages. If you have a blog with international appeal, it’s a great tool—though not without linguistic glitches.
48. Blog Pulse
Find out where your blog fits in the blogosphere. Watch trends, compare your site to the competition, and figure out ways to push toward the top.
Technically this is a social network, but the power of creating a viral video goes far beyond the users on YouTube. A successful video can be posted just about anywhere, and it will all be traced back to the source: your name.
50. Your own creativity
Everything here has been done before, but ultimately you won’t succeed in this business if you don’t bring some element of originality to the table. After you’ve mimicked all the sites you admire, do them one better by supplying your own unique brand of awesome.