During 2010 I found a few sites and tools that brought joy to my online-life. Here’s a run down:
Without doubt, my favourite discovery was the shopping cart application, Ecwid.
This is a hosted shopping cart application which you can integrate with WordPress, Facebook, Blogger, MySpace and 14 other platforms. Plus your hand-built static HTML site, of course, if you’re still building those :).
It’s simple to set up, has an excellent FAQ section that helps you with specific code for customising your shopping cart’s appearance, has pre-loaded, zone-based shipping charges for the major shippers built in, integrates with PayPal, Google Checkout, Authorize.net out of the box, and a whole lot more.
And I’ve had positive feedback from everyone I’ve introduced it to.
It’s marvellous – and I reviewed it here.
The next site I found that brought a smile to my face was the Gzip compression test tool.
This very simply confirms that Gzip is working properly after you’ve activated it.
With the increased attention being given to site load speeds web-wide, Gzip is a simple way of greatly speeding up your page load times.
I wrote about activating Gzip here, and the Gzip compression test tool is here.
Next up is a site that optimises your images for the web.
Images add enormously to posts and web pages but they’re heavy and slow to load if they’re not optimised.
I regularly use Microsoft Picture Manager to create the little thumbnails that sit at the start of each article on this site, but it’s pretty one-dimensional.
For more options and flexibility when you’re optimising your images this online image optimiser does a great job: Online Image Optimiser.
And, finally, here’s one that’s not strictly an Internet Marketing tool, but which I think is great: it’s an online iPhone App Maker.
The reason I like this is that, in its most basic form, you can create an iPhone app that’s a mashup of RSS feeds. And all you need are the feed addresses.
This is a great way of making your own RSS feeds available to iPhone users.
You can add your own headers, thumbnails and splash pages, so it’s easy to brand, and all you then need to do is identify and add RSS feeds from your own and related sites – e.g. Twitter, Flickr, Blogger or any others.
It has a push function, so you can set it to display an alert whenever a new RSS item is available – all pretty neat.
I haven’t actually implemented it yet, because you need to go through the Apple approval process – but it’s a great way of getting your content onto your readers’ iPhones
You can find AppMakr here.
OK, that’s it for this year – catch up in 2011!