In this issue of Behind the Browser we’re highlighting five of the free website tools we use the most. This was not an easy list to curate! There are so many great tools for managing different aspects of websites that we literally have dozens that we access regularly from our browser’s bookmarks bar.
We recommend that you try these tools out today (3-5 minutes each) or as soon as possible and bookmark the ones that meet your needs. Personal experience tells us that if you close this email and move on, you’re unlikely to come back and we’d hate for you to miss out on what these tools can do for you.
You know an online tool is good when it’s used as the engine for a whole family of related tools on the internet. WebpageTest.org is just that. Originally built by AOL and now an open source project, this free service tests, measures and grades the performance of any webpage. Use the tool to measure your site load time periodically and to see exactly where your site’s bottlenecks are.
For creating and collaborating on designs, prototypes, wireframes or illustrations there’s no better tool than Figma.com. We love Figma and have been using it for years to create website designs, application workflows, logos and much more. And it’s completely free for up to two editors and three projects, with an unlimited number of viewers. Figma can do a lot so takes a little time to learn, but that’s also what makes it such a fantastic free resource.
We’re eternally grateful for the Internet Archive and the work they’ve done to catalog and save webpages since 1996. We couldn’t begin to count the number of times we’ve used this resource to see past versions of a website or to dig up old content. But be careful when using this tool. Their extensive catalogs of old images, music and videos amount to a rabbit hole that’s hard to resist.
For anyone who’s ever needed a quick anonymous email address for testing or signing up for something, this is a must-have resource. With Mailinator you can send email to [any_address]@mailinator.com and can then check that address’ inbox instantly. There are literally millions of inboxes so virtually anything in front of @mailinator.com will resolve to an address that you can then quickly check.
GKP is a powerful tool for forecasting and creating Google ad campaigns. But even if you’re not executing a pay-per-click ad program, it’s a highly effective (and free) tool for researching keywords to help optimize your content. The tool is so powerful because Google’s technology and access to voluminous search data allow GKP to instantly suggest alternate keywords and to show you the organic search traffic for each.