I love finding new gadgets and services to try out. however, with so many different directions and things I need to get done, a service really has to have something special for me to spend much time on it, let alone hold on to it for later. These 5 web services are all wonderful additions and have proven useful for a variety of reasons. Some I use each day while others run in the background and gather information to help me keep organized later. These services are for both business and personal because working at home with kids, my day is a constant personal/business mix. Tie in the marketing with creativity components and it's a wonder I don't get lost in the midst of my own decoupage glue… mixing glue with code and back again.
These are currently my top 5 favorite web services:
Pinterest.com is my new addiction, so much so that I'm avoiding it just because I know once I start I won't stop. You “pin” things you find around the web based on pictures. You can follow friends, repin other's finds and comment on your own and others pinned items. The coolest part is just looking at your page full of pinned items mixed with everyone elses and noticing the magic of visual communications. There's an interesting query in my mind about the connections we make and the things we have in common that we don't even realize until we see our interests pinned up on a wall together with images from other people we favor. It's beautiful.
Mint.com – money organization in one happy place. I get alerts and notices and balances at a glance. I love that I can see where all my accounts are all at once and I really appreciate the budget feature. There are assumed budgets when you sign up based on average spending, but you can change these numbers to fit your own budget. When you spend money the service assumed what the purchases are for based on venue (grocery stores – groceries, etc.) and if you exceed your budgets the service emails you to remind you to keep your wallet at home.
SEOMOZ – the pro service is absolutely fantastic! I have to be honest, I no longer have a pro account… $99 a month is not in my budget, I wish it were. I've been doing business online for a number of years, and didn't realize what I didn't know about SEO until I tried out SEOMOZ's pro service. In a matter of days I learned more about my sites and how to write and optimize than I have in the last 5 years of networking with internet gurus. The visual information alone helped me “see” where my errors were. The explanations are clean and clear. I wish they had a Pro Mini version.. the peewee edition or something… 1 site and only 100 keywords, I'd be in on that! At a minimum, you must check out their 30 day trial, learn yourself something fabulous about your site's potential success… you will LOVE this service!
RememberTheMilk.com a reminder service for those that need to remember they might need to remember something and aren't sure where they logged the remembering info. Sign up for a free account and then there is a multitude of locations you can check out the information as well as add to the information… all centralized in one account. I use it most often as an add-on to my Gmail interface in Firefox. As emails come in and I find I need to remember things, I simply add them to my RTM area and then I can archive the email (thanks to Michael Sitarzewski who told me my inbo is not a to-do list, he was right… that's another post all together). I also have the iphone app so when I'm not at home I have my list with me and when I edit it in either place, it changes everywhere. Bottom line, if you have things you need to remember, this app is fabulous.. and I don't have to remember where I put my list because my list is everywhere!
Animoto.com allows me to create slide show style videos in just a few clicks. For free you can create a 30 second video with your own photos, text and even music the service provides. You can also upload it directly to YouTube directly from your Animoto account. For a fee you can create longer videos and have more template options. With equipment available now, making videos is really easy and relatively quick, but if you just want to feature photos you already have, this service is fantastic! I use it to show a quick overview of a tutorial with step-by-step photos or various views of places I've visited. It's quick, easy and looks fantastic! (Assuming your photos look fantastic.)
Bonus: Crashplan.com – more on this one later because I have much more to say… but for now I'll just say – LOVE!
I'm constantly playing with new tools and online toys, but rarely do I stick with anything for very long. If it's not quick and easy to see what it's about, I often don't make it past the sign-up confirmation. It has to be a web service that really has some added value to my day. These 5 services are each touching on unique aspects of my daily work schedule and all have been wonderful additions to my bookmark list. I highly recommend them all.