This year I have used more tools & aps than any other time in my life (I think). Some have made my life easier. Some I fell in love with hard and fast, but the love affair ended quickly. I thought I’d share with you some of the ones I’ve used, and some of the ones that are now collecting virtual dust bunnies and will need to be deleted, in early 2013
This list is a huge reflection about how I manage my time And I’m somewhat embarrassed. But I suspect I’m not the only person who needs their tools to pull them back in. To keep them engaged and interested in coming back.
I’m looking forward to coming back to this post in December 2013 (and beyond) to maybe have a chuckle over this list. Hope you enjoy it too!
Here’s my tools rundown
(Note: Some of the links below are my affiliate links. If you’re sharing a resource with me in the comments below, please include your aff link too! Thanks)
The tools I fell out of love with
Asana – great tool, but because it needs to be manually synced with my Google calendar (or any calendar) I don’t come back often enough to use it. Sad to see it go, because the interface inside is so easy breezy
BaseCamp – loved the app on my android phone, but it isn’t syncing with my Gmail contacts (only imported them initially) so I don’t find myself using it (see Contactually below)
Kashoo – they have a great ipad app (I don’t have an ipad) and aren’t yet ready for the android market. When they are, I’ll likely be so far into my other system I won’t be willing to change. They have a lot of great features though. (see Wave below)
Zoho CRM, Invoicing, etc – I thought Zoho was going to be the answer for me. But it’s similar to the rest in that I invest time setting it up and nothing compelling brings me back to interact.
ShoeBoxed – I love the concept, (send them your receipts and paper – they take care of everything. Great for living a portable life) but they don’t provide shipping envelopes to Canadians. I wasn’t using my account.
Mozilla Thunderbird – I still love it, but I don’t need it as often now that I have a better system running with my android phone and Gmail online
Mozilla Firefox – it slowed down earlier this year & wasn’t syncing my favourites across devices. And after setting up Google aps for business it made sense to switch more than ever
Jing – this makes me very, very sad. It was my “go to” for so long. But it’s not going to be around after Feb 2013, so I needed to find an alternative (see screencast-o-matic)
Hootsuite – I spent much less time in Hootsuite now than I did last year. I have a few apps that send things to my hootsuite account, but it’s no longer my “go to” system
Clarify – great tool for creating tutorials and help files. I’m more inclined to do quick screen captures, or share with a Jing video (screencast) so I haven’t renewed my account.
Insight.ly – in my search for the perfect CRM solution that integrated with google aps, I tried Insightly. It wasn’t everything I needed (simply, pulling me back regularly, etc)
SimpleBooklet.net – online booking system that integrates with google aps. It wasn’t intuitive enough for me.
WordPress Plugins I fell out of love with
- HelloBar (less than 2% of my website visitors clicked on that little banner during 2012. And less than 1% of them took further action. I’m focusing on different things this year)
- Polls plugin – great idea in theory, but no one was taking the polls so I’m using that “virtual real estate” for something else.
- Easy Sign Up – this was a great free alternative before installing Magic Action Box
- Wysija – absolutely love the interface, but less than 40% of the emails were delivered.
- Testimonials –
- Get Response – great newsletter program, but they have 40 apps and Mailchimp has 400+, which makes it much easier for me to integrate all of my programs in the long term
- AWeber – probably the most recommended email newsletter program. I’m sticking with Mailchimp for the time being.
The ones I’m still in love with (or at least LIKE)
- Wave Accounting
- Contactually – This one is really cool! I found it in my search for a CRM tool that would work seamlessly with Google Aps & what I found was one step better. It even integrates my conversations in email, Facebook and Twitter so I can truly follow who I’ve been in touch with & who I need to reach out to.
- eVoice�� (Free Trial if you want to check it out. I’ve signed up for a 6 month package to see if it’s the right fit for me.)
- Evernote – I use this for so many things (blog post ideas, saving info about resources and tools I love, and note taking during an online event. Love that it syncs to all devices)
- Dropbox – I use dropbox for backups of photos & my wordpress database
- Sugarsync – I use it for all of my file management. Syncs will all of my devices for easy access of files (except backups and photos). Update: They had a larger free storage size when I started my online business & made files super easy to share. I didn’t find Dropbox as easy. This past year I’ve found DropBox and Sugarsync to be very similar in useability, etc. I couldn’t recommend one over the other.
- Google Aps for business (the free version is more than enough for me right now) Note: the free version was cancelled December 2012. http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html
- Teambox – I use this for managing my tasks – syncs to google aps
- Microsoft Office – to create tutorials, PDF’s, ebooks – and often for creating simple graphics.
- Google Chrome – browser that syncs my preferences anytime I’m logged in with my google account.
- LastPass – as I’m sure you can imagine after reading this list – I have a lot of passwords to remember. LastPass helps me by creating awesome passwords and remembering them for me.
- Buffer Ap – love how easy it is to add things to buffer to go out throughout the week, without thinking about it. Oh, and their little suggestions on quotes gets me more likes than anything else.
- Alexa Ap on my Chrome Bar (see stats of my own website and others at a quick glance, or click through for details)
- Skype (phone number, long distance, skype to go)
- Boomerang – An add on inside my gmail that allows me to send messages at a normal time of day (perfect for a night owl on the west coast – Instead of emails arriving at 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast they can arrive at a civilized hour), or I can ask messages to be sent back to me if I don’t hear a response (hence the name boomerang)
- Mailchimp – for all of my newsletters, autoresponders, etc. I’ve had my account a long time & autoresponders were included in my free plan.
- Filezilla FTP – open source software for uploading or downloading files from my website hosting account.
- Scrivener – for writing or creating organization out of chaos when creating PDF or Kindle books
- Microsoft Paint – YES, I still use that oldie but goodie tool for quick edits, resizin an image for a blog post, etc. It’s way faster than opening bigger programs, or logging into a webservice like pixlr.com
- Screencast-o-matic for video screencasts longer than 5 minutes I’ve purchased the Pro version ($15)
- Windows Live Writer for creating blog posts like this one. Still love the ease of use, although I wish I had a better way to edit my images with proper html tags (maybe someone will point me to a tutorial?)
- Adobe Reader X
- Kindle for PC
WordPress plugins I still love
- Magic Action Box
- Tweet Old Post (or tweetily)
- Thanks me Later
- Editorial Calendar
- Broken Link Checker
- All in One SEO Pack
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox
Google Chrome Extensions:
I have to go through and remove some every month or two. I try a lot of them & then the browser gets really slow & clunky. Regular cleanout is great. Here’s what’s on mine today.
- Alexa Traffic Rank
- Boomerang for Gmail
- Evernote Web Clipper
- Eye Dropper
- Firebug Lite
- HootSuite Hootlet
- Read Later Fast
- Web Developer (so I can quickly check out what plugins people are using for that “cool feature”)
- WebRank SEO 3.3.2
Google Aps I use:
- Wave Accounting
- Mindmeister Mind Maps
- (currently using .5GB of the 10.1 GB storage available in my free Business Aps account)
- Canned Responses
- Google Calendar Gadget
- Google Docs gadget
- Inserting Images
- Signature Tweaks
- Undo Send
On my Android Phone
- FM Radio
- Amazon Kindle
- Headache Diary Lite
- WordPress app
Yep! This is a super HUGE list! I’m a bit surprised & at the same time really glad I took the time to share it. It’s created a bit of house-cleaning for me & a chance to see what’s working and what isn’t. Plus, a couple of other cool projects I hope to share with you over the coming weeks (ie. when noticing which programs weren’t playing well together I created a new business flow chart. I’m happy to share my process with you, if it would help).
When you were skimming through this list did you think of a few you could use yourself? And did you notice anything I’m missing? Any thoughts of, “Oh, Loralee would absolutely LOVE this tool I’m using?” Share with me in a tweet or in the comments below!
And Happy New Year!
P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my new ecourse (How to Outsource) why not take 60 seconds and do that now. It’s fast, easy & I’m super proud of how it turned out. If you’ve ever wished you could have help & not need to do it all alone, this mini course will really help.
Love this list and I love that you are putting this out there!
I highly recommend do.com for project management. I tested five this fall myself (including your fallen asana) and can’t say enough good things about home, my team, and my clients are benefiting from do.com.
Amber, Thanks for stopping in! I’m off to check out do.com 🙂
Happy New Year!!
p.s.Can’t wait for you to see the “thank me later” message (you’ll see what I mean when it arrives)
Hi Loralee! Fun post! My new plugin that I’m so lovin at the moment is commentluv. I love the community and being able to give a shout out to those that come visit my blog:-) I never heard of thanks me later. I looked it up and I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the inside scoop.
aah! Commentluv. Did I miss it in my post? Luv It! (especially the premium version that I purchased for a song this autumn)
And Welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by!!
Here’s the link for Thank Me Later:
Let me know if you try it?
found you from the blogger challenge facebook group. I love google chrome because it syncs across my laptop and desktop so no matter where Im working I have all my bookmarks and “stuff” right there. Im going to check out your favorite wordpress plugins and the rest of the stuff now!
That’s exactly why I love it too Diane! Makes my “stuff” easier to access 🙂
Wow, great post! I love getting the inside scoop on what you’re using (and not using). I started using Asana recently, and as far as I can tell, mine does sync with Google Calendar. Wonder why yours isn’t working…
Also curious as to why you’re not using HootSuite as much… do you mostly use Buffer, then?
I’m bummed to hear that Jing is going away! I’ve found it handy, too, since you introduced me to it.
I have lots of other questions and comments but I’ll try to keep this comment from becoming as epic as your post! 😉
Really? How Cool Amy! Maybe I’ll check back in again. I remember seeing a tutorial for some kind of plugin that syncs the two. Did you use that?
Hootsuite – I haven’t been using the bulk upload feature. That might change in the new year. Buffer seems easier and more where my mind is at this moment. I’ll likely be singing a new tune in January – especially after this monumental Windows 8 upgrade fiasco.
Bring on the epic post! Would love to hear the rest.:)
Loralee, thanks for your very professional list. I have a bunch of apps and plugins that took up way to much time. Thanks for your “like and love” list. I’m using BackupBuddy but couldn’t figure out how to connect it to Dropbox, so I have it storing the backups on there site.
That sounds like a great solution Cheryl. If it’s working that’s perfect. I found a tutorial for BackupBuddy to dropbox. Have you viewed this one?
I often find “watching over someones shoulder” helps me trouble shoot. Thanks so much for stopping by.
Great list! There are some aps and plugins I loved and lost in your list. I use a-weber…and I am thinking that is not so wise….just lots of people saying it is best. Thanks! ~Cathy
I believe aweber is a great newsletter program. I love the add-ons with mailchimp, but switching is a huge headache. Stick with what’s working! Or make a strategic decision to change to something that’s best for your biz in the long term & implement it over a reasonable time frame. That’s what I thought I was going to do while trying Get Response and Wysija, but 2 months in I realized I needed to stick with what was working. So glad I hadn’t done a full switch.
Thanks Loralee – this is great, especially as I’ve been looking at all my tools too. I love Evernote and Dropbox and you reminded me that I’ve been planning to check out Buffer. I’m also looking for a CRM and considering Batchbook. Contactually looks great but it doesn’t sync with MadMimi, which I currently use for e-mail marketing, and as I’m looking to create a solid contacts database, I think that’s going to be a problem.
I’m curious as to why you use Sugarsync in addition to Dropbox – they look like similar services. Is it just a question of space? And how do you backup your WordPress database with Dropbox?
Great question…I’ll add an update in the post too. I used Sugarsync before Dropbox. And it had lots of ways to grow my free storage when Dropbox only offered 2GB free I had 12GB with Sugarsync. And they made it super easy to share folders and files. Dropbox is just as easy now. But now that my whole file structure is there, I leave it.
There’s a wp plugin called WordPress Backup for Dropbox. Set it and forget it 🙂 I’ll grab the link and add it here.
That’s a tricky part of madmimi (and others). And frankly one of the main reasons I stay with mailchimp. If I hear of something I’ll drop you a note. I’d love to hear what solution you come up with. ~ Loralee