You don’t spend every waking moment on the internet without coming across at least a few helpful things! Below are six of my favourite discoveries that turned out to be lifelong additions to my bookmark bar. Some are for writing, some for designing, some are just plain fun — and all will help make your life a little easier and your blog a little better.
Say hello to…
Hello Bar is a fun, unobtrusive little call-to-action bar that is very pretty and very easy to use. Give it your site URL and choose your colours, fonts, purpose (email signup, direct link, social media icons) and it’ll spit out a few lines of code for you to add to your blog template. Not the hacking sort? That’s okay — there’s also a WordPress plugin that’ll do the hard work for you! The basic tool is free, but for extra services and content you can upgrade to a pro account.
The most excellent tool to analyse your text and weed out all the unnecessary bits and pieces. Hemingway will highlight sentences that are too long or complicated, and phrases that have simpler alternatives. It also singles out adverbs, which are apparently bad (news to me, whoops). Pasting in your text will give you your word count, read time and readability level. This article is at a grade seven reading level — woohoo!
I let out sort of a squeaky little shriek noise of excitement when I found this website. Wordmark allows you to type sample text and preview it set in all the fonts available on your computer. ALL OF THEM. ALPHABETICALLY. In all caps, sentence case, black, white, big, small. No more scrolling through every font in InDesign to find the perfect typeface. This one is probably most useful if you’re a designer of some sort, but it gets a special mention for being that “I didn’t know I needed it until I found it” tool.
Another type-based web tool, this time more relevant to you non-designer people. TypeWonder allows you to preview your website in any web font, sort of like a font fitting room. No more alt+tabbing back and forth between your home page and text editor, or trawling through pages of Google Fonts trying to guess which sans-serif will best suit your style. Bonus: there’s even a handy little TypeWonder Chrome extension you can install!
Hail Pixel is a pretty simple concept: move your mouse and colours happen. Moving the mouse up and down changes the lightness, left and right controls the hue, and scrolling determines saturation. Click to save your colour, and they’ll appear side by side ready to be culled and curated. It’s one of the most helpful tools out there for creating a palette from scratch, giving you the hex, RGB and HSL values for each colour and allowing you to remove and add colours as you go.
I’m generally of the opinion that if you’re going to be writing a blog post, you should probably have the subject matter in mind before thinking about the title (write about what you know, and all that), but this idea generator is too good to pass up. Simply give it a subject and it’ll spit out a specific topic for you to write about. Inputting ‘cats’ gave fabulous ideas such as “How Cats are Part of a Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy”, “13 Uses for Cats” and “20 Unexpected Ways Cats Can Give you Better Hair”. I would read the crap out of those.
Got any other useful web tools to add to the list? Let me know below!