This post is constantly growing as we find and add more great sites. Please check back regularly for updates.
The Internet is ripe with great sites for all industries. No matter what you do for a living, there’s a website or, more likely, a trove of websites out there dedicated to your trade. The key is knowing what those websites are. This is especially true for web designers, developers, and content managers. Here’s a list of 20 sites you might not know about but should be using. Some of these could fall into multiple categories, so make sure you check them all out.
For Content Marketers
1. Name Mesh
Every website starts with a great domain name. But all the good ones are taken… right? It’s true that as time goes on, fewer domain names are available. A developer could spend days searching for a name that’s available. I love Name Mesh. All you do is type in a couple keywords you want in your domain name and it’ll basically spit out hundreds of permutations that are available for registration. No more typing what you want into GoDaddy only to find out that domain name is unavailable!
Like Name Mesh, NameBounce is another useful domain name generator that will give you even more new ideas. I love NameBounce because the search interface is incredibly simple, there’s a ton of easy-to-use filtering options, and you can search many different domain extensions (such as .co.uk and .org). You can also add names to a favorites list, which is useful for brainstorming. It’s awesome to see the number of great name options still available.
Ever sit down to write a new blog post only to find out that you have absolutely zero ideas? Happens to all of us. At Answer The Public, all you’ve gotta do is type in a few keywords and it’ll spit out graphics of what people are searching for on Google right now with those keywords. You can get dozens of new ideas it just a single click.
Almost every website needs awesome photos. And what’s better than some of the best high-quality images for free? You don’t even need to sign up for anything. Unsplash recommends crediting each photo, but it’s not required. The great photo quality along with the ability to use them without credit or creating an account makes them my first choice when looking for images to supplement my blogs.
Ok so this one isn’t exactly a website, but if you do any amount of blogging, Grammarly is a must. Have you ever seen websites where the articles are written just horribly with basic punctuation, spelling, and grammar errors? Well, Grammarly helps eliminate that. The function isn’t much different from Microsoft Word’s grammar and spell checker, except that it’s much more fluid. You can install Grammarly as an app on your computer or as a Google Chrome addon. I use the Chrome add-on since most of my writing happens on my WordPress sites.
You can never have too many free image websites in your toolbag. Pixabay has a large selection of royalty-free images, many with no attribution required. Before I discovered Unsplash, this was my first stop when I needed an image. But it’s still a close 2nd and I use lots of images for my blogs from there.
Coming up with new ideas for blog posts can be frustrating. The Internet is awash with websites that try to help solve the problem. Portent’s Content Idea Generator is one of the most fun you can use. Toss in one or two keywords and it’ll spit out an article title. Don’t like what it said? Just keep hitting refresh till you see one that grabs you. Some of the results can be a bit wacky, but they’re original and fun.
FreeImages is another free image site where you can get a variety of pictures for your website needs. It’s run by Getty Images, one of the biggest names in digital image licensing. This is actually one of the last places I normally look for images simply because each image you find tends to have a different set of rules regarding attribution and usage limits. Still, there are some gems in there when you can’t find something anywhere else.
Pikwizard is a free image library with over 100,000 images that are completely free to use. As of March 2018, the site also boasts over 20,000 images that can be found nowhere else on the Internet. Pikwizard’s images are top-notch and worth a look, especially if you’re finding yourself swimming through the same image selections on those bigger sites.
For Designers & Developers
10. HTML Color Codes
More than just a chart of codes, HTML Color Codes is an awesome resource for designers. The site includes everything you’d expect and more, including suggested color palette combinations and tutorials. HTML Color Codes also has a small resource section with links to free image providers and other tips.
If you’re stuck trying to figure out which colors are best for your design, check out Color Meaning, Symbolism, And Psychology.
11. WordPress TV
Of course, you knew I couldn’t get through this post without mentioning WordPress right? If you run any of your sites on WordPress, and I’m willing to be at least 25% of you do, you owe it to yourselves to check out WordPress TV.
While we’re talking about WordPress, here’s another great website for the WP folks. WPRecipes is a collection of code snippets you can use to take your WordPress game to the next level. It’s an incredible resource especially if you aren’t a PHP/WordPress developer. You’ll find snippets for things you didn’t even know you wanted to do!
When you share content from a website on Facebook, Facebook scrapes the link you posted so it can provide the most user-friendly view of the link. But sometimes, it doesn’t work the way you expect it to. This handy little tool tells you exactly what Facebook is pulling from links and, gives you the option to re-scrape the link after you’ve updated it.
This is pretty much exactly the same thing as the Facebook Open Graph Debugger, but for Twitter instead. Although Twitter may be on its way out, it’s still a useful website for building some buzz around your content and products.
Although there aren’t a lot of sites built on raw HTML these days, sometimes you still need a page or two built old-school. But do you know HTML or, if you did, do you even remember now? Fortunately, this website has your back. It’s one of the many websites out there where you can create your page in an intuitive visual editor and then convert it to HTML. You might not need to visit this one that much, but it’s nice to know where to find it when you need it.
For Search Engine Optimization
While there are a lot of content marketers out there who use Semrush for SEO, I’m always surprised at the number who don’t know it even exists. If you’re a content developer who’s even a little bit interested in being found on Google, Semrush is one of those websites you should be visiting regularly.
For a small content provider like myself, the paid version is a bit out of my range, but what Semrush offers for free still carries value. You can run a couple limited searches each day on your own sites or your competitors to see which keywords are ranking in search results. The paid version provides a ton of additional features, but at $100/month most small content marketers are likely to skip out.
Do you write blog posts with a lot of external links? Did you recently change your permalink structure? Well, Dead Link Checker is a great tool that will scan an entire site for broken links. It’ll even email you a report when the scan is completed. Eliminating dead links on your site can help your SEO or diagnose link issues in your content management system.
Performing a basic and quick SEO audit on your site is simple with WooRank. The free scan is pretty limited, but it does give you some valuable insights. What’s also nice is WooRank rates each item in their scan with impact and difficulty ratings making it easier for you to grab the low-hanging fruit first to improve your search engine optimization.
You’ll need a Google account to access it, but if you’re a web designer or content marketer, you probably already have one. This handy tool will score your website speed and tell you exactly what slowed it down. If your site is loading slow, you can gain some valuable information on how to speed it up. For SEO managers, page load speed is critical; the slower a page loads, the worse it ranks in search engine results.
GTmetrix is another website page speed tool. It gives similar information to what you’ll find from Google Page Speed Insights, but without the need for a Google account. It’s never a bad idea to have a 2nd opinion right? GTmetrix also gives you tips on how to improve your results.
Pingdom is another website you can use to measure your site speed and see what’s slowing you down. One of the nice things I like about Pingdom is you can choose different geographical locations to see what the performance of your website is in different parts of the world. This is key, especially if you’re a blogger targeting a global audience.
For All of the Above – And More
For Agencies: Top 10 Website Hosting
Knowing which hosting markers to prioritize and which companies out there are doing it the best is critical information if you’re a web design agency. Top 10 Website Hosting provides all the information you need.
YouTube is a great resource where you can find more than just cat videos. In fact, you’re likely to find videos on the best ways to use all the websites in this post. And while Google might be the obvious choice when searching for how-to’s, YouTube takes it to another level. Why read about how to do it when someone else has probably recorded a video online showing you how to do it?
We Need Your Help!
I’d love to add to this list! What tools do you use? Email them to us at [email protected] and if they’re good, we’ll add them to our list.
Update: May 12, 2018: For WordPress users, Cloud Living has a great article on speeding up your sites. You can read it here: How To Speed Up Your WordPress Site – And Increase Organic Traffic By 39.1%