I’ve been continuing my research into social networking and the role of blogs in building up web sites. What I’ve found so far is, there are a lot of tools and widgets for blog sites like this one, and some of them are very cool. I’d put them all together under the category of “Cool Tools.”
Probably the coolest tool among the tools I have discovered, and you may have noticed them literally “popping up” all over the site, is a link preview widget from Snap.com called “Snap Shots™“. This Cool Tool, (as you’ll see by running your mouse over the link,) offers a quick “sneak-peek” at the site you’re about to browse to.
The script actually analyzes the page it’s attached to, and adds its functionality dynamically to each external link (and it can be configured to update every link, including internal ones, if desired). This gives our visitors some insight into what we’re talking about when we drop in a link … and that makes “Snap Shots” a very Cool Tool.
Another Cool Tool I found is Google Analytics. (You can’t see this one, but Google can see – and count – all of you.) This gives us the power to review how many visitors come to the site, where they’re from, what kind of connection they’ve got, and even how long they stay … sort of. (Actually, the tool can only count how many “hits” are made; and by measuring the time from the first “hit” to the last, they estimate the length of each visit. It also counts how many pages on our site are actually read by each visitor’s browser.) This certainly qualifies as a Cool Tool from a webmaster’s point of view.
From Spring Widgets I grabbed an RSS Newsfeed Viewer. You can see it in action here on our News Blog‘s entry page. This enables us to place at your fingertips more information in one compact location than we could hope to make available ourselves in a whole page full of bland, uninterresting text. And, it’s customizable! This widget certainly earns the title of a Cool Tool, even if it doesn’t give us extra “content” for the Search Engine Spiders to read (like bland, uninterresting text might do.) And the clock on our sidebar is from the same site.
Google also has a Cool Tool that enables each visitor to see how the page they’re viewing rates in terms of Google’s ranking, which is a number from zero to ten. (This is kind of embarrassing to use just yet, as our News Blog is too new, and Google hasn’t even given it a rank of one yet….) Given time, I’m sure you’ll see it appear when Google realizes we’re pretty ‘Cool’ ourselves.
Finally, from a site called Freevlog, we found “Popup2go“, a tool that allows us to quickly and (almost) effortlessly embed video in our site! (Actually, we already had a tool on our Video Portfolio to do this. In fact, our videos play in the stage window we designed for Fact & Fable Productions a number of years ago; but this one allows for rapid embedding of Video Presentations anywhere within the site or this News Blog.) There were, of course, some tweaks necessary, as there are with nearly anything for the Internet that are truly “Cool”; but this simplicity and versatility certainly qualify Popup2go as a really Cool Tool. And by the way, that versatility applies to nearly every type of media popular on the Internet. Our “Stage Curtain” currently plays only the Quicktime and Flash files it was designed around.
Then there are the many plugins designed specifically for WordPress. We have Askimet, a spam filter for our comments area; we have a search-engine optimization tool; we have a tool for embedding Flash animations, a tool for random quotes, a tool for adding popup info bubbles to links, a tool for RSS feeds…. The list goes on. These are all Cool Tools. Of course, none of this would be possible without the Coolest Tool of the lot: WordPress itself. As our blog enables us to increase our visibility, connect with more and more of you, and build an ever-increasing circle of friends and associations, we can clearly see that WordPress is an extremely Cool Tool.
While surfing the Internet I found so many cool gadgets and website optimizing tools. The links above represent only a fraction of the unique and interesting devices that are available for a web site or blog. I’m sure you know of many useful tools and gadgets as well; why not send them in to us. Looking forward to hearing from you. Signing off for now….
Fact & Fable Productions