Marketing

Jordan, Earned Media Consultant: Flem

Flem is a Firefox toolbar extension that’s great for prospecting, link-building and just general web-exploring. The tool lets you load and browse through a list of URLs really easily. After copying and pasting your sites into the toolbar, you can flick through each URL as you go rather than opening up each site in a new tab. It's really easy to navigate.

This tool is great for looking at a big list of scraped sites from Majestic, for example. I use it regularly for checking out competitors’ backlinks and I would be lost without it as it saves so much time!

Lily, Content Strategist: Feedly Pro

I need to read a lot online, but as anyone who’s ever used the internet can testify, it’s easy to fall down rabbit holes. Eventually you come to, realise that twenty minutes have passed and you’re reading an unsolved murder case from 1932. The last thing you remember was checking Google Developers blog. How does this happen? I don’t know. But without a very organised and customisable RSS reader, I have no self control.

Feedly Pro allows me to organise all the sites I regularly visit into feeds, grouped by topic (e.g. Content marketing, SEO, social media) so I can scan all the headlines and read articles without ever leaving the app. It also tells me which pieces are trending, which makes it easy to prioritise if I’m short on time. There’s also Buffer integration, so you can send things out to social with a click. Essentially, Feedly helps me stay abreast of everything that’s going on without me needing to visit each site individually, which saves huge chunks of time and reduces the risk of distraction.

Emily, Content Marketing Executive: Buzzsumo’s Question Analyzer

Buzzsumo is a tool most content marketers will have used. It’s packed with lots of powerful features. In particular, I have been using the Question Analyzer function to come up with ideas for content. Enter a topic and Buzzsumo will scour the internet to find out what people need to know about it. It’s a great way of coming up with content that actually answers users’ queries in your field.

There are also a number of other great features. You can find influencers to help push your content. Buzzsumo can also be used to carry out content analysis to help shape your content strategy. It’s also great for monitoring how your content performs in terms of social shares and backlinks.

Seb, Search Marketing Manager: Screaming Frog

My favourite tool is Screaming Frog. While it looks pretty simplistic on first glance, it's actually one of the most useful and cost-effective tools in an SEO's arsenal. Yes, it can be used to crawl your site and give you a list of pages, redirects and errors, but there's also a lot more to it. Use it to identify a site's structure, create sitemaps, test whether a list of redirects are working, find exactly where any broken links may exist, and more.

Screaming Frog also has integration with Google Analytics and Majestic, meaning you can pull in traffic and link data in an instant. Previously, this took a long time to collate and required strong Excel chops, so this addition is a brilliant time saver for content audits, where gaining this extra detail is really handy to answer more complex questions like whether the site's structure is hindering traffic levels for deeper pages.

Louise, SEO Executive: Chrome extensions

Chrome extensions save me a lot of time on a daily basis. My most used are:

  • NoFollow, which quickly allows me to check whether sites have placed a nofollow tag on their links. Useful for outreach specialists and technical SEO bods.

  • Tag Assist by Google, helping me quickly check what Google tags are being used on site and whether there’s a potential issue with the setup.

  • Check My Links allows me to check pages for any broken links — an easy way to quickly evaluate how well a website is maintained.

  • User-Agent Switch allows me to view how a website is set up for a variety of phones and browsers, enabling me to easily troubleshoot any issues there might be on a particular setup.

Chris, Paid Search Manager: Keyword Wrapper & Phrase Builder Tool

Keyword Wrapper and Phrase Builder Tool are little-known time-saving tools for paid search account creation.

The first allows you to paste a list of keywords into the tool which at a press of a button are converted into every different keyword match type. This seems like a simple task but it saves a huge amount of time when populating an account with different keyword match types.

The second tool allows you to automatically build a list of combinations of keywords and phrases. For example, if you have a list of locations that you want to prefix with a keyword, like "Italian food London", this tool will automatically build a list of phrases saving you masses of time.

Development

Jamie, Senior Solutions Architect: SSL Labs

With Google Chrome announcing that from July all HTTP sites are going to be marked as insecure, ensuring your website has an SSL certificate is vital. Installing and configuring an SSL though can come with its own pitfalls and can actually make your website insecure if done incorrectly. This is where my favourite tool SSL Labs steps in. This project allows you test any public-facing SSL installation and configuration and gives it a ranking so you can see how to improve any security concerns.

Owen, Lead UX Developer: Laravel Mix

Whenever I'm starting a new project, Laravel Mix is my go-to tool chain. It provides a developer-friendly layer above some really complicated and powerful utilities for building websites for pretty much any platform.

It allows us developers to set up automated tasks that are pivotal to modern development, such as CSS and Javascript minification, image optimisation, browser compatibility support, cache busting, live-reload, VueJS, ReactJS, Sass, Less, code splitting, tree-shaking and more! Takes all the initial leg work out for front-end developers.

Ryan, Developer: MailTrap

Emails can be a real pain to test sometimes with lots of different variables contributing to if they get received correctly.

As a developer, I find using MailTrap relieves a lot of the pain checking all recipients receive the intended messages, regardless of whether they're a user, another developer or even the CEO of the great site your creating. MailTrap is a handy web app that lets you direct all outgoing mail to a virtual inbox. You can then analyse the emails you receive in different formats and share them with your colleagues.

It is really simple to create an account and handy integrations are provided for all of your favourite frameworks with a choice. When adding MailTrap to your site, you can choose between SMTP or POP3 configurations. All mail can be forwarded onto your desired email if you need more control over who receives them.

Matt, Developer: Deploybot

With a code deployment system, you no longer have to manually upload your changed files to the server, it's all done for you. Just push your code, and away it goes. In the dark times before deployment systems were commonplace, developers would manually traverse directories and upload files, whereas now it's taken care of.

DeployBot also handles build tasks too, spinning up a Docker image to run your Gulp tasks to generate your CSS and JavaScript, and downloads and updates your PHP composer packages, before uploading it all to your server. You can even get a friendly Slack message to let you know it's all gone smoothly (or not so smoothly!) DeployBot works happily away in the background, so you can get back to development.

Emily, Senior Developer: Sourcetree

Sourcetree is an interface for using version control (git, in our case). It allows you to bookmark multiple repositories, so it's easy to quickly switch between projects. It's great for those who don't enjoy using command line for everything and would prefer to have GUI or something visual. It's quicker and easier to view a general overview of the state of a repository or a single branch than with command line, and it allows the use of GitFlow - a git branching approach that's essential when you have multiple developers working on a project with multiple tasks being signed off to go live at different times. And it's free!

Bonus: Check for Cloudflare

We created Check for Cloudflare to help web developers and SEOs check whether a site is using Cloudflare — so whether you're doing a technical audit, or just checking you've set it up correctly, you can find out in seconds. Just enter your URL and we'll tell you whether or not Cloudflare is correctly implemented on your (or any) domain.

Design

Susie, Senior Digital Creative: Pinterest

I’ve always loved collecting inspiration to use in future projects. From the early days of art school with visual diaries and scrapbooks, through the various digital methods I tried over the years, then around 6 years ago I finally found my true love for visual bookmarking, Pinterest.

Pinterest has solved all of my categorising woes. I have pin boards for every aspect of UI design, from buttons to entire page layouts, so when a new project comes in I have a vast source of relevant inspiration at my fingertips.

It’s also a great source of new inspiration, with its huge searchable catalogue of images, all sourced by other users. The ability to share boards with friends and colleagues makes it a valuable collaboration tool too.

Just try to avoid spending too much time looking at cakes and cats, when really you should be working…

Kerry, Designer: Sketch

There’s a well-known adage that says, ‘you often find love once you stop looking.’ My past relationship with Illustrator was brief and frustrating and, in the end, it turned out that we were both happier apart. I moved on with the help of my old friend Photoshop.

Then one day, a different friend introduced me to a vector graphics editing application, named Sketch. My life hasn’t been the same since.

Sketch brilliantly combines the sleek mathematical shapes of Illustrator with the familiar usability of Photoshop. Its unfussy, minimal appearance allies with a user interface that makes a Tamagotchi look technical. Not only that, all its tools work exactly as you would hope and expect them to; I don’t really use anything else anymore.

So yeah, just when I thought I wasn’t searching, Sketch found me. I don’t look back anymore, only forward. I’m sure we will grow old and happy together.

Productivity

Kelly, Digital Project Support: 1Password

When you work with websites, hosting, domains etc. you find yourself with many passwords that you need to ensure are kept safe. With 1Password we can store logins and choose who has access to which vaults. This saves a lot of time and frustration when working on sites and logging into accounts.

Without 1Password the team would find it hard to keep hold of passwords securely, and ensure that only the right people have access to them. For example, clients’ staging sites each require a username and password, and are often accessed by many people in the team who are using them for testing, developing and reviewing. Without 1Password we would need to share these details via email, or written on paper which isn't the most secure.

With this tool, you just need to enter you own master password to gain access to your vaults and passwords and then you will be automatically signed in.

Marisa, Senior Project Manager: The notebook

Mine would have to be my humble pen and notebook. It might not sing and dance with fancy graphics and it doesn't send me an email every time I write in it, but it does fit in my pocket, never crashes and it's easier to write with one hand than it is to type whilst on the phone to clients. My notepad doesn't get lost in the depths of JIRA or Google Drive. I can annotate my notes with visual aids such as a tick or a smiley face with a few strokes of ink, I can prioritise my scrawls with a simple underline. Best of all, I have a cute little dog on top of my pen which makes me smile.

Owen, Lead UX Developer: Mailplane

I could not live without Mailplane - being a completely G-Suite-based company, we have several accounts and integrations that all require different Gmail logins.

Mailplane makes this a breeze by allowing you to have a standalone app from where you can log in to multiple mailboxes and calendars. There are plenty of mailbox apps out there, however the thing I love about Mailplane is that it literally gives you the complete Google interface to work with, rather than just one part of it. It comes with a bunch of extras like email notifications, sleeping, do not disturb mode, previewing and annotating attachments.

It's super simple, but if you have to manage multiple mailboxes and accounts - and want the full power of Gmail and Calendars — then it's a no-brainer. Although it does come at a £22 price life time price tag.

Liv, Account Manager: Screencastify

Screencastify is a tool I use when a client is experiencing an issue with their site that might be down to user error. I will use Screencastify to replicate the journey they're attempting and then share the video with them — usually they see a step they were missing and voila, issue fixed. It's also useful for showing clients how a new piece of functionality works, and they then have the video shared and can keep it bookmarked for future reference or to share with their team.

Clare, Account Manager: The kettle

An integral tool for all members of the web development and digital marketing teams, the kettle constantly delivers above and beyond for the office's hydration requirements. This necessary tool consistently showcases its agile approach to hot beverage production and can switch between coffee and tea development without affecting the office's thirst deadlines. The kettle's clients are always happy with its delivery time and the final product is always completed to a high standard.