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Published on December 17th, 2012 | by Jeff

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Useful Web Apps for Your Website Redesign

Redesigning a website can be a daunting and sometimes stressful undertaking with various levels of workflow, as my last post showed. Fortunately, there are many apps and tools out there that can make the process easier and more organized, minimizing the involuntary head-bashing.

RESEARCH
Google Analytics
many times is the start and finish for site research. The majority of the top 10,000 trafficked websites use GA and the trend is growing. GA offers a wide range of data points for site analytics, all at the low, low cost of zilch.

MixPanel is a web analytics tool launched a few years ago as a more robust alternative to Google Analytics. It offers the same client-side reporting, but with real-time data and a more elegant user interface. Pricing is based on site traffic.

Formstack Surveys are a great way to gather feedback from users and customers. Creating an informative but simple survey takes very little time. Here’s a video demonstration.

PLANNING
Omnigraffle
is a site-mapping tool that has been around many years, but is still quite useful. It’s a licensed product, but the free version works great for basic site-mapping needs. It doesn’t create the flashiest maps, but they’re very precise and creating them is quicker than Photoshop, Illustrator, or Powerpoint.

Evernote is one of the most popular apps for bookmarking site and storing gathered notes for inspiration. Browser integrations and phone apps help keep your notes synced.

InVision: a breakthrough app for creating and saving page mockups.

DESIGN
Invision
is my favorite new app of 2012. Invision is a website mockup organizer and prototyper. Just create your site wireframes or full-fledged mockups in Photoshop and batch upload them into the app to display online. Then link them together with custom hover areas to create a working site prototype. Super easy to use, very clean UI, and best part — it’s free.

Basalmiq is a rapid prototyping tool that allows you to create sketch-like web mockups with simulated UI interaction. For many designers, this is a handy intermediary step between concept and Photoshop design.

Box and Dropbox are both excellent options for storing, organizing, and collaborating on files of all sizes across the cloud to sync with your team. Especially handy if members of the team are remote. Many pricing options available for different team sizes or storage space.

CONTENT
Basecamp
is project management software with an emphasis on creative work. With a beautiful and easy UI, it allows for organized discussions, file uploads, commenting, to-do lists, and deadlines. Perfect for the content-oriented team.

Google Docs may be the simplest content editing tools, but that may also make them the best. They are quickly synced and easily accessed from the cloud, making collaboration a snap.

DEVELOPMENT
Foundation
and Bootstrap are both popular front-end frameworks that make web development faster, easier, and more productive. Both are continually updated and improved for greater browser support and the latest standards, not to mention the templates are all responsive, adapting to mobile devices.

Optimizely: a solid choice for A/B testing.

LAUNCHING & TESTING
Optimizely
is A/B testing software that has been taking the conversion optimization market by storm, as shown in a recent Optimizely post. With a dead simple interface, reliable WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get), and the easiest implementation I’ve found, I highly recommend using Optimizely.

Google Analytics Content Experiments (formerly Google Website Optimizer) is Google’s free A/B testing solution. Though simple and utilizes GA code may already be on your site, its features are unfortunately lacking.

Visual Website Optimizer is also an excellent choice for A/B testing. I found the WYSIWYG not to my liking, but their goal tracking may be more suitable to others than Optimizely’s. They now provide specialized testing for mobile and tablet sites.

Is there an app you love not featured on this list? Is there an app on this list that you absolutely despise? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

(@jeffblettner) is a Web Designer, Front-End Developer, and a Conversion Optimization Specialist. He manages the front side of Formstack.com and is always striving to improve user experience with A/B testing and straight up good design. Jeff is a graduate of Purdue University where he studied Visual Communication Design. In his free time, he enjoys expanding his web design skills, watching Purdue and Colts games, traveling, finding hole-in-the-wall diners, and enjoying a good microbrew.

2 Responses to Useful Web Apps for Your Website Redesign

  1. Stefan Bean says:

    Another tool I have started to use is a great inbound marketing content grader called Inbound Writer (inboundwriter.com) It helps you grade your content based on keywords and helps optimize the content for best SEO practices and to gain the most traffic or ranking for your post.

    I just started using it for my own blog at stefanbean.com/the-branding-blog and it’s been incredibly helpful. Plus, it has a plugin that will integrate with your wordpress site so you can use the grading tool as you are creating a page or writing a post.

    One of my favorites for sure!

  2. Joe says:

    Thank you, Found a bunch of applications that I never knew existed that should save me a bunch of time

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