It’s a week of thanks here across the country. It’s a time when we pause, reflect, and evaluate what we are thankful for in our lives. Before we head off to spend time with our families, friends, neighbors, and assorted frenemies, we’d like to take a moment to express gratitude for the websites that make our jobs easier.
This is not a paid advertisement and we never accept money to promote any website. This is just a collection of websites we think are nailing it in the “useful” department. They are in no particular order of preference.
We all need a little inspiration here and there. The website siteInspire dubs itself as a showcase of the finest in web and interactive design. When we are looking for new ideas or are interested in what other designers are up to, we like to check out siteInspire. The site provides a wide variety of designs from a slew of aesthetics and is a great place to see what designers are doing with all different types of mediums, including video, illustrations, layouts and patterns.
What provides better inspiration than the best of the best? The Awwwards website is a great resource for checking out what others in the digital design industry are up to. Awwwards gives out honors for design, creativity and innovation on the internet. Our design team checks out the website when they are looking for something different to inspire their own designs.
Design can be beautiful and inspirational, but sometimes it’s all about the numbers. Literally. Data.com Connect is a directory that provides contact and company information. It’s a great tool for our business development team to find information, like phone and email information for prospects or networking contacts. We don’t believe in buying lists for marketing purposes, but we do believe that it’s a good idea to follow-up with folks who have shown interest in our website and services.
As a web design firm launching new sites every month, it’s often critical to be able to see how sites used to look. The Wayback Machine on Archive.org is a must-use tool for our technical team, particularly when data goes missing or we need to fix 404 errors that pop up. It’s also a great tool to check out when certain changes were made to a website (if that data gets lost) or to see different renditions of a brand online.
HubSpot’s Marketing Blog
You don’t have to be a client of HubSpot to appreciate all the great information they share on their marketing blog. They were doing content marketing before it was even called content marketing. The marketing blog by HubSpot is a great resource for marketers in all industries. They push out so much content that it’s a great place to see what trends they are covering and what tips they are sharing. They cover everything including A/B testing, holiday marketing, landing pages, and lead nurturing, to name a few.
Ever notice how entrepreneurs always seem to have their finger on what’s next, what’s hot, and what is so last year? As a publisher, Entrepreneur is a good source for educational articles about all things business. The appeal of it is that it doesn’t just cover marketing, or sales, or tech. It covers a wide range of topics and is written by subject matter experts who are living and breathing their industry. It’s a good place to check out what industry leaders are thinking and what is working or not working for other businesses.
Content Marketing Institute
The mission of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is to “advance the practice of content marketing.” The website provides articles, resources, research, tools, trainings, and podcasts for professionals looking to grow their knowledge of content marketing. We like to check out the site every week to get technical explanations on new technology affecting content marketing and to see use-cases for what is working and not working for marketers. It’s also a great resource for learning best practices.
Just like HubSpot, you don’t have to be a customer of Moz to appreciate their extensive array of articles on search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, PR, and the user experience. The Moz Blog is a continually updated collection of (often) technical, long-form articles about all aspects of digital marketing. In addition to publishing our own articles on Moz, we visit the website to find solutions as we troubleshoot issues in Google Analytics, to get the latest information about changes rolled out by search engines and more. We like the community aspect of the blog and how comments are genuinely designed to help each other.
We are a marketing agency and our services include online and offline marketing methods. As such, we need to be in the know about all things marketing, not just the online marketing stuff. MarketingLand is a source we turn to when we are looking for technical information, market analysis, case studies, and the latest news on brands. The site is designed primarily for marketing professionals and can be a little overwhelming if marketing isn’t in your job title. However, for those of us in the marketing space, it’s a trusted resource.
Google Analytics Help Center
Last, but not least, we are thankful that Google has a help center for their Analytics platform. While not always the most intuitive resource, it does have step-by-step instructions for setting up and implementing all the features available in Analytics. We have a sneaking suspicion it’s updated by developers and not the people at Google who use the platform, which can affect the user experience on the website. However, it is always a good place to go to read the guides and ask questions of other users.
That’s the list of the 10 websites we are thankful for this year. There are a lot of great, useful websites out there, but this is our top list…for now.