I have been a bit buried the last two weeks helping a client get its arms around the several thousand thought leadership assets of its 10 websites. So I thought this might be a good time to unveil my inner geek and let you in on my favorite and indispensable content management tools. Most of them are free, some of them are unashamedly technical, and they are all good.
- Powermapper: if you have a big website and you want to see what you have and how it’s all connected, Powermapper will do it for you. It will map an entire site at the rate of about a page a second, and then let you edit and present it in any of 13 different graphical formats, as well as export to e.g. a spreadsheet. About $150 for the regular version and $350 for the Pro.
- Filezilla: Filezilla is a free FTP client (e.g. for uploading files to your website). It has a comprehensive user interface that keeps you fully informed while it’s uploading and downloading stuff from your site. The best part is that passing colleagues think you must be flying the space shuttle. Obviously made by geeks for geeks.
- Carbonite: Does what it says on the tin, as they say in England. A back-up utility that runs all the time in background, backing up "to the cloud" every file you change, without ever bothering you for permission or giving you annoying updates. Among its advantages; saves one month’s worth of changes for every file, so that if you ever accidentally overwrite one with garbage, you can go back and get one you saved last week. $55 per year.
- Syncback: Syncback is a free back-up tool with more functionality than an F-16. It backs up incrementally, meaning only the files which changed, and you can adjust the selection criteria a hundred different ways. It will back up to an external drive, over a network, from your website, or to it if you like. I have it back up our site every day to a file server on our network, and just prior, I have it compress yesterday’s backup to a single file and put it in an archive so that we always have a month or two’s worth of versions. If you need to back up many machines you need the paid-for version (which has even more functionality that I can’t imagine ever needing).
- Linksleuth: As you may have experienced, from time to time links on your site will break – especially if they are to external sites and the other party moves the page you have linked to. That’s annoying for users. Linksleuth scours your (or anyone else’s) site and identifies the broken links. I think that’s all it does, but it’s free, fast and efficient, and a good thing to run once a month or so.
- Irfanview: Irfanview is a free image processor. Of course Photoshop is the gold standard in image processing, but it takes 3 minutes to load, requires a degree in graphic design and costs $700. Irfanview does a few basic jobs really well. It crops, resizes and converts between almost any format. So for instance, if you save an image from PowerPoint in jpg, you’ll notice you get poor resolution. To get high resolution you have to save in Windows Enhanced Metafile or .emf format, which only Microsoft applications can read. Plus Irfanview. Once you have saved your emf, you can open it in Irfanview, crop, resize, rotate or whatever, and save as a jpg without loss of resolution. Also great for taking any image off the screen. Just expand the screen image as far as you like (with Ctrl +), screen save (with Shift Prt Scr), paste into Irfanview (Ctrl V), drag a rectangle around the part you want, crop, resize and save in any format. Takes about a minute.
- Picasa: Picasa is primarily a consumer photo processor and album, but it too substitutes well for some of the most important things you’d otherwise do in Photoshop. There are one click solutions for automatic color and contrast adjustment, color to B&W, and sliders for fill light, highlights, saturation and so on. Not nearly as comprehensive as Photoshop of course, but for simple adjustments that you want done fast, much easier on the brain. And free.
I’ve realized I could go on, but perhaps I’ll save the others for another post. (The image btw, is a piece of a Powermapper map, screen captured and cropped in Irfanview).
I hope there is something there that was new to you that might be useful, and if you think there are other tools (in the broad content management space) that deserve a plug, please let us know in the comments.