Tag Archive for: tools

Do you use the AdWords tools ‘Google Keyword tool’ or ‘AdWords Traffic Estimator’? If so, this is news you’ll need to sit up and take notice of. Both tools seem to be being phased out by a new tool unveiled earlier this month, ‘AdWords Keyword Planner’.

Keyword Planner is a streamlined, focused way to launch new campaigns. Its easy to use wizard interface guides you step-by-step through the process of creating new campaigns and new ad groups.

Larry Kim, of Search Engine Land, has all the details of how to use the tool and what it is capable of doing. However, you may check your AdWords account and find no sign of the Keyword Planner. Right now, it’s only been made available in about 20-percent of accounts, but more accounts are being added all the time.

There is a lot of fun in web designing, but creating web forms is not involved in any way. Not only are forms time consuming and insanely frustrating, but they also become a difficult task when you need things like conditional logic, multi-page forms, and payment integration.

Thankfully, there are always helpful tools out there to make the process a little faster and a lot less of a headache. Vandelay Design collected twelve options for making these forms, and they cover everything from the simple little forms to the complicated multi-page forms you always hate making.

Wufoo is probably the most popular thanks to its easy to interact with user interface and wealth of features including custom branding, payment integration, and even file upload capabilities amongst many other options. It also has over 150 pre-built form templates, spam prevention, and user management.

Wufoo Screenshot

The cost is the main drawback for most of the tools, especially for more independent or low-budget designers. There is a free option for Wufoo, but it only allows for 1 user, 10 form fields, and 100 entries per month.

The paid plans range from $20 a month to $200. Most of the others are similar in cost, though it depends on what they do, and what you plan on using the forms for. Many are priced depending on the number of users, forms, form fields, and entries per month.

There is a unique entry on Vandelay Design’s list, in that there is a WordPress plugin. Gravity Forms offers most of the same form building features you’ll find in most of the other resources, but its all available from the WordPress dashboard of the sites you are working on.

One of the most best benefits to Gravity Forms is that forms can be created to insert form data into blog posts, such as setting up a form where users can submit news or pictures to be posted to your site. It’s also just nice not having to change tools or sites to manage your forms.

The best tool for you all depends on what type of work you have to do, and how much you are willing to spend to speed up your time spent making forms. Sure, you could make the forms on your own, but isn’t your effort better spent elsewhere?

TypelateWeb designers can never have enough tools and kits for making their websites look great quickly. With the rise of typography, there are numerous kits coming out that help designers catch up to the huge advances in a robust area of design. In the past, designers were limited to a select few fonts, so extensive knowledge of typography wasn’t necessary. Now, there is a steep learning curve when it comes to using text to enhance your design.

Smashing Magazine just released a new free-range and open-source typographic starter kit to help designers do just that. The goal of the framework, called Typeplate is to assist designers without forcing them into any sort of mold. Pattern libraries quickly make a design look good, but they tend to have generic results, and normal web frameworks force you to code “their way.”

Instead, this “starter kit” helps give your project a jump start, but making no assumptions about how you write code. Typelate lets you set base styles with conventional typographic features, created with solid markup and extra flexible styling. It isn’t meant to be a framework you add a little information to and expect a finished product. Instead, it is meant to be extended and customized while allowing designers to make the process of instituting typography onto their page a little faster.

I’ve talked a lot about how important it is to try to think like your customers. It’s always important to find out what people are thinking, what questions they are asking, etc., but I didn’t offer any specific ways to accomplish this. But today I have one method of finding out what questions people are asking about topics important to you.

Justin Arnold from The Mighter Pen suggests using Twitter because it offers real time feedback on what people are talking and thinking about relative to keywords.

Of course, this is pretty common knowledge, but what people don’t realize is Twitter has some key features built into its search engine that really benefit the person looking for questions people are asking.

Finding out what questions people are asking is as simple as adding a space and a question mark after a querie. Suppose you are writing about painting. You can search ‘painting’ but you probably will get a lot of extraneous posts not of interest to you. If you search ‘painting ?’ however, Twitter filters your results to only include tweets with questions.

Now, the problem we are faced with is Twitter is used pretty heavily for promotion. Don’t you wish you could filter out any tweet containing links to avoid all of the ads? Well, you can. Just add ‘-filter:links’ to your searches to do away with all of the promotions. What you have now is a list of questions users are asking about a topic in real time.

This is just one way to try to get into the minds of your audience. Trying to gain some perspective is always important when creating content.