If you’re an affiliate marketer like myself chances are you will have multiple websites across several sectors and niches (and if you don’t yet you probably will at some stage).
Not only does spreading your portfolio give you a much wider potential target audience it also safeguards against one of your sites being penalised by Google (and falling off the face of the earth), falling out of favour with Joe Public (due to changing demand), being hacked or whatever.
The phrase “not putting all your eggs in one basket” certainly rings true here.
Scripts such as WordPress make rolling out multiple sites a quick, relatively painless affair but sometimes the popular publishing platform can be overkill for a small site that may only consist of a few pages.
Sometimes it makes more sense to knock something up from scratch. A simple static, no nonsense site or design that does not require the power and capability that something like WordPress offers out of the box.
Here I discuss my top 6 tools to help me develop such sites rapidly – from quickly devising color palettes to building cool, functional forms in minutes.
There is nothing breathtakingly new here – and some (maybe all) of these sites may be familar to some of you already. Hopefully though some of the newer affiliates amongst you will find them useful,
So without further ado lets get cracking.
1. HTML INSTANT
HTML Instant does exactly what it says on the tin. It renders HTML instantly – as you type – within your browser window.
This makes it an excellent code playground to quickly try out layouts, align divs and position elements perfectly before copy and pasting the code directly into your HTML document.
For small adjustments I would probably experiment with firebug but for bigger modifications and quick, rough layouts this simple little website can save you time and make your life a little easier.
It’s also great for noobs to experiment and hone their HTML and (inline) CSS skills and also comes as a cool Chrome plugin.
Well worth a tinker next time your wrestling with some HTML and get tired of the constant “adjust, save, refresh” method of perfecting layouts.
2. PIXLR EDITOR
Chrome has some really nifty little apps at the moment – and with the emergence of Chromebooks this is only going to grow and grow.
Pixlr is just one of these apps. It is a fully functional, completely free, web based photo editing suite (similar to Photoshop).
I would certainly never consider swapping my Photoshop CS5 install for this – but for those times when you are out and about and find you need to edit or create an image quickly – this simply cannot be beaten.
Just open Chrome, and hit install. Within 30 seconds you will have a powerful editing suite that will more than meet your needs until you can get back to the safety of the office.
And for those of you that don’t have Photoshop – this is a more than adequate alternative for most image editing jobs.
It’s quick, easy to use and best of all – FREE.
The only downside is that it cannot open Photoshop format (PSD) files. Aaaah well. It’s still superb for on the fly editing.
Give it a whirl.
As it says on the Initializr website:
“Initializr is an HTML5 templates generator to help you getting started with an HTML5 project. It will generate for you a clean customizable template based on Boilerplate with just what you need to start.”
Clear as mud huh? Bacially it is a wizard that can generate a stable base on which to build your HTML5 website/webpages.
The inclusion of modernizr ensures that even browsers that do not natively cater for HTML5 are looked after too.
In one word it is sexy. Go play with it. NOW.
4. COLOR COMBOS
Color schemes can often leave us scratching our heads and choosing the right colors for a website can be the difference between success and failure.
Thankfully there are sites to help us – and one of my favourites is colorcombos.
On this site you will find thousands of cool color combinations that proven to sit well together on a webpage (with hex codes). If you can’t find anything you like but have seen a site whos color scheme you DO like just paste the url in and color combo will grab the palette for you.
As well as a sites color scheme it is also important to get the balance of a webpage just right.
Often I will visit websites and they just don’t feel right. Sometimes I cannot quite put my finger on it – but usually it comes down to something as simple as correctly laying out elements and aligning things correctly.
Professional websites will almost certainly use a grid system to ensure everthing sits perfectly with the most common grid system being the 960 grid system by Nathan Smith (this is because 960px is the optimum width for the majority of browser resolutions).
The grid calculator however lets you design your own bespoke grid system.
Simply set the max width (960px by default), the gutter width, margin width and number of columns then download your grid in illustrator or photoshop format.
Open it up and use it as a reference to position and space elements accordingly when designing – it will almost certainly result in a layout that is far more pleasing to the eye.
Wufoo is a simple HTML form builder that allows anyone to quickly create contact forms, surveys and competitions without writing a single line of code.
The free account will cater for most small affiliate needs but if your needs grow their paid solutions are also cheap and offer enhanced functionality.
I also find the free service is excellent for testing the water before spending more time (and possibly money) on something more bespoke or scalable.
So there you have it – my quick round up of the sites I frequent the most when knocking up new affiliate sites and / or landing pages.
This list is by no means exaustive however and there are plenty more tools out there to help streamline all aspects of development and design.
Please feel free to contribute and share your favourites below.