Posts Tagged ‘Tools’

Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms – Best Of

Video content has been growing in popularity and influence online for the past few years as more and more people worldwide gain access to broadband internet access. Now, video is almost a necessary component to any brand’s online presence, and is being used in virtually every industry (for evidence of this, one need only look at the popular Blendtec series “Will It Blend?“).

video hosting platforms Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

But most companies and content creators don’t realize the volume of sites out there that are available for hosting your videos. YouTube is just one site, but there are dozens of others out there, too, of varying quality. Below, we’ve covered twenty of the best (including YouTube), with information on content restrictions, cost, and whether they permit commercial content, as well as key features of each.

Free and Freemium Platforms

There are a ton of free and freemium video hosting platforms available, though many have content restrictions. Some don’t allow commercial use, some only take certain kinds of videos (like episodic web series), and some limit how much you can upload. Many of these platforms have paid plans that let you overcome some or all of the restrictions, and some have partner programs that let you earn money from your videos.

YouTube

YouTube, owned by Google, is the most popular video hosting platform out there. There are millions of videos on YouTube, covering virtually every topic and style imaginable (with the exception of pornography). YouTube has a lot of advantages as a video host, but also has some pretty distinct disadvantages for some users, namely the inclusion of ads on and around your videos, which may be undesirable for many businesses (the last thing you want is for a competitor’s ad to pop up next to your video). YouTube’s partner program does let you earn revenue from advertising, though.

youtube Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: No pornography or sexually explicit content, no videos intended to shock or disgust, no videos showing illegal activity, no graphic or gratuitous violence
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vimeo

Vimeo is one of the more popular video hosting platforms, especially for non-commercial video. There have been reports of difficulties with the Vimeo player for some users, though other users definitely prefer the Vimeo player to many others. They have two plans for non-commercial users, though they do allow commercial use for small, independent production companies with some restrictions. Vimeo also offers Perks to their Plus members, along with advanced statistics and unlimited groups, channels, and albums.

vimeo Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Free for Basic plan, which allows up to 500MB/week uploads, including 1 HD video, or $9.95/month or $59.95/year for Plus membership, which includes up to 5GB/week uploads and unlimited HD videos (see Premium section for Vimeo Pro)
  • Content Restrictions: No commercial content
  • Commercial Content OK: Generally no, there are exceptions for small production companies and similar

Metacafe

Metacafe focuses on entertainment more than many other free video host, and specifically entertainment aimed at a particular demographic. They have more exclusive, original, and curated premium content than any other entertainment site, and are among the top 3 video sites in the U.S. They’re dedicated to showcasing short-form videos from the world of movies, video games, TV, music and sports, primarily aimed at young men. If your video content is likely to be appealing to that demographic, then Metacafe might be a good choice to host your videos.

metacafe Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: No content that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harrassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages illegal activity
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vitomy

Vitomy is a hosted video player that lets you completely customize the video player to meet your branding needs. You can build your own unique and creative templates for your video player more easily than many platforms. The only downside is that only the paid plan allows player customization. Both plans, however, offer video uploads, previews, search, and built-in Vitomy templates. The free plan offers 40GB of bandwidth and storage, while the paid plan offers 200GB.

vitomy Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Free to $59/month
  • Content Restrictions: None listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Blip.tv

Blip.tv is focused on distributing original web series for content creators. They automate uploading of your videos to various channels, including YouTube, and allow for revenue generation. They offer insights and analytics into your traffic, a massive distribution network, and a number of powerful social tools. They also have completely customizable video players that can display a single episode, your entire series, or specific playlists.

blip Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Free
  • Content Restrictions: Aimed a episodice web series
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Premium and Enterprise Platforms

Many of the free platforms above don’t allow you the full control you need over your content, especially for enterprise users. That’s where premium video hosting platforms come into play. The biggest downside to premium video services like these is their cost, often in the hundreds of dollars per month. But what you get is superior service and generally more control over your content, as well as more advanced toold.

SproutVideo

SproutVideo is a business video hosting solution that offers a number of features important to businesses. These include security and privacy options, SSL embeds, domain whitelists, HD video, mobile playback, easily customizable video players, and embeddable videos. Their analytics will show you how many plays your videos get, where those plays are coming from, which videos are popular, and where your videos are being viewed on the web.

sproutvideo Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $10 to $750 per month depending on bandwidth and storage needs, there’s a $1 free trial available
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on the website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Viddler

Viddler is a video hosting platform for businesses, including educational institutions and non-profits. They offer three plans depending on your needs, including a customizable enterprise plan. Videos hosted with Viddler are HD quality, embeddable, and will play on mobile devices. They have their own ad network to help you generate revenue with your videos, and they also offer a plan to sell access to your video using subscriptions, both available on their Business plan.

viddler Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Starting at $50/month for Pro and $100/month for Business, discounts are availalbe for education customers and non-profits.
  • Content Restrictions: No hateful, threatening, pornographic, obscene, abusive, unlawful, harrassing, racially or ethnically offensive, libelous or defamatory, or any content that encourages illegal activity.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Google Video for Business

Google Video for Business is part of the Google Apps suite, and is optimized for internal corporate and enterprise video communication. It’s private, secure video hosting that makes it easy to share things like training videos with your coworkers without making them public on the web or having to deal with an on-site solution. It’s accessible from anywhere, and works on Mac, PC, and Linux computers.

googlevideo Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Included in Google Apps, which is $5/month/user or $50/year/user
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on the website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

iPlayerHD

iPlayerHD is a high definition hosting service for businesses. It’s ad-free, includes a DRM streaming option, allows you to choose whether videos are embeddable or not (or choose which domains can embed them), and allows for unlimited video length. They also offer analytics, and they auto-detect the device the video is being accessed on so the appropriate file is automatically delivered. You can set up custom landing pages for you videos and even choose a "no encode" option that won’t re-encode or compress your video files.

iplayerhd Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $30/month or $300/year. A 30-day free trial is available
  • Content Restrictions: None specified on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Framesocket

Framesocket is a premium video hosting platform designed for developers. It offers an API to make uploading easy (as well as a desktop uploader), an easily customizable video player, customizable channels, automated audience building tools, and mobile compatibility. You can gather videos from an unlimited number of users and sources, and then securely store or serve them via Framesocket’s content delivery network.

framesocket Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $25/month including 5GB of storage and delivery, additional storage is available at $.50/GB and additional transfer is available at $.25/GB
  • Content Restrictions: None listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

23 Video

23 Video is a premium video hosting platform that’s aimed at high-traffic enterprise videos. It includes 1TB of traffic per month, with additional traffic available. You get an unlimited number of videos, unlimited users, and unlimited video length. You have full freedom over the design of the open source video player, and you get your own fully-customizable videosite with your design and your domain. There are powerful analytics included, as well as a variety of distribution options (including subscribing via email, podcasting, iTunes or AppleTV), and videos can automatically be posted to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Google Video.

23video Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $675 per month, plus $250 per extra 1TB of traffic
  • Content Restrictions: None on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vzaar

Vzaar is a professional video platform that is easy to use but quite powerful. It includes a video player with customizalbe colors, borders, brand overlays, brand text & links, subtitles, end screen text, and more. Videos are high definition and iPhone compatible. You have access to privacy controls, domain controls, and more. Videos can be set to autoplay and loop, and you have a variety of encoding options. Vzaar also offers integration tools for Ebay, embeddable video code (including HTTPS embed code), and integration with Google Analytics and Mail Chimp.

vzaar Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $29 to $499 per month depending on bandwidth, video numbers, and optional iOS streams
  • Content Restrictions: Nothing tasteless, offensive, or obscene (including pornography)
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Brightcove

Brightcove offers an enterprise-level video hosting platform that includes live streaming capabilities, YouTube sync, and other distribution and syndication options. They offer monetization and advertising opportunities for your online media, as well as powerful analytics and integration options. There are fifteen video player templates you can choose from, all of which are customizalbe. Smart Players let you deliver both Flash and HTML5 video so you don’t have to manage separate players or have extra code on your website.

brightcove Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $99 to $499+ per month
  • Content Restrictions: No content that contains pornography, promotes illegal activity, is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, tortious, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, sexually, ethnically or otherwise objectionable.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Vimeo Pro

Vimeo Pro is an enterprise video solution from Vimeo. Pro videos don’t show up within the regular Vimeo site (though you can enable the "Community Pass" for videos which meet Vimeo’s regular content guidelines), and you can host commercial content. You get 50GB of upload space and unlimited on-site plays, and up to 250k embed plays (additional space and plays can be purchased), with no bandwidth caps or time limits. High definition video is available (with full 1080p), and it’s compatible with mobile, tablet, and connected TVs. You get fast priority uploading, as well as HTML5 support with the Vimeo Universal Player.

vimeopro Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $199 per year
  • Content Restrictions: Not specified on site
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Oculu

Oculu offers unlimited video uploads for your commercial videos, with restrictions on storage and plays based on the plan you select. Their controls are incredibly easy to use, with a dashboard for customizing each individual video. They offer multiple embed options (including standard embed, overlay, and lightbox videos), and tools to manage, measure, and optimize your video campaigns.

oculu Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $19/month to $245 per month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on site
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Ooyala

Ooyala makes it easy to manage your video content across a variety of CMS platforms, including WordPress, ExpressionEngine, Drupal, and others. They automatically transcode your videos into a variety of formats and sizes to support major devices and screen sizes. You can customize your player however you want, with completely customizable player templates that can be used with Silverlight, Flash, and HTML5. They offer APIs for integration with third-party CMSs as well as for bulk uploads and importing of content (including YouTube content). Ooyala works with Flash Access Digital Rights Management and supports custom meta data. Full syndication is possible across YouTube, Facebook, and iTunes, as well as through custom feeds.

ooyala Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Starting at $500 per month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Kaltura

Kaltura is an enterprise video hosting app with some of the most versatile options out there. They offer browser-based, bulk, desktop, FTP-based, and drop folder uploads, among others. They let you transcode your videos to a variety of formats and sizes, using teh transcoder of your choice, and they have powerful management and publishing tools for your video content. Their video player works with Flash or HTML5, and it makes it easy to share content via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and over fifty other social networks and blogs. Kaltura is one of the only commercial video platforms that also offers basic video editing tools, including the ability to trim and clip content, and add subtitles. They offer a variety of options for monetizing your content, including adveritising, pay-per-view, and VAST support. They offer deployment options for SaaS, self-hosted, community, and cloud editions.

kaltura Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Not specified, though a free trial is available
  • Content Restrictions: No content that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harrassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages illegal activity.
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

Limelight Networks

Limelight Networks offers the Limelight Video Platform, which gives you flexible tools to publish, manage, analyze, and monetize your video content. You can manage your entire online video workflow with Limelight or just the parts you need. It includes sophisticated metadata management, integration with your existing CMS, analytics, in-video search, and support for free, suscription, and ad-supported videos.

limelight Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: Not listed on website
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

GravityLab Multimedia

GravityLab Multimedia offers a number of premium video hosting plans that makes it easy to deliver your content from your website to computer screens, TV screens, and handheld devices. Their videos are fast streaming with little buffering required, work with Windows Media, Quicktime and MP4, and Flash streaming with pause, fast forward, and rewind. They don’t require any annual contract, so you can cancel at any time.

gravlab Free and premium Video Hosting Platforms   Best Of

More info:

  • Cost: $19.99/month to $420/month
  • Content Restrictions: Not listed on website
  • Commercial Content OK: Yes

5 Top Windows 8 Features You’ll Love

Following the release of Windows 8 Developer Preview, many sites have done reviews on what the next Windows system will be like. The reviews are mostly positive, with some hailing Windows 8 as the next revolution in the technology of computer operating systems (OS). Such may well be the ambition of Microsoft, and it shouldn’t surprise time it comes at a time when Apple’s share of the OS market is rising and pitting fiercely against them.

windows 8 features 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love

If there’s one thing great about competition, it is that it brings out the best product between companies. I’ve read up some of the features that Microsoft’s Windows 8 will be offering, and am now both intrigued and excited for what’s to come in the full version. It will even come with a new and unique kind of user interface (UI) known as the Metro.

Here are brief descriptions to some top features you would be keen to know about:

1. Speedy Boot Time

The load and boot up speed has improved significantly over Windows’ predecessors. This is partly due to the better resource allocations to applications and the system. When compared to Windows 7 desktop CPU, Windows 8 has an even speedier boot time.

speedy boot time 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love
(Image Source: Within Windows)

How did they improve so much over Windows 7? Well, Windows 8 employs a technique of hibernating the system kernel (think of it as your OS’s resource manager) when you shut down, such that it becomes almost like a partial hibernation each time. When you reboot the system, the ‘memory’ of your previous session gets reinitialized quicker.

2. Innovative & Dynamic Desktop

The tiles-based interface, or the Metro UI, will be the first thing you see upon logging in to Windows 8. At first glance, the UI seems to go intuitively with touchscreen devices like tablets and smartphones. Indeed, in such devices, you tap on those apps to open them. The grid layout seems to facilitate such interactions. Needless to say, you can customize your grid by adding and arranging applications.

innovative dynamic search 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love
(Image Source: JRtheTech)

The coolest thing, however, is that not only does Windows 8 allows you to personalize your desktop with the organization of the apps, it is also able display real-time information through them. Microsoft had demonstrated how the tile for a weather app could reveal the current temperature in a city without having to activate the app. The same goes for emails and such. In one glance over your tiles, you can have access to all that you need to be notified and take action on those which are urgent.

3. Improved Search Function

8 has no search box at the bottom of the Start menu. Heck, it doesn’t even have the trademark Start menu! That doesn’t mean that there’s no convenient search function available. All you need to do is to type anything, and a search box will appear from the right and give you the results. The search capability is even stronger this time, displaying all the matching apps and files instantaneously.

improved search function 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love
(Image Source: JaisonYR)

Unlike Windows 7, Windows

You can also search within apps that utilize Windows 8′s search function. The search pane that pops out on the right of your desktop will contain the list of apps which you can conduct the search in. For instance, if you’re looking for the emails sent by a particular contact, typing that name and clicking on the email app would allow you to search from within.

4. Windows To Go

Of the entire list here, this is one feature that offers the most convenience to users. Windows To Go allows users to make a copy of their OS complete with their settings, wallpapers, files and even apps, into a USB thumb drive. Plugged it into another computer with Windows 8 already installed, and you can boot up the PC and make it look exactly alike the OS you normally use, with all settings intact.

windows to go 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love
(Image Source: Engadget)

It sounds rather amazing, doesn’t it? The potential for such a feature is high and possibilities, many. For one, a virus-infected and crashed system could be revived by simply plugging in the USB thumbdrive with your last saved settings, inclusive of all your files, apps, etc. Users don’t have to worry about losing the ability to work on their projects just because their PC is down; they can always rely on plugging in that thumbdrive into another Windows 8-installed PC. Another is that users may simply bring back work from the office with that thumbdrive rather than a much bulkier laptop.

5. Windows Live Syncing

Similar to Windows To Go, the new Windows 8 will provide Windows Live syncing, such that users can login on any Windows 8 PC with ‘Live ID’ and get back their own personalized settings on it. The desktop will look the same every time the user login on a PC with their Windows Live account. Migrating to a new PC is probably made easier when the user has all the essential settings synced.

windows live syncing 5 Top Windows 8 Features Youll Love
(Image Source: Windows 8)

How different will this be from Windows To Go? Well, Windows To Go seem to serve more as a controlled device for IT administrators to distribute to employees (with exact duplicates of Windows 8 with the same settings, wallpapers, apps, etc on thumbdrives), while Windows Live Syncing is more to allowing users to keep the basic settings and data available even if they’re away from their primary PC. We can only anticipate how the former and latter will be truly be like until they are unveiled by Microsoft in due course.

3rd Party “Related Links” Widgets for Websites – Best Of

As owners and strategist of a website, we are always looking for more ways to increase the traffic and number of visitors to our website. While most of the techniques – social network promotions, advertising, word of mouth, etc – get you traffic from the outside, there are a few things you can do from the inside to increase your website’s overall traffic.

related content link 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

Increasing pageviews from inside the site is cheap, but requires a bit of a technique. When a visitor lands on one of your pages, find ways to encourage them to read the next page, and another page, and another and so on. One of the most common ways to do this is by using social toolbars.

The "Related link section" is yet another common practice used to encourage visitors to stay longer on our website by promoting and recommending them to read another article similar to what they are currently reading. If you are a WordPress user, you know that this can be done easily with plugins, or without plugins.

This method is a crowd favorite, and we now see many emerging third party services providing similar services – good news for non-Wordpress sites. In today’s post we take a detailed look into three of the most popular third-party related link services on the Internet.

Full list after the jump.

Outbrain

Outbrain‘s widget is pretty customizable; you can have it displaying links within your website (to increase pageviews), or from external yet still relevant websites, or a diplomatic combination of both. The widget can display thumbnails, simple text, or a combination of the two. There’s also a rating feature where visitors can rate an article based on a 5-star rating scale, or thumb up an article.

outbrain 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

Customers like Slate, Huffington Post, ELLE and TMZ pay Outbrain to distribute their content. If you run a high-traffic website with high-quality content, displaying Outbrain’s paid distributions or sponsored posts may open up an additional revenue stream for you!

outbrain demo 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

To understand more about Outbrain for publishers, click here.

Pros:

Outbrain gets visitors more engaged by listing related posts, and has a paid distribution program, but it is only for websites that has more than 500,000 monthly US pageviews per month. Customizing junkies will love the fact that the

outbrain css guide 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

Outbrain’s CSS guide allows you to change your related content widget’s appearance to merge with your site design. If you get stuck, ask for help in the forum or from their newly released support for mobile website.

Cons:

I encountered a problem, among others, with the installation. Upon signing up, a key is sent to you to input in your blog’s control panel. The "key claiming" process seems a little buggy, and you may need help from one of Outbrain’s staff for the claiming process. Also, you have no control over the size of the thumbnails no matter how customizable Outbrain gets.

nRelate

Similar to what Outbrain does, nRelate’s Related Content displays related links from your blog/website or from your blogroll. Between the two, nRelate is easier to customize as it is easier to control which links and from which blog is to be displayed.

nrelate 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

nRelate’s design is pretty responsive in a sense that it reads your website’s theme and follows it to fit the background. It supports 13 major languages, a perfect solution for non-English blogs. And according to nRelate you can get a traffic spike of somewhere between 5%-12%. That sounds like a great deal!

Pros:

nRelate gives users the freedom and flexibility to manipulate the widget – from how texts should appear to the sizes of the thumbnails – through the control panel.

nrelate customization 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

It also gives old content revived circulation, allowing them to get equal exposure as do their newer counterparts. In this, nRelate has an option to let you choose how far back you want archived posts to be recommended. nRelate also has a revenue-sharing program with its publishers/subscribers.

Cons:

With about 12,500 publishers, nRelate has fewer publishers than Outbrain’s 70,000. Thus, you may not want to keep your hopes up with the traffic and revenue expectations. In addition, nRelate takes two hours or more to index your website upon installation. Recommended links will only start showing up after that.

LinkWithin

LinkWithin is relatively new. It provides services similar to nRelate and Outbrain but currently it only shows related links from within the website. Other functions will probably come in at later stages.

linkwithin 3rd Party Related Links Widgets for Websites   Best Of

Its selling point is in its simplicity: it is simple to set up, and simple to use. You don’t even have to sign up for anything in order to get started.

Pros:

One of the things I really like about LinkWithin is its ability to deal with non-image content intelligently. Upon detecting an article that doesn’t have a thumbnail, rather than displaying a blank box to fill the gap, it displays texts with links instead of a dummy image which usually looks like an error image. LinkWithin is light and fast. Its design is simple, nothing fancy, so it blends well with most layouts.

LinkWithin currently does not provide a revenue-sharing option which may seem like a disadvantage but without ads, it makes your related links more relevant, and visitors are less likely to be irked by ads and compelled to leave your site.

Cons:

LinkWithin lacks of advanced analytics to track visits and the popularity of articles. Similar to Outbrain, to customize your widgets’ look and feel, it has to be done via theme files. This may be a challenge for some users. Lastly, there’s no option to remove any recommended links you may find unsuitable for your website.

In a Nutshell

Here’s a tabulated summary of my findings to help you decide on which service to use.

  Outbrain nRelate LinkWithin
User Control Medium High Low
Customization Medium High Low
Complexity Medium Medium Easy
Revenue Sharing Yes Yes No
Mobile Support Yes No No
Staff Support Responsive Responsive Responsive
Network sites support Yes Yes No
Analytics Yes Yes No

WordPress Plugins

Prefer WordPress plugins better? No problem. Here are some of the favorites when it comes to displaying related content and links.

10 Resources for Creating Website Color Schemes

Get a free icon and vector bundle (worth $54) just for subscribing to our weekly newsletter!

Choosing the right color scheme is one of the most important decisions of the website design process, and it can also be one of the most challenging. Fortunately, there are a number of great tools available to help with color selection.

Some of the resources mentioned in this post will allow you to browse through a variety of color palettes or schemes, many will allow you to create and save your own color schemes, and some are interactive, allowing you to quickly create an effective color scheme.

Kuler

Adobe’s Kuler includes a large library of user-submitted color schemes. You can view the color schemes online or download them to be used in Adobe Creative Suite products.

Kuler

Colour Lovers

Colour Lovers currently has almost 2 million color palettes created by its users. You can browse palettes by submission date, rating, views, and comments, or you can search by keyword.

Colour Lovers

ColoRotate

ColoRotate has a library of color schemes that you can browse, or you can create your own with their unique 3D tool. You can use it directly in Photoshop and Fireworks with theĀ ColoRotate plugin.

ColoRotate

Color Scheme Designer

Color Scheme Designer allows you to choose the type of scheme that you want to use (mono, complement, triad, tetrad, analogic, or accented analogic). You then adjust one of the colors on the wheel and the other colors will adjust as well, helping to create an appropriate color scheme.

Color Scheme Designer

ColorSchemer Gallery

ColorSchemer has a large library of user-created color schemes. You can browse by submission date, rating, or number of downloads, or you can search by keyword.

ColorSchemer Gallery

Pictaculous

Pictaculous is a simple online tool for generating a color scheme. You can upload a photo and it will suggest colors to use with the photo. You can then download the Adobe swatch of the suggested colors.

Pictaculous

Color Spire

Color Spire is fairly simple to use. You select a starting color and it will suggest a palette of colors to use in combination. It also provides a basic preview to show how the colors would look on a sample website layout.

Color Spire

ColorExplorer

ColorExplorer includes a few different color tools. With the color picker you can select a color and see different variations. You can also view color libraries and use the color matching tool to help create a palette.

ColorExplorer

ColourGrab

ColourGrab is a simple tool that allows you to get colors from a picture that is online. Just enter the URL of the image and it will show which colors are used most in the photo.

ColourGrab

Sphere: Color Theory Visualizer

With Sphere you can adjust one of the colors in the scheme and the others will automatically adjust to match. You can try different types of color schemes like analogous, complementary, triadic, tetradic, and more.

Sphere: Color Theory Visualizer

For more resources please see:

Royalty-Free Graphics

Software for Web Designers on Budget – Ultimate Guide

Web design can be costly for designers; not only its process is time consuming, its tools involve hefty monetary investment too. Designers on budget are often hit with the same dilemma – powerful machine and lesser software, or settle with an average machine so you can purchase more design-related software, but in trade you suffer for the epic system lagging.

designers on budget Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide
(Image source: Fotolia)

Graphics editors, code editors, file sharing and transferring tools, document and spreadsheet editors all cost money. These are future expenditures hard to anticipate. If you’ve went all-in into getting the best laptop, chances are it leaves you pretty limited in terms of budget for software. To give you an idea – Adobe Design Standard (comes with Photoshop, Illustrator and inDesign) costs about USD $1299; Adobe Photoshop alone costs about USD $699.00.

Way out of budget? No worries, good news is, you still can get projects kick-off without spending a dime. Sounds familiar somewhere? No we are not talking about download pirated software.

In today’s post, we are going to give you a guide of all Windows software you may need on your laptop or desktop, and all of them are free. We’ll also throw in our recommendation as well as more free alternatives to give you more options, so let’s dive into the heaven of free software and see what they have in stock for you!

Also, check out our lists for more useful tools and applications!

Web Browsing

Don’t look at me like that, I know all web browsers are free, just want to make sure that you have all awesome browsers in your garage!

For web browser, we think the Google Chrome is the best browser for now. Why? Faster browsing, cleaner user interface, better HTML5 and CSS3 support, and awesome Chrome extensions are rising more and more these years.

Besides, as the mobile has taken over some acres of the land of Web Design these years, it’s really important for you to have Opera Mobile Emulator to test your website on mobile browser settings.

We Recommend: Google Chrome

More Alternatives: Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera Web Browser, Opera Mobile Emulator, IETester

google chrome Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Graphic Editing

There are a lot of graphics editors released to challenge the realm of Photoshop these years, but the GIMP stands firm on top of them, mainly due to its extensive features.

From photo enhancement to digital retouching to file format support, GIMP will let you feel that it’s the best alternative to the Photoshop. Its cluttered interface might be a bit complicated at first, but it’s far better than the pain of having software with fewer features.

Alternatively, check out our post for more Photoshop alternatives!

We Recommend: GIMP

More Alternatives: Paint.NET, Chasys Draw IES, FastStone Image Viewer, Picasa

gimp Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Vector Design

There’s a time when you just need to create some perfect shapes that form awesome icons, logos or buttons, and the job can be well done with Inkscape.

Inkscape includes capabilities similar to Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, with the support of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format. Its main features include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns and grouping, basically everything you need for drawing vector graphic!

We Recommend: Inkscape

More Alternatives: Serif DrawPlus, Creative Docs.NET, Alchemy, Pencil, InsightPoint

inkscape Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Coding

Code Editor is one of the software you shouldn’t spend a buck on it, as there are just too many awesome code editors in the web!

For advanced coder, Notepad++ is your friendliest companion as it does not contain any complicated plugin or feature that drags the execution time and even your computer speed down. In short, it’s lightning fast.

If you would like to seek coding guidance from the editor, both Komodo Edit, Aptana Studio 3 and NetBeans IDE could be your good master. Also check out our list for CSS Editors.

We Recommend: Notepad++

More Alternatives: Komodo Edit, Aptana Studio 3, NetBeans IDE, Bluefish, RJ TextEd, TotalEdit, ConTEXT, Geany, Sublime Text, Editra

notepadplusplus Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

FTP / File Transfering

FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software helps you to transfer files from one host to another host over a network, such as your computer to your client’s website.

Filezilla makes sure you don’t spend any money on FTP software in your entire web design career. It not only allows you to browse the directories and upload multiple files real fast, but also provides secure connection to ensure that everything you do in the software is safe.

Alternatively, check out our list for more FTP alternatives!

We Recommend: Filezilla

More Alternatives: WinSCP, Cyberduck, FTP Rush, Core FTP Lite, Free FTP

filezilla Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Notetaking & Productivity

I’ve heard so many designers telling me the moment that the great ideas slipped through their mind, just because they didn’t take note of it. You probably don’t want this kind of incident happen in your life, and Evernote could prove to be a great helper in securing your precious ideas.

As its slogan says, Evernote helps you to remember everything, in everywhere. You can not only store text note but also audio note and even webcam note as well. What’s really awesome here is you can sync the documents to other devices of any Operating System such as Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more!

We Recommend: Evernote

More Alternatives: Memonic Desktop, AllMyNotes, RedNotebook, EssentialPIM, KeepNote, Tomboy, WikiPad, Zim, CintaNotes, Personal Brain

evernote Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Mind Mapping

You got to believe this: you need a mind map to organize, manage, and even spawn your ideas. Mind map makes you clear about what you’re doing, what you should not do, and what you can improve.

Most of the time we draw the mind map though papers and pen, that’s fine, but what if you want to carry the notes to everywhere, or you want to link certain ideas to the website? You need the mind mapping software, and XMind could be your best companion, as it got basically everything you need for doing a mind map, and the user interface is even intuitive.

And of course, it’s sleek.

We Recommend: XMind

More Alternatives: Freemind, Freeplane, Blumind, SciPlore

xmind Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Documents and Spreadsheets

From Text Document, Spreadsheet, Presentation and Database, OpenOffice is your reliable partner to assure your client’s confidence about your professionalism. The user interface is also intuitive enough that you can produce a presentation directly after the installation. Forget about Microsoft Office!

Libre Office 3 and Lotus Symphony 3 are relatively new but they also include certain awesome features as well, so do remember to check them out and choose the best for your office works!

We Recommend: OpenOffice

More Alternatives: Libre Office 3, Lotus Symphony 3, SoftMaker Office, KOffice, GnomeOffice

openoffice Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

File Sharing

Many of the computer users are still using the mail services like Gmail to send file(s) to other user. The method is fine, but now we are in the era of cloud computing, why don’t have a place in your computer, where you or your client can just put the file into a folder, and it will sync automatically on the other side?

Dropbox is the elf that allows you to share files with ease. The fact that this software is so awesome is that it actually requires no professional knowledge to setup the environment, it’s foolproof! Probably saved you tons of time on explanation part.

Alternatively, check out our list of file sharing services.

We Recommend: Dropbox

More Alternatives: Box, SpiderOak, Ubuntu One, Windows Live Mesh, Wuala, TeamDrive, ZumoDrive, Tonido

dropbox Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Screen Capturing

They say a picture worth thousand words, and screen capture tools gotta help you capture any picture that you think it’s worth thousand words. There are a lot of screen capture tools in the web, but I found the Jing from TechSmith (the same company that forged SnagIt) particularly useful.

Jing allows you to not only capture screen, but also record 5 minutes of screen activities. After the capture, you can also put text, arrow, and frame to give the graphic some annotation, and that’s pretty much everything I need from a screen capture tool.

Alternatively, you can visit our guide of screen capture tools for more alternatives!

We Recommend: Jing

More Alternatives: ZScreen, PicPick, Greenshot, DuckCapture, Shotty, PrtScr

jing Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

Fonts Management

As a web designer, type is a big deal for us, as it’s one of the most essential elements that define the aesthetics of the web design you crafted, therefore knowing every type in your computer is important for you to choose the best one for your design.

While Nexus Font is not a font creation tool, it proves useful to provide you a glimpse of every font installed in your computer, making it possible for you to actually study, consider and choose the best font for your design.

We Recommend: Nexus Font

More Alternatives: Cfont Pro, Dp4 Font Viewer, FontViewOK, Font Xplorer

nexusfont Software for Web Designers on Budget   Ultimate Guide

I certainly hope you found your Mr. Right Software! But hey, if you already have one that is not existed in this list, feel free and proud to show it off to all of us in your comment!